Anyone who’s ever traveled in the western United States, has come face to face with the great Rocky Mountains. They’re formidable. They’re hard. They’re rugged. Such are the characteristics of the people it takes to run a helicopter business in and around those beautiful, yet unforgiving rocks.
Mark Taylor is chief pilot and co-owner of Rocky Mountain Rotors (RMR). After hearing his journey, I view him as a living testimony to what happens when the school of hard knocks crosses paths with perseverance and a little bit of luck.
Taylor began at Silver State Helicopters as a Robinson R22 pilot. He now owns and operates a full-service helicopter operation utilizing the R22, R44, Bell 206, 407, and 429. The gregarious and charismatic aviator is a horseman and a hunter. At the end of my first day with him, he asked, “Do you like beer?” I knew we were going to get along just fine. We enjoyed an amazing Salmon Fly ale from Madison River Brewery that concluded Day One on a high note. [Read More...]
Rocky Mountain Rotors
Yellowstone Helicopter Charters
Yellowstone Helicopter Tours
Sometimes a small airborne law enforcement unit can make a larger impact than its size suggests. The Imperial Valley Airborne Narcotics Enforcement (IVAN) Air Support Unit makes such an impact. IVAN operates within Imperial County, which covers the lower east corner of Southern California and is bordered by Mexico to the south and Arizona to the east. Most of the area is low desert with a few small cities and many thousands of acres of farmland growing many types of produce. The area is warm all year, but during the summer months it is always hot; temperatures can reach well over 100 degrees for consecutive weeks.
IVAN Air Support is a part of The Imperial County Narcotics Task Force (ICNTF),which originated in 1973 to combat local and regional drug trafficking and gangs. Federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies take part in the task force by sharing information and intelligence from many sources. The task force is governed by a board of directors chosen from participating agencies that include the Imperial County District Attorney’s Office, the Imperial police department, Imperial County Probation, U.S. Border Patrol, California Highway Patrol, Federal Drug Enforcement Administration, and Homeland Security Investigations. ICNTF’s chairman of the board is District Attorney Gilbert Otero, and its commander is Mike Loyd. The IVAN Air Support Unit formed in 2011, with the purchase of a Robinson R44 LE helicopter. Since the program’s establishment, its chief pilot has been Donald Wharton. [Read More...]
Imperial County Aviation Unit
IVAN Air Support
Law Enforcement Helicopters
The Imperial County Narcotics Task Force (ICNTF)
As a broker of used Robinson Helicopters, I receive two or three calls a day from prospective sellers and buyers inquiring as to the state of the market. My response is always the same: the market is active but depressed. While this may seem like a contradiction, it means that while there are still many buyers out there with the funds and desire to buy, they expect to pay much less than they would have paid just nine or ten months ago. Where a helicopter would have sold quickly for $375,000 last summer, the highest offer I might receive on the same ship today is $315,000. The result is that there are a lot of ships for sale, a lot of buyers making very low offers, and very few sales taking place. [Read More...]