Read More: Rex Bishopp
February 26, 2019

Alaska Aviation Pioneer

Alaska helicopter pioneer Rex Bishopp, age 96, passed away at his home in Anchorage, Alaska, on November 1, 2018.

Born in Farson, Wyoming, on June 6, 1922, Rex lived on the family ranch until moving to California for college. He later worked for a cousin, helicopter pioneer Jim Ricklefs, who owned and operated Rick Helicopters of San Francisco. Every summer, Rex and Ricklefs would drive to Alaska with a truck carrying two helicopters for the summer flying season.

Rex moved to Alaska in 1967, when he and his wife, Ruth, purchased Alaska Helicopters from Ricklefs. The two had many exciting adventures as they ran the company as a team. In 1978, they merged Alaska Helicopters with Columbia Helicopters of Portland, Oregon, and sold the company when they retired in 1995.

Throughout his career, Rex actively promoted safety within the aviation industry. He was ­instrumental in creating the Alaska Air Carriers Association and served on its board for more than a decade. Rex received numerous honors for his leadership in aviation safety. He was inducted into the Alaska Aviation Pioneer Hall of Fame in 2013.

Rex was preceded in death by his beloved wife and partner, Ruth, in 1995. He is survived by his children, Laurie, Renee, Lynn, and Clint, as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

In Rex’s memory, the family suggests donations to the Alaska Aviation Museum or the Alaskan Aviation Safety Foundation.

Read More: Loran "Pat" Patterson
February 26, 2019

Past HAI Chairman and 25,000-Hour Pilot

Loran “Pat” Edward Patterson, longtime HAI member and past chairman, died at his home in Lucerne Valley, California, on December 4, 2018.

Pat was born on September 24, 1933, in Rome, Georgia. At age 16, he enlisted in the US Army, where he received many commendations for bravery, leadership, and acts of heroism during the Korean War.

Upon returning to the United States in 1955, he was accepted into the army’s helicopter pilot school. He earned his wings, was nicknamed “Pat the Pilot,” and discovered a passion for flying that launched his future career.

In 1968, Pat became one of the first helicopter pilots hired by the Los Angeles County Fire Department. During his time there, he completed search-and-rescue assignments, emergency response calls, and firefighting flights, among other missions.

Pat’s flying career spanned more than four decades, with more than 25,000 logged flight hours. During that period, he also worked for Vought Helicopters, Air Logistics, and Rocky Mountain Helicopters before starting his own company, Continental Helicopters. He was serving as chairman of the board of Helicopter Association of America when the organization became HAI in 1981.

Pat retired as general manager of Heavy Lift Helicopters in Apple Valley, California, in 2007. He is survived by his son, Scott; daughter, Alita Patterson Irigoyen; son-in-law, Ramon Irigoyen; seven grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Read More: Dr. Carrol Max Voss Flies West
August 07, 2018

Dr. Carrol Voss, the founder of AGROTORS, Inc., and a pioneer in the use of helicopters in aerial application, died June 10 at his home in Maine at the age of 98. Voss joined the Navy Air Corps during World War II, serving as a flight instructor for PBY and PBM “flying boats.” He met his wife, Wilma “Jo,” who was also in the Navy at the time, and they married in 1945.

Voss continued his education and interests in entomology and aviation following the war, earning a doctorate at the University of Wisconsin. In the late 1940s, Voss received his helicopter pilot’s license and started working in the industry. After nearly a decade of working with helicopters and agriculture, he started his own company, AGROTORS, Inc., in 1958. The company became a leader in aerial application operations, later opening a flight school in the mid-1960s.

Voss served as a consultant with the World Health Organization, helping to establish aerial application programs for insect infestations in Africa. He was also a consultant for agricultural spraying in India, the USSR, and South America.

Voss began working with HAI in 1953 when it was still Helicopter Association of America. He was active in the Agriculture Committee and helped to produce a safety video about flying in the wire and obstruction environment. His son, Tim, who was also active in HAI, took over AGROTORS when the elder Voss retired in 1985.

Voss was the recipient of the Twirly Birds Les Morris Award (1995) and HAI’s Lawrence Bell Lifetime Achievement Award (2001). AGROTORS also received HAI’s Sikorsky Humanitarian Service Award (2000) for assisting with mosquito eradication in New York.