Lt. Colonel Charles E. "Chuck" Dryden
Mike John Ferros

Mike JohnFerros (1943 - )

Mike Ferros was born in Aliceville, Alabama and raised near Pelham, Ga.  In 1997 he retired from the Georgia State Patrol Aviation Division as a Sergeant Pilot with more than 7500 hours of flight time.  He is credited with helping to form the Aviation Division of the Georgia State Patrol as its first pilot, which is now the largest state-sponsored airborne division in the eastern U.S. and is a major contributor to Georgia's public safety.  After serving in the U.S. Air Force, Mike began working with the Georgia Department of Public Safety as a license examiner in Perry, GA in 1965.  In 1967, he was promoted and assigned as a Georgia State Patrol (GSP) Trooper in Americus, GA  During this duty station he began taking flying lessons under the GI Bill and earned his commercial fixed wing pilot's certificate in Albany, GA and later his commercial helicopter rating.  After a significant amount of research, Trooper Ferros and Lt. Fred Portwood compiled a comprehensive proposal, which was presented to the Georgia State Patrol Commissioner Col. Herman Cofer showing that a similar aviation unit would enhance Georgia public safety.  This was approved and the department acquired surplus military aircraft (a T-41B and a Bell 47), in 1973.  The GSP Aviation Unit was later created in 1974 with 5 GSP pilots including Corporal Ferros as the Chief Pilot and Lt. Wilson Weaver as the GSP Aviation Unit Commander.  Additional Bell 47 helicopters were acquired, brought into airworthy status then painted in Georgia State Patrol colors.  During this time in Atlanta numerous search and rescue missions, assistance to the Sheriff Departments in various aerial search missions were performed.  Also along with Gov. George Busbee, a helicopter landing site was established at the Governor's mansion so essential flights from the mansion could be conducted in a safe and efficient manner to direct destinations throughout Georgia.

After additional fixed wing pilots were helicopter trained Mike requested, and was granted, a transfer to Albany, Georgia in 1978 where he oversaw the construction of the third GSP field hangar which remains a key location today in southwest Georgia.  During the 1980's, drug eradication was a major initiative assigned to the GSP.  Part of that initiative became the responsibility of the Aviation Division.  Sgt. Ferros was involved and performed many search and rescue missions, along with locating two downed pilots stationed at Moody AFB, who ejected from their F-16 in South Georgia.  He was involved in search and rescue operations during the "Flood of the Century" in Southwest Georgia.  Additionally he flew Olympic security missions in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Aviation Division has grown to 14 pilots and 5 maintenance technicians with capabilities to perform 51 missions profiles in helicopter and fixed wing aircraft to support the public aviation functions of the GSP.  It all started as a dream of a small boy who would climb a cedar tree at his Grandparent's farm then wave a towel as the military pilots in training, for the Korean War, would wave at him or dip their wings as they passed overhead.  This dream turned into a hobby then later a rewarding career with the Georgia State Patrol Aviation Unit.  He continues to enjoy flying for entertainment and flight currency today.

In recognition of his distinguished contributions to aviation in the state of Georgia and public safety and service to our communities, Mike John Ferros was enshrined into the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame on April 29, 2017.