Helicopter Association International will present its Appareo Pilot of the Year Award to a high-altitude rescue pilot in Alaska who has used his “exceptional flying ability” to carry out missions of great difficulty.
The award will be presented to Andreas Hermansky of Temsco Helicopters at Helicopter Association International’s Salute to Excellence Awards luncheon on March 6 at HAI Heli-Expo 2019 in Atlanta. The honor recognizes an outstanding single feat performed by a helicopter pilot during the year, or extraordinary professionalism over a period of time. Nominees must be active helicopter pilots.
Despite persistent bad weather, he flew multiple reconnaissance flights, and on Aug. 6, was able to lower ranger Chris Erickson, tethered to a rope, above the site, for five minutes. On Aug. 10, the weather improved enough to allow a comprehensive evaluation of the 11,000-foot-msl crash site. Hermansky piloted a 51-minute operation “of unprecedented duration and difficulty,” with ranger Tucker Chenoweth never disconnecting from a 200-foot tether line “because of the unstable terrain and weather.”
The news release added that Hermansky’s nominator for the award “noted that the series of short-haul flights highlights Hermansky’s exceptional flying ability and his ability to work in concert with the ranger team to accomplish critical missions.”
Hermansky was born in Austria and immigrated to the United States in 2000 after a decade of law enforcement work. After flight training, he worked as a flight instructor in California before he was hired by Temsco in Alaska. In 2010, he began working with the Denali National Park and Preserve mountaineering staff, piloting the park’s AStar B3e helicopter with the primary mission of providing emergency medical and search-and-rescue services “in the austere, high-altitude environment of the Alaska Range.”
Hermansky has amassed over 2,600 of his 8,000 flight hours within Denali National Park, and has flown nearly 300 search-and-rescue missions across Alaska.
“Hermansky has helped save many lives by bringing visitors in jeopardy to the definitive care they need. He has initiated numerous modifications to the aircraft to facilitate flying at high elevation and in a range of environmental conditions,” the announcement said.
HAI Heli-Expo, the world’s largest helicopter trade show and exhibition, will be held at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, March 4 through 7.