The Helicopter Assn. International is calling for members as well as nonmembers to submit nominees for the 2008 Salute to Excellence awards. Nominations must be submitted by Oct. 3.
The honors, to be presented at the awards dinner during Heli-Expo 2008 in Houston Feb. 24-26, recognize individuals and organizations for exceptional achievements and professionalism. Presenting 13 awards in various categories, HAI continues a 47-year tradition of honoring workers within the international helicopter community. Award categories include Pilot of the Year (the oldest of all the awards, established in 1960), Outstanding Certified Flight Instructor, Aviation Maintenance Technician, Excellence in Communications, the Igor Sikorsky Award for Humanitarian Service, and The Joe Mashman Safety Award.
With humble beginnings scrubbing aircraft in a local airport, the 2006 recipient of the Pilot of the Year Award, Dale Weir, exemplifies the hard work and dedication the HAI looks to honor. After being drafted by the Army and attending flight school, Weir graduated at the top of his class and began a successful flying career. Having flown over 23,000 hr, he is been a pioneer in using helicopters for timber harvesting, rooftop construction, and powerline replacement, as well as the famous hover barge tow in Alaska. But he was awarded Pilot of the Year mainly because of his exceptional piloting skills.
Encompassing numerous achievements throughout the industry, the Salute to Excellence awards are intended by HAI to serve as an incentive for renewal of a strong work ethic as well as a drive for excellence and professionalism. A good example of that is the New York Police Dept., recipient of the Agusta Community Service Award for 2006. Known as America’s first police aerial support unit, the aviation unit has supplied airborne assistance to New York police officers since 1929. In 2006, they logged 4,000 flight hours, completed over 9,900 assignments, and saved numerous lives while risking their own.
Contact HAI for a copy of the 2008 Call for Nominations Booklet, or download it at www.rotor.com. Nominations may be made at the Web site, faxed to 703-683-4745, or mailed to HAI, 1635 Prince St., Alexandria, Va. 22314-2818. — Danielle LaTouche