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Staying current to better manage risks and improve decision-making

By James Viola
President & CEO, Helicopter
Association International

James Viola

It is often said that pilots are not inventing new ways to have accidents. On the positive side, the vertical lift industry is developing new ways to assess and manage risk, and to teach sound aeronautical decision-making.

That is why attending continuing education is so important for pilots. We have chosen a profession that demands that we keep our skills sharp and stay current with the latest methods for risk management.

Like any pilot, I enjoy walking the exhibit floor at industry shows, such as the Helicopter Association International’s (HAI) Heli-Expo. This year, it will take place in Atlanta from March 6–9, with exhibits open from March 7–9.

I cannot wait to see the 60-plus aircraft and latest vertical aviation technology offered by the 600-plus exhibitors. At the same time, I urge those of you attending to also take advantage of the many opportunities offered at the show to refresh your training and sharpen your skills.

Before the show opens on March 6,  HAI offers 25 Professional Education Courses (PECs) designed for vertical aviation professionals. These in-depth courses require a separate registration fee. As a bonus, with your PEC registration, you will receive a free day pass to the show, making the Heli-Expo experience both affordable and accessible to pilots who invest in their careers.

Heli-Expo 2022 attracted 13,000-plus attendees and 590 exhibitors from 72 countries to Dallas TX, ending a 2-year pause from in-person events.

For pilots, PEC subjects include mission-specific training, such as flying in the mountain or wire environments, as well as aviation safety and leadership. We also offer an FAA-approved helicopter flight instructor refresher course. Take advantage of courses such as our Part 135 Management Bootcamp to fly higher in your career.

Safety is always front and center at Heli-Expo, and this year’s program is no exception. We will once again kick off the conference part of the show with the HAI Safety Symposium on March 6. This year’s presentation by the National Transportation Safety Board on a recent fatal accident will challenge you to rethink your aviation operations.

Additional safety sessions on March 6 include a forum for safety directors that will examine the effects of remote work arrangements on safety, and an all-hands meeting of the US Helicopter Safety Team (USHST). These events are open to everyone who wants to join in the effort to improve our industry’s safety performance – and I hope that includes you!

All Heli-Expo attendees can choose from 63 Rotor Safety Challenge education sessions that will be held from March 7–9. These 1-hour sessions are included in your show registration, and many are eligible for FAA WINGS or AMT credits. No advance registration is required, so you can easily drop in on sessions while keeping your other show commitments.

The Heli-Expo show floor includes a dedicated Rotor Safety Zone (Booth B3555), where you can connect with members of the HAI Safety Working Group, FAA Safety Team, the USHST, and other groups working to elevate safety in our industry. Exchange leading practices, share safety tips, and learn about safety enhancements that you can implement back on the job. The Rotor Safety Zone will also host a US Coast Guard helicopter display and a trivia game show where you can test your aviation and safety knowledge.

I should mention too that Heli-Expo also holds a workshop for military aviators who want to transition to civilian careers, along with the world’s largest vertical aviation career fair. In fact, our pilot attendees tell us that this show offers unparalleled networking opportunities.

HAI Heli-Expo indeed offers something for everyone. Check out the website at heliexpo.com for further information on hotels, registrations, class schedules, and more.

I hope to see you in Atlanta!