ORLANDO, Fla., March 10, 2011 – Helicopter Association International this week produced a fast-paced, record event with the 63rd edition of HELI-EXPO®, held at the Orange County Convention Center here.
At HELI-EXPO 2011, manufacturers conducted more than 90 customer demonstration flights from the convention center’s own private heliport, which HAI oversaw during the show. A total of 625 companies and organizations exhibited at the show and registrations were on track to reach or exceed 20,000, both records. More than 50 helicopters were displayed on the show floor and a wide range of training and operational forums were conducted. HELI-EXPO®, the world’s largest trade show dedicated to helicopters, occupied roughly 1 million square feet of exhibit floor and meeting space in the convention center’s North/South Building, more than any of HAI’s past shows.
In addition to the customer demonstrations, HAI staff and volunteers oversaw the safe flight of 39 helicopters into the show on March 2-3 and out of it March 8-9 via a separate, temporary heliport set up in a parking lot behind the convention center building’s north end. (The other helicopters at the show arrived by truck.)
“HELI-EXPO 2011 is solid proof of the international helicopter community’s strength, which is built on the helicopter’s ability to meet the diverse needs of society,” said HAI President Matt Zuccaro. “HAI’s members meet those needs safely every day, as we demonstrated with this year’s fly-ins and fly-outs at the show.”
In addition to announcements of new and upgraded aircraft by helicopter manufacturers and many new orders that they, other manufacturers and vendors reported, HELI-EXPO 2011’s highlights included:
• Honorary HAI memberships presented to industry legends Frank Robinson and Sergei Sikorsky for their “efforts directed toward the advancement of the international helicopter community,”
• The 50th anniversary of HAI’s awards program and the presentation of nine Salute to Excellence Awards to honorees from Alaska to Nepal, and
• Keynote addresses to the annual HAI membership breakfast by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and to the Salute to Excellence Awards Dinner by Victoria Cox, the FAA’s senior vice president in charge of the Next-Generation Air Traffic System and Operations Planning. Lee told attendees, "The helicopter industry is on the cutting edge of the economy. You might say you are the tip of the spear."
• The first HELI-EXPO® General Aviation Association CEO Forum, at which the leaders of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, the National Association of State Aviation Officials and the National Business Aviation Association joined Zuccaro in discussing how they collaborate on issues of common interest.
• The world premiere of HAI’s latest video production, “Spotlight on Women in Helicopter Aviation.”
• The live broadcast of key HELI-EXPO® events via the Web at www.rotor.com/heliexpolive.
Next year’s show will be held Feb. 11-14, 2012 in Dallas, Texas. Companies interested in exhibiting at HELI-EXPO 2012 should contact HAI at 703-683-4646 or visit www.rotor.com.