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A Winning Perspective This is the eighth year we’ve been running the Vertical Photo Contest, and it’s officially the biggest contest we’ve ever had. In total, we received well over 750 entries from hundreds of photographers around the world, reflecting the truly global nature of our readership. And from the evidence on the following pages — and the hundreds of spectacular photos we simply didn’t have room to publish — you’re a talented bunch! Many of you work in and around helicopters in your daily lives, providing access to some frankly astonishing perspectives. Our Grand Prize winner, Joshua Vest, offers a prime example. A member of NAS Whidbey Island’s search-and-rescue team, he shared his unique vantage point from the end of a cable underneath a Sikorsky MH-60S Seahawk to spectacular effect. Framed by towering walls of ice that give the image wonderful depth, the aircraft is beautifully lit by the light reflecting off the snow. It perfectly conveys the power of rotary-wing aircraft and their unique life-saving capabilities. As you’ll see in the collection of photos we’ve selected here, the variety of shots we received from you highlights the tremendous scope of the industry — the size of aircraft, country of operation, sector, and perspective from which they’re taken is incredibly varied. We hope you enjoy looking through them as much as we did. How did the contest work? It was open to anyone over the age of 18 — amateur or professional — and was free to enter. We accepted entries through our website from Aug. 12 to Oct. 14, and each entry was then submitted — without the photographer’s details — into a digital folder. We then narrowed down the hundreds of photos to just a dozen or so finalists in each of the three competition categories: Beauty Shots, Helicopters at Work, and Military. We then handed it over to our sponsors: Bell Helicopter, Airbus Helicopters Canada, Bambi Bucket, Eagle Copters, Gibson & Barnes, Metro Aviation, PHP, Safran Helicopter Engines, and Wysong Enterprises. Their representatives, along with Vertical staff, voted for their favorite photo in each category, with the votes being tallied automatically. The photo with the most votes — Joshua Vest’s shot of the MH-60S — was awarded the Grand Prize of $1,000 and appears on the front cover of this issue. The first-, second-, and third-placed photographers in each of the three competition categories were awarded prizes of $500, $250, and $100, respectively. Thanks, as always, to all of you who took the time and effort to share your work with us, and to all our Photo Contest sponsors for their support. PROUDLY SPONSORED BY 82 Ver tical Maga zine A Sikorsky MH-60S Seahawk from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island Search and Rescue performs rappel training in Washington state’s North Cascade Mountains. The unit’s pilots and aircrew are highly trained in both overwater and mountain rescue, including helicopter rappel, hoist, and mountain landing. Joshua Vest, 35, is a member of NAS Whidbey Island’s search-and-rescue team, and enjoys taking photos of the surrounding Washington State area. He takes most of his photos from the air.