Helicopter Association International
 2016 Award Winners

R. Randall Padfield recently retired as the chief operating officer of Aviation    International News (AIN), having also served as the publication’s editor-in-chief.   He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and a 9,000-hour pilot with airline    transport pilot certificates for rotorcraft and multiengine fixed-wing aircraft. Most    of his time is in helicopters.


Padfield flew Sikorsky “Jolly Green Giant” combat    search-and-rescue helicopters while in the Air Force    and is credited with seven saves. Once back in the    civilian workforce, he flew Sikorsky S-61s, Bell 212s, and    Aerospatiale Super Pumas in the North Sea oil fields, as    well as corporate helicopters in the United States.

He also began writing for a number of aviation    publications. Padfield joined AIN as a full-time editor   in 1993.

His field experience made him the ideal choice to fly and    review helicopters for AIN. He was often called upon to    cover rotorcraft issues for AIN’s various publications and served for many years as   the editor of its HAI HELI-EXPO convention news.

Padfield has also written four books, including To Fly Like a Bird, a biography of    helicopter industry pioneer Joe Mashman. He is the author of the highly regarded    Learning to Fly Helicopters, which he recently updated to include significant    technological advances since the first edition was    published, as well as new FAA regulations and    testing requirements.

In the foreword to Learning to Fly Helicopters,    fellow aviation journalist William Garvey wrote of    Padfield, “Over the years, I have come to admire    Randy’s special ability to convey both the technical   and practical aspects of rotary-wing flight. Anyone    truly interested in mastering these extraordinary    flying machines would be well served to spend some    time taking in what an aviator who achieved that   level years ago has to give.”

Capt. João Bosco Ferreira has been a helicopter instructor since his time in the  Brazilian Air Force in the 1970s and 1980s.

After attending helicopter flight-test pilot school in France in 1981, Bosco returned    to Brazil as chief of the Flight Test Division for the Brazilian Air Force’s Center    of Aeronautical Technology. In that role, he was    charged with creating the Brazilian flight-test  course.

In 1990, Bosco joined the Brazilian subsidiary   of what is now Airbus Helicopters as technical    director. There, he established the company’s Flight    Test Department and later developed emergency    procedures testing for both experienced company    pilots and for pilots training on newly purchased  helicopters.

A few years later, he established his own flight school, which places heavy emphasis   on emergency procedures — especially autorotations. Bosco has approximately   12,500 flight hours and has logged 32,500 “full-down” autorotations. He says that translates to approximately 400 flight hours in autorotation alone.

Bosco has trained hundreds of pilots, many of them for multiple certifications. He    works with international students from neighboring South American nations and   from Angola, a Portuguese-speaking West African nation. He also provides training   for several law enforcement aviation units in Brazil.   Bosco is recognized as a role model for the Brazilian helicopter community. 

Troy Lewis is the area training manager for engine manufacturer Turbomeca-   USA. During more than two decades there, he has trained thousands of aviation maintenance technicians each year.


Lewis began his aviation maintenance career in 1986 as a quality control inspector   for the Inter-Turbine Company. He later joined    Turbomeca’s Quality Department, where he was    instrumental in creating a number of programs that    have saved the company hundreds of thousands of  dollars.

He became a customer training instructor in 2008    and in 2014 was named lead instructor. In that    role, Lewis not only taught, but was responsible    for instructor audits, recurrent training and    qualifications, and for mentoring instructors in  Turbomeca’s training network.

Lewis’s energy, drive to excel, and willingness to help students makes everyone    around him strive for excellence as well.   He displays an ability to instruct, communicate, listen, and deliver information    to students in a way that is professional, clear, and accurate, and that fits each  student’s working level. By doing so, Lewis has made them safer, better technicians.

His commitment to excellence and safety is a reminder that safety in the air begins    in the hangar. Maintenance technicians are key    players in a safe operation, and it all starts with  excellent instruction.

Lt. Pat Lawrence is the chief pilot and commander of the Michigan State Police    Aviation Unit. He has been instrumental in rebuilding that unit, which was hard  hit by the economic downturn of the late 2000s.

