Photo: Elizabeth Witham
Event in Boise, Idaho, Dec. 9–11 to feature safety presentations, US federal agency updates, and professional networking opportunities.
Keeping up to date on the latest safety training, technology, and best practices is crucial to the success of aerial work operators. And there’s no better place to do that than the 2023 HAI Aerial Work Safety Conference (AWSC), Dec. 9–11 at the Boise Centre West in downtown Boise, Idaho.
Open to both HAI members and nonmembers, the AWSC provides an in-depth look at key issues essential to aerial work operations as well as topics that affect all vertical aviation operators. The event also includes HAI working group meetings on firefighting and natural resources as well as restricted-category aircraft. The cost to register for the conference, $100 for HAI members and $200 for nonmembers, includes breakfast and lunch for all three days.
Designed for the People Who Keep Society Running
The AWSC is designed for helicopter operators who perform the work that keeps society going: transporting people and equipment, performing aerial firefighting, completing construction projects, erecting electrical grids, lifting heavy components, and patrolling and clearing pipelines and power lines. As aerial work operators know so well, their helicopter crews do the hard work our communities need to remain safe and prosper.
There may be different ways to approach aerial work tasks, and AWSC attendees will have an opportunity to meet with one another during networking periods and social events to share their missions, compare operations, gain new insights, and potentially discover new ways to save on costs.
In addition to operational issues, conference-goers can learn about risk management and safety strategies, visit vendor exhibits, hear updates from industry experts, and explore employment opportunities. Speakers will include representatives from the FAA, the US Department of the Interior (DOI), and the US Forest Service (USFS).
Talk Directly with FAA, DOI, and USFS Representatives
At this year’s AWSC, attendees will be able to get their questions answered directly from US government regulators and safety officials. “This year, we’ll have more participation by the FAA, as requested in member surveys,” says Zac Noble, HAI director of flight operations and maintenance. “People are looking for answers and explanations directly from the source.”
Noble explains that the USFS and DOI representatives “will be doing something a little different this time. They’re inviting people to stop by their booths with questions. They’ll make a list, find the answers, and address the questions during a presentation the next day, so that everyone can learn from each other’s questions.”
In addition to expanded access to agency representatives, other AWSC offerings this year, based on HAI member requests, include additional focus on technical data in the speaker presentations and more time for networking. “We’re planning to satisfy those interests this year,” Noble says.
For Duke Puharich, safety director for Siller Helicopters, a heavy-lift and aerial firefighting operator based in Yuba City, California, the AWSC is a must-attend event every year and an extension of his company’s safety management system (SMS) program.
“The AWSC exposes our employees to all sorts of different safety topics and addresses safety concerns from all different angles. That’s just not something one person would ever be able to do [alone],” Puharich says.
Siller Helicopters, an HAI member for 29 years, has been sending employees to the AWSC since 2010.
“We think it’s important not only for our management, but for our people in different departments, to attend and hear from the subject-matter experts in the various fields of aviation safety and safety in general,” Puharich adds. “When our people attend the AWSC, they all come back with a greater understanding of all the different avenues of safety.”
Day 1, Dec. 9: HAI Working Group Meetings
The HAI Aerial Firefighting and Natural Resources Working Group and the HAI Restricted and Experimental Category Aircraft (RECA) Working Group will meet to discuss safety, operational, and support issues.
Day 2, Dec. 10: Exhibits and General Interest Sessions
Safety and informational sessions will feature presentations from industry experts, organizations, and companies, as well as the FAA. The topics apply to all vertical aviation and aerial work communities.
Day 3, Dec. 11: Exhibits and Government Agency Updates
Representatives from the DOI and USFS will provide important updates to operators.