HAI Announces Recipient of the 2010 Rolls-Royce Excellence in Helicopter Maintenance Award

Alexandria, VA, January 11, 2010 – HAI is pleased to announce the 2010 Rolls-Royce Excellence in Helicopter Maintenance Award recipient, Robert Peterson; Consultant, Columbia Helicopters, Inc., Aurora, Oregon.

Over a span of 46 years, Robert Peterson has become a renowned authority on aircraft hydraulic systems. As such, he is routinely sought after as an instructor and speaker at conferences around the world. Drafted into the U.S. Air Force in 1963, Peterson spent five years working on hydraulics. During that time, he worked on numerous aircraft that included the F-4, B-52, KC-135, C-130, and the C-47 to name but a few. He became known as “Chief Trouble Shooter” – if there was a problem, he was the one called.

Upon leaving the military, Peterson studied for A&P certification, and joined Columbia Helicopters in 1972. At the time, the company was having hydraulic problems with their Vertol B107-11 fleet. Peterson was able to reduce fluid contamination by reworking the filter and flush system. As a result, flight hours soared. Eighteen months later, Peterson was named Hydraulic Shop Chief, a position he held for over 30 years. Peterson continued to work on purifying hydraulic fluid, achieving purification levels 1 & 2 where level 5 is acceptable, enabling Columbia to maintain a 97 percent mission availability rate, despite operating in some of the most remote and rugged parts of the world. These results were so impressive that the U.S. Army sent several crews to Columbia’s headquarters to learn how to achieve the same results. Peterson also developed new seals for upper boost actuators and lag dampers. As a result, Columbia’s Model 234 helicopter field crews are able to predict when hydraulic manifolds and pumps are going to fail.

In addition to his Air Force service, Peterson spent 31 years in the Air National Guard, always working on aircraft hydraulic systems. Peterson is a member of the Standards of American Engineering (SAE).

Thanks to an exceptional memory, Peterson can recall nearly everything he has ever learned about the hydraulics on any aircraft he has worked on. Still referred to as “Chief Trouble Shooter,” his interest in making a hydraulic system work to optimum efficiency, and willingness to share his knowledge, is why he embodies the spirit of the Rolls-Royce Excellence in Helicopter Maintenance Award.

All winners will be recognized at HELI-EXPO 2010’s annual “Salute to Excellence” Awards Banquet on February 22, 2010 in Houston, Texas. For more information about the 2010 “Salute to Excellence” Awards, contact HAI’s Communications Department at 703-683-4646, fax: 703-683-4745, or email: rotor@rotor.com. For more information on HELI-EXPO 2010, visit www.rotor.com.

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