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HAI has announced that Robert McMullen, Chief Pilot, West Michigan Air Care, Kalamazoo, Michigan, is the recipient of the 2005 Eurocopter Golden Hour Award. This award recognizes efforts of an individual or organization who has advanced the use of helicopters in the Air Medical Service industry.
McMullen began his aviation career flying with the U.S. Army in the mid-1960s. He served two tours of duty in Vietnam, where he was a pioneer in the use of the helicopter as a weapons platform. He served as an instructor pilot and maintenance officer. Additionally, he served as a civilian instructor for six years at Fort Rucker, Alabama, where he taught tactics and instrument flight.
McMullen has worked in the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) helicopter industry for 20 years. In 1985, McMullen began working for Vanderbilt Lifeflight of Nashville, Tennessee. He then worked for Huntsville Medflight, in Huntsville, Alabama, where he continued to serve those members of the community in need of EMS helicopters. In 1989, while the Director of Operations, McMullen was instrumental in purchasing an AS365N helicopter to replace the AS350 they had operated since 1985. The upgrade moved the program up to an IFR capable aircraft with twin-engine reliability.
In 1990, McMullen began working as the Director of Flight Operations at Borgess Inflight in Kalamazoo, Michigan. In 1993, Borgess Inflight merged with Bronson Careflight to become West Michigan Air Care. McMullen was named Director of Flight Operations of the new program. He obtained a new Air Carrier certificate under FAR Part 135 for the organization.
McMullen continues to explore new information and equipment, in order to provide the safest and most consistent service possible. He still approaches flying with the expectation that he can learn something new and he shares this information with his peers for the betterment of all pilots.