Flight Training - July 2020 - 21

FIVE QUESTIONS

BY JULIE SUMMERS WALKER

SAMANTHA 'SAM' POIRIER
EMS HELICOPTER PILOT

WHEN HER SISTER WAS IN AN ACCIDENT, SAMANTHA "SAM"

Poirier was flying agriculture helicopters in Washington. The
call changed her life. "My sister was in a terrible ATV accident
in 2016. An EMS helicopter and crew saved her life, and I
knew at that time, that is what I had to do. I was a pilot; I had
the ability to help someone-the way that helicopter and crew
helped save my sister's life. I focused my career goals toward
gaining the hours and experiences to become an EMS pilot.
Now, I work at the same base, with the same crew, and fly
the same helicopter that saved my sister's life four years ago."
Poirier is the first female pilot at UCHealth LifeLine, flying
for REACH Air Medical Services at the Medical Center of
the Rockies in Loveland, Colorado. She has logged more than
3,000 flight hours.
How did you get started in aviation? While I always had a passion for aviation, I truly didn't get started until I was 24. I began
going to school for air traffic control. My professor encouraged
us to take an intro flight to see what it was like to be talking on
the radio and flying. Once I took my intro flight I was hooked! I
sold my horse, whom I loved dearly, to pay for flight school.

Favorite aircraft? I'm super partial to the [MD Helicopters]
MD500D. It's just a little powerhouse in a small package. So
nimble, agile, and you can fit it almost anywhere. But since I
started flying the [Eurocopter] AS350B3e, I am loving this helicopter. It is user friendly, safe, and a Cadillac. From the doors,
the avionics, dual hydraulics, it's such an amazing combo of
technology and power.
Favorite aviation activity? Heli-fishing. I had the opportunity
to take my Robinson R44II heli-fishing and camping on the
Snake River, as well as heli-fishing with biologists in Alaska, and
it was so much fun. I also really enjoy ferry flights. Flight planning, and seeing new FBOs and meeting fellow aviators is always
fun. I had the opportunity to ferry an AS350B3 from Colorado to
California. It was stressful at times because of the weather, but
it was such a fun experience.
Advice for students? Just keep pushing through! Just keep
doing something every day toward getting your ratings. While
you are starting out sometimes it is hard to see the final product.
But I promise, the reward is so worth it.

E.MOON PHOTOGRAPHY

What were your biggest challenges? I'm sure this is a common answer, but funding was a big challenge in the beginning.
Without wanting to go into thousands of dollars of debt, I paid
for most of my ratings out of pocket. I was able to get a few
scholarships, but flying helicopters is expensive! I worked two

to three jobs, night jobs, moved wherever I needed to and did
whatever it took to fund my schooling. I moved all over to gain
experience wherever I could. From sleeping in a tent being a
camp cook in Alaska, to Texas, to Minnesota, Colorado, South
Dakota, Washington, Idaho.

AOPA.ORG/FT  21


http://www.AOPA.ORG/FT

Flight Training - July 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Flight Training - July 2020

Contents
Flight Training - July 2020 - Intro
Flight Training - July 2020 - Cover1
Flight Training - July 2020 - Cover2
Flight Training - July 2020 - Contents
Flight Training - July 2020 - 2
Flight Training - July 2020 - 3
Flight Training - July 2020 - 4
Flight Training - July 2020 - 5
Flight Training - July 2020 - 6
Flight Training - July 2020 - 7
Flight Training - July 2020 - 8
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Flight Training - July 2020 - Cover3
Flight Training - July 2020 - Cover4
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