Stuck in a snowstorm outside Hanksville with a sick child; lost in the canyons near Hatch Rock; the lights of Price suddenly blackout: these are the scenarios of just three events in the flying careers of three Redtail pilots. (If all the exploits, of all the pilots, were in print, they would fill up a really big book!)

A Mother’s Gratitude For Snowstorm Rescue

Last year, Redtail Air received a letter from a grateful mother who related an incident that saved the life of her son several years ago. On the way to the hospital, they were overtaken by a big snowstorm and their car got stuck. Somehow she got word to the local sheriff, who contacted Redtail. A bold pilot responded. Flying into the storm, he landed on the highway north of Hanksville near the car, scooped up mother and son, and delivered them safely to the hospital. Years later she is still amazed at the skill and courage of this pilot and wanted to express her thanks.

Snowstorm Rescue South of Moab of Two Young Hunters

In another snowstorm, two young rabbit hunters, out for a day’s excursion, were still missing after three days somewhere in the complicated canyon system between Hatch Rock and Kane Creek, south of Moab. Two pilots and a search party on the ground had been unable to locate them. The sheriff’s office called in pilot Tim Martin. He and a Moab law officer began a systematic flight over all the truck tracks visible in the snow on the dirt roads in that area. Tim finally saw a set that left the road but didn’t reenter. Sure enough, he located the boys in that area. They began waving eagerly, but there was no possibility of landing the plane. The officer dropped them a message from the aircraft: help is on the way! Tim guided the ground party to the young men, one of whom had an injured leg. Cold and hungry but rescued, they made it home in time for supper.

An Emergency Evacuation from Goblin Vally State Park

Called in for the emergency evacuation of a man who had a heart attack in Goblin Valley State Park, Hanksville pilot LaVar Wells removed the seats from his Cessna 206 turboprop before picking them up. That made just enough room for the man’s stretcher and an EMT to kneel next to him with a tank of oxygen. LaVar took off for Salt Lake City with the man’s wife sitting next to him. His plane was capable of high altitude and speed, both critical for reaching the medical center beyond the mountains ahead. Approaching Price, the city’s lights were visible but suddenly blacked out due to a snowstorm! Switching to instrument flying, LaVar had just cleared the peaks and flown out of the storm when the EMT said that they’d run out of oxygen. He dropped to a lower altitude with the valley lights visible below, and the man was able to breathe. Cleared for landing, LaVar brought the aircraft in to deliver the patient safely to a waiting ambulance. It ended well. Ten years later, attending a training class in Provo, he unexpectedly met the man and his grateful wife; they were teaching the class!

Jennifer Jensen, Business Operations Manager for Redtail Air, expresses the thoughts of all of us in this company very simply: “Our pilots are so awesome.” Come fly with us! And keep in mind that we offer custom charter flights in addition to our excellent National Park airplane tours. Reach us at 435-259-7421, contact us online for bookings, or visit our downtown Moab gift shop at 23 North Main Street.

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