Taking Off Is All in the Timing

by John Hawkins, President and CEO, The Club

Getting this month’s awesome cover story was a study in perseverance. We’ve wanted to tell this story – and Air Support has wanted that, too – for many years. Finally we coordinated all our flight paths into alignment, and here we are.

Alive! editor John Burnes and I first went on an LAPD Air Support fly-along nearly 15 years ago. We were covering an ITA story, and then-ITA GM Thera Bradshaw arranged for our fly-along to get a bird’s-eye-vi Alive! ew of some ITA installations. John and I pledged at the time to arrange for a proper LAPD Air Support cover story right then.

Time sure flies, doesn’t it? We reconnected with Air Support a few years ago when Tactical Flight Officer Kevin Ishida, Club Member, asked us to feature his division. We were just finishing our long series of LAPD crime lab stories, so we had to wait. Then, about a year ago, we were in a good place for the feature, but Kevin was unavailable.

Finally it all came together about six or seven months ago. We were cleared by Capt. Sean Parker to do the story. We produced it in June to get it done before summer vacations took hold.

It was worth the wait! The Pilots and Tactical Flight Officers work like clockwork, and we were careful to obey all of their commands. We wanted to survive to tell the tale! Seriously, though, the Air Support Unit is the best municipal aviation law enforcement unit in the world. They work hard and are deadly serious, as you have to be doing their job. They’re not beyond a joke or two, but keeping LA safe is vitally important. I’m glad they’re as dedicated as they are.

This month features a typically strong cover photo by Club Director of Marketing Summy Lam. Well done, sir! (We pride ourselves on producing every one of our covers throughout our 17 years, with the exception of maybe one or two. With covers like this, it’s worth it.)

Thanks to Erika Rodriguez and Alexandra Aviles Knapp at the LAPD for their very helpful assistance and coordination.

One other thing I wanted to mention – have you checked out my Picture Perfect contest this month on the Alive! Website? Please do – these are some stunning photos of our natural world, taken by City employees. Check ’em out if you can!

As we welcome the fall, and all our lives turn incredibly busy, I hope we all take the time to enjoy the most important thing of all – family.

See you next month!


— John