Sponsors and Judges

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Agricultural Air Services

Air Evac Lifeteam

Antipodean Aviation

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Erickson Incorporated

FlightSafety International Inc.


Night Flight Concepts

Northeast Helicopters Flight Services

Oregon Aero, Inc.

Thank you for your continued support!

About Some of our Sponsors

Guidance Aviation

It’s Time for More Women in Helicopter Aviation, edited by the Whirly-Girls editing teamGuidance Aviation has been named a 2015 level one sponsor of Whirly-Girls International, in addition to providing the Guidance Aviation Instrument Rating Scholarship for 2016.

“Over the past 16 years, I have watched drastic fluctuations in female student pilot and flight instructor populations,” remarks John Stonecipher, President and CEO of Guidance Aviation. “These fluctuations indicate the industry needs support in improving these populations and striking a healthier balance. I am hopeful that this partnership is the next step to building a strong foundation for a well-established development track for female helicopter pilots. Whirly-Girls has always provided valuable guidance, resources, and mentorship to their constituents. It’s time.”

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Guidance Aviation has committed a total of $18,000 in cash donations to be evenly distributed over the next three years to support the Whirly-Girls’ plans to revamp its website and enhance its reach to future female helicopter pilots. And they are donating 20 hours of a marketing agency’s time. This three-year commitment by Guidane Aviation represents an approximate value of more than $30,000.

The 2016 Guidance Aviation Instrument Rating Scholarship includes:

  • 30 hours flight training in a Robinson R44 helicopter with fuel and flight instructor (CFI-I)
  • 45 hours in the X-Copter helicopter aviation training device with CFII
  • 15 hours one-on-one ground instruction with CFII
  • 40 hours per week of free tutoring
  • Unlimited practice time in X-Copter simulator
  • FAA designated examiner fees for up to two checkrides
  • FAA written testing fees for up to two written tests
  • Online instructional videos for instrument helicopter aeronautical knowledge
  • Computer-based training for instrument helicopter aeronautical knowledge
  • Online instructional videos for instrument helicopter flight maneuvers
  • Includes all collegiate tuition and fees

Prospective female applicants are encouraged to go to the guidance.aero/2016-guidance-aviation-instrument-scholarship to find out more about the Guidance Aviation instrument scholarship. Or email Whirly-Girl#694 Colleen Chen at scholarship@whirlygirls.org.Guidance Aviation is an FAA-approved Part 141 helicopter flight training institution with flight operations in Prescott, Arizona. and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Through their collegiate partner programs, graduates earn both their associate of applied science degree, aviation technology in helicopters, and the necessary FAA certificates and ratings (CFII) to become professional helicopter pilots. Guidance Aviation is a military friendly organization and the majority its employees and students are U.S. military veterans.

1. After applications are submitted, the Whirly-Girls scholarship committee reviews the materials to make sure each applicant is qualified for the specified scholarships, and all required information is included.

2. Confidential application materials are removed, and application information is then compiled for review by sponsors and external judges.

3. Sponsors and independent judges rank applicants in order of qualification.

4. The Whirly-Girls scholarship committee considers each applicant’s scholarship ranking requests as well as the sponsor’s and judge’s ratings. They make the final decisions on which applicants earn a scholarship.

5. Scholarships are awarded at the Whirly-Girls annual awards banquet during the HAI’s HELI-EXPO convention, usually held in the first week of March, and must be used by each scholarship recipient by the end of the calendar year it was awarded. Members may apply for up an unlimited number of scholarships, but each applicant will be awarded at most one scholarship per year.


Terry Palmer Terry Palmer has more than 25 years of experience in aviation safety and training and has specialized in the helicopter sector for most of her career. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2015 Airbus Helicopters Jim Charlson Aviation Safety Award and HAI’s 2010 AgustaWestland Safety Award.

As the previous chair for the US JHSIT Training Work Group, Terry authored the International Helicopter Safety Team Training Toolkit. She is a Board member for the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems and one of the authors featured in their book, “Safety and Quality in Medical Transport.” She currently serves on the HAI Training and Safety Committees.

