Katrina Volunteers, 'Whirly-Girls' To Be Honored
International has announced their 2005 'Salute To Excellence' Award
winners, recognizing each as important contributors to stressing
the importance and necessity of rotorcraft in the world today.
The 2005 Igor I. Sikorsky Award for Humanitarian Service,
presented to the person(s) who best demonstrates the value of civil
rotorcraft to society by saving lives, protecting property, and
aiding those in distress, will be presented on behalf of all
companies, organizations, and individuals who took part in the
relief efforts following Hurricane Katrina.
"Immediately following the storm, US Coast Guard helicopters
were airlifting victims, surrounded by toxic floodwater, from
rooftops," said HAI to Aero-News. "Civilian helicopter operators,
including many HAI members, soon followed, offering relief and
assistance in any way they could. For many, the helicopter was the
only option for rescue, [and] even now, they continue to play a
vital role in the reconstruction efforts.
"To many victims of the deadly storm, the helicopters and their
crews were the ultimate heroes," said HAI. "The events associated
with this relief effort was truly one of the helicopter
industry’s finest hours and clearly demonstrated that
helicopters save lives."
HAI also announced that
Whirly-Girls International -- a non-profit, educational, and
charitable organization dedicated to advancing women in helicopter
aviation -- is the 2005 recipient of the Agusta Community Service
Award. This award recognizes an individual or organization for the
establishment of public use of heliports, advancement of the use of
helicopters in urban areas operations, and the advancement of
“Fly Neighborly” concepts.
Over its 50 years, the Whirly-Girls has grown from 13 members at
its creation to 1,362 members today from 43 countries.
According to HAI, Whirly-Girls includes corporate, commercial
and military pilots, flight school managers and instructors,
mechanics, heliport designers, flight surgeons, air traffic
controllers, attorneys, paralegals, airport managers, business
owners, cattle ranchers, aeronautical engineers, test pilots,
administrative assistants, owners, operators, aviation pioneers,
and pathfinders," said HAI.
The Whirly-Girls award an average of $40,000 in scholarships
each year to female pilots -- currently, the helicopter
industry’s largest scholarship fund.
The “Salute to Excellence” awards banquet will take
place February 27, 2006, during Heli-Expo 2006, at the Wyndham
Anatole Hotel, in Dallas, TX.