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 Jr. 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 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 US Army in 1965. He 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.
Meanwhile, Corey Brekke, maintenance manager in Afghanistan for Columbia Helicopters, is the 2020 recipient of the association’s Excellence in Helicopter Maintenance Award. The award, sponsored by Rolls-Royce, recognizes an individual for long-standing excellence in the performance of helicopter maintenance, maintenance instruction or supervision, or a single significant and distinct contribution to helicopter maintenance. The award will be presented Jan. 29 at HAI’s Salute to Excellence Awards luncheon at HAI HELI-EXPO 2020 in Anaheim, California.
Brekke began his aviation career in Montana, where he obtained his A&P license in the winter of 1991. Subsequently, he worked for eight years in the South Pacific on a 350-foot tuna boat, where he was the only aircraft mechanic onboard, maintaining a Hughes 500.
In the spring of 2000, Brekke accepted a job with Columbia Helicopters. After only five days on the job, he departed to work in Alaska as the fourth man on a logging crew working on a Columbia Model 107-II Vertol.
Recognized early on for his can-do attitude, work ethic, ability to get along with and lead a crew, reliability, technical knowledge, and overall skill set, Brekke advanced to the position of assistant crew chief in just a year and then to crew chief in 2003. Brekke also forecasts maintenance and logistical needs to support the aircraft during high-utilization periods. His ability to troubleshoot problems and innate desire to get to the root of a technical issue is well known to those who work with him.