News 2007

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An archive summary of news from 2007. Please note that external links may no longer be valid.

Richard Hayes wins World Aviation Award for Outstanding Airmanship

December 07

A South Island helicopter pilot has become the first New Zealander to receive an international award for outstanding airmanship that helped to save lives.

Only one pilot in the world is given the award in any year and it was presented at the opening ceremony of the New Zealand air-games.

Legendary helicopter pilot Richard Hayes received the Outstanding Airman Award from the President of the World Air Sports Federation for helping to save the life of others.

"My congratulations and I hope there's no more bushfires but if there is one please help again," said Pierre Portmann, Federation Aeronautique Internationale.

"He flew that helicopter for five to six hours through some of the most extreme conditions that anyone could ever fly a helicopter in," said John Mclean from Flying NZ.

Those extreme conditions were on the third of November 2005 when gusty winds of up to 75 kilometres an hour, helped by strong heat and smoke from a very large fire and only one pilot was authorised to fly with night vision goggles.

"You sort of have to go over the fire to do any good with the bucket and it got a bit interesting there for a while not to the dangerous factor but it gets a bit bumpy and you've got to hang on a bit," says Richard Hayes over the experience that won him the award.

He was on his own, with the best view of how close the fire was getting, knew what those on the ground would be going through.

"The mere fact they can hear the noise of the helicopter in the middle of the night does give a bit of comfort to a few people," says Hayes.

"Richard Hayes has really been a legend in the South Island for many years and it's just made up one of the many things he's done," says Mclean.

The award is quite a rarity - the last time this award was handed out was a joint award to the pilots involved in rescuing people after Hurricane Katrina.

Flying New Zealand says it could have nominated Hayes for any number of rescues but they are just glad this humble pilot accepted the award.

Bivy Support for the Department of Conservation on Resolution Island.

September 07

Tourism New Zealand staff visit Southern Lakes Helicopters

September 07

Click here to read the acknowledgement from Tourism New Zealand staff recently flown.

North & South Feature Article

September 07

North-&-South.pdf, click to read pdf

Southland Times Article 8th August 2007

Click here to read the article