PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE - Helicopter Association International

PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE - Helicopter Association International


The year 2003 will not go down in the

history books as just another average

year. The potential exists for major

changes on many fronts, and it is still

far too early to predict some of the

possible outcomes. What we do know is

that this year's HELI-EXPO in Dallas,

Texas was just the right tonic we needed

to put some spring back in our step.

Last year was a tough one for many

HAI members, but things began to

brighten up in several areas as 2002

came to a close. Although the

imploding stock market, corporate

scandals, and an under-performing

economy were a significant drag on the

aviation industry, we demonstrated yet

again that helicopters perform essential

services that must go on.

The stars and moons aligned this

year over Dallas, and exhibitors and

attendees enjoyed the fruits of their

labor and had a great time in the

process. Sheer numbers are often

misleading because they don't reflect

the human interaction on the show

floor, nor do they reflect the policy

progress achieved in the forums and

committee venues. However, this year

was an occasion where the numbers

were up dramatically, a lot of

meaningful business was facilitated,

and professionalism was enhanced.

Dallas has always been a good site

for the HELI-EXPO with numerous

original equipment manufacturers

(OEMs) in the area, almost 700

helicopters servicing the oil patch in the

nearby Gulf of Mexico, and a worldclass

heliport right next to the

convention center. Add to that a feeling

that things just might be on the

upswing, and people were ready to get


Roy Resavage

on with their lives in spite of the doom

and gloom atmosphere that can hang so

heavy in the air.

The exhibitors led the way with

terrific displays and booths, and they

increased their numbers by approximately

15 percent. The number of

attendees increased by 8 percent to just

under 13,000 for the three-day show

period. The HAI staff increased their

contributions with expanded member

services and products. The quality,

quantity, and complexity of the

supporting publications that were

available at the HELI-EXPO established

a new high water mark. The allnew

and greatly improved web site was

fully functional for anyone interested in

the helicopter industry, and was readily

accessible at the show's extremely

popular "Internet café."

HELI-EXPO is truly a tradeshow

and convention, and the convention

aspect this year reflected the professionalism

of our industry. The

Platinum Program of Safety is designed

to increase awareness of benchmark

safety practices. The first dozen HAI

members to qualify for this recognition

were honored at the Annual General

Meeting. Interest in this program grew

throughout the show as the Safety

Committee educated a standing room

only crowd at their show floor booth.

The professional education series

regained the vigor of previous shows as

managers, pilots, and maintenance

technicians enhanced or refreshed their

knowledge of helicopter related


International meetings took place

before, during, and after the three-day

convention. There are and were many

divergent views regarding how to

restructure the ICAO Annex that

establishes a reference document of

helicopter operational Standards and

Recommended Practices (SARPs). The

debate was lively and at times

contentious, but the heat of fire forged

a harder resolve to obtain international

guidance that reflects the improved

technologies and operating practices in

place today.

The HELI-EXPO in Dallas gave

many people a chance to focus on the

industry and enjoy relaxing times with

many old friends. However, many

things have changed since Dallas and

the entire world is in the midst of a

wartime setting. It is impossible to

know the impact this action will have in

various areas, nor is it possible to know

the timetable that will restore a relative

state of normalcy. However, we are

starting to see a pattern emerging that

indicates how the United States

government will deal with U.S. aviation

security imperatives.

The Department of Homeland

Security became a reality in March, and

the Transportation Security Agency

(TSA) became part of that organization.

The TSA and the FAA work in concert to

establish and enforce regulations that

affect helicopter operations. This is a

complex situation for a number of

reasons, and having both agencies in

different administrative departments is

just another factor that requires careful

liaison. There are also coordinating

teams that in addition to the TSA and

FAA include representatives such as:

the Secrete Service; Customs; the FBI;

DOD and undoubtedly many other


Their charter, is, of course, to deny

credible threats the opportunity to

utilize aircraft to inflict damage. To

accomplish this they create restrictive

procedures such as Temporary Flight

Restrictions (TFRs), Air Defense

Identification Zones (ADIZ), regulations

that define security requirements,

and mechanisms that can

restrict undesirable individuals from

engaging in aviation activities.

HAI, in conjunction with other

leading aviation associations, are acting

as watchdogs, alert to excessive or

unnecessary restrictions. We have

already witnessed local politicians and

municipalities attempt to impose

restrictions above and beyond the

recommendations of the federal

government. HAI has always been

opposed to vigilante style solutions to

National Air System (NAS) concerns.

Security is a serious matter and HAI

fully understands the need for

heightened awareness and vigilance in

these troubled times, but we will

continue to pursue every prudent

opportunity to keep our members

flying their essential missions.

Roy Resavage is president of HAI.

2 Spring 2003

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