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Read More: W.A. “Dub” Blessing Flight Instructor of the Year Award
June 17, 2019

As chief flight instructor for the Bell Training Academy, Marty Wright is responsible for maintaining the highest standards of instruction and training on Bell products in the industry. He is directly responsible for the training, standardization, and mentoring of the 34 academy instructors. He also serves as the chief flight instructor for the Bell Training Academy FAA 141 training school and EASA approved training organization and as the training center evaluator for the FAA-approved 142 Bell Helicopter Training Center. Wright is instrumental in the development and approval of FAA, EASA, and ANAC certification for Bell’s 142 training center.

Wright joined Bell Helicopter as a V-22 pilot ground instructor after retiring from the US Marines Corps following 22 years of service. During his military and civilian career, he has amassed more than 7,800 hours of flight instruction provided in six different Bell model aircraft and the Sikorsky CH-53.

During his years with the Bell Training Academy, Wright has been described as a gifted leader, helicopter pilot, and flight instructor, who can articulate subtle and complex helicopter aerodynamics and relate them to his students in an easy fashion. Nominators also indicated that this outstanding instructor has the innate ability to transfer knowledge to his students in a way that is lasting and meaningful — Wright goes beyond the “how to” step in flight training.

In addition to his duties at Bell, Wright also provides guidance for the entire helicopter pilot community, contributing several published articles on autorotations and serving as supporting instructor for the FAA “Autorotations: Reality Exposed” presentation given at HAI HELI-EXPO and rotorcraft safety symposiums from 2015–17. He also assisted in the filming of the Discovery Channel’s “Belly of the Beast” helicopters series in 2010; coordinated Bell Helicopter’s support of Hurricane Katrina relief efforts in August and September of 2005; and received a Certificate of Achievement from the US Park Police for assistance with an F-16 crash that occurred during a Bell 412 training flight for Park Police pilots.

Read More: Excellence in Communications Award
June 17, 2019

As editor-in-chief of Vertical, Oliver Johnson works tirelessly behind the scenes to pull every issue together — no small feat, considering that the average print issue size is around 150 pages. He guides the editorial contributors through every stage of the writing process, ensuring that their stories are both factually accurate and compelling to read. Most of Vertical’s contributors are industry experts who do not have a background in journalism, so Johnson works overtime to ensure that their expertise and passion reliably shine through in clear, well-crafted prose.

Johnson also contributes outstanding features and breaking news stories for the magazine and Vertical’s website, striving to write in a way that is not only informative and engaging but clear and concise for any reader to comprehend — whether or not they are familiar with industry concepts. He stays on top of industry trends by writing in-depth stories on the latest innovations. For a story that appeared in print and online in 2018, Johnson carefully reviewed a 175-page crash report to find the buried lead, which resulted in a significant news story that reached over 9,000 readers online.