Professional Helicopter Pilots Association

Board & Advisors

Jim Davidson – Seat 1


Jim Davidson has been flying since 1966, graduated from the United States Armys Warrant Officer Flight School December 6, 1966 (Class 66-19). Spent two tours in the Republic of Vietnam. Both with the 1st Air Cavalry Division in the central highlands (first tour 1967-68 with C Company 229th Aviation Battalion flying UH-1Ds H model hueys, then the second tour 1969-70 with Troop B, 1st Squadron 9 Cavalry, flying AH-1Gs OH-6As). Jim holds a Commercial Pilot Certificate, Rotorcraft Helicopter, and Instrument Helicopter with over 12,000 hours (all in helicopters). Moved to Southern California in 1974 and has been working for various aviation companies,include Western Helicopters, Inc., Arizona Helicopters, Inc. Aerohead Helicopters, Inc., Mercy Air, Inc. and San Joaquin Helicopters, Inc. Jim was sworn in as the first of two full-time Fire Pilots for Orange County Fire Authority Air Operations on April 1st 1998. Jim is currently flying Orange County Fire Authoritys two UH-1H Super Hueys. Jim is a long time participant in the FAA Wings Safety Program and has completed levels I through XIII in the program, and has attended a number HAI Aviation Safety courses. Jim and his family reside in Crestline, California.

Dakata Brodie – Seat 2


Dakata Brodie has been flying helicopters since 1999. He is a 16-year war veteran of the U.S. Army and U.S. Coast Guard and currently assigned to U.S.C.G. Air Station Los Angeles. Dakata started his career in the U.S. Army flying UH-60A/L (Blackhawk) helicopters and served as a Company Commander and a Maintenance Test Pilot (MTP). After transitioning to the U.S.C.G. in 2005, Dakata began flying HH-65C (Dolphin) helicopters at units along the Gulf Coast. He is currently assigned to U.S.C.G. Air Station Los Angeles as the Assistant Operations Officer flying Search and Rescue (SAR) missions and Law Enforcement Patrols in MH-65D (Dolphin) helicopters for the Greater Los Angeles Area. He has aviation experience in 7 models/types of helicopters and holds an ATP rating.

Significant accomplishments include:
1) U.S. Army Company Commander
2) UH-60A/L Maintenance Test Pilot (MTP)
3) MH-65C/D Standardization’s Pilot
4) MH-65C/D Instructor Pilot / Flight Examiner
5) Methods of Instruction (MOI) Instructor (4-yrs)
6) Crew Resource Management Instructor (1-yr)

Looking to broaden his horizon, Dakata is eager to undertake the challenges ahead as a new PHPA Board Member.

Anthony Byrnes – Seat 3


Anthony Byrnes, who goes by Tony, is a professional pilot who grew up a “kid at the fence” at a local airport, and was lucky enough to have been mentored by some very kind and interesting people, who also happened to be pilots. He learned to fly airplanes at a young age, added helicopters in his twenties, and has been very fortunate to have had a varied and interesting career so far.

Tony is currently the Chief Pilot for the Hawthorne Police Dept., Chief Pilot for Star Helicopters LLC’s On-Demand Charter operation, and an Adjunct Instructor for Glendale Community College.

His experience includes a 20 year stint with U. S. Customs and Border Protection as an Air Interdiction Agent-pilot, (most of his career was with U. S. Customs Air and Marine Interdiction, which became CBP after merging with Border Patrol Air Operations in 2003). During his government career in law enforcement aviation, he was a senior pilot in rotor and fixed wing aircraft including UH-60A, AS-350B2, Bell 206/TH-57, and HU-500E helicopters, as well as Cessna 550, Beech C-12C, and Cessna T210 airplanes. Tony was also assigned as a Rotor-wing Standardization Instructor Pilot, UH-60 Instructor Pilot, Safety Officer and Aircraft Accident Investigator.

Not satisfied to truly retire and go fishing most of the time, he has since his retirement been employed as a corporate helicopter manager and pilot, EMS pilot, Chief Pilot and CFI. He also graduated from Embry-Riddle with a Bachelor’s degree in Professional Aeronautics in 2009, and a Masters of Aeronautical Science and Aviation Education in 2013. A member of the PHPA for many years, he was first appointed to an open seat on the Board of Directors in 2014.

Tony’s goals for the association are to grow the membership, provide professional and safety education to our members, and to help to make the PHPA the premier pilots association it should be.

Jim Paules – Seat 4


With over 25 years of experience in real estate development, non-profit management and event development Paules brings a unique toolbox of skills in financial / accounting management, business development and volunteer / team management.

Paules holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from California State University, Northridge along with graduate certificates in Real Estate Finance and Construction Management from the UCLA Graduate Builders Program. Jim is also a Certified Management Accountant, C.M.A.

