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Meet A Rotorcraft Pro – Glenn Wargo of H.W. Farren Company, LLC

RPMN: What is your current position?

WARGO:  I’m the Director of Safety, Security, and Special Projects for H.W. Farren, LLC.  I develop the procedures for loading and protecting the aircraft we transport.

RPMN: How did you get started transporting helicopters?

WARGO:  Well the first airframe I, myself, transported was my sailplane.  I’d land out; we’d put it on a trailer and bring it back to the airport.  But as far as H. W. Farren goes, I started work here in 1989.  We moved big machinery back then; we didn’t really specialize in helicopter transport.  One day a friend of mine, who was involved in brokering aircraft, had a client who taxied an S76 into a drainage ditch at Lincoln Park Airport (NJ).  He called me since he knew Farren moved heavy equipment, and we took the helicopter back to the hangar for repairs.  After that we started moving aircraft they brokered, and eventually got introduced to other aircraft companies, including Sikorsky.  We’ve been moving aircraft for Sikorsky since 1994.  We also transport helicopters for AgustaWestland, as well as others.

RPMN:  What unique challenges are involved with transporting helicopters?

WARGO:  Helicopters are extremely dynamic machines, and in many ways they are fragile.  We try to make sure that each aircraft we service has a safe delivery so that they can save lives and perform their other extremely valuable tasks.  We transport some helicopters for the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR) , and a gentleman there was asked by his superior why he was using us rather than one of the traditional trucking companies under military contract.  His answer, “Sir, with all due respect (Farren) doesn’t throw chains all over the tops of my helicopters.”

RPMN: How many helicopters have you guys transported over the years?

WARGO: We have grown to the point of transporting nearly a helicopter a day, so I’d say it’s now over a thousand that we’ve moved.

RPMN:  So tell me what transport was the most challenging?

WARGO:  The most challenging was the VH-71, the cancelled Presidential program.  They were so pleased with our protective packaging, transport, and the care we took, and the personal attention.   When that program ended, the Canada Dept. of National Defence awarded us the contract to transport the five remaining flight demonstrators.  Those aircraft were 20 feet high and 15-plus wide with 26 feet of overhang.  We coordinated with the various national and provincial Canadian governmental departments and law enforcement agencies to truck those helicopters up there.  We even had to shut down the Queen’s Highway.  I remember running the wrong way down that highway to get the proper infrastructure clearance, but every airframe was delivered safely to the satisfaction of all. 

Another challenging project was when we moved the Sikorsky Comanches.  Two agencies that particularly stand out on one of those moves were the Maryland and Virginia tactical assault teams and state police departments, who literally put a one-mile protective perimeter around us as we drove.  No one was allowed to get near us as we moved down the highway.  We got those airframes safely down to Jupiter, Florida, but I’m sure there were a lot of people on their CB radios swearing at us because we had the highway basically shut down.

RPMN:  If you weren’t moving helicopters for our industry, what else would you see yourself doing?

WARGO:  Previous to H.W. Farren, I worked for two airlines, including Eastern Airlines.  Once during the ‘80s, we had former President Gerald Ford sitting in First Class.  What a nice man he was to everyone.  During my career with the airlines I held several managerial positions, including one of the greatest jobs in the world:  I was the cargo manager for Bermuda!  I greatly enjoyed my time with the airlines, but I also really like what I do now. So to answer the question, I guess I would still be in aviation, most likely back with the airlines.

RPMN:  What do you enjoy doing on your days off?

WARGO:  Well first, I enjoy spending time with my wife, Irene!  I also train people in personal protection and the martial arts.  And when I get the chance, I go up with a friend and fly.  I have a depth perception problem due to a little problem with the left eye, so you wouldn’t be interested in my approaches (laughs).  I still have commercial licenses for both fixed wing and sailplane.  I’d love to one day get my rotary-wing license.  We’ll see what happens.

RPMN:  What is your greatest career accomplishment to date?

WARGO:  Securing the Sikorsky account was probably one of the greatest things I’ve done for Farren, because it just blossomed from there and helped us gain respect from other great companies.  Receiving appreciation from SOAR is also very gratifying.  It’s a tremendous honor to work for them.

RPMN:  I assume you were in the military?

Wargo:  Yes, I was in the Air Force, but I didn’t go anywhere exciting.

RPMN:  I believe you and H.W. Farren are also active with important charity work.  What causes are close to your heart?

WARGO:  The two that are especially important to H.W. Farren and me are the Special Operations Warrior Foundation and The Night Stalker Foundation.  In addition to Farren’s company efforts, in 1995 my son, my wife and myself founded Peaceful Valley Martial Arts (peacefulvalley.net).  One program Peaceful Valley provides is personal protection training for women.  All we ask from the recipients of this training is that they make a donation to either of these military charities.  What we really like about both of these causes is that they not only do great work, but their administrative costs are extremely low.

Editor’s Special Note: 

The Special Operations Warrior Foundation supports the military's special operations forces and their families.  Visit their website at www.specialops.org. 

The Night Stalker Foundation supports the soldiers and families of the 160th SOAR and other special ops units in their goal of higher education for themselves and their families.  Visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/The-Night-Stalker-Foundation/215464715190192.

 

Posted in: Human Interest

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