EL RENO — Police have helicopters, hospitals have Medevac helicopters, the military has helicopters of course, choppers are used for news and weather reports, tourism, firefighting, and heavy lifting and transport. 1?
Just ask Zach Martin, 41, owner of Adept Commercial Real Estate in Oklahoma City and owner of Robinson Helicopter Co.’s Robinson R44 Raven II, a four-door, four-passenger light chopper.
After explaining how he uses it in his area of expertise, selling and leasing warehouses and other industrial real estate, he admits: I probably got it, using my job as an excuse. ”
It didn’t take long for him to pilot the chopper, which he kept in a hangar at El Reno Regional Airport, where it was serviced and maintained by Jess Shannon of Hangar 58 Helicopter Services.
“In January, with zero aviation experience, I set out to fulfill my lifelong dream of learning to fly a helicopter. I’m back, OKC,” said Martin. “Next month, I’m planning to fly to Florida (and back) to complete my trans-American helicopter ambitions.”
Helicopters are not common in commercial real estate brokers
Helicopter home hunting is nothing new in the real estate industry. This is especially true for luxury home agents and shoppers in high-end neighborhoods. Helicopters are also used as cranes for construction work and building maintenance, such as for hoisting and installing rooftop heating and cooling equipment.
Martin said he doesn’t know anyone else using Chopper in commercial real estate brokerage. But he said it works well for him on industrial sites because of the speed and ease of access to remote locations.
“I always fly into downtown OKC. I can leave from a parking lot near our downtown OKC office and land at my final destination,” says Martin. “Best of all, instead of zig-zagging down the road, you can fly like a crow at 140 mph,” he said. “In most cases, industrial buildings contain large yards and areas, which means you can almost always land on the premises, so you can travel almost anywhere in a short amount of time.
“Plus, being in the air allows you to quickly understand a place and its surroundings,” says Martin. “Google Maps is great, but there’s something about flying where you can’t see it on your computer screen.”
Learning to fly and owning a helicopter was a lifelong passion, but Martin said he purchased the helicopter as his workhorse for flying. He says the addition of his Adept logo as an afterthought made it something of a marketing showhorse.
OKC commercial real estate broker makes headlines with company chopper
“It’s been kind of fun,” said Martin, who attended the monthly Coffee & Cars OKC event in May. “I attended the Edmund parade on July 4th and have had some fun since.”
He said an adept chopper would turn its head—upward, but not so upward.
“Unlike planes that fly thousands of feet, helicopters typically fly about 800 feet above the ground[the height of the Devon Tower]or less,” he said. “When you fly so low, you can see people waving.
“Arriving at an industrial building to meet someone can be a show of inattention. Because you have to do some low-altitude reconnaissance by checking, most people find it.
Martin said he is happy to follow anyone who is curious.
“It can hold four people, so you never miss an opportunity to carry people, especially if it’s your first time in a helicopter,” he says, adding that personal travel gives him a special joy. “My sister called me the other day and told me that my toddler nephew’s birthday party was coming up last minute. I flew my mom to Dallas just in time to land in my sister’s backyard. I’m really excited, and I’m amazed that my dog, Barney, loves to fly.”
Senior Business Writer Richard Mize has covered residential, construction, commercial real estate and related topics for newspapers and Oklahoman.com since 1999. Contact him at [email protected].