The situation at Jetcopters would never be the same. While having been promoted to Chief Pilot, I should have been excited about the increased salary and new responsibilities, but I wasn't. I think I shared Jim's pain and we spent our lunch hours together on many days trying to figure out how we could deal with the future. Both of us wanted very much to leave Jetcopters, but only under the best of conditions. Then tragedy struck Jetcopters. During the filming of one of the weekly episodes of the TV series Airwolf. One of our less conservative pilots, got in to a steep banked flight attitude near the ground and crashed the Bell Huey helicopter he was flying. He was injured with several broken bones, but sadly, his passenger, a Hollywood stunt man by the name of Reed Rondel was killed. The reason I can remember this mans name, I shared a dressing room with him on a previous shoot of the same TV series a couple weeks earlier. Because I was the newly assigned Chief Pilot and due to the fact that the pilot involved was dealing with serious injuries, I had the task of answering to the FAA and NTSB regarding all the facts leading up to the accident. Even though I was not on the call list for that particular shoot, I still was involved in the paper work that always follows these type of events. This was just the beginning of things to come regarding the companies future.
One night while at home, I received a phone call from Jim Deeth. He had just resigned from Jetcopters and was going with a company in Burbank, CA by the name of Cine Exec. Basically the same type of operation, but Jim would be heading up the company as he should, and directing the everyday operations. I was happy for Jim, but still I was stuck at Jetcopters. Then as luck would have it, I found out about a position at one of my old employers, Helitac, which was the company downtown in Los Angeles. This got me closer to home and out of the mess at Jetcopters. So not long after Jim's call, I called him to report that I too had resigned from Jetcopters. Isn't it strange how one individual could cause so much trouble and for no good reason.
Several months later. . . . . The pilot involved in the Airwolf accident, had fully recovered from his injuries and was back on flying status.
He was flying a helicopter for a filming job in the Grand Canyon, and again, crashed, which resulted in the cameraman breaking his back.
The helicopter was totaled and fortunately, the pilot surrendered his pilot's license to the FAA and he would never fly again. Again, I mention the word, "conservative", it can make a big difference in the outcome of a days work, flying helicopters. . . . . .