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HAI Board of Directors Elects Officers, Adds Directors and UAS Adviser

By July 8, 2020March 26th, 2021No Comments

HAI is pleased to announce the election of three new members to its Board of Directors, selected by HAI members during HELI-EXPO 2020 in Anaheim. Additionally, the board created the role of special adviser for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to consult on shaping the safe integration of UAS into our shared airspace.

The Board of Directors also established its slate of officers for the 2020–21 year, which began on Jun. 30. Stacy Sheard took over as board chair, Marc Stanley assumed the duties of vice chair, Randy Rowles serves as treasurer, and Jeff Smith is assistant treasurer.

An Additional Director This Year

The HAI Board of Directors typically has nine members but will have an extra member this year. Directors are elected to represent one of three industry sectors—commercial aviation, government service, or general aviation—and seats are allocated based on the number of HAI members in those sectors. The board routinely adjusts the apportionment of seats to match the current population of HAI members. However, rather than removing a seated director, an extra position is added until an existing director reaches the end of his or her three-year term.
Leaving the board this year were Dan Schwarzbach of the Houston (Texas) Police Department and James Wisecup of Air Methods Corp. At a June ceremony, both men were honored for their many years of service to HAI and the industry. Additionally, Rick Domingo, executive director, FAA Flight Standards Service, honored Wisecup with the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award. (For more about Wisecup, who died Jul. 30, see this article.)
The new board members are business owners and managers from across the United States. “The newly elected directors are exciting additions to the team, and we welcome their backgrounds and experience,” says Sheard. “The board members all come together to ensure our industry stays relevant and maintains its path to supporting all our members in the global helicopter and VTOL industry.“

New for 2020–21

Filling a board government service seat is B. Adam Hammond, manager of helicopter services for the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), the largest US public utility. In that role, he manages five pilots and nine helicopters that fly power-line patrols and perform power-­line maintenance and construction over a seven-state region. The aviation team also supports TVA’s economic development team and executives. On the board, Hammond says, he’ll advocate for the needs of public aircraft operators and for safe and effective operations.

New HAI director Mark Schlaefli is the director of operations for Las Vegas tour operator Sundance Helicopters, where he is responsible for all day-to-day operations, from flight activities to customer experience and beyond. Filling a commercial aviation seat on the board, Schlaefli is passionate about mentoring the next generation of pilots and promoting the industry as a whole. “I look forward to working with industry professionals and stakeholders outside the industry to highlight the benefits of helicopters worldwide,” he says.

Also filling a commercial aviation seat is board member Nicole Vandelaar, owner and chief pilot of Hawaiian operator Novictor Helicopters, where she leads the business and daily flight operations. Serving on the HAI board, Vandelaar says, is a way to “use my experience as a business owner to help our operators improve relations with their communities through our Fly Neighborly program and other community relations initiatives. Everything we do as operators must be done safely, so I also want to use my position on the board to expand education to our members on safety management systems and help them grow their safety cultures.”

The board also appointed Scott Burgess, PhD, as its special adviser on UAS issues. An associate professor of aeronautical science at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with 35-plus years of experience in military and civil aviation, Burgess conducts research in helicopter and UAS safety. He’s a founding member of the HAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems Working Group and a US Helicopter Safety Team member. In his work for the HAI board, Burgess says, he’ll consult on the “integration of UAS in our industry as it pertains to safety, training, operations, regulations, and other relevant areas.”


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