The Helicopter Assn. International is honoring "all companies, organizations and individuals" who participated in the relief efforts following Hurricane Katrina with this year’s Igor I. Sikorsky Award for Humanitarian Service. The award is traditionally given to an individual or individuals "who best demonstrates the value of civil rotorcraft to society by saving lives, protecting property and aiding those in distress." It will be presented during HAI’s "Salute to Excellence" banquet Feb. 27, during Heli-Expo 2006 in Dallas, Texas.
In deciding to honor such a sweeping segment of the industry, HAI considered the vital role all the companies, organizations and individuals played in the rescue and relief operations in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. "The events associated with this relief effort were truly one of the helicopter industry’s finest hours and clearly demonstrated that helicopters save lives," said HAI President Matthew Zuccaro.
HAI is honoring another large group this year, presenting the Agusta Community Service Award to the Whirly-Girls International. This award is to an individual or organization involved in the public use of heliports, advancement of the use of helicopters in urban area operations and the advancement of "Fly Neighborly" concepts. The Whirly-Girls is an international organization of 1,362 members that celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. Its goals are to promote the acceptance of rotorcraft through public awareness, promote the advancement of women in rotorcraft aviation, provide information on the employment of women in the helicopter industry and encourage the development of helipads. Other winners are on page 12.