Monday, September 20, 2010

Jetcopters Part 1

I spoke with Jim Deeth several times in the next few weeks and still I could not make a decision on going with Jetcopters.  The biggest obstacle in my mind was the 50 mile drive each way.  I was already driving 35 miles to downtown Los Angeles, but at least I was commuting at a time of the day when traffic was not as heavy.  Then at night when I left to go home around 1:00 am  early in the morning, traffic would be light.
Typical Los Angeles Freeway Traffic (405 between LA & Van Nuys) 
Driving 50 miles in Los Angeles traffic, could equate to two to three hours in some cases.
This would  have been for each work day, I could be on the freeway four to six hours a day. There were several ways to drive from my home in Cypress, CA to the Van Nuys, CA airport, but they were all within a few tenths of being 50 miles.  One day I decided to just pick a day during the week, and drive the freeway route I would most likely be taking each day, and see what the time to drive would be.  I must have picked an exceptional day, because I drove it in one hour.  This I could live with.  So I gave Deeth a call and we sat down and worked out a plan for me to come to work for them.  Jim Deeth is probably one of the best pilots I have ever worked with.  Also a very fair and honest person.  Jim had been a long time veteran pilot with the California Highway Patrol.  He left the CHP with lots of years of service and joined up with a man by the name of Peter McKernan.  A great partnership to say the least.  I  had first met Jim Deeth  in Long Beach, CA.  He had been giving flight instruction to Peter McKernan at the time.   They had come to me to ask if I could give McKernan an FAA flight test for his commercial license to fly helicopters.  Peter was the owner and president of Jetcopters, so I was well acquainted with the principals of the company now.  Earlier when I first met Jim Deeth, he brought another man in one day and asked if I would schedule him for an FAA fight test.  His name was John Carpenter a well know movie director in Hollywood.  Later on, I became better aquainted with Mr Carpenter, flying helicopters in a few of the movies he directed.  Jetcopters was a very aggressive fast growing helicopter operation.  We had a stable of new helicopters second to none.  They had a large maintenance staff and twelve pilots, some were flight instructors only and others were part time.  They were well established in every part of the helicopter business.  Peter Mckernan had an unlimited amount of resources to  purchase new helicopters and equipment.  Jetcopters was becoming the largest operation in the Western part of the United States.  They had a major television contract in Hawaii doing a show called Magnum P.I.   They had just purchased a new Bell 222 to be used in a television show called Airwolf.   Working at Jetcopters was like being on the dream team.  Peter McKernan provided the best employment package for pilots anywhere in Los Angeles.  He was  generous and very involved in the everyday operation of the company.  Jim Deeth was the Chief Pilot and Director of Operations.  These two people were creating a company that was known throughout the United States.  Things are going pretty good for me now and I am dealing with the daily commute without too much trouble. Although one morning it did take me nearly four hours to make the drive. Later on I asked to work the weekends.  I also bought a small motorhome and stayed at the Van Nuys airport three nights a week.  This reduced my days of driving to two days a week.  More on Jetcopters in the next post. . . . . . . .

1 comment:

  1. Hi there. Interesting stories about Jetcopters and Jim. Do you happen to have a current contact detail where he can be reached at please? I've produced a documentary on "Airwolf" and interviewed the McKernans. Was 5 year ago and I can't recall if I found a number for Jim and rang it; but I'm sure it was him who gave a firm "no". Pete Sr. & Jr. had nothing on him. I've since lost the number.

    If you pick this up, I'd appreciate a line back. At the very least, I'd like to chat with Jim by email about his time on the show's 1st year. The Facebook page for the project is I'll pick anything up there.

    Thanks in advance,