Forrest Bird


Editor’s Note: Forrest Bird passed away in August 2015 at the age of 94.

Forrest Bird is a world-renowned aviator and inventor who has saved millions of lives with his inventions.

At the age of 90, he’s still flying, still inventing and still running his biomedical company from his home in Idaho.

Forrest, who is a member of the Inventors Hall of Fame and has been honored by Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama for his contributions to society and medicine, says far and away, the thing he’s most proud of Babybird infant respirator.

Before he created it, the infant mortality rate for premature infants was between 70 and 80 percent. Within two years, the Babybird was able to take the mortality rate down to 10 percent.

Forrest says all of his life experiences influence everything he’s done and created. He never would have become a pilot if his father wasn’t a World War I fighter pilot. And when he got into aviation himself, he started inventing technologies to help pilots breath above 28,000 feet, which, in turn, led to his lifesaving devices for newborns and adults.

Throughout his life, he says he’s learned one valuable lesson — a failure is a success.

Failures, Forrest says, keeps us active and challenges our minds to keep exploring. It allows you to weed out the things that don’t work and concentrate on the things that do work.

In addition to making history himself, Forrest has encountered some of history’s most famous visionaries and explorers, including Orville Wright, Henry Ford and Howard Hughes.

Forrest says life is all about fate, time and circumstance, and he’s taken advantage of every opportunity given to him.

He was one of the first five helicopter pilots in the world, and at the age of 90, he’s the oldest living helicopter pilot. He describes the three helicopters he currently flies and how he uses them to keep saving lives.

Plus, Forrest offers advice for living life to the fullest.

Click on the Related Media tab to listen to our 2010 interview with Forrest.