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Episode 149- From Small Town to LAPD Pilot with Deb Dickerson Part III

By | March 27, 2024

Estimated reading time 3 minutes, 1 seconds.

Welcome to The Hangar Z Podcast, brought to you by Vertical Helicasts!

In this three-part series, we sit down to talk with Deb Dickerson.

A decorated former Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officer, tactical flight officer and pilot, Dickerson thrives on a life filled with challenge and passion. Born and raised in the tight-knit community of Guttenberg, Iowa (population 1,500), Dickerson developed a competitive spirit through sports like softball, basketball, and track.

A pivotal moment came in 1984 during a vacation to Los Angeles for the Olympic Trials. Setting eyes on the city and experiencing her first airplane ride, Dickerson fell in love with flying. With unwavering determination, she traded her Midwestern roots for the California sunshine, starting a career in retail while harboring dreams of becoming a pilot.

Driven by a desire for service, Dickerson’s path took her to law enforcement. She joined the ranks of the LAPD in the late 1980s, where she become a respected officer. Her diverse career encompassed roles in Hollywood patrol, Vice, and the MTA Task Force, she even had an opportunity to ghostwrite for the mayor and chief of police.

A natural leader, Dickerson broke barriers as the first female Chief TFO (tactical flight officer) in LAPD Air Support.  For eight years Dickerson served as a tactical flight officer, she was then the chief TFO for two years before being selected as a pilot.

Witnessing the aftermath of 9/11 firsthand, Dickerson actively participated in peer counselling efforts.

Retirement in 2017 proved short-lived. Missing the thrill of flight, Dickerson returned to aviation in the Los Angeles basin as a news helicopter pilot.

Listen now on Vertical Helicasts.

Thank you to our sponsors Collins Aerospace Goodrich Hoist and Winch, Garmin and Precision Aviation Group.

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