In July 2020, Bryan “BJ” Boatman, 37, lost his life in a helicopter crash while supporting ground crews fighting the wildland Polles Fire in Arizona.
BJ belonged in the sky. He grew up watching his dad fly helicopters as well as serving with Glendale Fire Department in Arizona. He always admired his father’s dedication to the fire and aviation community.
As a young adult, BJ decided to follow in his father’s footsteps. He became a third-generation dual rated pilot. He flew many summers with both the United States Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management fighting wildland fires all over Arizona, Montana, Washington, Nevada, and Texas. BJ found much pride in his work and his service to his state and country.
In addition to his service to the community, BJ worked diligently for nearly 25 years alongside his parents to build their company, Airwest Helicopters, of Glendale, Arizona. He dreamed of expanding and continuing to provide support to the wildland fire fight.
BJ was a natural teacher and a mentor to many. He taught, supported, and encouraged young pilots as they found their place in the aviation industry, leaving behind a wonderful legacy as a pilot that no one will forget.
While he found his passion in the skies, when he was back on the ground, his passion was his wife, Elizabeth, and daughter, Claire. Together, the three were an adventurous family. They loved to travel, try new things, and learn about many cultures and people.
Bryan was an unstoppable force. He strived to experience everything the world had to offer. He had an unquenchable thirst for adventure and knowledge.
The hole left in our family and hearts will always yearn for him.