Once a unit with five helicopters and three fixed-wing    aircraft, it shrank after 2008 to just two helicopters and    three pilots — at a time when crime in Detroit, Flint,   and Saginaw, the state’s three biggest cities, was soaring.   Working with what he had, Lawrence established a schedule to patrol the three cities on a nightly basis.

By the end of 2014, the three cities saw a 28 percent    drop in violent crime. Lawrence himself flew more    than a thousand hours patrolling the cities and flying    other missions, including search and rescue, marijuana  eradication, and disaster response.

Lawrence took a hands-on approach to restoring the unit. A flight instructor in    both fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, Lawrence trained two new pilots in 2014 and  established a tactical flight-officer training program.

In addition to his law enforcement duties, Lawrence lobbied state lawmakers to    expand the State Police Aviation Unit. He took the governor and several state    legislators on flights to show them firsthand the need for aviation assets. His   efforts were finally rewarded last year when the Michigan Legislature approved and purchased a third helicopter.

Lawrence also has an eye on the future and new   technology. He was instrumental in obtaining the    FAA’s first authorization allowing a law enforcement  agency to use unmanned aircraft statewide.

Eileen Frazer, RN, CMTE, is the executive director of the Commission on   Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems (CAMTS), an organization dedicated   to improving safety in air and ground medical transportation, which she founded and has led for 25 years.

In the mid-1980s, Frazer was an emergency room nurse    and chair of the safety committee of what is now the    Association of Air Medical Services. To address air    ambulance accidents, the committee drafted criteria for   peer-review safety audits. Frazer and the committee,    however, believed the audits should be performed by an  independent organization.

So in 1988 and 1989, Frazer conducted a feasibility    study, modeling her proposed organization on the Joint   Commission, the highly regarded group that accredits    hospitals, laboratories, and health care providers and services.

CAMTS was officially launched in 1990 as the Commission on Accreditation of    Air Medical Services, and Frazer spent much of the next two years writing the    accreditation standards and testing the audit process. The organization conducted its first official audit in February 1992.

In 1997, the commission expanded its focus to include ground medical transport    and changed its name to the current Commission  on Accreditation of Medical Transport Services.  Today, there are some 175 CAMTS-accredited air    ambulance programs in the United States and five  other countries.

According to Richard Morley, program director    for West Michigan Air Care, during his 29 years    in the industry, “I have not encountered another    individual more dedicated to, and focused on, the    goals of improving both the care provided to our   patients and the safety of the crews transporting and treating those patients.”

Downtown Boston poses a unique challenge for air ambulance operator Boston    MedFlight, with five hospitals interspersed among skyscrapers and other vertical    obstacles, and all located 3 miles or less from Boston’s Logan International Airport (KBOS).

Recognizing the benefits of point-in-space GPS approaches to the hospitals for    their patients, Boston MedFlight    joined with the FAA and private    industry to form a working group,    the Boston Area Helicopter IFR    Infrastructure Team, to address   the complex details involved in  such a project.

Over the course of six full years,    the infrastructure team designed    the instrument approaches and    got them certified by the FAA.   Having these approaches means that critically ill or    injured patients can be flown directly to the hospitals   in all weather conditions, saving vital time during bad weather.

Designing and certifying the approaches proved to be the easier part of the task.   After certification, the team had to work with air traffic controllers to train them   on the new procedures and ensure that helicopters landing at or departing from   the hospitals have minimal impact on arrivals and   departures at Logan — one of the nation’s busiest airports.

The FAA gave final approval and authorization to   begin using the new procedures on October 14,   2015. This project showcases the best efforts   of government and private industry working    cooperatively at the local level to enhance safety and improve the lives of people in their community.

On December 28, 2014, fire broke out aboard the seagoing ferry Norman Atlantic,   en route from Greece to Italy with nearly 500 passengers plus crew on board. By   morning, the fire was out of control and the ship was adrift in heavy seas and gale-force winds.

