HAI announces award recipients

January 26, 2010

For 49 years the Helicopter Association International (HAI) has recognized outstanding achievements in the international helicopter industry with the Salute to Excellence awards. There are several different awards that cover many areas of the industry. Each year at HAI’s annual convention (HELI-EXPO) the winners are recognized at a banquet and awards ceremony. The following winners will be honored at HELI-EXPO 2010, from Feb. 21 through 23 in Houston, Texas.

Bell Helicopter Lifetime Achievement Award: John C. Agor, president, Associated Aircraft Group, for his vision of commercial helicopter transportation that culminated in the creation and growth of Associated Aircraft Group Inc. (AAG), a leader in the commercial helicopter industry. Also receiving this award is Tim Wahlberg, chairman of the board, Evergreen International Aviation Inc. in McMinnville, Ore., for 47 years of dedication to aviation.

Rolls-Royce Excellence in Helicopter Maintenance Award : Robert Peterson, consultant, Columbia Helicopters Inc., in Aurora, Ore., for more than 46 years of work on aircraft hydraulic systems, which have made him the industry’s renowned authority on these systems.

Sikorsky Humanitarian Service Award : The crew of CGNR 6033, U.S. Coast Guard, Coast Guard Air Station in Clearwater, Fla., for the rescue of four people aboard a stricken fishing vessel 50 miles from the eye of Hurricane Ike. The award recognizes a person or crew that demonstrates the value of rotorcraft to society by saving lives, protecting property, or aiding those in distress.

AgustaWestland Safety Award : Terry Palmer, manager of Rotorcraft Programs, Flight Safety International, in Dallas, Texas. Palmer has been recognized numerous times by the FAA for her tireless dedication to helicopter safety.

W. A. (Dub) Blessing Certified Flight Instructor of the Year Award : Tom Read, check airman and flight instructor, Omniflight Helicopters, in Addison, Texas. Read graduated from the U.S. Army Rotor Wing Flight School in 1969 and has garnered a 40-year decorated and prestigious accident- and incident-free career, earning 19 pilot proficiency awards from the FAA. The award was established in 1985 and recognizes superlative contributions by a helicopter flight instructor in upholding high standards of excellence.

Excellence in Communications Award : Ken Swart, North American Editor, Helicopter International and HELiDATA News, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Since 1974, Swartz has written continuously on the helicopter industry, and has played a leading role in bringing news of the Canadian helicopter industry (the world’s second largest) to international attention.

Pilot of the Year Award : Earl S. Palmer, chief pilot, Hillcrest Aircraft Company, in Lewiston, Idaho, for continually mentoring new, young, and old pilots since starting his career in the U.S. Army in 1962.