Sam's flying career began in Phoenix, Arizona where he flew surveillance airplanes and rescue helicopters for the Phoenix Police Department.
During his time with the police department, Sam flew a wide variety of missions which include hazardous mountain rescues, fire fighting, vehicle pursuits, presidential motorcade support, tactical surveillance, SWAT insertions, and patrol support.
Prior to becoming an accomplished and commercially-rated pilot for the department, Sam gained experience in several other police roles. Assignments in precinct patrol, field training, tactical response, bicycle patrol, school resource, and detectives helped develop Sam into a better law enforcement pilot.
Toward the end of his police career and subsequent to, Sam put his credentials and experience to use flying for several news stations in the Phoenix market. This was a
great shift in perspective, from being a part of the news to covering it. The dynamic shifted from catching bad guys and rescuing victims to framing shots and relaying
events as they unfold.
The transition to ENG (Electronic News Gathering) pilot was not without challenges.
Sam looks back on his time covering high altitude forest fires, flying in crowded airspace and covering breaking news in the west as a good basis to take up the responsibility of being the only news helicopter in the Mid-South.
Happy to be an integral part of the Action News 5 team, Sam looks forward to continuing the great work for which WMC-TV and Chopper 5 have become known.
"Its kind of cool when you meet new people, tell them what you do, and they light up and tell you how cool your job is. I have to agree." -- Sam Farris