Alexandria, Va. (January 09, 2019) – Helicopter Association International (HAI) is pleased to announce today that Chris Sharpe, project manager of HeliSOS in Guatemala, is the 2019 winner of HAI’s Salute to Excellence BLR Aerospace Excellence in Safety Award. With this award, HAI acknowledges outstanding contributions in the promotion of safety and safety awareness throughout the international helicopter community. The award will be presented at HAI’s Salute to Excellence Awards luncheon at HAI HELI-EXPO 2019 in Atlanta.
A native of the United Kingdom, Sharpe spent 18 years in the British Royal Navy before beginning his civilian aviation career in 2010. He has considerable expertise as a combat flight paramedic and search-and-rescue crewman, with more than 15,000 flight hours and approximately 6,000 rescues to his name.
In early 2015, Sharpe began working as chief aircrewman, search-and-rescue specialist, and flight paramedic for helicopter operator Helicópteros de Guatemala and SOS Servicios Médicos, a provider of medical and emergency transport services and medical training. The two companies joined together to create the HeliSOS project, a licensed and accredited helicopter air ambulance and rescue service. Under Sharpe’s management, HeliSOS is the first helicopter fully licensed as an advanced cardiac life-support air ambulance in Guatemala.
Sharpe has given his time — and often, his own money — to train and educate others. He developed and offered aircrew survival courses for the anti-narcotics and anti-terrorist units of the Guatemalan Air Force. He initiated the first community visit of a helicopter air ambulance to the Colegio Maya, a pre-K through 12 school in Guatemala City, acquainting future generations with the helicopter industry.
Sharpe also opened Black Wolf Helicopter Special Operations, which offers training and operational support to government and military helicopter special ops units, as well as charter and adventure flights. All Black Wolf profits go to support HeliSOS’s initiatives to provide first-class air ambulance and rescue services to all, regardless of their ability to pay.
Sharpe’s nomination reads, “Chris does not teach with an air of superiority but with a spirit of collaboration and sharing.… His commitment to raising industry standards for safety, training, and patient care is above and beyond an employer mandate. It demonstrates a personal passion worthy of recognition.”
The award will be presented at the Salute to Excellence Awards luncheon during HAI HELI-EXPO 2019. HAI HELI-EXPO®, the world’s largest helicopter trade show and exhibition, will be held at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, GA, March 4–7, with the exhibit hall open March 5–7. For more information on HAI HELI-EXPO 2019, visit heliexpo.rotor.org.
HAI is the professional trade association for the civil helicopter industry. HAI’s over 2,500 members safely operate more than 4,500 helicopters approximately 2.3 million flight hours each year in 73 nations. 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.