On any given day, Mike Montgomery may fly 300 miles to 400 miles to sell spinal implants to hospitals and clients in Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma. This may not be too much of a stretch for fixed-wing pilots, but for Montgomery and his Robinson R44 helicopter, it’s about as far as he cares to go.
The Spine Group, the company he works for, is a distributor for Johnson & Johnson, and has five offices in the tri-state area. He uses general aviation to get to his offices and to visit sales representatives and surgeons.
He received his initial training at St. Louis and began flying about 15 years ago. Aviation was always a curiosity for Montgomery, and realizing his passion to fly was a defining moment—one that coincided with another defining moment.
“When my son was born, I had to put aviation on the back burner,” remembered Montgomery. “But once he grew up a bit, I began to fly more again.”
His second effort was when Montgomery advanced his training, raising the bar to an instrument rating in fixed-wing aircraft and concentrating more on his aviation goal: helicopters. He now holds a commercial rating in rotorcraft and has 800 total hours in the air.
Montgomery began regularly flying to work in 2005 in a Diamond DA40. He moved on to a Piper 6XT and then to a Piper Cheyenne. Now he mostly flies his R44.
Montgomery said that he feels lucky to perform his work duties and fly at the same time. “The company pays for me to fly, and it works out perfectly for me,” he said.