International helicopter pilot organization Twirly Birds has awarded this year's Les Morris Award to Anthony Melvin "Mel" O'Reilly, founder of Eagle Copters Ltd. in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. O'Reilly began his 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. He has maintained, leased, managed, flew and sold helicopters from the Yukon Territory to Southeast Asia for more than 60 years.
In 1975, Mel O'Reilly took his skills as an engineer and aviator and founded Eagle Copters and Eagle Copters Maintenance Ltd. The two companies have specialized in leasing and sales of helicopters around the world along with maintenance overhaul, spare parts support and innovative product development for helicopters. Sergei Sikorsky will present O'Reilly the award during the upcoming annual Twirly Birds meeting on March 1, 2016, at the Louisville Marriott Downtown, Kentucky Ballroom, Salon E at 5 p.m. local time.
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.