The Wright Brothers’ Master Pilot Awards, which recognize pilots who have demonstrated professionalism, skill and aviation expertise by maintaining safe operations for 50 or more years, were bestowed on Robert Duncan, chairman emeritus of Duncan Aviation; and Corporate Flight Management founder Reece Howell III by the FAA’s Safety Team. In addition, Howell also received the 2009 Flight Instructor of the Year award, and was inducted into the Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame.
Sharon Forbes, supervisor of scheduling operations and facility manager for DuPont’s FAR Part 91 flight department headquartered in Wilmington, Del., was the first recipient of NBAA’s Schedulers & Dispatchers Outstanding Achievement & Leadership Award. In 1989 she was one of the driving forces behind the establishment of what eventually became the Schedulers & Dispatchers Committee.
The Helicopter Association International has chosen Neill Osborne, Era Helicopters president and COO, as the winner of the 2009 Lawrence D. Bell Memorial Award. Active in the international helicopter industry for more than 40 years, Osborne has had worldwide responsibility for the operational efficiency and safety of a broad variety of aircraft types. Osborne served as a U.S. army pilot for four years and was awarded the Bronze Star and Army Commendation Medal for his Vietnam service. In 1971 he entered the public realm, and worked his way to management positions at operators PHI and Air Logistics. Under his leadership since 1995, Era Helicopters developed the first FAR Part 135 Flight Operations Quality Assurance program and one of the first safety management systems adopted by a U.S. operator.
HAI also announced the 2009 Eurocopter Golden Hour Award recipient, Chicago Fire Department Air Sea Rescue, of Chicago. On April 18, 2008, the unit responded when a child in a stroller was blown into Lake Michigan by a freak gust of wind. Having obtained the location from first responders, rescue divers dropped into the lake from the helicopter and located the child. Although the child had been under water for 15 minutes, he made a full recovery after four months of intensive care.