Heli-Expo 2011 Logo

The robust, tightly knit helicopter community will soon converge again on Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center. From March 5-8, more than 17,000 attendees and 600 exhibitors will be talking all things helicopter.

That always includes safety. The FAA has proposed a series of safety-related rules governing helicopter operations, including required implementation of safety management systems (SMS) and increased training requirements for inadvertent flight into instrument meteorological conditions (IIMC).

While the new rules haven’t taken effect, savvy operators are preparing for the inevitable. They need to if the industry’s going to achieve its ambitious goal of reducing the helicopter accident rate by 80 percent by 2016.

The Safety Leader

Our client FlightSafety International, as always, remains well out in front on helicopter safety issues. It offers comprehensive, mission-specific training for IIMC, as well as a variety of training approaches to help operators set up effective SMS protocols.

FlightSafety promises to attract attention in Orlando with its Level 7 Eurocopter AS350 simulator. It’s the first to be equipped for night vision imaging systems (NVIS). FlightSafety plans to add NVIS training in its Bell and Sikorsky programs soon, too. The FAA released a safety alert in December 2010 warning operators that they weren’t properly inspecting and maintaining their NVIS, especially after undergoing modifications. As is usually the case, training holds the key.

Dallas Airmotive Grows its Rotorcraft Business

Another client, Dallas Airmotive, plans a striking presence at Heli-Expo as well, spreading the word about the stability it gains by being part of global aviation services company BBA Group. Certainly, safe operations rely on well-maintained engines. Dallas Airmotive remains the industry leader, a position it’s held since the 1930s.

For more information on the show and its events, go to http://www.rotor.com/Events/heliexpo2011.aspx.