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New Pilots & First Flights: Fall 2016

Please welcome our new volunteer pilots to the LightHawk family. In 2015, our network of pilots flew more than 400 missions, getting 1,634 eyes in the sky over 99 projects with 129 partnerships.

Chris Keithley

Hometown: Rosamond, CA

Aircraft: Bonanza BE35

Profession: US Air Force test pilot at Edwards AFB



Paul Armstrong

Hometown: Montague, CA

Aircraft: Piper PA-28 Cherokee

Profession: Semi-retired, developing a sustainable farming project


Ryan Lunde

Hometown: Gillette, WY

Aircraft: Aeronca Champ, Husky and Cessna 172-182’s

Profession: Natural resource pilot at FlightLine and professional aerial photographer


Dan Marks

Hometown: Seattle, WA

Aircraft: Cessna T210

Profession: Semi-retired aerospace computer programmer



First Flights

David Warner

Area: Pennsylvania

Date: June, 20, 2016

Partner: International League of Conservation Photographers

Mission: The flight supported The Human Cost of Energy Production project which aspires to bring heightened awareness of the conditions in which those impacted by energy production live, work, and play. By blending personal stories, both visual and narrative, with compelling photography of the fracking landscape, including drilling, extraction, and processing sites, the project hopes to promote change and increase awareness of fracking’s external costs. 


Lee Gerstein

Area: Colorado

Date: Aug. 24, 2016

Partner: Black Canyon Land Trust

Mission: The flight helped our partner Black Canyon Land Trust monitor 120 conservation easements, saving 400 hours of work. Images were also captured for use in outreach material.


Rusty Harrison

Area: Washington

Date: Aug. 24, 2016

Partner: Columbia Land Trust

Mission: The flight provided Columbia Land Trust the opportunity to gather aerial footage around the Southern Cascades, Pine Creek, and Mount St. Helens for their annual a video documentary. This year, their video narrative will focus on the restoration work done at Pine Creek, as well as the increasingly-rare old-growth forests and landscapes nearby. The video will highlight how conserving these places preserves our own sense of wonder, curiosity, quality of life, and how we must not take these landscapes for granted.


Scott Cianchette

Area: Maine

Date: Sept. 21, 2016

Partner: New England Forestry Foundation

Mission: The flight captured compelling imagery of the landscapes New England Forestry Foundation is working on with multiple partners. The project will help conserve crucial working forests, provide landowner incentives for managing forests for habitat diversity, and fund physical improvements to impaired riparian habitats and stream crossings.


Bob Lange

Area: California

Date: Sept. 24, 2016

Partner: Santa Barbara Zoo

Mission: LightHawk is partnering with the Santa Barbara Zoo to help them monitor a population of California condors in southern California via aerial telemetry surveys. This flight was an inaugural flight, so zoo staff focused on finding known captive birds at Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge as a way to troubleshoot the equipment. The flight allowed zoo staff to find the four condors they were looking for.


Warren Dean

Area: Colorado

Date: Sept. 28, 2016

Partner: Sonoran Institute

Mission: The purpose of this flight was to develop the Sonoran Institute's programming goals for their Colorado River water and land use initiative. This initiative is a collaborative effort to address growth pressures on the Colorado River Basin.  Specifically the issue of transmountain diversions that are removing water from the Colorado River Watershed to fuel growth on the Colorado Front Range was observed on this flight to convey the importance of the effort.


John Sandvig

Area: Washington

Date: Oct. 3, 2016

Partner: Trust for Public Land

Mission: A LightHawk flight enabled the Trust for Public Land to gather aerial photos of Hood Canal’s Dewatto area to support funding requests from the US Forest Service’s Forest Legacy Program. Aerial photos are a crucial part of three applications to safeguard 14,475 acres of salmon habitat and working forests from encroaching development. The Hood Canal watershed is one of least developed freshwater and marine ecosystems in the US. It is the slowest draining, most diverse, and only true fjord in the lower 48. Aerial photos will help demonstrate the land’s proximity to the canal, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Olympus, and encroaching housing developments. Photos will also show the land’s diverse, healthy tree growth despite active timber harvesting, and vital salmon habitat in numerous free-flowing streams.


Art Hussey

Area: Alaska

Date: Oct. 8, 2015

Partner: Interior Alaska Land Trust

Mission: This flight provided the Interior Alaska Land Trust with access to monitor several pieces of property they are conserving.