HAI Announces Recipient of the 2010 Pilot of the Year Award

Earl S Palmer; chief pilot, Hillcrest Aircraft Company, is the 2010 Pilot of the Year Award recipient.


Alexandria, VA, January 11, 2010 – HAI is pleased to announce the 2010 Pilot of the YearAward recipient, Earl S Palmer; Chief Pilot, Hillcrest Aircraft Company, Lewiston, Idaho.

Earl S. Palmer’s versatility and quest for professional excellence has been evident in a career spanning nearly 50 years. In 1962 Palmer enlisted in the U.S. Army as a Caribou mechanic, and after flight training was assigned to the 118th Assault Helicopter Company in Bien Hoa, Vietnam, where he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for participation in a night re-supply of a besieged outpost under heavy enemy fire. Following active service, Palmer taught pilots to fly the venerable Bell “Huey.”

After leaving the military, Palmer worked in Colorado in a variety of helicopter operations, including building microwave repeaters at 13,000 feet, and the early development of helicopter seismic work in the Western United States. He was also involved in rescuing a group of teenage girls stranded in a blizzard.

In 1975 Palmer joined the Bureau of Land Management at the Idaho Interagency Fire Center, and in 1977 moved to the USDA Forest Service as a helicopter specialist, working to re-introduce large helicopters to fire operations. Palmer was instrumental in developing equipment and procedures for night heli-torch operations. From 1989 to 1992, Palmer served as Regional Aviation Officer in Portland, Oregon. In 1998 he joined Hillcrest Aircraft Company in Lewiston, Idaho, becoming Chief Pilot in 2001.

Palmer holds an Airline Transport Pilot license with SD-3 rating, Airplane Single and Multi-Engine Land, Airplane Single Engine Sea, and Airplane and Helicopter Flight Instructor certifications. He also holds an A&P license with Inspection Authorization. Palmer has logged 13,000 hours of helicopter, and 3,000 hours of airplane flight time. Throughout his aviation career, Palmer has continually mentored new, young, and old pilots. His outstanding devotion to duty, his technical skills, and mature judgment embody the qualities that the Pilot of the Year Award was designed to recognize.

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. To unsubscribe please send an email to rotor@rotor.com.

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