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Meet Diane Dollar of Forever On The Fly in Venice Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Diane Dollar.

Diane, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
If you ever came across a family dinner in the Dollar household, the phrase “one of these things is not like the other” might come mind. I was raised in a somewhat unconventional family of two biological sisters and eight additional adopted or fostered siblings from multiple countries around the world. Growing up in such a dynamic family environment set the stage for the continuation of a dynamic life.

When you think of a helicopter pilot, a 30 years young female is probably not what comes to mind right away. Well, I want to help to change that! After high school, I served four years in the US Coast Guard working. Technically my job was as a mechanic, but I wore many hats from small boat coxswain to surface rescue swimmer. I worked at a small boat rescue station in Cape Disappointment Washington, which is really where I fell in love with aviation. I remember working a search and rescue case freezing my butt off on the boat, and looking up to see this badass helicopter overhead and thinking to myself, “I don’t want to be down here I HAVE to be up there someday”. After a year at that station, I went to school to become a mechanic and got stationed on a 110′ patrol cutter out of Miami, FL where we mostly worked illegal immigration. After my four years, I held a number of civilian jobs from working on a yacht to working as a mechanic on cargo ships in dry dock in New England. However, after years of contemplating flight school, which seemed like a far off dream, I finally turned my dream of becoming a pilot into a reality.

I hightailed it to Prescott, AZ where I completed my flight training utilizing the GI Bill to back my training. After becoming a flight instructor I moved to Long Beach, California to build my experience and hours as a pilot. I have enjoyed an eight years career flying everything from tours in the Grand Canyon, VIP charters, as well as obtaining my certificates to fly airplanes. Currently, I spend my days flying life-saving organ transplant teams around Southern California and most recently, I have taken up to task of inspiring younger generations to pursue a career in the fascinating field of aviation utilizing platforms such as Instagram and Tiktok to hopefully spread and encourage a passion for flying.

Has it been a smooth road?
The challenges have been many over an eight year career. The helicopter industry can have its ups and downs, but for the most part my career has been amazing and I have been able to work with some amazing pilots and companies. As a female in a male dominated industry, I have experienced professional sexism and dealt with harassment from passengers. Unfortunately we still live in a world where our abilities as females are questioned every day, but you can not let that type of negativity dim your light.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I work for a company called Helinet Aviation out of Van Nuys, CA. Personally, I specialize in flying organ transplant teams and VIP charters. However, the company also flies the news, medical service for Children’s Hospital LA, TV and film production, and firefighting.

Additionally, I have my personal brand, Forever On The Fly, that is dedicated to the task of inspiring younger generations to pursue a career in the fascinating field of aviation utilizing platforms such as Instagram and Tiktok to spread my passion for flying. I have big plans for the brand including an aviation podcast I am in the midst of producing and dreams of creating aviation scholarships in the future…but that is all in the works currently.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I moved to Los Angeles about a year and a half ago from Vegas. I definitely think my least favorite thing is the rent prices and traffic! Lol but I just love the weather and the fact that I can wake up with my morning coffee and walk to the beach and go for a surf. And of course, if I wanted to go for a hike in the mountains or drive out into the beautiful desert, I could do that all in the same day. I love the local feel of Venice, and that I am surrounded by artists, creatives, and a mindful community.

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