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Members of the Savannah River Site aviation program team.
Members of the Savannah River Site aviation program team.

AIKEN, S.C.DOE recently honored the Savannah River Site’s (SRS) aviation department with an excellence award, presented annually to the top program across the DOE complex.

DOE Office of Aviation Management (OAM) Director Glen Wattman presented the 2018 Jeff Snow Memorial Aviation Program Award to SRS protective force services contractor Centerra-SRS, which operates the site’s aviation program.

“The Centerra-SRS aviation operations department is to be commended for its high level of proficiency and operational readiness,” DOE-Savannah River Operations Office Manager Mike Budney said.

OAM recognized Centerra for excellence, innovation, and compliance in management and administration, operations, maintenance, training, and safety.

Todd Hatfield, manager of the SRS aviation operations department, and Herb Craven, the department’s chief pilot, accepted the award on behalf of SRS at the 26th Annual Aviation Management and Safety Training Seminar in Denver, Colo.

The DOE-Savannah River Operations Office provides oversight and policy direction for its aviation program, and Centerra operates and maintains two DOE Airbus BK-117 aircraft.

The SRS Aviation Program was initiated by Centerra, formerly known as Wackenhut, in 1984, a year after the contractor assumed security responsibilities at the 310-square-mile SRS.

“I’m very pleased to see our aviation program again honored with this award,” Centerra General Manager Mark Bolton said. “The helicopters significantly enhance our security, tactical, and operational capabilities at SRS, and it is paramount that we maintain and operate the aircraft with a focus on safety and compliance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations, DOE policy, and company procedures. This recognition as the top aviation program in the complex is a testament that the team continues to meet that challenge.”

The highly-trained helicopter pilots and mechanics, certified by the FAA, ensure the aircraft are prepared to depart from staging areas in accordance with mission and operational needs. The department primarily works in a paramilitary role, but the helicopter pilots also provide other services, including site patrol, emergency response, medical evacuations, forestry and ecological support, and site photography.

OAM presented the Jeff Snow Aviation Program Memorial Award to the SRS team in 2012, 2008, 2006, 2004, 2003, and 2002. The award is named in honor of Snow, who served as a helicopter pilot and aviation manager at SRS until his death following an illness in July 2000.

In 2012, Centerra also earned the U.S. General Services Administration Fed Fleet Aviation Award for operating an outstanding flight program supporting the SRS security mission. The SRS aviation program has won the DOE Aviation Safety Award seven times and earned the Helicopter Association International Annual Operator Safety Award for 17 consecutive years.

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