Louisville, KY — March 2, 2016 — Amid a sea of bejeweled evening gowns and perky fascinators, bowler hats and bow ties, the Helicopter Association International (HAI) hosted a gathering of vertical aviation’s movers and shakers on Wednesday March, 2, 2016, to honor the industry’s finest. The 55th Annual HAI Salute to Excellence Awards Dinner held during the 2016 HeliExpo in Louisville, Kentucky, was an Oscars-meets-Kentucky Derby evening, complete with a bluegrass band and “Call to the Post” from a red-uniformed horn blower from Churchill Downs.
Dana Kerrick, the recently retired co-founder of IAC Ltd., was honored with the Bell Helicopter Lifetime Achievement Award. Kerrick was all smiles at the awards dinner with his wife, Paulene, at his side when he was presented the award with all the fanfare of a major motion-picture award ceremony. Dana Kerrick has spent a lifetime serving the aviation industry. For more than 5 ½ decades, Kerrick has worked as a military and civilian maintenance specialist, civilian pilot, flight instructor, air taxi operator, and pioneer in helicopter rotor blade composites.
Kerrick is recognized throughout the industry as one of the foremost experts in rotor blade inspection, maintenance, and repair — and has written extensively for numerous helicopter maintenance and aviation publications. Kerrick’s course on rotor blade preventive maintenance has been part of the rotor safety challenge since its inception at HAI HeliEXPO 2013 in Las Vegas.
Kerrick began his aviation career in the US Air Force working on B-52s. He re-entered the civilian workforce in 1970 but didn’t discover helicopters until he turned 40. He is a pilot of both airplanes and rotorcraft, and is an FAA-approved inspection authority renewal instructor.
Outside of work, Kerrick volunteered as part of the San Joaquin County, California, Sheriff’s Air Posse for 40 years, flying both helicopters and airplanes in support of department operations.
Herman Bevelhimer, one of Kerrick’s fellow IAC co-founders, said, “Dana will be most remembered for his relentless dedication to the education of pilots and mechanics on the maintenance of their rotor blades.”