HAI announces the passing of Matthew Zuccaro

Helicopter Association International (HAI) is deeply saddened to announce the passing of Matthew S. Zuccaro, the immediate past president and CEO of the association. Plans for services are at the bottom of this announcement.

HAI announced the passing of Matthew Zuccaro, the immediate past president and CEO of the association, on Feb. 26, 2020. He was extremely passionate about helicopters and safety in the industry that he loved so much. HAI Photo

“Matt was one of a kind in our industry,” said current HAI president and CEO James Viola. “Helicopters were part of his life, beginning with his U.S. Army service in Vietnam. Throughout his career, he made safe helicopter operations his priority, and we are a better, stronger, and safer industry today because of his efforts on behalf of rotorcraft. Speaking on behalf of our industry, we have lost a good friend whom will be missed. We extend our deepest condolences to his wife, Doreen, and his family.”

An HAI member since the early 1980s, Zuccaro was elected to the HAI board of directors in 1987 and served as chairman in 1991. He was named president of HAI in 2005 and retired in January of this year. During HAI Heli-Expo 2020 in Anaheim in January, Zuccaro was honored with the FAA’s Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award, recognizing his 50 years of professionalism and skill as a pilot.

Among his many accomplishments, Zuccaro may be best remembered for a column he wrote for ROTOR magazine in 2013, encouraging pilots to “land the damn helicopter” in situations where proceeding would endanger themselves and passengers. From that column, HAI’s Land & LIVE program was born, saving countless lives around the world — a fitting legacy for a man who was passionate about safety in the industry he loved so much.


Funeral services are scheduled as follows:

  • Viewing – Beecher Flooks Funeral Home, 418 Bedford Road, Pleasantville, New York
    • Thursday, Feb. 27, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
    • Friday, Feb. 28, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
    • Friday, Feb. 28, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Service – Church of Saint John & Saint Mary, 30 Poillon Dr, Chappaqua, New York
    • Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020 at 10 a.m.

Those interested in sharing memories or leaving messages for Matt’s family may do so at https://www.rotor.org/about/matt-zuccaro.

2 thoughts on “HAI announces the passing of Matthew Zuccaro

  1. On behalf of the Dubai Helishow team we wish to extend our deepest sympathy to the family of Matt. He was an inspirational figure on the helicopter world stage and very supportive of the development of the Dubai Helishow over the years. Matt will be greatly missed by us all.

  2. Doreen. Sooo sorry to hear of Matt’s passing. My heart goes out to you and your family. Tim sooo enjoyed his time with you and Matt at HAI.
    Love you, my friend.
    Linda Wahlberg

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