Home / Lifestyles / People / Local is first Bahamian to become Certified Helicopter Instructor
On March 20, 2014 Brandon Saw­yer, son of Beth and Bernice Sawyer and grandson of well-known Abaconi­an Jack Lowe, completed an intensive course at Bristow Academy in Titus­ville, Florida becoming the first known certified Bahamian Helicopter Instruc­tor.

Local is first Bahamian to become Certified Helicopter Instructor

 

Above: Brandon Sawyer overcame a great deal of adversity to pursue his dream. Today he is a Certified Flight Instructor for helicopters. This makes him the first Bahamian to achieve this. He thanked his supporters for helping make it happen. Left to right - Brandon Sawyer, Bernice Sawyer and Beth Sawyer.
Above: Brandon Sawyer overcame a great deal of adversity to pursue his dream. Today
he is a Certified Flight Instructor for helicopters. This makes him the first Bahamian to
achieve this. He thanked his supporters for helping make it happen. Left to right – Brandon
Sawyer, Bernice Sawyer and Beth Sawyer.

On March 20, 2014 Brandon Saw­yer, son of Beth and Bernice Sawyer and grandson of well-known Abaconi­an Jack Lowe, completed an intensive course at Bristow Academy in Titus­ville, Florida becoming the first known certified Bahamian Helicopter Instruc­tor.

Now twenty-six years-old, Bran­don began his helicopter career in 2012, fulfilling a lifelong dream. The program included Private Pilot, Instru­ment Rating and Commercial License. He passed the Certified Flight Instruc­tor (CFI) course at the same day he completed the Professional Pilot Pro­gram.

“The Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) course was a very challenging experience and I learned a lot about aviation and a lot more about myself,” he said. “Through the fundamentals of instructing it exposed me to the pro­cess of learning and human behavior and how it impacts aviation, allowing me to evaluate risks to become a safer pilot.”

He is planning now to go to Pen­sacola, Florida to do helicopter tours with a company called the Wrong Brothers Flight Training Wing and will help as a helicopter instructor as well.

When he goes back he will look to get his fixed wing pilots license as well, which may also make him a the first dual rated Bahamian pilot.

Brandon said he did not have a smooth path to his dream and said he had to overcome some adversities. “I have had to push; when things were against me I remembered that any dead fish can drift downstream, but it takes a live fish to swim up it. I kept pushing forward and never gave up on what I wanted to do.”

He encouraged young people to “look for your hopes and dreams in a way to get there, and when you get to where you want to be, keep looking forward. Don’t ever settle for some­thing you don’t want.”

He said it has been a really chal­lenging and rewarding experience and he has met a lot of good friends from across the world at Bristow Academy.

He said he is grateful to the Desig­nated Practical Examiner (DPE) Dave Thompson – a Vietnam Veteran who had 27,000 hours in flight time and a very experienced guy – who was “ex­tremely tough to please and a good example to follow.” He added that the instructors he had, particularly Ross Ansell and Tony Ring, were “a tre­mendous influence on me and helped make me a better pilot.”

He said he is thankful to the many persons who supported and encouraged him while pursuing his dream, espe­cially his parents.

Brandon said “It’s a beautiful thing; learning to fly and aviation. Once you have flown you will forever walk the ground with your eyes sky­ward.”

“It’s something freeing and I couldn’t imagine myself doing any­thing else.”

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