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Helicopter Association International (HAI) is pleased to announce United States Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Travis Christy, an MH-60 aircraft commander, as the recipient of the Salute to Excellence Pilot of the Year Award. The award, presented by ROTOR Media, recognizes an outstanding single feat performed by a helicopter pilot during the year or extraordinary professionalism over a period of time. It will be presented Mar. 7 at HAI Heli-Expo 2022 in Dallas, Texas.
Travis Christy joined the US Coast Guard (USCG) out of a desire to help people. While attending the Coast Guard Academy, he chose to serve in the aviation community, receiving his wings in 2013. He has since helped save numerous lives at sea, inland, and in post-disaster support efforts.
One such day came on Mar. 2, 2021. At 8 pm, a call came in to USCG Air Station Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Atlantic Destiny, a 140-foot fishing vessel with 31 onboard, had caught fire and was taking on water more than 200 nautical miles east of Cape Cod.
Facing darkness, freezing cloud layers, and turbulent winds, Christy set out for the disabled vessel. Shortly after the aircraft arrived on scene, the decision was made to evacuate most of the boat’s crew. After a Royal Canadian Air Force helicopter hoisted six crew members, Christy maneuvered his helicopter into position to begin hoisting other survivors. Battling 40- to 60-kt. winds and 33-ft. waves, Christy and his crew lifted eight survivors from the dark, pitching vessel.
With a full cabin, Christy departed and flew 125 miles through pockets of unidentified precipitation to Yarmouth International Airport (CYQI) in Nova Scotia, Canada, where the survivors were transferred to awaiting rescue personnel.
Christy rose to the occasion again on May 30, 2021, when he and his crew responded to rescue an injured skier at 4,000 ft. on Mount Washington in New Hampshire. The skier had fallen 400 ft. through a boulder field and suffered severe head trauma and a spinal injury. No other aircraft in the area could support the mission due to the patient’s high-altitude location and a reported visibility of 1/16 to 0 statute mile.