The often awe-inspiring work ­helicopters perform is widely acknowledged across the vertical flight industry. But the public may not always be fully aware of the more than 40 missions the aircraft conduct. World Helicopter Day, Sunday, Aug. 18, 2024, presents an opportunity to boost that awareness while celebrating the wonderful contributions rotorcraft make to society.

The event, which marks its 10th anniversary this year, isn’t just about raising public awareness of the good helicopters do, however. It’s also a grand celebration of the people who design, build, maintain, fly, and support the aircraft. In short, it’s a time to appreciate the incredible work we do and the impact helicopter operators have on our lives.

“This is a perfect opportunity for companies in our industry to open their doors and invite the public to witness what makes vertical flight special,” says James Viola, VAI president and CEO. “Tell or show the media what you do. Work with local politicians to share your efforts in their communities. We have the coolest industry in the world, and the world needs to know about it!”

To make the publicity effort easier for VAI members, the association is providing a small tool kit with checklists, templates, and guides for planning celebratory events, working with the media, and writing press releases. The kit also offers suggestions for inviting the public to your base of operations, and it can be scaled and adjusted for companies of various sizes. The kit is available to VAI members only at rotor.org/world-helicopter-day.

“We recognize that celebrating on a Sunday in August could be difficult for operators,” adds Viola. “It’s in the middle of the busiest time of year in the Northern Hemisphere. Some operators will be fighting fires or conducting agricultural operations. Some will be flying air medical operations or building power-line towers. But that’s the key point we want to convey: our versatility in conducting missions makes us vital to the public good.”

Ultimately, it doesn’t necessarily matter where a company celebrates its work. While it’s always great to promote your business to your home community, showing how you support them, you may be able to promote World Helicopter Day even if you’re flying missions across the globe, as the press release templates can be used in any community.

During the monthlong celebration, VAI also recommends promoting safety in all your messaging. This could include discussing the need to check the weather, conducting preflight and post-flight inspections, explaining how autorotations work and why they’re necessary, and explaining the difference between a precautionary landing and an emergency landing.

Finally, VAI recommends using Aug. 18 as a chance to expand public awareness of the significant need for pilots and maintenance personnel in the vertical flight industry. “This is a perfect workforce development opportunity, particularly if you’re working on a mission nearby,” adds Viola. “Let tomorrow’s pilots and maintenance people see the operations up close today. Show them how cool it can be to pick their own mission to fly.”

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