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HAI names winner of Honorary Lifetime Member Award

19th December 2008 - 06:52 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


W. "Dub" Blessing; Chief Pilot Emeritus, Helicopter Division, Perot Group; and Special Projects Coordinator, Hillwood Properties, will receive HAI's Honorary Lifetime Member Award on February 23, 2009, at HELI-EXPO 2009 in Anaheim, California, during HAI's 48th annual "Salute to Excellence" awards ceremony and banquet.

From a U.S. Marine Corps engine mechanic, to H. Ross Perot's personal helicopter pilot, "Dub" Blessing has enjoyed an incredibly rich and varied career, spanning more than 50 years, in which he has amassed in excess of 19,000 flight hours, and more than 14,000 certified flight instruction hours.

Blessing began his career in 1953 as a jet engine mechanic and crew chief with the U.S. Marine Corps reserve, receiving an honorable discharge in 1962. Joining the Texas National Guard in 1964, he qualified as a helicopter mechanic, before earning Army aviator "Wings of Silver" and a Warrant Officer First Class commission in 1965. In 1966 he joined Southern Airways of Texas, a civilian contractor of the U.S. Army Helicopter Training Center, where he instructed the first Vietnamese student pilots. In 1978 he became a flight instructor at the Jet Fleet Corporation training center, later becoming Helicopter Division Manager. At Jet Fleet, he designed a training syllabus for Ross Perot, Jr. To meet Perot's busy schedule, he conducted the training during his off-duty hours.

In 1982 Blessing was chosen to help plan and execute the first round the world helicopter flight for Ross Perot, Jr. Upon completion of this record-breaking event, he became H. Ross Perot's personal helicopter pilot. In 1985 he led pilots and crew in the One Million Vertical Feet Challenge for Multiple Sclerosis in the Chugauch Wilderness area of Alaska. This included setting up base camps at 3,000 and 6,000 Mean Sea Level on a remote glacier by sling-loading supplies into the area.

Blessing has represented Bell Helicopter-Textron, the Allison Division of General Motors, Hughes Helicopters, McDonnell-Douglas, and Schwitzer Helicopters in industry matters relating to flight training. In 1985 Blessing received the first HAI Outstanding Certified Flight Instructor Award for high standards of excellence in flight training.

For more information on the 2009 "Salute to Excellence" Awards banquet and ceremony, contact HAI's Communications Department by telephone: 703-683-4646, fax: 703-683-4745, or email: For more information on HELI-EXPO 2009, visit

HAI is a professional trade association representing 2,800 plus members, in 74 nations, who safely operate more than 5,000 helicopters approximately 2.3 million hours each year. HAI is dedicated to the promotion of the helicopter as a safe, effective method of commerce, and to the advancement of the international helicopter community.


The Shephard News Team


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