Our Judge Panel

Whirly-Girls scholarships are evaluated either by the scholarship sponsors, or by our independent panel of judges. The judges rank applicants in order of qualification. We thank the individuals below for volunteering to act as independent judges for the Whirly-Girls. 

David McColl

Utility Pilot


David McColl works as a pilot in a utility role performing power line work all over the United States. Prior to flying helicopters, he was a member of the British Armed Forces and a security consultant for numerous civilian companies. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wales and a Master degree in Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Since completing his training at Bristow Academy, he has flown pipeline and power line patrols, inspections, and surveys. Power line work includes new construction, inspection, maintenance, and emergency response. He also instruct pilots for MD500 transitions, emergency procedures, and powerline operations.

David has written articles for the Rotorcraft Pro journal, mentors pilots through their training and careers, is a member of the Military to Civilian transition panel at HAI HELI-EXPO, and is a speaker for the HeliSuccess career development seminar.

Jeff Smith

Chair of Helicopter Association International


In addition to his duties as Chair of Helicopter Association International, Jeff is the Vice President of Operations and Governmental Affairs and a Director of the Eastern Region Helicopter Council (ERHC).

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.

Nick Mayhew

Senior Program Manager at L3 Link Simulation and Training


Nick Mayhew 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.