hai announces the passing of matthew zuccaro

February 26, 2020

Matthew S. Zuccaro, the immediate past president and CEO of Helicopter Association International (HAI), has passed away.

“Matt was one of a kind in our industry,” says current HAI President and CEO James Viola. “Helicopters were part of his life, beginning with his US 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.