Dwayne Williams, a retired chief pilot from Bell and MD Helicopters who currently is with Aerodynamics, has established such a strong reputation for his skills as a helicopter pilot and flight instructor that he was nominated five times for this year’s W.A. “Dub” Blessing Flight Instructor of the Year Award—all by previous recipients of the award.
HAI will honor Williams with the award, sponsored by H. Ross Perot, Jr. and the Perot family, during its Salute to Excellence Awards Luncheon on January 29.
Williams has amassed nearly 16,000 flight hours (3,750 as an instructor) over his 50-plus-year career. His flying career began with the U.S. Army in 1965, and he developed leadership and fight-training skills while serving in Vietnam from 1966 to 1976.
Following his time with the Army, he became a pilot for Petroleum Helicopters in the Gulf of Mexico. In 1974, he took a position through Bell Helicopter International supporting Iranian Army pilot training. Williams was named chief pilot of the advanced flight program in Iran and continued in that role until the program closed in 1979.
Returning to the U.S., he became a test pilot, demonstration pilot, and international delivery pilot for Bell, traveling globally to promote the company’s products. Eventually, he joined the Experimental Test Pilot division and became chief pilot. By the time he retired from Bell in 2005, he had conducted first flights in 12 models and become the company’s first acrobatic pilot. His experience included being a test pilot for the Bell XV-15 Tilt Rotor, the Marines' V-22 tiltrotor predecessor.
After retiring from Bell, Williams joined MD Helicopters as a chief pilot and spent the next half-dozen years directing the production and delivery of helicopters, along with pilot training. Later, he brought his expertise to Aerodynamics where he is chief pilot for its night-vision-goggles program, as well as chief NVG instructor.
Along with the HAI honor, Williams is the recipient of the FAA’s Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award, which recognizes his more than 50 years of flight.