Patrick Jaeger, HFI Scholarship Recipient
Helicopter Foundation International (HFI) scholarship winner Patrick Jaeger passed away August 4, 2017, following a motorcycle accident. Jaeger was the recipient of a 2017 HFI Commercial Helicopter Pilot Rating scholarship and had completed his training earlier this summer.
Jaeger was born and raised in Champlin, Minnesota, and was one of five children. He was active in sports and the outdoors. His personal drive and work ethic enabled him to buy a personal watercraft when he was just 14. He graduated from Champlin Park High School in 2008.
Following school, Jaeger joined the U.S. Navy and became a Navy Seal. The Navy trained Jaeger in scuba diving, skydiving, cold weather survival, and many other extreme skills required of his mission. He attended and passed Navy Seal Sniper School and later became a course instructor. He was a member of Navy Seal Team 10 and received decorations for his actions during two deployments to Afghanistan.
After eight years as a Navy Seal, Jaeger chose to join the Navy Seal Reserves program and started flight school to become a commercial helicopter pilot. He had completed his private helicopter license, received his instrument and commercial ratings, and had just begun his instructor-level training at the time of the accident.
He is survived by his parents, David and Theresa; siblings Stephanie (Tim), Brandon (Sue), Sean (Emily), and Melissa (Zach); grandmothers Margaret Jaeger and Yvonne Jenson; and a large crew of aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and a nephew.
Tony Reece, Founder of HiLine Helicopters
Anthony (Tony) B. Reece, age 81, passed away peacefully on August 16, 2017, at Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle, Washington, from complications of acute myeloid leukemia. Reece founded HiLine Helicopters in Washington State in 1978 and received recognition from HAI several times for his flying.
Reece was born March 11, 1936, in Darrington, Washington, to Albert and Lauretta (Mulhurn) Reece, the seventh of eight children. He graduated from Darrington High School and served in the U.S. Army, where he played fiddle on a radio show in Germany.
Following his time in the military, he joined his brothers in building Reece Brothers Logging Company. He left that company to start HiLine.
Reece flew for many government agencies, including the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Forest Service, and National Park Service. He assisted in more than 400 search and rescue missions before retiring in March of 2016.
An HAI member for 31 years, Reece received several awards during his career, including the 2002 HAI Pilot Safety Award, the 2008 HAI Salute to Excellence Robert E Trimble Memorial Award for Mountain Flying, the 2012 U.S. Department of Interior Citizen’s Award for Bravery, and the 2012 Trail Builder of the Year. He also received an HAI award for 25 years of safe flying.
Reece is survived by his loving wife of 58-plus years, Betty Sue; children Floyd “Pete” (Suzie) Reece, Sarah (Calvin) Burlingame, William Taylor, and Heather (David) Baker, all of Darrington; nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren; sister Teresa Howard; and many nieces and nephews. A celebration of his life was held on September 16, 2017.
Bob Martin, Long-Time ENG Pilot and Safety Advocate
Bob Martin, an electronic news-gathering (ENG) pilot and long-time flight safety advocate, passed away when his news helicopter crashed on September 16, 2017. An ENG pilot for Albuquerque station KRQE for more than 20 years, Martin was known for his desire to keep viewers safe and informed, and also for his ability to craft a story.
Martin was also active in HAI’s Electronic News Gathering Committee. “He never wanted to hold the top position in charge of the committee,” remembers David York, former HAI vice president of regulations and international affairs. “He served as secretary and did most of the work for us. He was very instrumental in producing the HAI Safety Guide for ENG operators. It’s still on the HAI website today.” York described Martin as an old-school ENG pilot who reported on the story and flew the helicopter at the same time. “He advocated that style, and he developed specific training that ensured a pilot could accomplish both tasks safely.”
“Bob Martin was an ambassador for the helicopter industry,” adds Stan Rose of the Helicopter Safety Alliance. “He always took the time to help his friends and was a tireless promoter of safety.”
Rose detailed how Martin would bring together pilots from local military, public use, and civil operators for an annual day-long safety event that was filled with current thinking and innovations for the helicopter world. His colleagues are going to continue the tradition and have renamed it the Bob Martin Helicopter Safety Day.
Martin graduated from Socorro High School in Socorro, New Mexico, and obtained his degree in mass communications and journalism at Eastern New Mexico University. He thrived on telling stories about New Mexico history and lifestyle, and also covered harder news stories like wildfires and wars overseas.
In addition to being a commercial helicopter and airplane pilot, Martin was a skydiver and scuba diver. He was also a licensed drone pilot and instructor. Martin is survived by his father, three brothers, and his wife.