Richard flew much of the night program and was instrumental in establishing the procedures and safety parameters for the operation, helping to establish a world-leading capability.
In November 2021, Kestrel achieved an Australian-first regulatory approval to conduct unrestricted night vision firebombing operations for the preservation of life and critical infrastructure. The approval allows Kestrel to undertake aerial firebombing operations in the vicinity of towns and cities without the requirement for day reconnaissance flights or the requirement for a supervisory aircraft to coordinate water collections or drops, a restriction that still applies to other night capable operators.
“The Australian helicopter industry is driven by people with a passion for safety, for developing new and better operational capability and for advancing the industry,” said Australian Helicopter Industry Association (AHIA) President Ray Cronin. “The people recognised today all made visible contributions to the industry, and as an Association we are proud to be able to mark their success and commitment with an award.”
Congratulations must also be made to David Paynter, who was awarded 2022 Engineer of the Year, and industry veteran Ken Keech, who was honored with AHIA Life Membership.