Bruce Erion is best known as the helicopter aviation personality in Atlanta since the 1980's, and he will never escape being a virtual emblem to aviation professionalism in our region. His long and very well known presence as an unforgettably outstanding personality in Georgia's aviation community will long remembered for its highly visible reflection of the very best attributes of aviation professionalism, and for its untiring endurance presented on behalf of service to community.
After graduating from West Point during the Vietnam years, Bruce Erion was trained in the U.S. Army as a Ranger, decorated as an Air Cavalry Rifle Platoon Leader, and achieved additional final status as a qualified helicopter pilot. Following the war years he continued to develop his involvement in aviation as a notable productive sales representative for Bell Helicopters, and some of his customers inevitably identified as television stations around the country, as these highly competitive groups started exploring the use of aircraft as electronic news-gathering tools. Bruce became comfortable and popular in this setting, and it eventually developed that he envisioned the possibility of becoming involved as more than an equipment specialist. His remarkable communications skills quickly developed further, as he assumed duties reporting traffic and news for a network affiliate in New England, and then in Phoenix, where truly pioneering work was being accomplished in adapting helicopters as legitimately irreplaceable news reporting assets. When Atlanta's NBC affiliate, WXIA, followed the trend Bruce was able to negotiate a contract and relocate to the part of the country in which he had long hoped to live, and to serve in some construction way.
To say that the rest is history doesn't really do justice to the success that Bruce Erion achieved in Georgia. He unintentionally but inevitably became Georgia's most popular local television personality as he literally invented the science and art of reporting the news while flying a helicopter. There were a few other notable helicopter news reporters around the country, but none had the polish and professionalism that Bruce perfected, and the content of his presentations always held aviation in high and very favorable priority, accomplishing considerable public relations value in the process. His explanations of aviation oriented material, in a state in which aviation is a central economic feature, were consistently both educational and promotional and he put a pleasant face on an industry that is not always welcomed by all communities.
Bruce Erion's contributions within the aviation disciplines would not finish with his success in television, however. Toward the end of the 90's, as trends in television news began to downsize budgets and reduce expenses by finding alternatives to extensive helicopter news reporting, Bruce shifted to what turned out to be an even more meaningful and satisfying aviation sub-specialty when he joined Georgia Baptist Life Flight as a lifesaving professional. Very soon into this phase of his professional aviation development he observed that the sense of moral contribution inherent in lifesaving would be, perhaps, his highest calling.
Bruce Erion, trading his high-profile years as a performing television aviation personality for the deep and meaningful satisfaction of quietly but substantively helping people through aviation professionalism, is perhaps the most consequential way possible, flew emergency medical missions for more than sixteen additional years before retiring to look back on a truly extraordinary flying career.
In recognition of his many outstanding accomplishments and exemplary service to Georgia residents, Bruce F. Erion was enshrined into the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame on April 28, 2018.