Ann Protheroe
Air Evac Lifeteam
Maryville, Illinois

I’m a base mechanic for Air Evac Lifeteam, responsible for maintaining a medical-transport Bell 206 L4. I also travel to assist other base mechanics or cover for them when they’re off duty.

US Marine Corps intermediate-level jet engine mechanic for the T400 and T700 engines for the Bell UH-1N and AH-1W.

The UH-1 Huey. I just love the sound of the blades as they chop through the air.

How did you decide helicopter aviation was the career for you?
I had worked for over nine years on fixed-wing aircraft and decided I wanted something more technically challenging. I felt that helicopters fit that need perfectly.

Tell us about your first helicopter ride.
My first helicopter ride was in a Bell 407. We flew along the Gulf Coast of northwest Florida. I always enjoy the beauty of flying along the coast.

What advice would you give someone pursuing your path?
Never stop learning. Aviation is an ever-changing career.

Who has inspired you?
There have been and continue to be many people who inspire me. The ones who inspire me the most are people who doubt my ability. Those are the ones who inspire me to go above and beyond to become the best mechanic I can be.

What still excites you about helicopter aviation?
Knowing that maintaining the helicopters will save someone’s life who might not otherwise get the care they need as quickly. Every time I see my helicopter fly off, I smile knowing that we [on the team] have all done a good thing.

What challenges you about your work?
Avionics and electrical issues challenge me; they’re like puzzles you have to figure out one piece at a time.

If you couldn’t pursue your career, what would you like to do instead?
I’d like to work with a company that makes furniture out of salvaged aircraft. That would allow me to be creative and still have a connection with aircraft.

What issue do you think poses the biggest threat to the helicopter industry today?
I think the biggest threat is the lack of quality helicopter mechanics. It takes a large amount of knowledge and a larger amount of dedication.

Complete this sentence: I know I picked the right career when …
I watch the aircraft I’ve been working on fly off into the sky. It gives me a great sense of accomplishment.

Complete this sentence: I love my job, but not when …
I get a call in the middle of a winter’s night and realize a 30-minute ground run is required and it’s -3ºF outside. Brrrrr…

What are your career goals?
One of my career goals is to gain more experience and education in avionics, due to the increasing use of more up-to-date technology.

How did you get to where you are now?
I’m where I am in my career today because of my hard work and dedication to my profession.


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