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Ken Eichner Memorial


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Sad news for those who flew with the Big T in Alaska. Ketchikan resident Ken Eichner, founder of TEMSCO Helicopters (Timber, Exploration, Mining, Survey, Cargo Operations), selected by Helicopter Association International (HAI) as this year's recipient of the Robert E. Trimble Memorial Award passed away last night. Our thoughts and prayers go to all in Ken Eichner's Family.


Eichner was an Alaskan aviation pioneer pilot who spent his career navigating through the high altitude and mountainous terrain of Southeast Alaska. Eichner received his Commercial Certificate in 1960, followed by a Rotorcraft rating in 1962.


Eichner helped form the Ketchikan Volunteer Search and Rescue Squad (KVRS). He went on to found TEMSCO Helicopters with one PA-12 floatplane and one Hiller UH-12C. Previously, Eichner ran a bus company. When he decided to launch TEMSCO his wife and son thought they would keep the company running while dad "fooled around with helicopters." Quickly, helicopters and rescuing others became the family's number one priority.


Eichner himself made many rescues. During his first rotor wing rescue, Eichner landed in the White River Valley to save a local minister. Another rescue involved a stranded goat hunter. Eichner and a colleague flew in treacherous winter weather, set up camp for two days in a cave, and flew the hunter to safety once visibility improved. Still another involved an airline crash in Ketchikan, which prompted Eichner to put TEMSCO's entire inventory in the air to help. Eichner personally rescued the flight's delirious second officer.


The list of rescues demonstrates Eichner's bravery, commitment, and personal sacrifices during the course of his career. His personal invention, dubbed the 'people netter' continues saving lives everyday. Since Eichner's retirement in the early 1990s, TEMSCO continues his vision of service and dedication to the community. Eichner's grandson is now Chief Pilot and carries on the work his grandfather started.


Eichner will be recognized at HELI-EXPO 2007's annual "Salute to Excellence" Awards Celebration on March 2, 2007 at 8:00 p.m. in Orlando, Florida.


What Ken Eichner brought to all of us in Southeast Alaska is something we'll have forever.


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