IRON COUNTY – The Iron County Sheriff’s Office recently received additional help with its search and rescue missions when 13 Upper Limit Aviation pilots were sworn in as “special deputies” in March. As special deputies, the pilots can now land and pick up search and rescue victims for the county.
FAA regulations currently prevent pilots from landing on the ground in rescue efforts. Pilots who do so may face losing their certificates and license to fly, along with hefty fines. However, deputizing the Upper Limit Aviation pilots allows them to land and pick victims up without violating FAA regulations.
The newly deputized pilots, who will fly missions for the Sheriff’s Office, are commercial pilots, according to a press statement issued by Upper Limit Aviation in April. Students will not be used in Iron County Search and Rescue operations.
The addition is a big move for Iron County and is a relief to the Sheriff’s Office having the extra assistance, Iron County Sheriff’s Lt. Del Schlosser said in the statement.
“We currently have 37 deputies on staff and with the addition of the ULA pilots it brings that number to 50,” Schlosser said. “It’s a huge relief to have them today. They’re working as volunteers, so it’s not a burden to the taxpayers. They are doing this of their own free will.”
Upper Limit Aviation has been supporting the Southern Utah community since the flight training program took flight in August 2013, according to the statement, and has helped coordinate past rescue missions, assisting in nine search and rescue missions on behalf of Iron County Search and Rescue.
“In our continued efforts to be a support to this wonderful county, and the cities of Parowan and Cedar, we can’t tell you how appreciative we are,” ULA Chief Flight Instructor and Director of Schools Michael Mower said. “This is going to be something that is going to increase our role and increase our level of support for the county.”
The new Iron County Special deputies include: Sean Reid, Mike Mower, Rich Cannon, Scott Banning, Greg Stine, Shae Mackie, Dan Laguna, Chris Laguna, Chelsea Tugaw, Mike Ballard, James Kofford, Ryan Dejong and Kent Daniels.
Mower said they are now just waiting for that phone call. He said: “We are standing by ready to help.”
Upper Limit Aviation is a helicopter and fixed wing flight school in partnership with Southern Utah University. The goal of the program is to train quality pilots, and working with the Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team gives the ULA pilots real world experience, helping prepare them for jobs in the aviation industry.
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