Former Fallbrook deputy Kimball pens book “Catch The Sky” detailing work as an ASTREA helicopter pilot

Chances are we are going to hear a lot more about Darryl J. Kimball in the near future. Kimball, a sergeant with San Diego County Sheriff’s Office –

who was posted to the Fallbrook substation in 2010 – just had his first book published last month, but it likely won’t be his last. Although he isn’t in the class of a Joseph Wambaugh just yet, we might soon be seeing more of Kimball and his book on the talk show circuit.

Kimball’s book, “Catch The Sky,” is a collection of stories documenting his time with the Sheriff’s office, but mostly it is about his stint with the Aerial Support to Regional Enforcement Agencies (ASTREA), the department’s elite helicopter unit.

The 352-page offering was co-written by Allan T. Duffin, a Los Angeles-based author, and U.S. Air Force veteran. Duffin also wrote History in Blue: 160 Years of Women Police, Sheriffs, Detectives, and State Troopers, and was co-author of the “12 O’clock High” Logbook: The Unofficial History of the Novel, Motion Picture, and TV Series.

It was Duffin that Kimball credits for inspiring him to write the book, a memoir of sorts, of his 20+ years in law enforcement.

“Allan came across my blog ( and got in touch with me. He said I should consider writing a book. I gave it some thought; decided to do it, and the rest as they say is history,” said Kimball.

“Catch The Sky” is a history of how Kimball came to San Diego from a small town in Oklahoma; earned a spot in the Sheriff’s department, and then pushed himself to become one of the very few deputies selected to fly in the ASTREA unit. Flying had always been a dream for Kimball, and this book details his unfailing effort to achieve his dream.

“In many ways it’s a success story,” said Kimball, “a story of perseverance—one that says when the odds seem to be stacked against you, or when your mind tells you that you’re not smart enough or good enough, or tells you to quit and go home, you don’t listen. You stick it out, you move forward… and you persevere.”

Kimball knew flying was his destiny, but writing a book wasn’t on his radar until Duffin contacted him.

“The thought never really seriously crossed my mind,” Kimball said. “I was happy writing my blog and communicating with people who followed it.  But then, I knew I had a ton of stories to tell – some good, some bad, and some of them were pretty sad. I thought I might have enough stories to fill a book, and Allan kind of pushed me in that direction.”

In the book, Kimball writes of his time as a helicopter pilot hunting for missing children, extracting captured drugs and other contraband out of cramped locations, airlifting injured hikers from valleys thick with boulders and brush, directing deputies during gun battles, and tracking carjackers as they tried to escape pursuing officers through heavy freeway traffic. They are stories, Kimball said, people want to read.

“Ever since “Dragnet” came out on TV, people in America have been fascinated with cop stories,” he said.

“The difference with my book – this isn’t fiction. These are the actual events that either I was a part of, or that have happened while I’ve been with the Sheriff’s office. People really like first-hand accounts, I think, a lot more than the fiction that some writers come up with in their books.”

Kimball’s narratives are quite descriptive, but never too much so. The details he provides in his stories, help bring the reader inside the cockpit of the ASTREA helicopter. For information junkies, or frustrated wannabe cops, this book is the mother lode of cop-stuff: jargon, tactics and even some of the antics of those in law enforcement. Kimball even gives a clear description of what his superiors saw on a training mission one night while wearing Night Vision Goggles, after the hijinks of some of his colleagues helped light up the night. To find out what they saw, you’ll have to read “Catch The Sky” or wait for Kimball’s book to become a movie, which it could.

“Catch The Sky” (ISBN: 978-0615699431) is available from as a soft-cover book or in Kindle format.

2 Responses to "Former Fallbrook deputy Kimball pens book “Catch The Sky” detailing work as an ASTREA helicopter pilot"

  1. wildheart   November 1, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    Sounds like a really interesting read. I’m getting a copy of the book today.

  2. Goldie McQuillan   February 7, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    I have this book, "Catch the Sky: The adventures & misadventures of a police helicopter pilot"; it is a great read, & I love the pics.


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