D.c. Gigs: Piloting The Potus Across D.c. And Around The World (Transcript) | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

Transcripts

D.C. Gigs: Piloting The POTUS Across D.C. And Around The World

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

00:00:03
We'll end today's show by bringing back one of our favorite series here at "Metro Connection." "D.C. Gigs," our ongoing look at people with distinctively D.C. jobs. Today, we'll meet Captain Charlene Thoreen. She is a helicopter pilot for the President of the United States. Jennifer Strong spent the day with Thoreen to see what it's like to pilot around the Commander In Chief.

MS. CHARLENE THOREEN

00:00:24
My name is Captain Charlene Thoreen, call sign Cindy Lou, and I'm a pilot at HMX1, which is the Presidential Helicopter Squadron. And we're based in Quantico, Virginia. It's never the same. It's not routine, which is certainly one of the appeals of coming here. I've had days where you don't come in until later, cause then you'll fly at night. And then days where you come here and you get on a cargo aircraft and fly halfway across the world to go support a Presidential movement, you know, on the other side of the globe. There is no typical day at HMX.

MS. CHARLENE THOREEN

00:00:59
So, this is the stake hanger, and this is where we have the Frog, so that's the twin rotor aircraft. It kind of looks like a -- it's sort of a banana shape, and it's got tricycle landing gear. And notice we have green side Frogs and grey Frogs. So, the green ones are the ones that are painted really nicely. The grey ones are kind of our work horses, so when we're doing support for the Marines, pick them up from one landing zone and fly them somewhere else, drop them off, and then they have to navigate their way home. Which is all something that we had to do, and I think being on the other side of it, being the pilot who gets to drop them off, you kind of chuckle a little bit, cause you know what they're gonna go through.

MS. CHARLENE THOREEN

00:01:33
And then we also have the MV22's, the tilt rotor aircraft, so it's got the propellers on the ends that kind of tilt at a 90 degree angle so it can take off and land like a helicopter, but then also fly like an airplane. So, kind of a blend of those two disciplines.

MS. CHARLENE THOREEN

00:01:48
All right, so I see two up and driving. One is back less than 70 percent NF. Near zero torque on number one. Proper physical split in the handles with one and a ground idle detent. If we all concur, we'll shift. Shifting from accessory to flight.

MS. CHARLENE THOREEN

00:02:01
We are in the H3 flight simulator. So, we use this for all of our training for familiarization, emergency procedures and then instrument procedures, as well. Here they can manipulate the weather from clear in a million to the middle of a snowstorm, thunder and lightning and everything in between. And then they can put in malfunctions to the aircraft, as well, to ensure that we've been studying our emergency procedures and know what we need to do. Since most of us are trying to juggle two or three different aircraft, each aircraft flies a little bit differently.

MS. CHARLENE THOREEN

00:02:35
And then the emergency procedures are a little bit different, as well.

MS. CHARLENE THOREEN

00:02:43
We have about 80 pilots in the squadron, and it sounds like a lot, and it's actually the largest squadron in the Marine Corps, but because of our mission of supporting him wherever it is he is in the world, that means if he's traveling a lot, we're traveling a lot, and we have to cover all of those areas. So, you'll go a couple months without seeing certain guys, and they'll come through and go, oh, are you new here? Actually, I've been here for six months, so I'm not brand new. I'm fairly new. But it's just kind of the nature of the business.

SHEIR

00:03:10
That was Captain Charlene Thoreen, talking with reporter Jennifer Strong, about her job as a Marine Corps pilot for the President of the United States.

SHEIR

00:03:20
If you know someone with a distinctively D.C. gig, let us know. You can email us at metro@waum.org, or find us on Twitter. Our handle is @wamumetro.

SHEIR

00:04:07
And that's "Metro Connection" for this week. We heard from WAMU's Jacob Fenston, Jonathan Wilson, Bryan Russo and Lauren Ober, along with reporter Jennifer Strong. WAMU's Managing Editor of News is Memo Lyons. "Metro Connection's" Managing Producer is Tara Boyle. Lauren Landau is our Editorial Assistant. Thanks, as always, to the WAMU Engineering and Digital Media Teams for their help with production and metroconnection.org.

SHEIR

00:04:31
Our theme song, "Every Little Bit Hurts," is from the album "Title Tracks," by John Davis, and used with permission of the Ernest Jennings Record Company. You can find all the music we use each week on metroconnection.org. Just click on a story, and you'll find information about its accompanying song. And if you missed part of today's show, you can stream the whole thing on our website by clicking the "This Week On Metro Connection" link. You can also subscribe to our podcast there, or find us on iTunes, Stitcher and the NPR News app.

SHEIR

00:05:00
We hope you can join us next week when we'll bring you a special production of WAMU 88.5 News called "Crack: The Drug that Consumed the Nation's Capital." We'll head back to the late 1980s and early 90s when crack turned this town upside down. We'll also look at the relationship between our then struggling city and the thriving D.C. of today.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1

00:05:21
A lot of people went to jail for life over what they created and the havoc that happened in D.C. in the 80s and 90s. You know, people are paying the price for that.

SHEIR

00:05:30
I'm Rebecca Sheir, and thanks for listening to "Metro Connection," a production of WAMU 88.5 News.
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