DynCorp International’s Derek Weeden, lead UH-1H maintenance technician on the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) program, was named 2013 Helicopter Mechanic of the Year by Helicopter Maintenance magazine.
Weeden has been with DI for 12 years and has helped maintain modified “Super Huey” UH-1H helicopters to support CAL FIRE’s emergency response air program for 23 years. His responsibilities include managing the inspection and repair of the UH-1H aircraft, overseeing component overhaul, line maintenance, engine maintenance and major airframe repair and upgrade.
“Derek is more than deserving of this extraordinary achievement,” said Jeffrey Cavarra, DynCorp International program manager. “He consistently looks for ways to improve the maintenance provided or the processes required to inspect the aircraft.”
“His leadership has led to the UH-1H fleet flying more than 90,000 hours successfully. Derek truly leads by example and brings out the best in his team. Mentoring technicians on these specialized aircraft is an integral part of his role, and his instruction with each technician goes well beyond just mechanical aspects.”
DynCorp International and the CAL FIRE Program
Through the CAL FIRE program, DI flies and maintains Grumman S-2T fire retardant air tankers and OV-10A aircraft, and fully maintains and services civilian UH-1H Super Huey helicopters flown by CAL FIRE pilots. DI has supported this program since 2001.
The men and women of the CAL FIRE program are dedicated to the fire protection and stewardship of over 31 million acres of California’s privately-owned wildlands. In addition, the department provides varied emergency services in 36 of the State’s 58 counties via contracts with local governments.
The department’s firefighters, fire engines, and aircraft respond to an average of more than 5,600 wildland fires each year. Those fires burn more than 172,000 acres annually. CAL FIRE also addresses more than 300,000 non-fire-related emergencies each year. The department is always ready to respond – medical aids; hazardous material spills; swiftwater rescues; search and rescue missions; civil disturbances; train wrecks; floods, earthquakes and more.