Over the past 18 months, our association has undergone a transformative journey, one initiated by our members and led by the Board of Directors. In this, the first of three ROTOR Daily articles, we walk you through our decision to rebrand. In later articles, we will examine our rebranding process, as well as detail what will (and what will not) change for our members.

So why did we change our association’s name to Vertical Aviation International?

First, while our new name and logo are very visible symbols of change, our rebrand goes deeper than just a new name or colors. It is part of a strategic step forward that reflects our commitment to adapt, evolve, and lead the vertical aviation industry into the future.

The vertical aviation landscape is experiencing a wave of rapid expansion, with advancements in technology and new aircraft types progressing through certification. But while some see competition or division, we see the power of unity.

In October 2022, the VAI Board of Directors approved its Strategic Industry Plan, which includes five initiatives focused on positioning the vertical aviation industry for growth. Strategic Initiative 1 directed the association to “unify the industry around a new vision of vertical aviation”—a vision that would be expansive, inclusive, and diverse. Instead of mission type or powerplant, we chose to focus on what unites us: the unique capabilities of all aircraft capable of vertical or short takeoff and landing.

The Board of Directors understood this vision could only be accomplished by rebranding the association to signal our inclusion of all vertical-capable aircraft. But we want to be clear: the helicopters that perform so many vital services to communities around the world are not going away. They have unique capabilities that cannot be duplicated by any other aircraft, and we are proud to represent them!

By embracing a unified industry, VAI provides vertical aviation stakeholders from around the world a place to gather, connect, and collaborate. As a united industry, we amplify our collective voice and advocacy efforts. Together, we will be better able to engage with regulators, legislators, and other stakeholders to influence global aviation standards and practices, advocate for access to airspace, and protect our industry from overburdensome regulations.

We hope that you too are inspired by our vision of a safe, prosperous, and sustainable industry that is embraced by the communities around the world that it serves. That is the future that we will build together.

Learn More

More information about the VAI brand can be found at rotor.org/newbrand. Please contact the VAI leadership team with any questions or concerns.

The change that has been happening within our industry is now reflected in your association. Our journey as VAI is just beginning—we look forward to building with you our future as a united industry.

Authors

  • Nicole Battjes

    Nicole Battjes is the owner and director of operations for Rainbow Helicopters, a Part 135 air tour operation based in Honolulu, Hawaii, and the 2023–24 chair of the VAI Board of Directors. She is a dual-rated pilot, flight instructor, and check pilot with more than 3,500 flight hours in helicopters. An active industry volunteer and advocate, Nicole has worked on issues such as community compatibility and SMS implementation for small operators in the Hawaiian Islands.

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  • James Viola

    James A. Viola is VAI’s president and CEO. After a career as a US Army aviator, he joined the FAA, where he served as director of the Office of General Aviation Safety Assurance before joining VAI. A dual-rated pilot, James holds ATP ratings in both airplanes and helicopters and is a CFII. James can be contacted at [email protected].

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Nicole Battjes

Nicole Battjes

Nicole Battjes is the owner and director of operations for Rainbow Helicopters, a Part 135 air tour operation based in Honolulu, