Former Helicopter Association International (HAI) President Matthew Zuccaro passed away this week at the age of 70. He retired from HAI on Jan. 15, 2020, after 15 years as president of the organization. Under Zuccaro’s leadership, HAI launched programs including “Land & Live,” HAI Online Academy and HAI Aviation Reporting Program (HARP). Zuccaro was awarded the FAA’s Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award last January in recognition for his “50 years of professionalism and skill as a pilot.”
“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.”
Born in New York, New York, Zuccaro joined the U.S. Army in 1968. He served in Vietnam with the 7/17th Air Cavalry receiving two Distinguished Flying Crosses, four Bronze Stars, one Air Medal for valor, and 19 Air Medals for his service. After leaving the army in 1971, Zuccaro held positions in charter, aircraft management and maintenance organizations and served as airport operations supervisor at JFK International Airport. He was a recipient of HAI’s Pilot Safety Award and the NBAA Pilot Safety award.