More detail on this person: Air show pilot and ICAS member Jim Cheatham died of a sudden illness
at his home in Salinas, California on Wednesday morning. President of the Salinas-based Verticare
Company, Cheatham was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam and a successful agricultural pilot for many
years. His Showcopters team was the only civilian helicopter act in the air show industry.
A memorial service will be held 11 a.m. on Monday, March 16 at the Verticare hangar at Salinas Municipal Airport.
Born in Lavee, Arizona, Jim began his flying career through his Dad's instruction in fixed wing airplanes. He later served as a mechanic and helicopter pilot in the United States Army completing tours in both Vietnam and South Korea.
Jim moved to the Salinas California area in 1967 working for the Clevenger's Air Service, he purchased the company in late 1970 and changed the name to Verticare Helicopters in 1971. During his 42 years flying out of the Salina airport, Jim utilized his piloting skills while performing in air shows, crop dusting, aerial photography, filming charter services and flight training. Jim is survived by his significant other, Cheryl Harris (Big Sur, CA), sister Janice Shoemaker (Bourne, TX), children Jodi Serrano (Sacramento, CA), Captain Amanda Evans (Osan AFB, Korea), Stacey Wilson (Soledad, CA), Kylie Pachuilo (Salinas, CA), Amy Hayes (Yokosuka NAS, Japan), Burton Cheatham, Salinas, CA) and seven grandchildren. He will be greatly missed as he was adored by all his family.
VHPA Member Ray Murphy adds that Jim was also one of the best R-22 & R-44 pilots in the world!
This information was last updated 05/18/2016
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Date posted on this site: 06/10/2022
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