A UTair Aviation Mi-8 helicopter crew from the airline's international division has been awarded the Igor Sikorsky 'Glory of Perfection' Prize for Humanitarian Services from the International Helicopter Association.
For exceptional services rendered while assisting the UN Peacekeeping Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2009, Commander Sergey Ignatyev received the honor on behalf of his crew at the International Helicopter Exhibition Heli-Expo 2012 in Dallas, Texas, in the United States from February 11 – 14.
The Igor Sikorsky prize for Humanitarian Services is awarded for operations with civil helicopters in the cause of saving lives, protecting property and helping distressed.
In his reception speech at the award ceremony, Commander Ignatov expressed his gratitude, saying, “The acknowledgement of our merit by the international aviation community is a high honor as well as a symbol of international aviation friendship”.
Previously, by a decree of Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, Commander Ignatov was awarded the Order of Courage for his exceptional level of professionalism in extreme conditions. Crewmembers Uriy Chigaev, Viacheslav Alberti and Dmitry Shmidt were awarded the Nesterov medal.
On November 26, 2009, while performing a scheduled flight at the request of the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the crew of a UTair Aviation Mi-8 MTV made performed landing in the town of Dongo, at the time the epicenter of heavy fighting. At the risk of their own lives, Commander Sergei Ignatov, co-pilot Yuri Chigaev, flight engineer Vyacheslav Alberti, operator Dmitry Shmidt evacuated 23 peacekeepers, including seriously injured individuals. Demonstrating peak professionalism and courage, the pilots managed to secure the safety of their passengers and avoid serious damage to the helicopter.
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