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Fri, Feb 27, 2004

HAI Announces Recipients Of The Pilot Of The Year Award

Association Honors Laurence Perry, Rick Harmon

Laurence Perry of Classic Helicopters and Rick Harmon of Hawkins and Powers Aviation, Wyoming, are the recipients of Helicopter Association International's (HAI) Pilot of the Year Award. This award will be presented March 16, 2004, at HELI-EXPO in Las Vegas, Nevada, during HAI's 43rd annual "Salute to Excellence" award ceremony.

After a bolt of lightning struck six of thirteen hikers, Aug. 23, 2003, at Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, Perry and Harmon flew to the rescue. Cell phone calls were placed to 911 by the injured hikers and a magnificently planned and implemented two-helicopter rescue relay followed."

The Teton rangers needed to reach Friction Pitch, tend to the injured in one area, rescue a dangling climber, and get to three more hikers who were injured, huddling 200 feet below on narrow ledges in just four and a half hours. Perry needed to use a long-line rescue system to transport injured climbers off the peak. Much thought was given to working on the downwind side of a 13,770-foot mountain with winds from 15 to 115 miles per hour.

One by one, the injured were attached by climbing harnesses to the rope, secured with an extrication suit, and whisked down to the Lower Saddle. Harmon then loaded patients inside his airship from the Lower Saddle and transported them to Lukpine Meadows. "Without them (Perry and Harmon) and their expertise, I probably wouldn't be here. The people who do that are true heroes," said Rodrigo Liberal, one of the 13 hikers.

For performing one of the most spectacular rescues in the history of American mountaineering, HAI says it is proud to present Perry and Harmon the Pilot of the Year Award.

FMI: www.rotor.com

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