After more than a decade at FlightSafety International, Terry is now the director of the Helicopter Flight Training Center, a division of Metro Aviation in Shreveport, Louisiana. The training center, designed by Terry, is unique to the industry and focuses on training for Air Medical and Law Enforcement helicopter pilots, mechanics and support staff for North and South America.

Terry is also the chairman of the Shreveport Chapter of the Ninety-Nines.

Nick MayhewNick Mayhew is currently employed as Senior Program Manager at L3 Link Simulation and Training  in Texas. He is the 2017 recipient of the Helicopter Association International W.A. “Dub” Blessing Flight Instructor of the Year Award.

He attained his Airplane Private Pilot’s License at the age of 17 and joined the Royal Navy as an officer in 1977. After completing his fixed and rotary wing training he was awarded his Wings in 1979 and converted to the Sea King operating in the Anti Submarine role from operational ships both around the United Kingdom and abroad.

He completed his Qualified Helicopter Instructor Course in 1984 and served as a flight instructor on various squadrons throughout his naval career. Nick spent some time away from the cockpit to qualify as a seaman officer and served in the Fishery Protection Squadron and as a Training Officer in the Dartmouth Training Squadron before commanding his own patrol vessel and leading the University Royal Naval Unit at Glasgow University in Scotland.

Returning back to aviation he “drove” a few desks and managed the Royal Navy’s flight training pipeline, spending some time in procurement and project management on the Joint Strike Fighter Training IPT and as the first Requirements Manager for the both the RN and RAF version of the Merlin (EH101) helicopter.

A veteran of both Gulf Wars, serving in HMS ARK ROYAL, he ended up flying the Sea King in an operational and training Search and Rescue role until he departed the Service after 28 years in 2005.

He moved to the USA and joined Helicopter Adventures Inc. as the JAA Chief Flying Instructor in Titusville, Florida in March 2005, which he enjoyed for two years before stepping up into the prestigious role of General Manager when Bristow Group purchased Bristow Academy in 2007. Later, as Commercial Programs Manager and EASA Head of Training, Nick remained current as a pilot in the Bell 206 and Sikorsky 300 CBi, and was an EASA Flight Examiner with both EASA and FAA Commercial and Instructor rotorcraft qualifications. He also Chairs the US Helicopter Safety Team Training Working Group, is a member of the ICAO IPTC work-stream and is Past President of the Titusville Rotary Club.

He is married to Kathy, has 2 daughters and lives in Mansfield, Texas.

Jeff Smith
Jeffery Smith
 was Chairman of the Eastern Region Helicopter Council (ERHC) from 2008 until 2013 after nearly ten years of dedicated volunteer service. He currently holds the title of Vice President of Operations and Governmental Affairs and continues to serve as a Director.

He earned his Airman Certificate at Fort Rucker Army Base in Alabama and has over 11,000 flight hours with over 700 in Emergency Medical Service in both combat and civilian metropolitan environments. While in active duty, he spent ten years as an Instructor Pilot, Safety Officer, and Battalion Operations Officer serving diverse missions, including Attack, Air Cavalry, General Support and Medevac, across North and South America, Europe and the Middle East including Operation Desert Storm. Upon exiting active duty in 1997, Jeff Smith was placed in Individual Ready Reserve as a (CW3). He then began his career in civil aviation with Liberty Helicopters. In the four years Smith spent with Liberty Helicopters in New Jersey, he was a Part 135 Captain and was promoted to several positions including Asst. Chief Pilot, Heliport Manager and Safety Officer.

Jeff Smith has worked for several civil aeronautical companies, including Executive Airlines where he served as Director of Operations for a Multi-Category, Multi-Ship, IFR Part 135 Certificate. In 2002, Smith started Integrated Aviation Group and was awarded a Part 135 IFR Certificate. In 2005, Smith accepted his current position flying an S-76C+ and AW139 with ROP Aviation.

He holds a bachelor of science in professional aeronautics from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. He is a FAA licensed airline transport pilot, holding a Class 1 medical certificate.