Tim Pfahler, Chief Ground and Flight Instructor for Mountain Flying and Vertical Reference/Long Line training is the former National Helicopter Standardization Pilot for the US Forest Service. He began his aviation career as a United States Naval Aviator followed by 16 years in the Montana National Guard, where he attained the level of Master Army Aviator. Tim has been involved in the natural resource aviation industry flying numerous makes and models of rotary-wing aircraft in both the lower 48 states and Alaska for over 30 years.
Prior to his US Forest Service experience, he was an industry contract helicopter pilot and in addition, worked for the State of Montana, Department of State Lands as the pilot supervisor. There, he was responsible for the supervision and training of a cadre of natural resource aviators in both fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft.
Tim’s career as the National Helicopter Standardization Pilot with the US Forest Service began in 1996. He is respected as an advanced flight training instructor of flight proficiency courses in many natural resource missions including Vertical Reference (long-line), High Altitude Mountain Flying, water bucket operations, prescribed fire missions, and rappel. He provides a unique, insider's perspective on the skills, knowledge, and evaluation standards to operate in the natural resource arena. He has been responsible for standardization of the check ride process used by both the US Forest Service and the US Department of Interior for missions related to Wildland fire. He is a Certified Flight Instructor in both fixed and rotary-wing aircraft. To date, his career includes over 10,000 hours of accident free flying.
In the Safety arena, Tim has been intimately involved in authoring the "National Safety Brief and Guidelines" for all vendor pilots operating both exclusive use and call-when-needed contract for the US Forest Service. Tim has provided his technical expertise during numerous accident investigations and has been responsible for authoring "Action Items" mandated as a result of aircraft accidents.
Lon Wimberley, Chief Instructor for Transition and Refresher training was a pilot for Bell Helicopter Company for 32 years. He was a production and experimental test pilot for nine years, followed by twenty three years as a flight/ground instructor in the Training Academy. He was involved in training customers from around the world. Training was conducted either at the Bell Training Academy in Fort Worth or at the customers’ base of operations. This training consisted of normal and emergency procedures with major emphasis on handling in-flight problems including engine failures. In single engine aircraft, an autorotation landing to the ground, to a designated landing area, is taught.
Lon is a Helicopter Airline Transport Pilot, and is an Airplane single and multi-engine Commercial Pilot. He has a Helicopter and Airplane Instrument license and is a Certified Flight Instructor in single and multiengine Airplanes and Helicopters. He is also a Helicopter Instrument Flight Instructor. He has a total flight time of 13,500 hours of accident-free flying, including 8,800 hours as an instructor for the Bell Training Academy. He also received the Outstanding Flight Instructor of the Year awarded by the Helicopter Association International for 1999.
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