Meet Paradise Helicopter Pilot, Mooch
Q&A with Paradise Helicopters Pilot, Mooch
Where are you from?
- I am a child of the Pacific Islands. I grew up in Guam, Hawai’i, and the Philippines, and finished high school in California where I enlisted in the US Marine Corps.
How did you end up in Hawai’i?
- As the sunset of my twilight tour in the Marine Corps approached, I decided to return to Hawai’i. I have always loved the cultural diversity and spirit of Aloha and ‘Ohana that we all share so unselfishly. Also, living in the tropics, surrounded by beaches and surf, was a huge deciding factor.
- I love to run, bike, and surf. I also like just relaxing and reading.
Why did you become a pilot?
- I began my career as an enlisted man serving nearly ten years in Marine Infantry and Force Reconnaissance (special operations). After I was commissioned as a Marine Officer, I was offered and accepted an opportunity to go to the US Navy Flight School in Pensacola, Florida and was designated a Naval Aviator on the Commodore’s List.
What’s your background in flight experience? Where did you get the bulk of your hours?
- Most of my flight time and experience is from my military service. I am type rated in both rotary and fixed wing naval aircraft. During my military career, I flew 531 combat missions during multiple tours in Operation Desert Storm, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
What is your favorite tour to fly and why?
- I have flown tours and charters on every island in our island chain and they each have their own very unique sights and characteristics, but I suppose any tour that I can make breathtaking and amazing for our guests would be a favorite of mine.
What’s your favorite place to eat in Hawai’i?
- On O’ahu my favorite places are Kalapawai in Kapolei, Monkey Pod at Ko Olina Resorts, and Merrimans in Kakaako. On Lana’i my favorite place is Blue Ginger Cafe.
Is there a flight you’ve done that sticks out to you as a favorite?
- Not necessarily favorite flights but certainly memorable and life altering were flying the President of the United States of America aboard Marine One; and flying under direct hostile fire in combat in support of US and coalition forces.