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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About Timothy Roberts

Timothy Roberts

Timothy had his first venture into Journalism just months after graduating from Queen’s College in Nassau taking his first job with The Tribune in 1991 leaving in 1992 for other pursuits.

During his time in Nassau he diversified his experiences working as a warehouse manager, locksmith and computer technician before returning to Abaco, a place he has always considered home, in 1999.

He joined the staff of The Abaconian in 2001 doing graphic design and writing an opinion article called Generally Speaking and after a brief time away, returned to The Abaconian in 2010 as a reporter, graphic designer and computer technician.

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