Christine Brown can’t remember a time she wasn’t interested in flying. But while on a trip to Africa in 2004, a helicopter tour over Victoria Falls changed her career path.
“It was my very first time in a helicopter, and I absolutely fell in love with it,” Brown says.
While obtaining her B.S. in civil engineering from California Polytechnic State University, Brown also pursued her fixed-wing training. “I washed airplanes to make extra money for flying,” she says.
Brown applied for HFI’s Commercial Helicopter Rating Scholarship in 2011 and in 2012 began working on her helicopter rating. Most of her helicopter flight training was completed at Mountain Ridge Helicopters in Logan, Utah.
She currently holds a private, instrument, commercial, certificated flight instructor, and certificated flight instructor – instrument rotorcraft ratings, as well as a private airplane rating. “At some point, I would like to finish my fixed-wing ratings and obtain my rotorcraft ATP,” Brown says.
After obtaining her helicopter rating, Brown started as a flight instructor flying the Robinson R22 and R44 out of Linden, New Jersey. She is currently a pilot and the director of flight operations for NYONair, where she flies the Airbus AStar 350 as well as the TwinStar 355. The Kearny, New Jersey, company specializes in aerial production and photography. Brown also works part-time as a tour and charter pilot for Liberty Helicopters.
“I love flying the Airbus products. I have a fantastic mentor who is beginning to teach me how to fly the camera systems for production work,” she says. Brown hopes to one day fly for a wildlife conservation or antipoaching company.
For those considering helicopter aviation, Brown advises, “Jump in headfirst! You have to immerse yourself in the world of aviation in order to be successful in this industry.”