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FILMING OF ALPINE AVALANCHE RESCUE SEQUENCE UNDERWAY FOR STRAIGHT UP! HELICOPTERS IN ACTION

A NEW HELICOPTER FILM FOR IMAX® AND OTHER LARGE FORMAT THEATERS WORLDWIDE

A Presentation of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum Produced and distributed by SK Films Inc.

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND, February 24, 2002- Filming has completed in the St. Mortiz/Samedan region of Switzerland for the upcoming large-format helicopter film Straight Up! Helicopters in Action, presented by the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum. The film captured an Alpine rescue and medevac sequence by Rega, the Swiss national air rescue organization, in the aftermath of an avalanche.

The sequence opens with the beautiful vistas of the Swiss Alps. As we see a mother and child driving along a high alpine road, we cut to a cornice breaking. As an avalanche builds and thunders down the mountain, the car is unable to get out if its path. We see the avalanche pound onto the car from the point-of-view of the victims. The sequence then documents the tremendous work of the Rega mountain rescue team and the invaluable role of the helicopter in saving lives and minimizing the impact of injuries.

Avalanches are a significant mountain hazard, responsible for many deaths around the world each year. In rescuing people caught in an avalanche, time is of the essence. A person has a 90% chance of survival if he is found within the first quarter of an hour, after which this figure sinks rapidly.

Not only do helicopters allow quick access of rescue teams to the scene, they also represent a lifeline to medical care. Indeed, flying the patient to the nearest hospital as rapidly as possible is not the sole objective of a rescue operation: helicopters can also effectively “transport the hospital” to the scene of the accident.

“The helicopter is the instrument of rapid response to natural physical and social disasters around the world, alleviating human suffering on a major scale,” says the film’s Director David Douglas. “For the individual caught beyond the limits of their training or equipment, often their last chance for survival is their hope that helicopters will get to them in time.”

“The mission of Straight Up! is to document the role and impact of helicopters today,” says Executive Producer Jonathan Barker. “This alpine rescue sequence is one of the many illustrations in the film of the exciting and tremendously practical civil and military applications of vertical flight in contemporary society.”

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Filming of Alpine Rescue Sequence Underway cont’d Page 2

 

Straight Up! Director and Cinematographer David Douglas (Academy AwardÒ nominated Fires of Kuwait, Survival Island, Rolling Stones at the Max) has captured some amazing footage, including a reconnaissance mission with the U.S. Marines Corps, an air-sea Coast Guard rescue, relocation of endangered black rhinos in South Africa, delivery of humanitarian aid with the UN in war-torn Sierra Leone, an air-sea drug interdiction and a dangerous high-tension power line repair. Filming has been underway for the past year on three continents – North America, Africa and Europe.

Straight Up! is the ninth large-format film produced by the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. The project will also be featured in the theater of the museum’s new companion facility, to open at Washington Dulles International Airport in Northern Virginia in December 2003. The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center will also be home to the museum’s extensive vertical flight collection, which includes the first helicopter to carry a president of the United States (Dwight D. Eisenhower), the first helicopter powered by a turbine engine and the first helicopter to circumnavigate the world.

The film is produced by Jonathan Barker and Diane Roberts. Patricia Woodside serves as Executive Producer along with Barker. The film will be distributed worldwide by SK Films Inc.

Straight Up! will premiere September 18, 2002, at the Langley IMAXÒ Theater in the National Air and Space Museum’s flagship building in Washington. Museum Director General J.R. “Jack” Dailey, a decorated pilot of both airplanes and helicopters, predicts that this film will have “the same natural appeal that made To Fly and The Dream is Alive such hits.” Those films, also produced by the museum, are among the most successful in IMAXÒ box office history. Since its opening in 1976, the National Air and Space Museum has been the most visited museum in the world.

Project sponsors are EADS N.V. /Eurocopter, Agusta Aerospace Corporation, Bell Helicopter Textron, The Boeing Company, Sikorsky Aircraft, Rolls Royce North America, U.S. Marine Corps, Groen Brothers, PPL Corporation, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the U.S. Customs Service. Additional financing has come from an industry group of helicopter operators led by the Helicopter Association International.

Rega is the Swiss national air rescue organization. This non-profit and non-governmental foundation is a member of the Swiss Red Cross and dates back to 1952. It is entirely financed on a private basis mainly by individual patronage of the Swiss population.

SK Films Inc. produces and distributes large-format films. A significant interest in SK Films is held by Robert Kerr, co-founder and former President and CEO of IMAXÒ Corporation.

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