Read More: ROTOR Wins Design Award
September 03, 2019

ROTOR Magazine was recently recognized for design excellence by the Association of Media and Publishing (AM&P). At the June 24 Excel Awards gala, the ROTOR design team received a Bronze Excel Award for Magazine Redesign for magazines in the 20,001-50,000 copies circulation category.

The ROTOR design team was composed of editor Gina Kvitkovich, assistant editor Jenna Scafuri, and graphic designer Phyllis Utter from HAI, and a team of outside designers from BonoTom Studio. As part of the project, the team adopted a new nameplate (or logo) for ROTOR, new fonts and layout grids, as well new paper.

The team also reorganized the content of the magazine, placing less emphasis on HAI internal departments and more on the types of content requested by readers. A column on training (Keeping Up) was added. ROTOR now covers helicopter accidents and incidents. Several columns focus on the people and businesses that make up our industry, including Field Notes, Future Faces, Flight Path, and In the Spotlight.

Our Fly Safe and Work Safe columns are aimed at pilot safety and workplace safety, respectively, adopting the team-based approach to safety that reflects safety management system principles. And we instituted this section, ROTOR Wash, as a place for HAI news, short interviews, industry data, and helpful tips—all aimed at helping you to keep your rotors turning.

Stay tuned—the ROTOR media team has more changes coming your way.

Read More: HAI Hires John Shea as Government Affairs Director
September 03, 2019

Strengthening its advocacy efforts and building on its track record of legislative wins for the helicopter industry, HAI has hired John Shea as its new director of government affairs.

Shea will track at the state and federal levels all legislative developments related to the helicopter industry. Reporting to Vice President of Government Affairs Cade Clark, Shea will meet with US congressional staff to advocate for HAI members on helicopter and general aviation issues.

Shea comes to HAI from the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO), where he served as director for government relations in 2019 and as interim president in 2018. For NASAO, he coordinated advocacy and legislative efforts with Congress and federal agencies, and established the association’s legislative positions, goals, and timelines.

“His background of Hill experience and working with state-level officials means that John has a solid grounding in aviation issues,” Clark says. “By bringing him on, HAI has expanded our advocacy bandwidth tremendously.” Clark expects that Shea’s familiarity with the FAA, knowledge and experience in government affairs, and deep experience in association management and operations will enable him to quickly become an effective member of the HAI advocacy team.

“HAI’s advocacy efforts have resulted in big wins for our industry, such as when we successfully advocated against the privatization of air traffic control. But we can’t rest on past accomplishments,” says HAI President and CEO Matt Zuccaro. “Hiring John Shea is one way to communicate to the world at large that we intend to fight for our members.”

Before joining NASAO, Shea was a congressional staffer for several years. His legislative portfolio included commerce, financial services, homeland security, trade, and transportation.

Shea will bolster HAI’s advocacy efforts in the following areas:

  • Strengthening federal and state initiatives to pursue workforce development for future helicopter pilots and maintenance technicians
  • Preserving access to airspace for helicopter operations throughout the National Airspace System (NAS)
  • Ensuring veterans keep their flight­training benefits
  • Aiding the safe integration of unmanned aircraft systems into the NAS.

 

Read More: Helicopter Air Medical Safety Conference Held May 8–9
September 03, 2019

HAI, the Association of Air Medical Services, and the Air Medical Operators Association recently hosted a Helicopter Air Medical Safety Conference in Arlington, Virginia. The three associations invited executives, managers, pilots, and maintenance technicians from helicopter air ambulance operations (HAA) to meet and discuss their issues and challenges.

On Day 1, several panel discussions reviewed regulatory items stemming from the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, preemption threats to air medical operators, and the FAA’s legal perspective of these issues.

After lunch provided by the host associations, the conference resumed with a panel discussion on the impact of the integration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS, or drones) into the National Airspace System. As HAA operations often fly at the same low altitudes where drones are commonly found, this discussion focused on containing the dangers posed by UAS to air medical transport providers.

Brendan Schulman, vice president for policy and legal affairs at DJI, the world’s leading civilian drone manufacturer, told attendees what his company is doing to protect the skies in the drone era. The company recently announced that it will install ADS-B receivers in all DJI drones weighing more than 0.55 lb, enabling them to be located, tracked, and in some cases, diverted. 

