Bell Helicopter Honors Papillon Helicopters Founder

By Staff Writer | January 21, 2015
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Bell Helicopter recently honored Papillon Helicopters founder Elling Halvorson with the Bell Helicopter Vertical Flight Hall of Fame Award at the 12th annual Living Legends of Aviation Awards in Beverly Hills on Jan. 16. The award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the rotorcraft industry.

“I’m truly honored to be awarded with the Bell Helicopter Vertical Flight Hall of Fame award,” said Elling Halvorson. “I’ve been presented many opportunities throughout my life to witness the inspiring work aviation yields and every day I’m humbled by the wonderful experiences we see in the aviation industry.”

Elling is the founder of Papillon Helicopters, the world’s oldest and largest sightseeing company flying an estimated 600,000 passengers a year on its daily tours to the Grand Canyon. He began his story in 1963 when he won a bid to build a water pipeline that stretched 13.5 miles across the Grand Canyon on some of the most difficult terrain in the world. The project turned out to be the single largest helicopter supported construction job ever completed, using more than 25,000 hours of helicopter flight time and six different models of helicopters, including a Bell 204. Elling has demonstrated superior vertical lift capability through his proven success on projects benefitting construction, utility, travel and tourism.


Recipients of the Living Legends of Aviation Award include Buzz Aldrin, Harrison Ford, Morgan Freeman, Bob Hoover, Kurt Russell and Sully Sullenberger. The event is produced by the Kiddie Hawk Air Academy and Bell Helicopter is a presenting sponsor of the annual event.

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