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Name changes: Signs of progress? - Editor's Letter

Posted 19 days ago ago by Admin

Everywhere I turn, I see nothing but change. Rapid change. In fact, almost every feature in this issue has an underlying theme of change.

By all appearances, Heli-Expo 2024 in Anaheim, California, seemed to be a success for the industry. With over 15,000 attendees and 625 exhibitors, first impressions were that the industry was well represented and doing fine economically. The one thing that was most apparent, both on the show floor and in briefings, is that big changes are happening right before our eyes.

Technology advances related to both crewed and uncrewed aircraft have come to life and were on display to see and touch. For example, advanced air mobility (AAM) platforms are now not only developed, but flying. Also, who would have imagined even two years ago that a traditional helicopter could have a single, fly-by-wire control stick to replace the traditional collective, cyclic, and pedals? It’s now a reality and several OEM’s are testing it now. Airbus has coined their single-stick control as the “Millenium” stick.

Additionally, large cultural shifts towards accepting these new technologies as being the new norm were palpable among the attendees and OEM’s. Perhaps the largest shift in that regard was that of the Helicopter Association International (HAI) itself. At the show, HAI announced that its new name will be Vertical Aviation International (VAI) and that its annual trade show will no longer be Heli-Expo, but VERTICON. Of course, this rebranding move has not been uncommon and many companies have done the same to account for the new “vertical lift” platforms that are on the horizon.

Inside this issue, you will also see the same evidence of this rapid change and tech advancement. In the simulation story, nearly all the OEM’s are incorporating levels of mixed and virtual reality into their training devices. It will not be long before the massive projection screens which take up so much space will become irrelevant. In the Airbus 2024 Update story, not only is the CityAirbus Urban Air Mobility platform flying, but RACER will take to the skies within days of this issue publishing for its first test flights.

In the Robinson Helicopters article, although we reflect on the last 50 years of the company, but look forward into the future, and yes . . . they too are venturing into the uncrewed space. Read more on page 46. About the only thing that did not change in the last year, was the critical shortage of qualified helicopter pilots in the industry. To see what impacts the shortage is having on pilot pay and benefits, check out this year’s annual Pilot Salary & Benefits Survey report on page 54.

Until the next issue, be well and be safe!

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