The day’s presentations concluded with one on managing the high-risk environment of helicopter air ambulance operations. A networking reception followed.
Day 2 of the conference began with opening remarks from the host association presidents and breakfast. Next, the FAA started a conversation around air medical accident statistics, giving audience members the data necessary to understand where the accidents are happening and perhaps a vision of where to look for solutions.

Next up was a presentation on recent air medical accidents by Bruce Landsberg, vice chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, who also provided his perspective on safety and accident prevention gained from years of investigating aircraft accidents. HAI President and CEO Matt Zuccaro then spoke on corporate safety culture and how the business end of operations can influence decision-making at the user level, leading to unintended consequences and accidents.

After lunch and on the home stretch of Day 2, attendees heard about HAA legislative initiatives. Next, Chris Hill, HAI director of safety, introduced the HAI Aviation Reporting Program (HARP). This app provides one-stop reporting for all things hazardous to helicopter aviation, including bird and laser strikes and drone events. Visit rotor.org/harp to learn more.

The final presentation of the conference was by representatives of the Helicopter Occupant Protection Working Group, an FAA Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee that recently concluded its work. Attendees learned about fuel cell development, drop testing, fuel breakaway fittings, energy-absorbing seats, and the engineering involved in making our equipment safer for us.

Each panel and presentation created spirited discussion, often spurred on by the expertise that existed in the audience. The ability to meet others engaged in HAA operations and to discuss issues collaboratively is a valuable tool in reaching our industry’s goal of zero accidents. HAI is already planning to make the Helicopter Air Medical Safety Conference an annual event.

Read More: HAI Launches Aviation Job Page with Help from JSirm.com
September 03, 2019

HAI announced the launch of its newest Partner Service membership benefit with JSfirm.com: a searchable, interactive database of aviation job postings from domestic and international companies. This partnership stems from both organizations’ shared goal of solving the shortage of qualified aviation professionals and offers HAI members a new, dynamic tool to promote their employment opportunities.

Visit rotor.org/resources/aviation-jobs to access the database and its list of thousands of aviation job from companies around the world. Job-seekers can post resumes, and companies can post job opportunities. The database is searchable by keyword, company, location, or job type.

“We’ve talked about the helicopter pilot and maintenance technician shortage quite a lot,” says HAI President and CEO Matt Zuccaro. “This partnership is a valuable workforce development tool that will assist our members in matching qualified candidates for their open positions. An HAI Member icon identifies jobs posted by our members, giving job-seekers the knowledge that the position is with a company that is committed to the highest standards of our industry. In addition, a helicopter icon marks those positions that are helicopter-specific.”

“Our new partnership with HAI will provide HAI members with added value. Through HAI’s network, we will enhance our ability to make jobs readily accessible to current and future helicopter professionals,” says Abbey Hutter, manager of marketing and partnerships, JSfirm.com.

Read More: HAI President and CEO Matt Zuccaro to Retire in 2020
September 03, 2019

The HAI Board of Directors announced the impending retirement of Matthew Zuccaro, president and CEO, effective June 30, 2020. This date coincides with the association’s fiscal year and the installation of a new Board of Directors on July 1, 2020.

Zuccaro has led the association since November 1, 2005. The Executive Committee of the Board of Directors will use an executive search firm to aid in finding Zuccaro’s successor and will consider candidates both internal and external.

“The HAI Board of Directors, on behalf of the entire industry, offer our deepest appreciation to Matt for his service,” says former HAI Chair James Wisecup. “Through his leadership, HAI has been a leading advocate to improve the safety of helicopter operations worldwide. Matt has also been a forceful supporter for the industry in legislative and regulatory matters, saving our members and the industry at large from overburdensome legislation and regulations.”

“We wish Matt well, and we thank him for the opportunity to take the next year to select his successor thoughtfully,” says HAI Chair Jan Becker. “The board is aware of the great responsibility we have to select the next person to lead HAI into the future.

“Our industry is evolving at a record pace. The next HAI president must be capable of navigating through several complex issues, including the pilot and maintenance technician shortage and the safe integration of unmanned aircraft systems, while continuing to provide members with tools that enhance the economic viability, safety, and public acceptance of their operations,” she says.

