New Award Honors the Tough Decision

“The Moral Courage Safety Award pays tribute to those who make the right decision based on sound safety risk management principles, even in the face of pressure — whether external or self-imposed — to complete the mission,” said Mr. D Smith, senior air safety investigator for USDOT and founder of the award program. “The awards provide a huge opportunity to promote and foster a positive safety culture by recognizing individuals and organizations who demonstrate commitment and action that encourage a positive safety culture.”

The award was inspired by the story of an EMS pilot transporting a critically ill newborn baby, who nevertheless decided to abort the mission and land due to deteriorating weather, and finish the infant’s transport in a ground-based ambulance. His organization not only supported the pilot’s decision; it recognized him publicly for making it.

Anyone can submit a nomination. To do so, draft a short narrative describing the activities of the individual, crew, or organization. Your narrative should include the circumstances, the specific decision that was made, critical factors of the decision, and conclude with the outcome in terms of operational safety. Email it to All helicopter operators, crew members, maintenance personnel, managers, and their organizations are eligible to receive the award.

Nominations are due 30 days prior to the start of HELI-EXPO®. (HELI-EXPO 2013 will be held March 4-7 in Las Vegas.).

Any questions, comments, or suggestions should be directed to Mr. D Smith via email at, or by telephone at 405-694-1644 (mobile) or 405-954-2913 (office).

Posted on Tuesday, October 16, 2012 (Archive on Monday, January 01, 0001)
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