Carl Agar / Alf Stringer Award

Sometimes "Bringing the Industry Together" means taking a moment to pay tribute to our own.

In the category of recognition for outstanding contribution to the industry two trail blazing icons come to mind - Carl Agar and Alf Stringer. Back in the spring of 1947 they were both more or less freshly demobilized from the RCAF. Carl had been an instructor pilot, and Alf an engineer. Hearing that a helicopter had recently been certified for commercial service, they went over to the States to buy what would be the first helicopter ever registered in Canada - a Bell 47B-3. Four years later their company was already the largest commercial helicopter operator in the world.

Okanagan Helicopters having eventually been integrated into Canadian Helicopters Corporation, the company Alf and Carl founded continues to lay claim to the title of "the world's largest.". In any case, they forged on from their initial successes to spend the rest of their lives as, among other things, mentors to several leading helicopter operators.

To honour these distinguished pioneers, the HAC Board has devised a unique tribute. They will not simply receive an HAC award for their unprecedented accomplishments, their names will be associated with an HAC Award to be presented by the HAC Board to one of our new generation of leaders in the helicopter industry. The HAC Board of Directors will therefore, from time to time, bestow the Carl Agar/Alf Stringer Award, upon persons having made an outstanding contribution to the Canadian Helicopter Industry.

To propose someone for the Carl Agar/Alf Stringer Award please contact HAC staff or Directors

Carl Agar / Alf Stringer Award Recipients


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2020
MIKE ALDERSEY

BIO


Mike Aldersey graduated from Canadore College in 1978, and started his career with Ontario Helicopters in Thompson Manitoba.

Since then, he worked with Northern Mountain, Prism, Lakelse, and most recently with West Coast Helicopters. In 2020, he passed 30,000 accident-free hours.

He has extensive long-line experience, mostly in the mining and logging industries, but he also has experience in the Heli-skiing and forest protections sectors.

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2020
TONY WALKER

BIO


Tony Walker has provided safety awareness courses through his career on his own to important helicopter users. He trained as an AME at BCIT in 1987 and apprenticed with Delta. He learned to fly at Alpine with Jim Davies, and started his flying career with Canadian and took his Mountain Flying course with Penticton School of Mountain Flying - now Top Flight. He’s flown in a variety of places including the Canadian Arctic, BC, Kuwait, and Iraq after the Gulf War.

But most of his career was spent in BC’s Coast mountains. Tony is quick to point out that his outlook on safety has been formed by those professional pilots he has flown with and they inspired him to start his own business to enhance the safety culture in our industry. He designed a program to transfer safety knowledge between adults to teach recurring helicopter passengers the fundamentals of Crew Resource Management.

He still flies as a contract pilot for CHL, but is primarily involved with his own company called Advanced Crew Solutions. He has spent years bringing safety concepts to the helicopter industry’s customers and passengers which has helped make our industry safer.

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2020
TERRY DIXON

BIO


Terry Dixon started his helicopter career sometime in the 70’s. But who can remember the 70’s anyway - particularly at his age, now? He began as a flight instructor - then Okanagan, CHL - Western, doing heli-logging, firefighting, heli-skiing, arial construction. Then Frontier for 15 years. Then Flying Tankers, primarily to expand their fire-fighting work.

In 1984 he received the prestigious Start of Courage for conspicuous courage during the helicopter rescue of the survivors of a plane crash near Chilliwack BC. Today he runs his own successful independent safety consulting service primarily for the BC and Alberta governments. He has roughly 11,000 hours, now.

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2019
MARK L. OLSON

BIO


Biography coming soon.

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2019
DANNY A. SITNAM

BIO


Biography coming soon.

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2018
Michael A.M. O'Reilly

BIO


Biography coming soon.

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2018
LYLE WATTS

BIO


Biography coming soon.

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2017
JAMES NEILL

BIO


Biography coming soon.

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2016
DONALD (DON) STUBBS

BIO


Biography coming soon.

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2016
BILL YEARWOOD

BIO


Biography coming soon.

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2015
JIM DAVIES

BIO


Biography coming soon.

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2015
TERRY JONES

BIO


Biography coming soon.

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2014
GRANT LOUDEN

BIO


Biography coming soon.

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2014
JAN ROUSTAD

BIO


Biography coming soon.

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2013
KEITH (KO) OSTERTAG

BIO


KO started his career in aviation as an AME in the Navy in 1955, after leaving the service he hired on with Spartan Helicopters in 1961 and acquired his pilot’s license. After leaving Spartan he hired on with Klondike Heli in 1969 and accepted the Chief Pilot and Flight Instructor position. In the mid 70’s KO went to work for Shirley Helicopters, in the 80’s worked with Canmore Heli, serving as a mountain rescue pilot for Park’s Canada contract and in the mid 90’s took up flight training again as the CFI for Great Slave Helicopters Flight School then operating out of the St. Albert airport. In the early 2000’s KO accepted the position as Chief Pilot of Highland Helicopters until his semi-retirement as a flight instructor at Chinook Heli in Abbotsford.

K.O.’s career spans some 58 years and has trained 100’s of students/pilots throughout his career. Now in his 70’s he is still active in flight and mountain training. Keith Ostertag keeps himself current on industry issues and trends by continuing to attend industry functions such as HAC. There are very few pilots in Canada who have not received some kind of instruction from KO.

After almost 6 decades KO continues to contribute to the promotion of safe and professional helicopter flight in Canada.

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2013
JOHN WARD

BIO


John Ward has been in the aviation industry since 1962. He graduated from the PVI Aeronautics Course in 1964 and joined B.C. Airlines based out of Campbell River, B.C. John joined Trans Mountain Air as Chief Engineer in 1969 eventually becoming Operations Manager.

In 1972 John departed Trans Mountain and joined Brouwer & Company Alberta as a trainee Aviation Insurance Adjuster based out of Edmonton. John eventually became a partner of Brouwer and Company responsible for aviation claims in the Arctic and Prairie Provinces.

In 1972 John moved to B.C. and formed Pacific Adjusters Ltd. To date John is still adjusting and investigating aviation accidents.

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2013
GREG WYGHT

BIO


Greg Wyght has worked as the VP of Safety & Quality for CHC for many years where he was instrumental in creating what is known today as the CHC Summit, now celebrating its 10th anniversary.

Greg was able to convince his employer to open the summit to other helicopter companies and customers alike making it the most important helicopter safety function in the world. His initiative has helped many operators build their own safety program, receive helicopter specific safety training and has contributed to a safer industry worldwide.

Greg was also heavily involved with the IHST initiative and co-chaired the JHSIT Committee where they produced an SMS Guide and other material available to all operators free of charge.

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2012
AL (ROBERT) EUSTIS

BIO


Biography coming soon.

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2011
NEIL J. ARMSTRONG

BIO


Biography coming soon.

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2010
JAN ELBE

BIO


Biography coming soon.

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2006
PIERRE LOOTEN

BIO


Biography coming soon.

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2004
DAVID WHITE

BIO


Biography coming soon.

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2003
BOB CAMERON

BIO


Biography coming soon.

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2002
GORDON ASKIN

BIO


Biography coming soon.

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2001
AL SOUTAR

BIO


Biography coming soon.