Paules career in real estate has included roles with many of the premier home and commercial property builders in Southern California including Griffin Industries and Forecast Homes. Additionally, Jim imagined, designed and took to market the landmark Customer Satisfaction Study for Homebuilders during his tenure with J.D. Power and Associates.

A member of the PHPA since 1996 Paules first served on the Board of Directors during 2000. During this long tenure with the PHPA Paules has served as the association Treasurer, Membership director, newsletter editor and has worked on committees supporting the Helicopter Awareness Day and PHPAs involvement in a host of community events over the years.

As an enthusiastic supporter of rotary-wing aviation, Paules originated the American Heroes Air Show at the Santa Monica Airport in 1993. Since then this unique event has grown into the nations premier helicopter-only, admission-free aviation experience volunteer-produced in communities from coast to coast.

Paules has additionally connected with the Southern California community via his authored articles in BUILDER Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, Air Space Magazine and 9-1-1 Magazine with themes from helicopters role in SAR Operations to customer satisfaction for builders to financial management tactics for non-profit organizations

Upon graduation from Los Angeles first FBI Citizens Academy class in Paules organized the F.B.I. Citizens Academy Alumni Association and served as the founding President. Additionally, Paules was the founding President and continues to sit on the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles A.T.F. Citizens Academy Alumni Association.

Married since 1981, Jim has made West Hills in the San Fernando Valley his home with his wife Kristen, a Special Education teacher with LAUSD and their two grown children Ryan and Victoria.

Pat Carey – Seat 5


Pat is the Director of Operations of Advance Air Charters LLC at the Hawthorne Airport. He recently retired from AirFlite Toyota Flight Operation where he worked five years as the Aviation Safety and Security Officer managing the companys Safety Management System, and flew as a Gulfstream Captain for Toyotas worldwide flight operations. Prior to that position he worked five years as a Production Test Pilot and FAA Designated Engineering Representative (DER) Flight Test Pilot for Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation flight testing Gulfstream jets including the newest Gulfstream 550 aircraft.

He began flying at the Hawthorne Airport, Hawthorne, California in 1963 obtaining a Commercial Pilot certificate in 1966. He entered the US Army in 1967 and attended the Army Rotary Wing Warrant Officer Flight School. He served in Viet Nam as a helicopter gunship pilot in the First Air Cavalry Division earning the Bronze Star and 38 Air Medals. He received a direct commission to First Lieutenant, and continued his military career serving as a Flight Instructor, Artillery Unit Commander, General’s Aide, aviation maintenance test pilot, staff and command assignments including Command of Libby Army Airfield, Fort Huachuca, Arizona. He retired as a Fixed and Rotary wing Master Aviator in 1987 and resumed his civilian aviation career at the Northrop Aircraft Company as a Corporate Pilot and Test Pilot.

In 1991 Pat became the Manager of Operations and Chief Pilot for the Northrop Aircraft Company, responsible for the daily flight operations activity of the companys flight department, and support of Northrop flight test programs. Following the merger of Northrop and Grumman Aircraft companies in 1994 the Northrop Grumman Flight Department became a commercial business subsidiary and charter company operating as Northrop Grumman Aviation, Inc. at the Hawthorne Airport. As the Chief Pilot he managed 24 pilots, three dispatchers, and all the company aircraft in an on demand FAR Part 135 worldwide charter operation. Pat retired from the Chief Pilot position in July 1999 to work for the Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation as a production test pilot.

In addition to his full time positions, Pat had consulted as the FAR 141 Chief Flight Instructor for Security Aviation at the Hawthorne Airport, which grew under his supervision and guidance to become one of the largest flight schools in the Los Angeles area. He was also Vice President, Pilot Recruitment for the Collins Group, Carlsbad California. He currently is a co-owner of Beach Cities Aviation Academy, LLC at the Hawthorne Airport, and the FAA Designated Pilot Examiner for the airport.

Pat is a Gold Seal Flight Instructor, FAA Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE) and a FAAST Team Safety Counselor. He was selected as the FAA Western Pacific Region 1990 Flight Instructor of the Year. In October 2002, he received the California Pilots Association Nubar Deombeleg Award as Airport Defender of the year for successfully leading the campaign to keep the Hawthorne airport open. He serves as the Co-Chairman of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) Airspace Users Group, and was one of the original team members who in October 1986 formed the organization which, with the FAA, developed the transition routes through the Los Angeles Class B airspace. The group continues to refine airspace design in the Los Angeles area. He was the first President of the Hawthorne Airport Community Association, and is still a Senior Board Member. He has served on the Hawthorne Airport Master Planning Committee, and until recently served as a Planning Commissioner on the Hawthorne City Planning Commission.

