Read More: HAI Committees Change Names, Gain Email Voting Option
January 17, 2020

The HAI Board of Directors is initiating a series of adjustments intended to bring the association in line with the best practices of similar organizations. One such change is meant to conform to general trade association standards: altering the name of HAI’s “committees” to “working groups.”

Within the structure of many associations, committees are formed by the board and comprise only board members, whereas working groups consist of other, nonboard members who perform board-directed tasks. This change, which takes effect immediately, in no way diminishes the much-appreciated efforts of HAI’s working group members.

Each HAI working group will continue to address the subjects for which it was created, and each will continue to function using its established structure and leadership. The groups assist the board in shaping the association’s policy positions; identifying industrywide practices; and providing programs that enhance safety, encourage professionalism, and foster economic viability while promoting the unique contributions vertical flight offers society.

Additionally, the HAI board has agreed to allow working group members to vote by email. This will allow them to remain close to home while participating in regular working group meetings. While at least one meeting of each group will be held every year at HAI HELI-EXPO®, subsequent meetings may take place during other events or when necessary.

For more information on HAI’s 12 working groups and their missions and members, visit rotor.org/about/working-groups

Read More: Helicopter Foundation International Changes Name
January 16, 2020

Helicopter Foundation International (HFI), HAI’s charitable arm, is undergoing a name change that more closely identifies the nonprofit organization’s role in supporting HAI missions. Effective Jan. 13, 2020, the name officially changed to the HAI Foundation.

“For many years, not everyone realized that HFI is directly connected to HAI, its parent organization,” says HAI President and CEO Jim Viola, who also serves in this role for the foundation. “This name change ties the two organizations more closely together, but the foundation’s mission and goals have not changed.”

The tax-exempt foundation also shares the same Board of Directors as HAI, with the goal of “preserving and promoting the rich heritage of vertical aviation while supporting the next generation of pilots and aviation maintenance technicians.” To achieve that goal, the foundation provides programs in three mission areas: education, safety, and historic preservation.

Most recently, the foundation has focused attention on the helicopter pilot and aviation maintenance technician shortage. It commissioned the HFI–University of North Dakota study, which was the first to document the labor shortage in the helicopter industry. Since that study was released, the foundation has been active in workforce development, holding industry forums and career roundtables addressing the issue.

The foundation has also worked closely with HAI’s Government Affairs Department, helping to initiate the Utah Rotor Pathway Program and providing information and guidance to other states interested in establishing similar educational programs. The foundation also annually awards 19 scholarships for student pilots and aviation maintenance technicians.

All donations to the HAI Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, are tax deductible in the United States. You can make a donation at rotor.org/donate to fund the foundation’s programs in education, safety, and historic preservation.

Read More: Annual Aerial Firefighting Safety Conference Concludes in Boise, Idaho
December 10, 2019

HAI recently completed the annual AeriaL Firefighting Safety Conference, putting a wrap on what has traditionally been the end of the fire season in the Northern Hemisphere.

Over 250 people registered for the two-day event in Boise, Idaho, representing nearly 150 companies, organizations, associations, and agencies involved in aerial firefighting, making it one of the largest such events yet. Representatives of 23 companies associated with the firefighting sector also exhibited at the conference.

“While we didn’t have any vital issues to address this year, it was still a very good conference,” says HAI Vice President of Operations Chris Martino. “Many of these people are competitors in the field, but this event brings them all together for the common goal of safety. They take significant interest in flying safely and professionally, collaborating on best practices, and the opportunity to network away from the fire lines.”

Day 1 of the event began with a meeting of HAI’s Aerial Firefighting and Natural Resources Working Group, led by Chairman Brian Beattie of Croman Corp. This was followed by safety briefings by Keith Raley of the US Department of the Interior (DoI) and Eric Shambora and Michael Reid from the US Forest Service (USFS).

After lunch, Vince Welbaum, representing the state of Colorado, held a presentation on the use of night-vision goggles (NVG) in aerial firefighting. John Shea, HAI’s director of government affairs, then spoke on how legislation can affect safety. Michael O’Shea of the FAA made the final presentation of the afternoon, speaking on unmanned aircraft systems.

On the second day of the conference, the USFS and DoI held their semiannual aerial firefighting interagency meeting and briefing. This twice-yearly event is also held at HAI HELI-EXPO®. Both events provide a forum where helicopter operators and other contractors can meet face-to-face with government officials to discuss safety, contracting questions, and other issues facing the firefighting community.

Read More: Mars Helicopter Coming to HAI HELI-EXPO
December 10, 2019

HAI HELI-EXPO® has long been a platform for the debut of new aircraft and new technology, but a special presentation at the 2020 show in Anaheim is sure to be out of this world.

Through the efforts of NASA and its Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the NASA Mars Helicopter is going to make a special appearance at HAI HELI-EXPO in advance of its July 2020 mission to explore Earth’s next-door neighbor. The NASA Mars 2020 mission will carry the one-of-a-kind aircraft, designed specifically for flight in the special conditions posed by the Martian environment.

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.

12