The Winnipeg Police Service’s chief pilot has won the prestigious Innovation in Safety Award from Airbus for his work to reduce the danger of laser strikes and drone encounters around the local airport. Malcolm Murray helped found the Laser Strike Working Group, which streamlined the reporting process for dispatching police helicopters to respond to laser strike reports. The system led to a 40 percent reduction in the number of laser strikes in the Winnipeg Control Zone and resulted in the apprehension of numerous people alleged to be lighting up aircraft cockpits.
Murray adapted that system to zero in on reports of illegal drone activity and that too has resulted in the reduction of drone conflicts around YWG. He also developed a training program for tactical flight officers, who run the surveillance and communications gear on the helicopter but are not normally pilots, to be able to fly the helicopters well enough to get them back to the airport for a safe landing if the pilot becomes incapacitated. “Malcolm is truly a visionary leader whose dedication and commitment to safety have made the entire rotorcraft industry safer and stronger,” said Dwayne Charette, President of Airbus Helicopters Canada. “He exemplifies the qualities that are the basis of the Innovation in Safety Award, and we’re proud to honour him with this award.” Murray got a cash award of $10,000.