Rescue Program Is Recipient Of HAI's Sikorsky Award
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Air Rescue 5 Program in
Long Beach, CA, is the recipient of Helicopter Association
International’s (HAl) 2004 Igor I. Sikorsky Award for
Humanitarian Service. This award will be presented February 7,
2005, at HELI-EXPO in Anaheim, California, during HAI’s 44th
annual "Salute to Excellence" awards ceremony.
For 50 years, the Los Angeles County Sheriff s Air Rescue
program has provided life saving services to the citizens of Los
Angeles County. The program began in 1955 using Bell 47 helicopters
with skid-mounted litters. In 1970, the first Hughes 500 helicopter
was put into service, allowing patients to be transported inside
the aircraft rather than on the skids. Desiring to expand the
mission and capability of the program, three hoist-equipped surplus
CH-34 Sikorsky helicopters were added in 1972 and the call sign,
"Air Rescue 5," was assigned.
The Air Rescue 5 program entered the turbine era with two
Sikorsky S. 58T helicopters in 1983, with a third added later.
Seventeen years later, the S-58Ts were replaced with three Sikorsky
SH-3 Sea Kings, refurbished and outfitted with enhanced Medevac
suites and rescue hoists.
Air Rescue 5’s safety record includes a zero mishap rate
for over 44 years! This record is remarkable in light of the
potential dangers associated with helicopter rescues, but also
considering the extreme risks that may be associated with mountain
searches and law enforcement missions. It is not uncommon for the
crew to perform a life-saving rescue one moment, and the next
moment to transport a Special Weapons Team prepared to transport
injured hostages, officers, or suspects.
The Air Rescue 5 crews have received recognition by Sergei
Sikorsky for the Department’s Swift Water Rescue Program
presented by the Professional Helicopter Pilots Association, the
Higgins-Langley award for Swift Water Rescues, and the Heroism
Award presented by Rotor & Wing Magazine. The Air Rescue 5
program embodies Los Angeles County’s commitment to the
safety and well-being of its citizens and demonstrates the use of
rotorcraft in outstanding public safety services.
In recognition of five decades of life-saving rescues,
successful searches, evacuations of lost persons, countless law
enforcement missions, and an impeccable safety record, HAI salutes
the Los Angeles County Sheriff s Department Air Rescue 5 program.
Whether a technical rescue in the rugged San Gabriel Mountains, a
swift water rescue in a raging flood control channel, or medical
transport from Santa Catalina Island, the members of Air Rescue 5
proudly stand behind their motto, "Any mission. Anytime.