HAI Announces Recipient of the 2006 Pilot of the Year Award

Alexandria, Va., January 16, 2007- HAI is pleased to announce this year's Pilot of the Year Award recipient, Mr. Dale Weir. To date, Weir has flown over 23,000 hours in helicopters and participated in some industry firsts, including timber harvesting, roof top construction, power line replacement by helicopter, the famous hover barge tow in Alaska, and a demonstration of the Suspended Maneuvering System designed by McDonnell Douglas for the rescue of persons from high rise buildings.

Weir began his career scrubbing planes at a local airport. He was drafted by the Army and chose helicopters over infantry. Weir placed in the top percentile of his flight school class and was offered the opportunity to fly CH-47 Chinooks. A transmission failure left him with severe injuries. However, Weir chose not to end his flying career, and went on to join Columbia Helicopters Inc. (CHI). For 33 years and counting, Weir continues to fly for CHI and provides the professionalism, skill, and innovation that make him the go-to pilot for tough jobs.

CHI expanded its FAA Part 135 program to include the Boeing 234 Chinook, and Weir's leadership skills and experience were among the reasons he was selected to help develop the program. Weir was one of the first to participate in the proof of concept of the Chinook for use by CHI. His experience, leadership, and professionalism are just some of the qualities the rotorcraft industry has benefited from.

All winners will be recognized at HELI-EXPO 2007’s annual "Salute to Excellence" Awards Celebration on March 2, 2007 at 8:00 p.m. in Orlando, Florida. For more information about the 2007 "Salute to Excellence" Awards Celebration, contact HAI's Communications Department at 703-683-4646, fax: 703-683-4745, or email: rotor@rotor.com. For more information on HELI-EXPO 2007, visit www.heliexpo.com.

HAI is the professional trade association for international helicopter industry. HAI's 1,350-plus-member organizations and 1,150 individual members, in more than 73 nations, safely operate more than 4,500 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.