By Raetta Holdman

DENVER (CBS4) – Former Copter4 pilot Mike Silva has received a national award from the Living Legends of Aviation.

Mike Silva (credit: CBS)

The group of accomplished men and women in aviation honored him with its Vertical Flight Hall of Fame award earlier this month in Los Angeles.

Aerobatic helicopter pilot Chuck Aaron presented the award to Silva on on Jan. 19 saying, “Piloting a helicopter for entertainment is completely different than to defend our country or to inform the public or save lives.”

Mike Silva with wife Susan Silva, left, actor and pilot Harrison Ford, center right, and Chuck Aaron, right (credit: Mike Silva)

Silva started his aviation career at the age of 19, flying in Vietnam in 1970. He joined CBS4 News as the pilot of Copter4 in March of 1983, becoming an integral part of daily news gathering as well giving the newsroom a real edge in breaking news.

Silva gained national attention in 1988 when he was following a police chase and officers lost track of the suspect’s vehicle. When that suspect carjacked another vehicle, Silva put the copter into the path of the truck, just as Denver police arrived.

After an American war started in the Middle East in the 2000s, Silva re-enlisted and became the oldest pilot to fly in Iraq.

That list of accomplishments earned him the award.

“This award recognize people who use helicopters in ways that benefit society as you’ve seen that’s what Mike Silva does just that,” Aaron said.

“Drones provide images, Mike Silva provides service.”

Silva said he is humbled by the honor.

Mike Silva (credit: Living Legends of Aviation)

“The reason for my success in 48 years of flying is my ability to hold a tinge of fear close, to know my limitations, to respect the machine and to manage the risks,” he told the crowd.

He also remembered his mentors including Col. Norm Hayes (Ret.) saying he set the bar high in Vietnam.

“The standard of dedication, professionalism and integrity, not only at the controls of my aircraft but in my everyday life.”

Silva is also the recipient of the Bronze Star and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

He is an Emmy winner for his work with CBS4.

Raetta Holdman is a veteran newscast producer. She’s been with CBS4 for more than 25 years, coordinating events — large and small — from the control room. Contact her by clicking here.


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