During an aviation career that has spanned more than 50 years, Zuccaro held several executive and operations management positions with commercial, corporate, air tour, scheduled airline, and public-service helicopter operations in the northeastern United States. During his tenure with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, he served in operations management positions at John F. Kennedy International Airport and the Port Authority’s public and private heliports.

Zuccaro received his initial helicopter flight training as a US Army aviator and served with the 7/17 Air Calvary unit in Vietnam. He holds ATP and CFII certificates for both airplanes and helicopters. He is a recipient of the HAI Pilot Safety Award for 10,000 hours of accident- and violation-free flight hours, the NBAA Pilot Safety award, and numerous other industry awards for his efforts for and commitment to the helicopter industry.

Zuccaro is looking forward to the opportunity to spend more time with his family as he considers new opportunities to assist the international helicopter community.

Read More: HAI Provides Reporting Tool for Rotorcraft Pilots
June 19, 2019

To address a growing need for reporting airborne safety hazards, helicopter pilots now have a new website, www.rotor.org/HARP, that allows for fast and easy reporting of near misses and other in-flight safety events.
 
The HAI Aviation Reporting Program (HARP) was developed by the association’s Operations Department specifically for helicopter pilots, with customized data fields for manned and unmanned rotary-wing operations. The program is accessible from any Web-enabled device.
 
HARP grew out of a discussion among members of the HAI Air Medical Services Committee. They felt there was not an effective system for prompt reporting of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS, or drone) activities that could threaten the safety of helicopter air ambulance operators.
 
HARP users can report events in these specific reporting categories:
  • Drone/UAS event
  • Accident/serious incident
  • Near midair collision
  • Wildlife strike/activity
  • Laser event
  • Other hazards.
Clicking on one of the six categories then directs users to the proper reporting source or guides them through a menu of questions or selections related to the event, capturing date, time, location, description, and other key data.
 
Pilots using HARP experience the convenience of accessing several reporting systems within one portal. If another reporting system already exists for the event, such as the NTSB one for accidents and incidents or the FAA’s for laser events, HARP connects pilots to that site.
 
“HARP is not intended to serve as a substitute for other public reporting systems or programs,” says Chris Hill, director of safety at HAI. “We encourage pilots to continue using any effective, responsive system they prefer for reporting hazardous conditions. HARP provides a simple reporting portal that promptly guides users through the reporting steps and ensures that vital safety information is shared with stakeholder operators in the most expedient manner possible.
 
“HAI will handle all HARP submissions with the utmost care and respect for individual and operator privacy. We are working directly with NASA in an effort to develop strict protocols for secure processing and transfer of HARP submissions into NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS),” adds Hill.
 

Read More: HAI Announces New Directors, Officers
June 19, 2019

One element of the HAI HELI‑EXPO trade show is the HAI Annual Membership Meeting & Breakfast. In addition to mounds of bacon and eggs, HAI members who attend the breakfast also receive reports from the association’s leaders and hear from candidates standing for election to the HAI Board of Directors. Members may vote online before the show opens and on-site at the show.
 
In Atlanta, the voters selected Jeffery Smith of R.O.P. Aviation in Teterboro, New Jersey, to join the board. Smith will fill the open general aviation seat on the board, replacing current director David Bjellos, who will leave the board when his term expires at the end of June. The nine director positions on the board are allocated among various industry sectors to match the demographics of HAI operator members.
 
Besides serving as chief pilot for R.O.P. Aviation, Smith has worked with the Eastern Region Helicopter Council for more than 15 years, serving as chairman for five years. He is a US Army veteran and has accumulated more than 10,000 flight hours, including over 700 hours in military and commercial helicopter air ambulance missions. Smith currently serves as the chairman of the HAI Fly Neighborly Committee and has previously worked with the Helicopter Tour Operator Committee, Flight Operations Committee, and the Heliport Committee.

Read More: HeliFutures: Next Steps in Workforce Development
June 19, 2019

Helicopter Foundation International (HFI) hosted the second meeting of HeliFutures at HAI HELI-EXPO 2019. The group brings together stake­holders from across the helicopter industry, including operators and maintenance and flight schools, to discuss initiatives for attracting, training, and developing the pilots and maintenance technicians who will be the rotorcraft workforce of the future.
 
