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Living Legends Awards Honor Aviation Pioneers

By S.L. Fuller | January 6, 2017
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Papillon Grand Canyon EC130 B4

Among it's fleet of 48 aircraft, Papillon Helicopters operates an EC130 B4 for tours to the Grand Canyon. Photo courtesy of Papillon

Several prolific aviation professionals are to be recognized by Living Legends of Aviation during its 14th Annual Awards event Jan. 20 in California. Included in the program are Steve Hickok and Elling Halvorson. Hickok has been given a Vertical Flight Hall of Fame Award, and Halvorson — who is a past recipient of the Vertical Flight Hall of Fame Award — will be honored as a new Legend.

Hickok is best known for his innovations in GPS and instrument flight rules (IFR). He currently serves as the president of Hickok & Associates, which offers services for both products. The company’s website lists some of its firsts, including having initiated the first GPS approach approved by the FAA, becoming the first FAA-approved nonfederal developer, and developing the first helicopter HPS airspace system. The company also developed the first FAA-designated procedure evaluation pilot and the first FAA-approved flight validation pilot, among other firsts.


Halvorson is the founder and chair of Papillon Group. In 2016, the company celebrated 50 years of business — trumpeting itself as the longest-running family-owned and operated helicopter tour company in the world. Living Legends cited his work in construction using helicopters, which eventually led to the development of his touring company, which offers daily tours of the Grand Canyon. He was involved in construction of the 13.5-mi water pipeline from the North Rim to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. It remains the largest helicopter-supported construction project ever completed in the U.S.

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