Helicopters Magazine

Top honours for Canadian industry leaders

January 16, 2013  By Carey Fredericks

Jan. 16, 2013, Alexandria, Va. - Canadian helicopter pilot Ruedi Hafen is one of the nation's most esteemed pilots, and now the 31-year veteran has another honour to add to his crowded mantel.

Hafen has been named Helicopter Association International's pilot of the year for 2013, the 58th award Hafen has garnered over an illustrious career. He will be honoured March 6 at a gala dinner during HAI's Heli Expo.

The former owner and vice president of public relations for Niagara Helicopters has flown more hours than any pilot in Canada since arriving from his native Switzerland in the earlier 1980s, deftly transforming the Pan Air heliport in Niagara Falls into a fledging tourism business. He worked tirelessly for tourism outfit Niagara Helicopters until last year, when he sold to last year to Helicopter Transport Services.

Hafen isn't the only Canadian to be honoured by the HAI this year. Dr. Gregory Powell, O.C, the founder of director emeritus of the Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society (STARS), was named winner of the Eurocopter Golden Hour Award. STARs has been a leader in medical transport in Canada for years, and has successfully expanded its presence throughout western Canada.

Greg Whyte, vice president of system operations with CHC Helicopter, captured the AgustaWestland Safety Award. Among his many accomplishments, Whyte has been instrumental in the development of the impressive CHC Safety & Quality summit, one of the industry's must attend annual events.


Shawn Corwyn Coyle, the director of training with the Marinvent Corporation, was named the winner of HAI's Excellence in Communications Award. The veteran pilot is the author of "The Art and Science of Flying Helicopters," a required read on many academic "must read" lists for young pilots.

A compete list of winners:

Rolls-Royce Excellence in Helicopter Maintenance Award
Gary Dennis Rogers
Maintenance Controller PNG, Columbia Helicopters, Inc.

Sikorsky Humanitarian Service Award
AST1 O’Brien Starr-Hollow and AST3 Tyler J. Gaenzle
U.S. Coast Guard Sector Columbia River

AgustaWestland Safety Award
Gregory F. Wyght
Vice President, Systems Operations, CHC Helicopter

W. A. (Dub) Blessing Certified Flight Instructor of the Year Award
Randal Rock Rowles
VP/General Manager, Era Training Center LLC

Eurocopter Golden Hour Award
Dr. Gregory Powell, O.C.
Founder and Director Emeritus, Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society (STARS)

Excellence in Communications Award
Shawn Corwyn Coyle
Director of Training, Marinvent Corporation

Bell Helicopter Lifetime Achievement Award
Roy G. Fox

MD Helicopters Law Enforcement Award
Airborne Law Enforcement Association (ALEA)

Pilot of the Year Award
Ruedi H. Hafen
Commercial Pilot, HTSC/Niagara Helicopters Limited


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