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: Focus on Flight
September 03, 2019

Don’t let commitments at your destination overrule your commitment to fly safely.

“In my 37 years of aviation, I have never made a hotel reservation—and so I’ve never pressed on to make that reservation when I shouldn’t have. Think twice before making commitments that create pressure for you to finish a flight. Once you establish an expectation of making it to that party, that dinner, that meeting, that hotel, you may cut corners on safety … and may only make it to your funeral instead.”

Bruce Webb, director of aviation education and community outreach, Airbus

What do you do to ensure a safe, professional flight? Send your safety tip to safety@rotor.org.

Read More: The Mars Helicopter: First Extraterrestrial Vertical Flight
September 03, 2019

In July of next year, NASA will launch Mars 2020, a new mission to explore the red planet. Strapped under the belly of a rover that will be deployed upon landing in February 2021 will be a small—1.8 kilogram, 1.2 meter diameter—rotorcraft. In April 2021, if all goes to plan, that tiny aircraft, essentially handmade by a small team of engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, will make the first vertical flight on another planet. ROTOR spoke with Bob Balaram, JPL’s chief engineer for the Mars Helicopter. (This interview has been edited and condensed for publication.)

Read More: Jan Becker: Leading the Way
September 03, 2019

First female, international chair in decades sees new opportunity for HAI.

Jan Becker is a dizzying mix of practical skills and boundary-pushing innovator, a combination not always seen together. Consider her various positions: registered nurse and midwife; commercial helicopter pilot; CEO of Becker Helicopters, an Australian helicopter operator and flight school; founder of Midwife Vision, a charity supporting child and maternal health in Tanzania; and PhD candidate studying the role of midwives in sub-Saharan Africa.

On July 1 of this year, Jan added yet another role to the mix: she is the 2019–20 chair of HAI. Jan is not the first woman or first non-US citizen to lead the association, but she is the first to do so in decades. And if Jan has anything to do with it, she won’t be the last.

 

Read More: HAI 2019–20 Board of Directors
September 03, 2019

The HAI Board of Directors for 2019–20 was installed on July 1, 2019. A reception was held in Alexandria, Virginia, at the end of June to welcome the new board, connect with local HAI members, and offer a hearty thank-you to HAI’s volunteer leaders.
 
During the reception, outgoing board chairman Jim Wisecup (at right in photo) presented David Bjellos with a plaque expressing HAI’s appreciation of his volunteer work over the years. Bjellos, a pilot and aviation manager for Florida Crystals Corporation, has served on the HAI Board of Directors since 2013 and has worked closely with several committees, including the Environment / Fly Neighborly Committee. Although no longer chairman, Wisecup retained his board seat and is serving as the association’s assistant treasurer for the coming year.

First234567891011Last