As part of the meeting, attendees highlighted several examples of partnerships and collaborations within our industry. One example is a multimedia campaign, Choose Aerospace, developed by the Aviation Technical Education Council (ATEC). The campaign will promote aviation maintenance to young people, employing techniques such as video testimonials, social media, and mobile games and apps.
 
More than 10 industry partners have already signed on as partners in the campaign, including several airlines, the Aviation Institute of Maintenance, and other aviation maintenance organizations. ATEC is seeking additional partners; learn more at chooseaerospace.org.
 
Some operators and flight schools have created career progression programs that take the mystery out of building a career as a helicopter pilot. These programs provide pilots with stable employment, mentorship and support, and a clear path for their advancement from low-time pilot to a 2,000-hour pilot with turbine experience who will be in demand by all industry sectors.
 
Aviation Futures, which was started by Colorado Heli-Ops, Sundance Helicopters’ Skypath Program, and the University of North Dakota University Pathways Program are good examples of career progression programs; several airlines now have them for maintenance technicians too. Access to pilots and AMTs is one advantage for operators; the other is the opportunity to influence training so that eventual hires will meet the operator’s standards and needs.
 
Finally, HFI announced an initiative it is spearheading in the state of Utah. The Utah Rotor Pathway Program is in the development stage and is organized around industry partners, high schools, and universities in that state. Utah’s government leaders recognize that supporting aviation education for pilots and maintenance technicians benefits their state by providing solid career opportunities for its citizens while building a trained aviation workforce.
 
As we look to future meetings, HeliFutures will work with member organizations at the state level to establish similar pathway programs. The group is also investigating programs that will lessen the financial barriers to aviation training. These could include a student loan fund and innovative employment benefits such as student loan repayment programs.

Read More: ROTOR Wash: HAI Briefs
February 28, 2019

Hold on … HAI HELI-EXPO 2020 is WHEN?

Attendees and exhibitors should start planning and budgeting for HAI HELI-EXPO 2020 in Anaheim now, because it’s already less than a year away. HAI HELI-EXPO 2020 will take place a few weeks earlier than normal, January 27–30, 2020, with the exhibit floor open January 28–30.

As you probably know, HAI rotates the location of the show, moving each year between large convention centers in a select group of cities. This gives industry operators and other companies the chance to participate in an Expo “in their own backyard” every few years. For 2020, it’s time to visit the West Coast of the United States.

HAI typically hosts its annual trade show in the southern tier of the United States, where the weather is more likely to cooperate for fly-ins and fly-outs. Surpris­ingly, Anaheim is the only convention center on the West Coast with the 1 million square feet of exhibit floor and meeting space required to put on HAI HELI-EXPO®, the world’s largest helicopter trade show and exposition.

Anaheim is historically one of the most popular destinations for HAI HELI-EXPO attendees. The combination of weather, world-class attractions, easy access, and unbeatable industry networking and education will make for a productive and memorable show.

So plan to come to HAI HELI-EXPO 2020 a bit earlier than usual. Start your year and decade strong in warm, sunny, fun Anaheim.
 

Read More: HFI Expands Scholarship Program
November 14, 2018

Helicopter Foundation International (HFI) has expanded the number of scholarships offered as part of its 2019 Scholarship Program for student pilots and aviation maintenance technicians (AMTs). New this year are three scholarships to Southern Utah University’s (SUU) Rotor Wing Pilot Program. Each scholarship, valued at up to $20,000, covers specific training labs, tuition, and fees.

Located in Cedar City, Utah, the Rotor Wing Program is part of the school’s aviation degree program. The SUU scholarships include training for:

  • Rotor Wing Cross Country Maneuvers Lab
  • Rotor Wing Commercial Pilot Certification Lab
  • Instrument Commercial Rotor Wing Lab A
  • Instrument Commercial Rotor Wing Lab B
  • Rotor Wing Instrument Certification Lab.

Including the new scholarships, the HFI program now comprises 22 scholarships for pilots and AMTs currently enrolled in training. The deadline to submit a scholar-ship application is November 30, 2018. Interested students should visit rotor.org/scholarships for additional information and application requirements.

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