Helitech International arrives in Amsterdam

11 Oct 2016

Europe’s leading rotorcraft event opens in Amsterdam providing valuable insights for HEMs and SAR operators, as well as discussing the future of the global helicopter industry

The global rotorcraft industry is still operating cautiously, easing its way to recovery, following a prolonged period of economic uncertainty. That was the key message delivered by the Flight Ascend Consultancy on the opening day of Helitech International 2016.

With the seminar room packed, many operators we standing to hear analysts from the consultancy provide a detailed review of the oil and gas industry and how its decline has correlated closely with the downturn in international helicopter orders. The impact of CHC filing for Chapter 11 and the grounding of operators’ H225 fleets was also assessed, with delegates informed that around 75% of the global offshore fleet is currently valued below its base value.

Commenting on the Helicopter Market Outlook session, Horst Reiger, Managing Director of Pankl Aerospace Systems, commented: “It is hugely important for us to learn about new trends, developments across the world and how the future of the rotorcraft industry may look. It’s invaluable being at Helitech International to hear respected analysts present unique new information to us.”

On the exhibition floor, there was sign for optimism in the industry. Leonardo signed two deals to supply its new AW169 helicopter with visitors witnessing LCI Helicopters and Specialist Aviation Services agree to take three and six aircraft respectively. Airbus Helicopters also revealed that its H135 model has achieved excellent sales in China, echoing the thoughts of Flight Ascend Consultancy which highlighted that the country’s government and civilian helicopter fleet had increased by more than 400% since 2007.

Elsewhere at Helitech International, which is run in association with the European Helicopter Association (EHA), future trends in emergency medicine were assessed, along with their impact on air ambulances and mission equipment. A packed conference heard Steve Wheaton, Assistant Chief of the West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, present a unique insight into pre-hospital care trends in the UK, while Fabio Martorana from Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital explained how Italian HEMS operators are planning missions from a national and regional perspective.

A new feature to this year’s event, the Operators Forum, saw businesses from across Europe join together to talk informally about issues set to shape the future of the industry. Hosted by Gretchen Haskins, the CEO of HeliOffshore, attendees discussed how they can make operations more profitable in the long term, as well as exploring how a collaborative approach can improve safety across all markets.

The EHA Rotorcraft Seminars, which ran throughout the day, sparked a lively debate with operators flocking to ask questions about the European Aviation Safety Agency’s latest regulations. Attendees heard how the organisation hopes to work with stakeholders in the future, before it opened up the floor to answer some of Europe’s operators concerns.

Another key topic that was addressed at Helitech International today was search and rescue operations. A panel of leading experts joined together to review the Falkland Islands’ SARs service, focusing on the role of equipment in cold weather operations as well as how the AW189 aircraft is being utilised.

Alongside the Seminar and Workshop programme, rotorcraft industry professionals travelled to Amsterdam to see the latest innovations and services from more than 180 exhibitors. With major OEMs, like Airbus Helicopters, Leonardo and Bell Helicopter, being joined by engine suppliers, audio system and navigation equipment manufacturers, visitors had a one stop shop for all their rotorcraft requirements.

Attending the event for the first time, helicopter pilot Benedikt Tebartz van Elst said: “Amsterdam is the perfect location for Helitech International as it’s the city of aviation. I came to the event to learn about the latest aircraft and the static displays provide me with valuable information direct from the manufacturers.”

First time exhibitor Marenco Swisshelicopter was on hand to discuss its new SKYe SH09 single-engine helicopter that offers exceptional hot and high performance. Pratt & Whitney Canada presented its latest helicopter engines. Rockwell Collins showcased flight display and communication and navigation systems for the linefit and retrofit markets.

Carcoon America also displayed its climate-controlled helicopter storage system in the static display area, while Trakka Systems demonstrated its search light, gyro-stabilised camera and optical technologies designed for law enforcement, border security and SAR operations.

Leonardo was the talk of the show with its virtual reality SAR simulator. The fully immersive experience allowed visitors to see a rescue by the AW189. A first of its kind, the system combined a VR headset and hardware, including hoist equipment. The International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP) and HeliOffshore, the global offshore helicopter industry association, also chose Helitech International to strengthen their cooperation.

Helitech International continues at RAI Amsterdam tomorrow with another packed Seminar and Workshop programme, including the popular Business Leaders Forum and Technical Workshops from Airbus Helicopters, Leonardo and Bell Helicopter. There will also be a not-to-be missed session on UAVs, hosted by Jim Payton from Rolls-Royce.

To register for the event please visit www.helitechinternational.com

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