An early aviation enthusiast, Don Shearer started flying in 1977 as a senior in high school. Don financed his flying lessons by working as a certified FAA airframe and power plant mechanic. He later became a flight instructor in both airplanes and helicopters and worked as a FAA production test pilot for Robinson Helicopters. Don earned his ATP and, after working for various operators, started Windward Aviation, Inc. in 1990 with the objective of offering unparalleled customer service, prioritizing the safety of aircraft operators and customers, and providing unique and breathtaking aviation experiences.
Don has logged over 26,000 hours in the air and has established himself as a well-respected leader and innovator in the aviation industry. Since founding Windward Aviation, Don has had the opportunity to work on truly extraordinary projects, which include searching for unexplored ordinances throughout the USA, filming for major movie and TV productions, and saving the lives of countless individuals through his work with the state police and fire departments.
Don’s contributions to the industry are also evidenced by the aviation technologies that he has helped develop. Don has been instrumental in the creation of Herbicide Ballistic Technology, for example, precision spray equipment that targets alien plant species that harm Hawaii’s native
ecosystem. Passionate about environmental conservation, Don has worked tirelessly with various local and national agencies in some of the most remote island areas to assist in the eradication of these invasive species.
Don considers Hawaii one of the most beautiful places on the planet and loves just as much as he did on the first day he sat in a cockpit back in 1977.
I do all the boring hard work at the computer and my pilots get all the glory! My day improves once I am able to surf or kiteboard. Salt water heals everything.
I grew up in Colorado and Joined the Army in 1993. I was an infantryman stationed at Schofield Barracks on Oahu where I fell in love with flying and Hawaii. I am grateful to enjoy both every day!
As a helicopter pilot on Maui, people often tell me I’m so lucky to do what I do. Luck has nothing to do with it. Lots of hard work and sacrifice has gotten me to this point. However, I feel very fortunate to have what I have. I work with great people, great customers, on great projects, in a beautiful place. Maui NO KA OI.
Like most aviators, my interest started at an early age. I went for a helicopter ride at age 8, although I was terrified on the flight it spurred an interest for flying in me. At age 15 I took another helicopter ride with a local Vietnam War veteran that ͞set the hook͟ in me to become a helicopter pilot.
I tried to enlist but was denied entry into the U. S military due to asthma and started flying lessons while in college in California. After achieving my private, commercial and CFI ratings in the 1980s I returned to Maui and worked for a flight school that taught mainly Japanese students, this experience made me into a very patient instructor. After a few years flying tours I was hired by Windward Aviation, Inc. in 1993 which fulfilled my dream of flying utility helicopters.
Born and raised in New York, I moved to Maui at the age of 21. I have worked on a variety of light, medium and heavy lift helicopters. When I am not working< I love to be out on my fishing boat. It just does not get any better than this!