Dwayne Williams receives HAI’s W.A. “Dub” Blessing Flight Instructor of the Year Award

Helicopter Association International (HAI) is pleased to announce that Dwayne Williams, a retired chief pilot for both Bell and MD Helicopters, is the 2020 recipient of the association’s W.A. “Dub” Blessing Flight Instructor of the Year Award. The award, sponsored by H. Ross Perot and the Perot family, recognizes superlative contributions by a helicopter flight instructor in upholding high standards of excellence. The award will be presented Jan. 29 at HAI’s Salute to Excellence Awards luncheon at HAI Heli-Expo 2020 in Anaheim, California.

Williams has flown nearly 16,000 accident-free flight hours over his career, with 3,750 of them as instructor. HAI Photo
Williams has flown nearly 16,000 accident-free flight hours over his career, with 3,750 of them as instructor. HAI Photo

Williams has the unique distinction of having received five separate nominations this year for the Flight Instructor award, with each nomination coming from a previous recipient of the award.

Williams possesses a solid foundation in helicopters, having begun his flying career in the U.S. Army in 1965 and having served in Vietnam from 1966 to 1967, where he developed his leadership and flight training skills. After his military service, Williams continued his career as a pilot for Petroleum Helicopters, Inc. in the Gulf of Mexico.

In 1974, Williams found an exciting opportunity with Bell Helicopter International in which his military experience as a standardization and instructor pilot was welcomed, training Iranian Army pilots. He became the chief pilot for the advanced flight program in Iran and continued in that leadership and training role until the close of the program in 1979.

Upon returning to the U.S., Williams was hired by Bell Helicopter Textron as a test pilot, demonstration pilot, and international delivery pilot. During this period, he traveled to virtually every corner of the earth to promote Bell and its products. He next moved to Bell’s Experimental Test Pilot division and rose to become the program’s chief pilot.

Notable achievements in Williams’s time with Bell include conducting first flights in 12 different Bell models. His exemplary flying skills enabled him to become the company’s first acrobatic pilot as well as the demonstration pilot for the 680 rotor system, the first Bell helicopter to be used with loops and rolls as part of the standard flight demonstration. Williams also served as a test pilot for flights on the Bell XV-15 Tilt Rotor, the forerunner of the Marines’ V-22 tilt-rotor aircraft.


Williams retired from Bell in 2005, but he wasn’t finished with helicopter flight leadership and training.

In 2006, he accepted the chief pilot’s position at MD Helicopters, Inc. in Arizona, where, through 2012, he directed the production and delivery of helicopters as well as pilot training.

Most recently, Williams accepted a position as chief pilot with Aero Dynamix in the company’s night vision goggles (NVG) program. Currently, he serves as both the certification pilot and the chief NVG instructor at Aero Dynamix.

Williams has flown nearly 16,000 accident-free flight hours over his career, with 3,750 of them as instructor. In 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration presented him with its prestigious Wright Brothers Master Pilot award, recognizing his more than 50 years of flight.

The award will be presented at the Salute to Excellence Awards luncheon during HAI Heli-Expo 2020. HAI Heli-Expo, the world’s largest helicopter trade show and exhibition, will be held at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California, Jan. 27 to 30, with the exhibit hall open Jan. 28 to 30.

2 thoughts on “Dwayne Williams receives HAI’s W.A. “Dub” Blessing Flight Instructor of the Year Award

  1. Congrats Dwayne on your Dub Blessing award! Great honor and richly deserved! This is your favorite Flight Test Engineer from back in your Bell Flight Test days. I was also monitoring the rotor loads for ya during the 680 ALR / LHX demonstrator envelope expansion flights. The AH-1Z and UH-1Y bearingless rotors are doing their jobs for the Marines although I am no longer with Bell I try to keep up with their activities. I am located at NAS Corpus Christi supporting the engineering for maintenance of Marine Corps AH-1W’s and Air Force’s UH-1N’s. Maybe you could send an e-mail contact back my way. Will talk with ya later!

  2. There a very few pilots that deserve this award and probably none more than Dwayne. I went on a ferry flight with Dwayne and Sam Boyer from Paris to Athens. The first “Huey II” prototype/demonstrator that had been thrown together by the company that was trying to convince Bell to go ahead with the project. She was a true pig so we named her Miss Piggy II. The pilots would get writer’s cramp from writing up snags in the logbook. When we got to Bologna, Italy I told the pilots that they could continue on but I was not going another mile in the pig. They totally agreed with me. I drove to Agusta near Milan and bought a new collective servo (USD $25,000.00 on my credit card) and when I started installing the servo through the hell hole, Dwayne was right there with me and just as dirty as I was with hydraulic fluid, grease and anything else that the assembly team had thrown into that pig. We continued on to Greece and bid farewell to Miss Piggy II. I could not have had a better team of pilots that those guys and Dwayne never got upset for a minute. I have seen him in action and I have never heard him raise his voice (even when he should raise his voice). “What a guy” is a weak statement but Dwayne is quite a guy and a great pilot.

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