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Editor's Letter

Posted 1 years 284 days ago ago by Admin


I love the word “juxtaposition.” Merriam-Webster says it means an instance of placing two or more things side by side often to compare or contrast. It’s not a word I often use, but typically at the end of every year, I find myself juxtaposing two periods of time: the past and the present.

Although I love change and technology, every once in a while I enjoy reflecting on the helicopter industry and contrasting the past to the present to reflect on how far we’ve come.

2019 is a special year for Rotorcraft Pro. We are celebrating our 10-year anniversary working on the magazine side of our media company.

As geeky as it is, I actually own a physical copy of the first helicopter industry magazine ever printed 74 years ago. It’s the December 1945 issue of American Helicopter magazine which sold for 35 cents. (35 cents more than you paid for this issue you’re reading, thanks to our supporting advertisers.) On the cover it reads: “MAN’S NEWEST CONQUEST.” The advertisements inside are for Bell Aircraft Corporation, Ticonderoga pencils, Harman watches, and the Edison Voicewriter Ediphone. The back cover promotes purchasing United States Government Victory War Bonds as the perfect Christmas gift.

Inside that 1945 issue was a full page ad from the Bell Aircraft Corporation making a case that helicopters could be used for things like suburban ambulance service, forest fire control, and Coast Guard rescue work.

Ten years ago in our publication, then called Rotorcraft Professional magazine, we were reporting on topics like HAI President Matt Zucarro testifying before the U.S. Congress on oversight of helicopter medical services, as well as how American Eurocopter (now Airbus) was celebrating the 10,000 flight hour milestone on the 58 UH-72A Lakota’s that were in operation by the U.S. Army. 

In 2009 ADS-B was just becoming viable, and technology like autopilots for light helicopters and civilian flown drones did not even exist. My how times have changed in only 10 years.

Inside this issue commemorating Rotorcraft Pro’s 10th anniversary, we also highlight another important anniversary in which Airbus Helicopters celebrates its 50th year doing business in North America. The company, which started as Aérospatiale (in partnership with U.S. firm Vought Aerospace), has a long and storied history operating in the U.S. and Canada since 1969. Our cover feature reflects on past milestones that have propelled Airbus Helicopters to become a dominant force for innovation in an industry that spans many diverse civil, para-military, and military sectors.

By the way, that previously mentioned 2009 benchmark regarding the 58 U.S. Army UH-72A Lakotas is sure to have grown. Since then, more than 450 Lakotas have been delivered to the Army. Rotorcraft Pro congratulates our older Airbus Helicopters industry colleague on its 50th year of doing business in North America!