Helicopters Magazine

HAI Announces Recipient of the 2008 Igor I. Sikorsky Humanitarian Award

Dec. 10, 2007, Alexandria, VA - HAI is proud to announce this year’s Igor I. Sikorsky Humanitarian Award recipient, County of Los Angeles Fire Department, Air Operations Section, Pacoima, California.

December 10, 2007
By Corrie

lacf_bell412Dec. 10, 2007, Alexandria, VA – HAI is proud to announce this year’s Igor I. Sikorsky Humanitarian Award recipient, County of Los Angeles Fire Department, Air Operations Section, Pacoima, California. 

The Los Angeles County terrain can be as diverse as the rugged San Gabriel Mountains, the vast high desert of the Antelope Valley, the islands of Catalina and San Clemente, and the expansive coastline and scenic beaches that make up the greater Los Angeles area. During the fall and winter months, the department routinely battles the destructive wind-driven “Santa Ana” wildfires that push down from the high-desert area to the coastline. The unit has pioneered the use of helicopters in wildland firefighting and is still a leader today in the use of aircraft in urban areas. In 2006, the department battled 405 wildfires and dropped nearly two million gallons of water and retardent. In addition to their expertise in firefighting, the department has been a major player in Emergency Medical Services (EMS) operations since 1967. In 2006, they transported more than 1,222 patients, performed more than 30 hoist rescues, and flew just over 15,000 passengers.

August 2007 marked the 50th anniversary of the Air Operations Section of the Los Angeles County Fire Department. From their humble beginnings with a single Bell 47 to the present day fleet of three Sikorsky S-70 Firehawks, six Bell 412s, and a Bell 206 JetRanger, the Air Operations Section has been serving the citizens of Los Angeles County with pride. During that time, the unit has flown well over 100,000 hours in support of operations in and around the Southern California area. With more than 4,600 personnel and 179 fire stations, the department is the largest county fire department in the United States, and its population base of 11 million makes Los Angeles County one of the most populated regions in the country.

To ensure safety, pilots work closely with firefighters and paramedic crews. Chief Anthony Marrone credits the staff for the section’s safety record. Marrone points out, “We have a great group of dedicated pilots, firefighters, paramedics, and mechanics, that is why we have one of the safest operations in North America.” We congratulate the dedicated men and women of the Air Operations Section as they continue to save lives, protect property, battle wildfires, and provide outstanding service for the next 50 years.


All winners will be recognized at HELI-EXPO 2008’s annual “Salute to Excellence” Awards Banquet on February 25, 2008 at 8:00 p.m. in Houston Texas.  For more information about the 2008 “Salute to Excellence” Awards Banquet, contact HAI’s Communications Department at 703-683-4646, fax: 703-683-4745, or email: rotor@rotor.com.  For more information on HELI-EXPO 2008, visit www.heliexpo.com.

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. HAI is dedicated to the promotion of the helicopter as a safe, effective method of commerce and to the advancement of the international helicopter community.

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