International helicopter pilot organization, Twirly Birds, has announced the 2017 recipient of the prestigious Les Morris award as Mr. Carl Milko, helicopter pioneer and founder of Summit Helicopters. Mr. Milko began his distinguished aviation career in 1963 and was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam from 1965-1966. Following his military service, Milko received a Master’s Degree in Forestry and used his aviation background in early forestry aerial applications, operations and management with Evergreen Helicopters. In 1981, Carl Milko founded Summit Helicopters with four other industry pioneers and since then, the company has flourished under his leadership with over 70 employees and 15 aircraft.
In 1985, Carl Milko was recognized for heroism and bravery when he rescued stranded victims while piloting a Bell JetRanger during record flooding in Roanoke, Virginia. Mr. Milko will be presented the Les Morris award by Mr. Sergei Sikorsky during the upcoming annual meeting of the Twirly Birds on Tuesday, 7 March, 2017 at the Dallas Hilton Anatole in the Wedgwood Room.
The Les Morris award is presented annually by the Twirly Birds as lifetime achievement recognition to an individual that has made a significant contribution to the helicopter community. Aviation pioneer, Les Morris is recognized as an early helicopter test pilot and innovator responsible for the early refinement and development of helicopters while at Sikorsky Aircraft.
Twirly Birds was founded seventy years ago when a small group of pilots met to share stories and the common experiences of flying helicopters during these early years of vertical flight. Among notable past members of Twirly Birds include Charles Lindbergh, Igor Sikorsky and Stewart R. Graham, to name a few. The intent was then and now, to share the common bond of vertical flight. The group has no political or commercial interest and is by design, a social group comprised of individuals. Anyone that has soloed at least twenty years ago is encouraged to join Twirly Birds and members are welcome at the annual meeting this year on 7 March 2017 beginning at 5 p.m. in the Wedgwood Room at the Dallas Hilton Anatole.