Over the course of the next three days, five helicopter units from the Italian Air   Force, Navy, and Coast Guard   mounted what is believed to be   the largest marine helicopterrescue mission ever attempted.

Because of the tight confines on   the ferry’s upper decks, only one   helicopter at a time could perform hoist operations.

Crews flew day and night for   three days, ferrying the rescued   to nearby ships. In the case of one squadron, 40 of    the more than 86 hours its helicopters flew were at night.

When it was done, although a dozen people lost their lives, more than 420   passengers and crew were airlifted safely from the Norman Atlantic.   In recognizing the crews, Matteo Renzi, Italy’s prime minister, said, “The   extraordinary dedication of these operational units and, above all, using the   helicopters that allow for this rescue at sea made it possible for those victims to live.

“This operation — so full of dedication, of tenacity,   and determination of our men and women — allowed us to avoid an even larger disaster.”

New Zealand–born Jason Andrew Laing is a 6,400-hour freelance helicopter pilot with more than 5,000 hours of mountain flying.

Operating from his home base in New Zealand, Laing has flown commercial,   tourism, and search-and-rescue missions in New Zealand, Australia, Antarctica,   Kashmir, and Nepal. He is a highly respected highaltitude   pilot who is often called upon for difficult   mountain rescues.

In April 2014, a huge avalanche at 19,000 feet on   Mount Everest, between Base Camp and Camp   One, trapped between 20 and 30 climbers.

Operating near the performance limits of his   helicopter, Laing landed twice to carry out seriously   injured survivors. He then flew an additional   15 sorties and, using a long line because of the   instability of the terrain at the landing site, hoisted additional survivors and   casualties out.

The mission is considered the largest high-altitude helicopter rescue operation ever   performed in the Himalayas.

A year later, in April 2015, a powerful earthquake strong enough to move all of   Mount Everest two inches struck, cutting off communication with hundreds of   rural communities. The day after the quake, Laing was tasked to fly to one such   village, where he found the village destroyed with   some 500 lives lost. Laing returned to base and   raised the alarm to begin a major rescue effort.

Next, he was sent to Mount Everest’s Camps   One and Two, where some 140 climbers had been   trapped by a collapsed icefall.

Laing has previously been honored with the   Kumar Khadga Bickram Adventurous Award from   the Nepal Mountaineering Association and the   Fédération Aéronautique Internationale Diploma   for outstanding airmanship.

Dana H. Kerrick has served the aviation industry for more than 5½ decades as a   military and civilian maintenance specialist, civilian pilot, flight instructor, air taxi   operator, and pioneer in helicopter rotor-blade composites. He recently retired as vice president and co-founder of International Aviation Composites (IAC).

Kerrick is recognized throughout the industry as one   of the foremost experts in rotor-blade inspection,   maintenance, and repair. He has written extensively for   numerous maintenance and aviation publications and his   course on rotor-blade preventive maintenance has been   part of the Rotor Safety Challenge since its inception at   HAI HELI‑EXPO 2013 in Las Vegas.

Kerrick began his aviation career in the U.S. Air Force   working on B-52s. He reentered the civilian workforce in   1970 but didn’t discover helicopters until he turned 40.   He is a pilot of both airplanes and rotorcraft and is an   FAA-approved inspection authority renewal instructor.

Outside of work, Kerrick volunteered as part of the San Joaquin County,   California, Sheriff’s Air Posse for 40 years, flying both helicopters and airplanes in   support of department operations.

Early in Kerrick’s civilian aviation career, he was the flight instructor for the   founder of Composite Technology, Inc. (CTI), who eventually convinced Kerrick   to come work for the company. He stayed with   CTI from 1981 until 1992, when he left to found   IAC with two friends, Randy Stevens and Herman Bevelhimer.

During his time in the helicopter world, Kerrick   has seen rotor blades evolve from carefully matched   wooden blades, to metal-skinned blades, to today’s composite blades.

Reflecting on his success in the industry, Kerrick   says, “I always tried to find the most talented people   and learn from them everything they were willing to share.”


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Helicopter Association International
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