Robert “Bootcamp” Schapiro, pilot/owner of Bootcamp Helicopters, Liberty Bell Engineering, and formerly Bootcamp Lights and was born and raised in the suburbs of Baltimore, MD.


At age 17, he earned his Eagle Scout award and began his career as a volunteer firefighter and EMT in Baltimore and Howard counties where he has actively served his community for 14 years. During his time in the fire service, he attended Howard Community College and University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) where he obtained his AA and BS degrees in Computer Science. After completing his college degrees, Robert enrolled in helicopter school where he trained to be a commercial helicopter pilot and a flight instructor. He later obtained his ratings to fly airplanes. In 2012, he completed a second Bachelor of Science degree from UMBC in Emergency Health Services – Paramedic Track and earned his paramedic license. He is currently on a military leave of absence from attending UMBC for his Master’s of Science degree in Systems Engineering.

Military Career

Robert Schapiro at Camp Taji
CPT Robert Schapiro at Camp Taji, Iraq

At age 24, Robert enlisted in the US Army National Guard. For three years, he was assigned to B Company 3-126 Aviation Battalion based in Edgewood, MD at Aberdeen Proving Grounds. He then went on to earn his commission as a Second Lieutenant in the US Army Reserve. His first duty station was F Company 1-214 Aviation Regiment in Johnstown, PA before starting US Army Aviation Center of Excellence (US Army Flight School) at Fort Rucker, AL. In February 2015, Robert graduated US Army Flight School as one of the top students in his class, where he learned to fly the Bell JetRanger and the Black Hawk. During the evenings and weekends while attending US Army Flight School, he managed to earn 9 additional FAA ratings (listed below) and endorse 10 students, both helicopter and airplane, to take their FAA checkrides. After graduating US Army Flight School, he was assigned to G Co 5-159th GSAB (Air Ambulance) in Clearwater, FL. He has served as both a MEDEVAC Platoon Leader and Assistant S-3 (Operations).

In 2019 and 2020, Robert was forward deployed to the Arabian Peninsula in support of Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) and Operation Spartan Shield (OSS). During his deployment, he executed missions in 7 different countries to include Iraq and Kuwait. He safely completed 19 live MEDEVAC missions during the deployment.

In 2022, Robert took Command of D Co (Air Ambulance), 1-224th Aviation Regiment of the DC National Guard. There he is currently the leader of a 45-soldier, 4 aircraft MEDEVAC company.

Flying Career

Robert Schapiro at Cirrus Vision Center
Robert Schapiro at Cirrus Vision Center

Robert continues to actively flight instruct and fly in his free time. He has earned his ATP rating in Airplane Multi-Engine Land (AMEL), Airplane Single-Engine Land (ASEL), and Helicopters. He holds the following type ratings: CL-65, SF-50, S-70, SF-340. He is also Commercial rated in Airplane Single Engine Sea (ASES), Gyrocopters, and Gliders. He is an Advanced Ground Instructor (AGI) and an Instrument Ground Instructor (IGI) and holds a flight instructor certificate with ratings in Airplane Multi-Engine Land (AMEL), Airplane Single-Engine Land (ASEL), Airplane Single Engine Sea (ASES), Helicopters (CFI-H), Gliders (CFI-G), Instrument Airplane (CFII), and Instrument Helicopter (CFII). He has also earned his Gold Seal CFI certificate (the highest flight instructor certificate that the FAA offers) and has endorsed a total of 24 students, all of whom have passed their FAA checkrides.

1946 Piper J-3 Cub N133RS

When Robert isn’t flying for work, he volunteers at the Tampa Bay Soaring Society where he flies 3 different types of gliders, and he enjoys flying his 1946 Piper J-3 Cub.

Successful In-Flight Emergencies

In August 2009, Robert successfully landed a single-engine helicopter on a beach in New Jersey after an engine failure with three passengers on board. The landing resulted in no injuries to anyone on board and no damage to the helicopter. (Article on Press of Atlantic City). On October 04, 2011, Robert was interviewed as a subject matter expert in helicopter safety by WJLA (Washington DC’s ABC News affiliate). In November 2011, he was featured in IFR Magazine and AvWeb for successfully landing a single-engine airplane after an engine failure while in the clouds. The landing resulted in no injuries to anyone on board and no damage to the airplane.


Robert Schapiro in front of CRJ
Robert Schapiro in front of CRJ

Robert has logged over 6,700 hours in aircraft to include airplanes (ASEL and AMEL), seaplanes (ASES), helicopters, gliders, gyrocopters, and balloons. He holds the following ratings:

  • Airline Transport Pilot – AMEL, ASEL, Helicopter
  • Type Ratings – S-70, SF-340, CL-65, SF-50
  • Commercial Ratings – ASES, Glider, Gyrocopter
  • Gold Seal Flight Instructor
  • Certificated Flight Instructor – ASEL, AMEL, ASES, Helicopter, Glider, Instrument Airplane, Instrument Helicopter
  • Ground Instructor – Advanced, Instrument

He also holds the following endorsements:

  • Complex Airplane
  • High Performance Airplane
  • Tailwheel Airplane
  • Pressurized Airplane
  • R22 Helicopter (CFI)
  • R44 Helicopter (CFI)

He has earned the following additional credentials:

  • Cirrus Standardized Instructor Pilot (CSIP)
  • Master Flight Instructor
  • Helicopter Overwater Survival Training (HOST)
  • National Registry Paramedic
  • American Heart Association CPR
  • American Heart Association ACLS
  • American Heart Association PALS
  • Assessment and Treatment of Trauma

He had completed the following additional training and certificates:

  • Cirrus Standardization Instructor Pilot (CSIP) – Garmin and Avidyne
  • Bell Training Academy – B206, B407, B412
  • Robinson Safety Course – R22, R44
  • FAA Wings – Basic Phase 23
  • FAA Wings – Advanced Phase 28
  • FAA Wings – Master Phase 9
  • Restricted Radiotelephone Operators Permit