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HAI Announces Recipient of the 2009 Igor I. Sikorsky Award for Humanitarian Service

16th December 2008 - 07:02 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


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HAI is proud to announce the 2009 Igor I. Sikorsky Award for Humanitarian Service recipient, Grand Canyon National Park Helitack, Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters, Grand Canyon, Arizona.

Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters provides a full 365 day a year service contract which includes pilots, mechanics, and support vehicles to preserve and protect the visitors and resources of the Grand Canyon. Grand Canyon National Park Helitack provides search & rescue services, medical evacuations, short-haul rescues, and an aerial search platform. During the summer the helitack program is also staffed with fourteen firefighters who provide wildland support including fire initial attack, heli-rappel firefighter deployment, long line cargo support, passenger transport, water bucket support, and other large fire logistical support.

On August 16, 2008, Havasu Canyon, a popular side canyon of the Grand Canyon, flooded as a result of heavy, localized, monsoon rains. That evening, the Grand Canyon Regional Communications Center received word that five unmanned rafts had been seen floating down the Colorado River with supplies and personal floatation devices aboard.

At approximately 10:45 a.m. the next day, a Grand Canyon National Park Helitack helicopter found the boating party stranded on a ledge at the confluence of Havasu Creek and the Colorado River. A plan was conceived by the flight crew that the safest and most efficient way to get the people to safety was to rig the aircraft for short-haul and evacuate them on a long line across Havasu Canyon to a safe landing area. Once in position, the rescuers outfitted each boater in a rescue triangle and climbing helmet. The evacuation required precision flying under difficult conditions due to the tight canyon and the need to hover for prolonged periods in close proximity to the canyon wall. Eventually all the members of the boating party were evacuated.

The Grand Canyon National Park Helitack crew provides the highest level of service through effective crew resource management, ground training, and skill proficiency. They fly in excess of 450 flight hours in the Grand Canyon annually.

All winners will be recognized at HELI-EXPO 2009's annual "Salute to Excellence" Awards Banquet on February 23, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. in Anaheim, California. For more information about the 2009 "Salute to Excellence" Awards Banquet, contact HAI's Communications Department at 703-683-4646, fax: 703-683-4745, or email: rotor@rotor.com. For more information on HELI-EXPO 2009, visit www.heliexpo.com.

HAI is a professional trade association representing 2,800 plus members, in 74 nations, who safely operate more than 5,000 helicopters approximately 2.3 million hours each year. HAI is dedicated to the promotion of the helicopter as a safe, effective method of commerce, and to the advancement of the international helicopter community.


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