Interview with a Los Angeles Fire Department helicopter pilot

Firefighting, rescues, and medical aids using an Agusta Westland 139

Los Angeles Fire Department helicopters
Two Los Angeles Fire Department helicopters prepare to take off on a mission to rescue a hiker in distress.

I interviewed one of the pilots that fly multi-mission helicopters for the Los Angeles Fire Department with the goal of obtaining enough information to write an article about the Department’s aviation program.

I recorded the interview, with Pilot Brandon Prince’s permission, so that I would not have to attempt to take detailed notes and in doing so miss some of what he was saying. But in playing the recording back it was obvious that Mr. Prince was very well-spoken and eloquent. He was describing the program better than an article I would have written.

So I put the interview in a video, and dressed up the audio with still photos taken at the Department’s base at Van Nuys Airport and 28 seconds of video showing two of their Augusta Westland 139 helicopters warming up before they departed on a mission to assist a hiker in distress.

In the interview Mr. Prince discusses the makeup of the seven-helicopter fleet, making decisions about where to drop water on a wildfire, hot refueling, how much fuel and water they begin a firefighting mission with, and the amount of training necessary to be qualified to serve on a helitack crew.

(If you’re having trouble viewing the video you can see it on YouTube)

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