Pat is an Airline Transport Pilot rated pilot with over 29,000 hours of flying, and Type Ratings in the BE 300, 1900, Citation X, Lear Jet, and Gulfstream II, III, IV, V and G-550 jets. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Cameron University in Oklahoma, and a Master of Science degree in Systems Management from the University of Southern California. He has also completed the University of Southern Californias Aviation Safety Managers program and holds an Aviation Safety Managers Certificate. Pat and his wife Kathleen have three adult children all living in Southern California.

Jim Woodaman – Seat 6


Mr. Woodaman is a past Director having served several terms on the PHPA Board of Directors beginning in 19991. He also previously served 1 of those terms as President.

Mr. Woodaman has been flying since 1983 and helicopters since 1990. Mr. Woodaman founded Summit Helicopter, Inc in 1996. He oversees the coordination Summits daily operations. Summit Helicopter is located at Whiteman Airport and is engaged primarily in power line construction and maintenance work. He has also flown for the Hawthorne Police Department since 2001.

Throughout his career Jim has worked for several Southern California operators including Western Helicopters, Briles Helicopters, National Helicopters, KNBC, KCAL and KCBS flying a variety of missions including external load/construction, law enforcement, ENG and fire fighting.

Morrie Zager – Seat 7


Morrie Zager has been flying fixed-wing aircraft since he was 25 years old, and began flying helicopters in 2007. Morrie is currently a sergeant with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. He started with the agency in 1986 and has been assigned to the Aero Bureau since 2008. He is a watch commander in addition to his duties as a patrol pilot.

Morrie has been fortunate in his career to have worked a wide variety of assignments wherein he has made lasting relationships with members of local police and fire departments.

He holds a private single engine land airplane rating as well as a commercial rotorcraft and instrument rating.

Morrie is also a member of the AOPA and ALEA and sat on the HAI Air Medical Services Committee until December, 2015.

He has been on the frontline in the education of pilots as to the dangers of laser strikes against aircraft. He lectures on the subject and was instrumental in outfitting all the pilots assigned to the Sheriff’s Aero Bureau with laser protective eyewear.

He has produced an educational video on the subject and works closely with both State and Federal prosecutors to assist with the apprehension and conviction of persons who shine lasers at pilots.

Morrie looks forward to the challenges ahead with the PHPA.

Steve Goldsworthy – Seat 8


Steve Goldsworthy is currently the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for an electrical wholesale company. Steve has been active in all phases of public safety, having been a reserve police officer, EMS Reserve Coordinator for the Pasadena Fire Department and a volunteer with the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department for the last 25 years. Steve is currently a member of the Montrose Search and Rescue Team. Steve is active in many charity organizations and is an elected member of the Crescenta Valley Town Council where he serves as Vice President and Chair of the Emergency Preparedness Committee. Steve, also known as Goldy to his friends, serves as the Chair of the PHPA membership committee and is an FAA rated commercial helicopter pilot who first soloed in 1990 at Watson Helicopters.Steve also writes feature stories for Rotorcraft Pro Magazine and has flown 14 different helicopter makes/models.

McClain “Mac” Isom – Seat 9


McClain Isom (Mac) serves as an active duty member in the United States Coast Guard. Mac currently serves as the Flight Safety Officer and a duty standing MH-65 Dolphin helicopter pilot in the Coast Guard’s Forward Operating Base located in NAS Point Mugu. His operational flight hours contribute to providing search and rescue efforts, enforcing federal laws/treaties, conducting port/waterway patrols, and strengthening the Coast Guard’s Maritime Domain Awareness throughout the Ventura, Los Angeles, and Orange Counties and also on the high seas to include: Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuaries, the U.S. Territorial Seas and the EEZ.

Previous experience includes aviation tours in Air Station San Francisco, Air Station Corpus Christi, and completing administrative and marine safety tours in CG Headquarters and Marine Safety Unit Galveston.

Prior to his commission into the Coast Guard, Mac completed his undergrad degree at the United States Merchant Marine Academy and served as a licensed Third Mate onboard U.S. Flagged, unlimited tonnage merchant vessels.

Born and raised in the city of Las Vegas, Mac currently treasures the love and joy of an 8-year marriage with his wife Miranda and his amazing kids: Carson, Easton, and BrinLeigh.

Significant accomplishments:
U.S. Coast Guard Boarding Team Member
U.S. Coast Guard Domestic Boat Inspector
MH-65C/D Aircraft Commander
MH-65C/D Instructor Pilot
MH-65C/D Flight Examiner
Flight Safety Officer
Crew Resource Management Instructor
Third Mate – Unlimited Tonnage w/ Tankerman Endorsement
Masters of Science in Quality Systems Management
Commercial Pilot license w/ Airplane Single Engine Land, Rotorcraft Helicopter, and Instrument Airplane and Helicopter ratings.

