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Episode 159 – James Heckman of Two Bear

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Episode Description

Welcome to The Hangar Z Podcast, brought to you by Vertical HeliCASTS!

In this episode of The Hangar Z Podcast, Mike Calhoun and Jason Quinn from the Real ResQ Podcast speak with James Hickman, the chief pilot at Two Bear Air Rescue. Join us as we unravel the story of Hickman’s aviation career, from his humble beginnings in Oregon to the peaks of Montana.

The ultimate mission of Two Bear Air Rescue is saving lives. Based near Whitefish, Montana, Two Bear Air Rescue provides world-class aviation support for search-and-rescue operations across the northwest United States.

​Whitefish philanthropist Michael Goguen supports all costs of this program, leaving zero cost to the taxpayers.

Hickman’s path to becoming a seasoned pilot wasn’t without its twists and turns. After honing his skills as a helicopter and fixed-wing flight instructor in Kalispell, Montana, he immersed himself in the world of backcountry charter flying, where every flight presented its own unique challenges.

But it was during his time as an instructor that fate intervened, as Hickman found himself collaborating with the visionaries behind Two Bear Air Rescue, a burgeoning search-and-rescue outfit. As Hickman accumulated flight hours and experience, he seized the opportunity to join Era Helicopters in Alaska, where he had the opportunity to fly above the breathtaking landscapes of Denali National Park.

His time in Alaska proved to be not only exhilarating but also transformative, laying the groundwork for his eventual return to Two Bear Air Rescue as a pilot. For eight years now, Hickman has been an integral part of the team, leveraging his expertise to save lives and navigate the rugged terrain of Montana’s backcountry.

Beyond the cockpit, Hickman embraces the mountain lifestyle, indulging in his passions for skiing, mountain biking, and paragliding. His love for adventure knows no bounds.

Thank you to our sponsors Bell, Collins Aerospace Goodrich hoist and winch and Precision Aviation Group.

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