International helicopter pilot organization, Twirly Birds, has announced the 2016 recipient of the prestigious Les Morris award as Mr. Anthony Melvin “Mel” O’Reilly, founder of Eagle Copters in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Mr. O’Reilly began his long aviation career in eastern Canada in 1955 with the Royal Canadian Air Force in field helicopter maintenance and later saw extensive duty as an engineer and pilot around the world. Maintaining, leasing, managing, flying and selling helicopters from the Yukon Territory to Southeast Asia for over sixty years, Mel O’Reilly is an aviation pioneer worthy of the coveted Les Morris award.
In 1975, Mel O’Reilly took his skills as an engineer and aviator and founded Eagle Copters Ltd. (ECL) and, a short time later, Eagle Copters Maintenance Ltd. (ECML). For over forty years, the two companies have specialized in leasing and sales of helicopters around the globe along with maintenance overhaul, spare parts support and innovative product development for helicopters. Mr. Mel O’Reilly will be presented the Les Morris award by Mr. Sergei Sikorsky during the upcoming annual meeting of the Twirly Birds on 1 March 2016 at the Louisville Marriott Downtown, Kentucky Ballroom, Salon E.
The Les Morris award is presented annually by the Twirly Birds as lifetime achievement recognition to an individual that has made a significant contribution to the helicopter community. Aviation pioneer Les Morris is recognized as an early helicopter test pilot and innovator responsible for the early refinement and development of helicopters while at Sikorsky Aircraft.
Twirly Birds was founded seventy years ago when a small group of pilots met to share stories and the common experiences of flying helicopters during these early years of vertical flight. Notable past members of Twirly Birds include Charles Lindbergh, Igor Sikorsky and Stewart R. Graham, to name a few. The intent was then and is now, to share the common bond of vertical flight. The group has no political or commercial interest and is by design, a social group comprised of individuals. Anyone that has soloed at least twenty years ago is encouraged to join Twirly Birds and members are welcome at the annual meeting this year on 1 MAR 2016 at the Louisville Marriott Downtown, Kentucky Ballroom, Salon E, beginning at 1700 hours. Catch up with old friends and make new ones by joining Twirly Birds!