The Irish Coast Guard Search and Rescue crew based at Waterford Airport has been honoured with a special award for ‘Services to Irish Aviation’ which was presented to them at the 2011 Pilot Training College Annual Graduation Ceremony held in Waterford on Saturday 22nd October.
The helicopter crew was presented with the award at the graduation ceremony for more than 40 cadet pilots who have successfully completed flight training programmes at Pilot Training College. Over 230 guests attended the ceremony where the cadets were conferred with their Graduation Certificates and awarded their wings. Amongst the many guests were past graduates, airline partners, industry leaders and special award recipients.
Presenting the award to Chief Pilot, Capt. Dara Fitzpatrick along with Deputy Chief Pilot, Capt Martyn Rayner and Winch Operator, Neville Murphy for Rescue 117 the Chairman and CEO of Pilot Training College, Capt Mike Edgeworth, said: “This crew does a tremendous job year-round to keep the south coast of Ireland a safer place. They are genuine heroes and lifesavers who fly often in dreadful conditions on rescue missions that require great skill, courage judgement and experience.
“Those not familiar with the work of the crew of ‘Rescue 117’ were recently given a fabulous insight by an RTÉ television series that featured dramatic footage of what Capt Fitzpatrick and her team face in the air –from medical evacuations to air accidents, from mountain rescues to airlifts off stricken ships in high seas.
“As only a small fraction of us will thankfully ever have cause to call on the services of the Search and Rescue crew; their Trojan work can sometimes escape our attention. This award recognises their outstanding Services to Irish Aviation”
The Pilot Training College event was also addressed by guest speaker, Capt. Chris Carder, a current Blade acrobatic pilot, a senior A340 Captain with Virgin Atlantic who previously flew with the RAF for more than 20 years, including a three year stint with the famous Red Arrows display team. Chris captivated the audience by sharing his stories and in-dept knowledge and experience of handling both fast jets and large commercial airliners. The ‘pursuit of perfection’ and ‘attention to detail’ was a common theme and something he said, each Pilot Training College graduate must strive for as they embark on a new and exciting career as a commercial airline pilot.
Other notable attendees who spoke included, Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Mr Phil Hogan TD and Mayor of Waterford City, Cllr Pat Hayes who both emphasised the importance of creating new jobs in the south east and making the region a “Centre for Aviation Excellence”. Also in attendance were local TD Paudie Coffey, Waterford City Manager, Michael Walshe and management from many airline partners such as Nasair of Saudi Arabia, Air Astana from Kazakhstan, Delta Airlines, Flybe and the Royal Air Force Air Cadets from the United Kingdom.
Amongst the PTC graduates present; top prizes were given to Cadet Pilot Alex Wright Jones from the United Kingdom who was named PTC Student of the Year, Irish Student Barry Murphy who was awarded the self sponsored Highest ATPL Achievement Award, Callum O’Donnell who won the Flybe Cadet of the Year while Ulugbek Khassanov was voted Air Astana Cadet of the Year. Capt. Jose Losado and Capt. Brian Reese from the PTC Florida Training Centre won the Flight and Ground Instructor of the Year awards. The final two staff awards went to Capt. Gerry Glavin from Pilot Training College who won PTC Post-Holder of the Year while The Chairman’s award for Excellence was awarded to Capt. Barry O’Connor, Chief Ground Instructor of Pilot Training College, Florida, USA.
An International Aviation Safety Seminar was held in Waterford on Friday to coincide with the graduation of these newly-qualified pilots and the specialist speakers included Dr Paul Buza, President & Medical Director, Southern Aero-Medical Institute, Florida; David Wilmot, Director of Operational Training & Standards, Air Astana, Kazakhstan and Paddy Judge, Aeronautical Officer & Inspector, Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU), Department of Transport.
Information on Pilot Training College:
Pilot Training College was established in 2002 and provides accredited professional programmes for commercial pilots. College graduates now work with all of the major international airlines. Further information is available at www.pilottrainingcollege.com
Pilot Training College
+353 51 876706