The Helicopter Association International announced Nobuyuki Kosuge, assistant chief flight instructor at Helistream in Costa Mesa, California, as its 2021 recipient of the W.A. “Dub” Blessing Flight Instructor of the Year Award. Sponsored by Hill Air Corporation, the award recognizes contributions by a helicopter flight instructor in upholding high standards of professionalism.
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HAI provided the following description of Kosuge’s achievements:
Nobuyuki Kosuge’s soft-spoken demeanor and dedication to safe, skilled helicopter flight have had an immense impact on countless pilots over the last two decades.
Born in Japan, Kosuge grew up near a Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force air base, sparking his lifelong interest in aviation. He received a bachelor’s degree in English from Kanda Gaigo University in Chiba, Japan, but never lost sight of his dreams of flying.
Not long after college, Kosuge visited Southern California on vacation and took his first helicopter flight. He was hooked. In 2001, he enrolled in the HeliStream helicopter flight training school in Costa Mesa, California, and began a six-year journey of obtaining visas, changing schools (and transferring a visa) when one went bankrupt, and applying for a green card.
His hard work, along with the support of those around him, paid off. By 2007, Kosuge had his private and commercial certificates, and instrument and flight instructor ratings, as well as flight instructor experience in the United States, ground instruction experience in Japan, and green card sponsorship by HeliStream.
Kosuge began at HeliStream as a primary instructor. His professionalism and work ethic soon led to a promotion to instruct for HeliStream’s Customs and Border Protection Rotor Wing Qualification Course, a program he now manages along with many initial qualification courses for other agencies, including the sheriff’s departments for Orange County and Riverside County and the Ontario and Anaheim police departments. He has qualified dozens of law enforcement pilots through these programs.
Today, Kosuge serves as HeliStream’s assistant chief flight instructor and FAA Part 135 check pilot. He has more than 10,600 flight hours in 11 aircraft models, with more than 9,000 hours of instruction given. While he no longer provides initial flight instruction, he remains very active with HeliStream’s students, providing stage checks and sharing his knowledge as students progress.
“To see our students progress is very satisfying,” Kosuge says. “I enjoy seeing them through each stage as they build their skills and transform into professional pilots.”
Additionally, Kosuge runs the company’s transition and recurrent training in the MD 500 and AS350, allowing him to provide instrument proficiency checks for many of HeliStream’s law enforcement customers.
One of the company’s Part 135 line pilots since 2008, Kosuge also flies a number of utility, photography, charter, and tour flights and serves as a maintenance check pilot. He was also instrumental in developing HeliStream’s safety management system.