Paradise Helicopters pilot receives national FAA honor

  • Pahoa resident, CAP Captain and Paradise Helicopters Chief Pilot Robert Blair (left, pictured with his wife Mary Blair) was presented with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award at a special ceremony in Hilo on Sept. 18. Mary was also presented with a stickpin for her support of his aviation career. (Courtesy photo)

KAILUA-KONA – Robert Blair is a master of the skies.

Paradise Helicopters, the leading Hawaii-based helicopter tour company, is pleased to announce The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration recently awarded longtime Paradise pilot and Pahoa resident Blair with the Master Pilot Award, one of the most prestigious pilot award issued by the FAA to pilots with at least 50 years of flight experience.

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“Robert has had an aviation career that exemplifies the best in safety, training and service to others, making him incredibly deserving of this distinguished award,” said Calvin Dorn, CEO of Paradise Helicopters, in a press release announcing the award. “We are proud to have his expertise at Paradise Helicopters.”

Blair has worked as a chief pilot and check airman with Paradise since 2000, and also serves as a Civil Air Patrol instructor and check pilot. His aviation career spans more than 23,000 hours of total flight time, including over 11,000 hours flying helicopters.

Blair previously served as an FAA-designated pilot examiner, and as a principal operations inspector for airplanes and helicopters at the Honolulu Flight Safety District Office. He also served as a flight instructor in Illinois and flew as a contract pilot in the Marshall Islands, as well as for Royal Hawaiian Airlines.

The award was presented on Wednesday by Airman Scott Allen, FAA safety team program manager at the Honolulu Flight Safety District Office, during a special ceremony in Hilo that also included representatives from the Civil Air Patrol.

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The FAA Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award recognizes Master Pilots who have conducted 50 or more years of safe flight operations, exhibiting “professionalism, skill and aviation expertise.” It is the most prestigious pilot award issued by the FAA to pilots certified under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 61. Blair received a certificate and lapel pin, and his wife Mary was also recognized with a stickpin for her support of his aviation career.

Blair holds a Doctor of Law Degree from the University of Nebraska, and participated in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). He completed U.S. Army helicopter flight school, serving active duty in Germany.

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