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Sagely to share operational insight at Aerial Firefighting Conference


February 24, 2020
By Wings Staff
Mike Sagley has accumulated more than 10,000 flight hours and is qualified in over 30 different makes and models of helicopters and airplanes. (Photo: Jon Robinson, Helicopters)

Mike Sagely, senior pilot with the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Air Operations unit, will share a range of insight about tactical operations performed in one of the world’s most-demanding regions in terms of emergency support and urban fire suppression. During the Aerial Firefighting Conference, taking place at Abbotsford International Airport on March 31, 2020, Sagely will also share his experience of evaluating technology for helicopter platforms.

Early bird registration of $95 (lunch included) for the conference is available until Feb 28. For more information visit Aviationforum.ca. Presented by WINGS and HELICOPTERS, current sponsors and exhibitors include: ATEQ – Cobra Solutions, Babcock Canada, Bell, Cascade Aerospace, Conair, Executive Flight Centre, Guardian Mobility, Helicopter Association of Canada, Isolair, IQonboard, Pear, SEI Industries, Select Helicopter Services, Sikorsky, spidertracks, Taiga, Tracplus and Viking Air.

After earning a Bachelor of Science, Professional Aeronautics, degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Sagely began his military career in 1986 and his first major assignment was flying a Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter with the 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina – the largest military installation in the world by population.

Sagely in 1991 then moved to the 160th SOAR regiment, a special operations force of the United States Army that provides helicopter support for general purpose forces and special operations forces. After six years with SOAR, Sagley moved into a unit focused on aviation research-and-development, where he flew both helicopters and airplanes.

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Over his 22-year military career, Sagely served as a Mission Pilot, Instructor Pilot, Flight Leader, Standardization Pilot, Mission Commander, and Squadron Safety Officer. This service included the accumulation of more than 6,500 hours of helicopter and airplane time, 2,700 hours of Night Vision Goggle operations, and more than 2,000 hours of combat flight in Desert Storm, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

After retiring from the military in 2007, Sagely transitioned into the public safety profession serving with Santa Barbara County Fire Department. In 2009, he was hired by the Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACoFD) and promoted to Senior Pilot in 2011. The Sikorksy Firehawk platform – a specialized mission variant of the Black Hawk – is leveraged by the LACoFD’s Air Operations unit for a spectrum of tactical missions, conducting fire suppression, trauma transport and technical rescue. LACoFD received its first new S-70i Firehawk in 2019 and will soon add two more of these helicopters, which feature a 1,000-gallon external water tank among other fire-suppression innovations that Sagely helped to evaluate.

LACoFD received its first new S-70i Firehawk in 2019 and will soon add two more of these helicopters, which feature a 1,000-gallon external water tank. (Photo: Ryan Ling, Sikorsky)

The Air Operations of unit of LACoFD faces unique challenges in terms of covering a diverse geographical region from the shorelines of the Pacific Ocean to the peaks of Mount Baldy, from sea level to an elevation of around 10,000 feet across the county. This operations area spans 4,700 square miles and serves more than 10 million residents.

In addition to operating the multi-engine aircraft, utilizing Night Vision Goggles, Sagely also coordinates daily operational planning, training, and supervision of three duty aircraft and six crewmembers. His professional licenses include Airline Transport Pilot Rotorcraft-Helicopter, Airline Transport Pilot-Airplane Multi-engine land, Certified Flight Instructor with NVG endorsement privileges, and Certified Flight Instructor Instrument. Sagley has accumulated more than 10,000 flight hours and is qualified in over 30 different makes and models of helicopters and airplanes.