Many people may not realize it, but aspiring pilots can get their helicopter licenses right here in Laclede County. Laclede County native Tommy Files runs one of the few certified helicopter flight schools in the nation from Lebanon.
When Tommy Files first set out to get his pilot license in the late 90s, it was more for the challenge and in the interest of learning than as a career objective. Files’ first experiences with helicopters was as a flight paramedic for Mercy Hospital where he spent 20 years with the company. As a paramedic his work schedule would be heavy for several days and then off for several. On his days off, he started out flying fixed wing planes and got his private license in 1997. The private pilot license was the first initial step.
“It turned into gathering different ratings on the fixed wing side. The helicopter came later,” Files said.
For more on this story see Saturday's LCR.