• Vertical Magazine Logo
  • Vertical Valor Logo
  • HeliTrader Logo
  • Insight Logo
  • Evtol Logo
  • Evtol Logo

Episode 170 – Phoenix Police Department Aviation Part I

Brought to you by:


Episode Description

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

In this two-part series, co-hosts Jack Schonely and Jon Gray sit down with Helene Balmir, a pilot from the Phoenix Police Department.

Born to a French-Canadian mother and a Haitian father who immigrated to New York in the 1960s, Helen grew up in Montreal, Canada. She is the youngest of three sisters.

From a young age, Helen was an avid skier, hitting the slopes before she could walk and competing in downhill skiing until she was 17. She attended a Catholic high school but took a brief detour from her academic pursuits for a few years. Despite this, her passion for sports led her to earn a scholarship for soccer and track, eventually pursuing a degree in criminal justice at a university in Missouri.

After graduating, Helen returned to Montreal for a summer before traveling to Arizona to visit her sister. Although she originally planned to continue to Hawaii, she fell in love with Phoenix and decided to stay, eventually applying to the Phoenix Police Department.

Helen’s career with the Phoenix Police Department began in 2004, patrolling the busy Maryvale precinct. From 2008 to 2015, she served as a detective in the Robbery-Kidnapping-Extortion unit before joining the ATF Violent Crimes Task Force, where she worked undercover until 2018. She then returned to Maryvale patrol until 2020, when she transitioned to the Air Support Unit.

In 2021, Helen attended flight school, earning her commercial pilot’s certificate by March 2022. Her extensive training includes three phases of TFO training, each lasting three months.

In addition to her professional achievements, Helen is passionate about dog sports and training, working part-time for K9 Defense, a company specializing in raising and training police and other working dogs.

Thank you to our sponsors  SHOTOVER, Spectrum Aeromed, and Anodyne Electronics Manufacturing.

Listen on your favourite platform:

Apple Podcasts Google Podcasts Spotify Stitcher RSS