Bill Withycombe – Seat 10


William (Bill) Withycombe is the Former Regional Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration Western -Pacific Region. His career in aviation spans five decades and establishes a solid knowledge basis as an Expert in Aviation Policy and Operations. Bills aviation career includes service with the United States Air Force, and Senior Management experience with the Helicopter Airline Los Angeles Airways where he served as special liaison to the FAA 1961 -1971. Bill began a long career with the Federal Aviation Administration in 1971 as an Aviation Safety Inspector, Flight Standards Division Manager and assignments in two FAA regions in the Senior Executive Leadership role as the Regional Administrator of the Great Lakes and Western-Pacific Regions until his retirement in 2013. Bill holds FAA Certificates as an Airframe and Power Plant Mechanic, FAA Certified Commercial Pilot with Instrument and multi-engine ratings. He is a graduate of Northrop University and FAA General Aviation and Air Carrier Specialist Schools. He also has completed studies as an graduate of the FAA Academy and Aircraft Accident Investigators Training School.

During Bill’s career with FAA, he served in senior positions as Flight Standards Division Manager in Great Lakes Region and in the Washington DC Special Field Office. In 1996 he was assigned to the Office of the Regional Administrator of the Western-Pacific Region based in Los Angeles where he served as the principle FAA representative in a four state area. As such he worked with various representatives of the aviation industry, government agencies, Unions, and civil and private aviation interests. He lead numerous regional and national programs involving aviation safety, airport operations, air traffic control, including direct FAA regional command and communications operations. This included National Leadership of the Helicopter Air Tour Management Program for the FAA and oversight of the FAAs International Aviation Program for the US Pacific Territories and Micronesia Island areas. During his career he received numerous awards and recognition including U.S. Transportation Secretaries Award for Excellence in Government and the FAA Administrators Award for Air Carrier Safety Management.

Alex Calder – Seat 11


Alex has been working in television news helicopters in Southern California since 1995, most recently for KNBC-TV. Before becoming a Board member, Alex was an advisor for the PHPA Board of Directors for 20 years, working behind the scenes for much of that time on the PHPA.org web site. Additionally, he is the founder of the popular helicopter photo web site Helispot, which he launched in 1996. Alex currently divides his time between Los Angeles and his hometown of St. Louis, MO.

Ricarda Bennett, Esq. – Legal Liaison


Ricarda Bennett’s law practice focuses on heliports and airport permitting, land use planning, government relations, administrative law, public agency, business organizations, and contracts. Ricarda works with architects, hospitals, corporations, municipalities, and the property owners in the area of the heliport permitting, site evaluation, facility layout, safety analysis and environmental noise assessment. She is familiar with local regulations throughout California and the Western Region. Ricarda has served the Board of Directors of PHPA for over 19 years as legal counsel and at various times as Chair of Helicopter Awareness Day , Secretary, Treasurer, and Legislative Analyst. She provides our membership with the latest information on upcoming laws and statutes. As an active Helicopter Association International (HAI) member, she is currently Chair of the Heliport Planning Committee and a member of Acoustics and Environmental Committee and the Fly Neighborly Committee. She is past co-chair of the Public Law Section of the State Bar of California. Her office is in Westlake Village, CA and she acts as a judge pro-tem with the Ventura County Courts.

Larry Welk – Past President


Larry learned to fly helicopters when he was 19 in Southern California. In 1991, Larry started his career in aerial news gathering in Los Angeles. Larry has covered some of the most well-known news stories from the past two decades here in Southern California, including O.J. Simpsons car chase, the Los Angeles riots, the Northridge earthquake, and the flooding of the Sepulveda basin. While covering the flooding of the Sepulveda basin, Larry spotted a flood victim in the water and jumped from the helicopter in order to rescue a drowning man (with another pilot flying). Larry was commended by the City of Los Angeles for this act of heroism. Years later, Larry was recognized a second time by the City and the County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors for heroism in assisting with the rescue of the Fox 11 news helicopter crew after a crash during the 2000 Academy Awards. Larry acted as chief pilot for KCAL-TV and KCBS-TV while reporting for both stations.

In 1998, Larry started Angel City Air, Inc. which provides news helicopter services to KCBS-TV, KCAL-TV, KTLA-TV, along with numerous production companies in Southern CA providing aerials for television and motion pictures. With over 14,000 hours of hours logged, Larry’s vast knowledge, skill, and years of experience in the Southern California aviation community have earned him a reputation as a leader in the aerial ENG field. Larry has received many awards for his outstanding service, including a local Emmy award, a national Sports Emmy, and accolades from the National Broadcast Pilots Association, Greater Los Angeles Press Club and many other media and aviation organizations. Larry has been a member of the PHPA since 1990 and was recently nominated and voted President of the PHPA in June of 2011.

Kathy Byrnes – Admin

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