A little time travel back to August 2004. I was still working as a law enforcement pilot flying MD500 series helicopters when a new acquaintance offered to bring his Bell 412 and Bell 407 helicopters to our facility as a demo of sorts. He proposed exposing our pilots and command to these larger, more capable aircraft.
Rod Tinney, was/is the president of Texas based Air Center Helicopters. At the time he was in San Diego working contracts with the U.S. Navy. As I recall I was brand new creating work for a relatively new helicopter industry magazine - Vertical magazine. I somehow realized Rod was in town and reached out to propose an article for Vertical.
Rod and I eventually met up. He was highly enthusiastic about supporting a story of his company and their work with the military. He managed to pull all the right strings with the military brass and got me embedded with his flight crews flying all sorts of crazy missions with the Navy offshore with destroyers during sea trials! Since then Rod has been highly supportive of other exclusive story opportunities that showcased Air Center Helicopters.
Anyway, the accompanying photo in this post of one of Rod's Bell 412 was one of the first images I shot which I'd eventually submit for one of my first articles for Vertical magazine - A story about Air Center Helicopters and their contracts supporting the U.S. Navy offshore. This particular frame was shot during one of the demo flights for my department command staff.