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Barry Lloyd

Meet a Rotorcraft Pro
Q & A with Barry Lloyd

By Steve Goldsworthy


Rotorcraft Pro: What is your current position?
I’m the Helicopter Program Manager for Cal Fire. My duties include being the Chief Pilot, checking out (carding) contract pilots and our own pilots and insuring all safety standards are met.
 
Rotorcraft Pro: How did you get your start in helicopters?
In the US Army, I started in 1964 in Vietnam. But my dad was a pilot for Eastern Airlines, and we lived in Connecticut near Bradley field which is where some of the early Sikorsky and Kaman helicopter test facilities were located. I grew up watching those helicopters being tested.
 
Rotorcraft Pro: Tell me about your first flight
I took my first flight in a Piper J3 Cub at age 16. I had a girlfriend forge a note from my mom so I could take the flight! I lived so close to the field I even flew over my house on our final approach.
 
Rotorcraft Pro: Tell me about your experience in the Army
My first helicopter flight was in an Army OH 23C (Hiller 12C) at Fort Wolters, Texas.  The OH 23C had the pilot in the center seat, and the instructor in the left seat. I was 19 years old. My first time in Vietnam was in 65-66. I flew Huey gunships B and B-540C models. I was in the Army 197th Armed Helicopter Company, later known as the 334th. This was the first time the helicopter was used as an attack vehicle. They were known as UTT’s (Utility Tactical Transports).  I was shot in 1965, back to duty in a few days, and that’s when I received my first Purple Heart and later a Bronze star, Air Medal for Valor, and my unit received the Presidential Unit Citation. My second tour resulted in a year-long hospitalization and recovery. (ed note- and another Purple Heart). Some nights we did low level missions and would come back and find green stains on the skids from hitting the vegetation.

Rotorcraft Pro: Where did you get your start flying commercially?
Flying in the Oakland Bay area in a Bell 47, doing water sampling, news reports, and aerial photography work. That was in 1973. Then I flew 205A’s in Indonesia, near Duri Samatra for Bristow-Masau. But I had never finished my education so I came back to the states to finish college. Then I moved to Astro Copters, and became the Chief Pilot flying Jet Rangers, and a Sikorsky S58.

Rotorcraft Pro: What would you be doing if you were not flying helicopters?
Maybe something in the biology/chemistry/science field.  Probably something in medicine.
 
Rotorcraft Pro: What do you enjoy doing on your days off?
Catching up on my sleep! Flying and maintaining my airplane, which is a Cessna 150. I’m a mechanic; I love cars, my BMW motorcycle and working on computers.

Rotorcraft Pro: What was your greatest career accomplishment?
Being an instructor! That I can actually make an impact on new pilot's lives!

Rotorcraft Pro: Have you ever had an “Oh crap” moment in a helicopter?
Oh sure, engine failure, inadvertent IMC, being shot down, I’ve made my share of mistakes, but I’ve been lucky enough to learn from each onel

Rotorcraft Pro: If you could give only ONE piece of advice to a new helicopter pilot, what would it be?
Always strive for higher standards than yesterday. Take heed to that “inner voice” when it beckons you. I truly believe most people’s limits are self-imposed.

(Note- Mr. Lloyd is a forty-four year veteran helicopter pilot, and has been a USFS/CDF fire carded pilot for over 33 years. He is a Certified Accident Investigator, an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner and A&P. He is also a CFI/CFII/ATP in both helicopters and fixed wing aircraft and is a recipient of the HAI 2008 Flight Instructor of the Year award). 

Posted in: Human Interest

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