|HAI's HELI-CENTER will continue to be a significant attraction at AirVenture. (photo by Laurie Goossens)
March 6, 2013 - The Helicopter Association International (HAI) and EAA have made a joint commitment to give helicopters a new prominence at EAA's AirVenture - The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration.
The two organizations inked a three-year deal to keep HAI's HELI-CENTER located near the AirVenture flightline, not far from Phillips 66 Plaza. As part of the deal, the area between the HAI HELI-CENTER and the flightline will be designated a helicopter display and parking area, putting rotary-wing aircraft at show center for the first time ever.
"We want to give helicopters some '50-yard line' real estate at Oshkosh," said Jim DiMatteo, EAA's vice president of AirVenture features and attractions. "Our half-million AirVenture visitors will be able to really see and appreciate these unique aircraft. This goes beyond the homebuilt rotorcraft built by EAA members to the entire spectrum of helicopter operations and their advanced technology."
The huge 80-foot by 120-foot HAI HELI-CENTER will be the place to learn more about helicopters during AirVenture. HAI staff will be on hand to answer questions about the industry, as will HAI member companies who can talk about learning to fly helicopters, meet with industry experts and learn what it's like to work in such a diverse industry.
"As both a fixed-wing and helicopter flight instructor, I appreciate the unique issues associated with both category of aircraft, as well as their similarity of operation," added HAI President Matt Zuccaro. "Staffing the HELI-CENTER with helicopter professionals and surrounding it with helicopters will give AirVenture visitors a chance to become educated about helicopter operations. And who knows? We might gain some new helicopter pilots and technicians out of all those attendees from the fixed-wing community."
In addition to the HELI-CENTER, AirVenture is exploring ways to integrate helicopters into its famous daily air shows. Red Bull aerobatic helicopter pilot Chuck Aaron has wowed the crowd with his skills over the past several years. This year, EAA will be looking for additional ways to showcase the incredible array of things helicopters can do.
HAI members interested in participating in the HAI HELI-CENTER or who just want to park or display their aircraft in the dedicated helicopter location front and center on the flightline should contact HAI's Lisa Henderson via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by the HAI HELI-CENTER kiosk in the grand lobby of the Las Vegas Convention Center while at HAI HELI-EXPO 2013.