Appareo Pilot of the Year Award

sunyi12345 2017 Award Winners

Robert Fournier was just three years old when he saw a Sikorsky Skycrane lift Toronto’s CN Tower antenna. From then on, he was set on an aviation career. After spending five years flying various charter assignments in northern Canada, he took a position with Helicopter Transport Services (HTS), based in Ontario.

Trent Vick’s interest in aviation was sparked by a 2008 presentation on medical careers that included a fly-in by a helicopter air ambulance. Vick joined the U.S. Air Force in 2009 to fund his helicopter flight training at Hillsboro Aero Academy. After completing his commercial rating, he was hired by HTS as a seasonal S-61 copilot. He is also a flight instructor at Hillsboro.

Fournier and Vick's tireless efforts and outstanding professionalism helped contain the fire and keep it from progressing to nearby homes.

Fournier and Vick were paired on a call-when-needed contract, fighting fires all over the northwest. In the summer of 2016, they received an emergency dispatch to the Copper King Fire in Montana. Steep terrain and 50-knot winds made the fire difficult to control. The two pilots worked several long days dipping water from a nearby river. Their tireless efforts and outstanding professionalism helped contain the fire and kept it from progressing to nearby homes.

During their many water runs, Fournier and Vick noticed a small boy transfixed by the sight of the aircraft that was helping his firefighter dad. After their last flight, Fournier and Vick set out to find their fan. Each of them had chosen an aviation career because of a chance encounter when they were young, and they wanted to offer the little boy the same opportunity. Commenting on the pilots’ visit, the boy’s grandfather said, “I had already been impressed with their fire suppression skills. I am now more impressed with their hearts.”

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