Polaris Award

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The Polaris Award is the highest decoration associated with civil aviation, awarded by the International Federation of Air Line Pilots' Associations (IFALPA) to airline crews in recognition for acts of exceptional airmanship, heroic action or a combination of these two attributes. In extraordinary cases, passengers may also obtain this award for their heroism. These awards are not made every year, but are presented at IFALPA's annual conference.

Past awards[edit]

Year Captain First Officer Other flight crew Incident Circumstances
1983 Mr Donald W Usher Mr Melvin E Windsor Unknown Air Florida Flight 90 Rescue helicopter crew
1984 Captain Donald S Cameron FO Claude Ouimet Unknown Air Canada Flight 797 Cabin fire
1985 Captain J Gibson FO G Lintner FE G Laurin Reeve Aleutian Airways Flight 8 L188 Electra propeller loss, and flight controls jammed
1986 Captain Hani Galal FO Imad Mounib Unknown EgyptAir Flight 648 Hijack
1987 Captain M Takahama FO Y Sasaki FE H Fukuda Japan Airlines Flight 123 Decompression and loss of control
1989 Captain R L Schornstheimer FO M L Tompkins Unknown Aloha Airlines Flight 243 Explosive decompression
1990 Captain Alfred C Haynes FO William Records FE Dudley Dvorak, Captain Dennis E Fitch United Airlines Flight 232 Uncontained engine failure, total hydraulics and control failure
1991 Captain Anatoly Grischenko Chernobyl disaster Helicopter pilot who hovered over the reactor to allow cement to be dropped onto it
1992 Captain Stefan G. Rasmussen FO Ulf Cedermark Scandinavian Airlines Flight 751 Dual engine failure after take off
FO Alastair Atchison British Airways Flight 5390 Windscreen failure
Captain W C Query FO Q E Haynes Atlantic Southeast Airlines Flight 2254 Mid-air collision
1993 Captain C Justiniano Hijack, two successful forced landings
1996 Captain A Faria e Mello Paraplegic, wheelchair pilot
Captain B Dhellemme FO Jean-Paul Borderie FE Alain Bossuat Air France Flight 8969 Hijack
1998 Captain L Abate Mr M Mekuria Ethiopian Airlines Flight 961 Hijack, ditching
1999 Captain U Khan FO M F Querishi Hijack
2000 Captain N Nagashima FO Ka Koga All Nippon Airways Flight 61 Hijack
Captain J Yamauchi
Captain T Higuchi
Captain H Takagi
Captain H Nishikata
Captain Y Iwai Mr D Sugama
2001 Captain William Hagan FO Richard Webb FO Phil Watson British Airways Flight 2069 BA 2069, attempted hijack by a paranoia panic attacked person
Captain Jason M Dahl FO LeRoy Homer Jr. United 93 9/11 attacks
Captain Victor Saracini FO Michael Horrocks United 175
Captain John Ogonowski FO Thomas McGuinness Jr. American 11
Captain Charles Burlingame FO David Charlesbois American 77
2005 Captain Eric Gennotte FO Steeve Michielsen FE Mario Rofail 2003 Baghdad DHL attempted shootdown incident Loss of all hydraulics and controls
Captain I Lyngmo FO K M Andresen Kato Air Lightning strike, elevator control failure
Captain S M Lian FO K M Andresen Mr Odd Eriksen, Mr T Frantzen Kato Air Attempted hijack
Captain J Kurka FO M Turk Austrian Airlines Fokker 70 dual engine failure
2008 Captain T Arnold Nationwide Airlines Engine separated from aircraft
2009 Captain D McMillan FO R Haverfield Eagle Airways Flight 2279 Attempted hijack
2010 Captain J Bartels FO B Werninghaus SO P Tabac Qantas Flight 30 Oxygen bottle explosion, rapid depressurisation
2011 Captain Richard Champion de Crespigny FO M Hicks SO M Johnson, Captain H Wubben, Captain David Evans Qantas Flight 32 Uncontained engine failure
2014 Captain Malcolm Waters FO David Hayhoe Cathay Pacific Flight 780 Contaminated fuel leading to engine stuck at high thrust setting[1][2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Parry, Simon (2014-04-20). "Pilots reveal death-defying ordeal as engines failed on approach to Chek Lap Kok". Post Magazine.
  2. ^ Channel, Smithsonian (2019-09-01). "Air Disasters: Deadly Descent (Full Episode)". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2019-09-12.