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HAI Announces Recipient of the 2008 Pilot of the Year Award

HAI has disclosed its annual Pilot of the Year Award recipient -- Mr. Franz Ivanovich Levitskiy, Pilot/Instructor, UTair Aviation, Surgut, Russia. Levitskiy began his career in 1965 after graduating from Kremenchug Aviation School of Civil Aviation. Beginning as an M-4 co-pilot, he advanced to pilot instructor with Flight Instruction Team #2, Flight Directorate, UTair Aviation, JSc. UTair Aviation is a large, well-known, respected helicopter operation, accounting for 14 percent of the market share in Russia. The company primarily services oil and gas companies such as Surgutneftegaz, Gazprom, Roseneft, and Slavneft.
Levitskiy was involved in the development, testing, and installation of advanced navigation and landing aids on the Mi-8MTV and Mi-26T models. During his 40-year career, Levitskiy has logged 27,500 accident-free flight hours. He became an authorized flight instructor on the Mi-4, Mi-6, Mi-8, Mi-8MTV, and Mi-26T helicopter models. Levitskiy was involved with subsurface exploration and development of the largest Russian West-Siberian oil-producing complex and developed the first routes to Cambodia, Canada, India, and East Timor. He has flown peacekeeping support missions for the United Nations in Yugoslavia, Somalia, Sierra-Leone, East Timor, Congo and Liberia.

Flying in the Arctic, Levitskiy's missions included lifesaving operations- rescuing people from starvation and freezing cold. In 1999 he participated in a unique endurance flight in a Mi-26 helicopter, accompanied by scientists, geologists, crew, and television journalists to the North Pole. The helicopter left Hatanga Airport, refueled at Sredniy Island, and then flew to the North Pole where he landed at a chosen spot and shut down the engines. On the return flight, Levitskiy flew to a base on the Arctic Cape of Komsomol Island to refuel, and then returned via Sredniy Island and back to Hatanga.

Levitskiy has been awarded a medal for "Excellent Service" and a badge recognizing him as an "Aeroflot Expert." In 2006, Levitskiy was awarded the title of "Honorary Member of the Fight Safety Partnership" at a ceremony of the nonprofit partnership, which took place in Moscow. His experience, leadership, and professionalism are just some of the qualities that have earned him the profound respect and admiration of his crewmen, subordinates, and the entire industry.

All winners will be recognized at HELI-EXPO 2008's annual "Salute to Excellence" Awards Banquet on February 25, 2008 in Houston Texas. HAI is the professional trade association serving the international helicopter community. HAI's 1,500-plus-member organizations and 900 individual members, in more than 74 nations, safely operate more than 5,000 helicopters approximately 2.3 million hours each year.

FMI: www.heliexpo.com. www.rotor.com


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