104 Armstrong Street

Saint Simons Island, GA 31522


October 13, 2011



RE:  Letter of Testimony - Lon Wimberley

 I have been acquainted with Mr. Wimberley since 1989.  I have flown qualification and recurrent training with him as my flight instructor in Bell 206 series and 407 helicopters beginning 1989 and almost every year since.  I have flown with many instructors over my thirty-two years as a professional pilot and have seen the range of abilities of other instructors.  Mr. Wimberley is among the best.

Mr. Wimberley played a large part in developing the helicopter recurrent training program for the large state airborne law enforcement agency where I was a pilot for twenty-five years.  The agency experienced a few incidents where Mr. Wimberley’s excellent training and instruction made the difference and what could have been catastrophic ended as a non-event because the pilot was able to recover from a challenging situation and safely land the helicopter.  Mr. Wimberley’s training made the difference.

Mr. Wimberley’s cool demeanor is legend to those of us in the helicopter community who have had the privilege and benefit of his instruction.  He is one of the most knowledgeable and competent helicopter flight instructors in the industry.  He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the cockpit through his background as an Army Aviator who served in Vietnam and as a design test pilot with Bell Helicopter. 

I last flew with Mr. Wimberley in the spring of 2011 and still learned from him even though I have flown with him about thirty times over the past twenty-two years and thought I knew all his tricks.  His technique of instruction never leaves one bored.  His students come away from a flight with him knowing they are more prepared for any emergency.

I offer the following about myself to validate my testimonial for Mr. Wimberley.  I have flown professionally for thirty-three years.  I am retired from a major state airborne law enforcement agency in Georgia and from the Georgia Army National Guard Aviation. I am ATP rated in multiengine airplanes and helicopters, a flight instructor in both categories and instruments.  I am also an FAA designated pilot examiner.


William S. Smith, Jr.

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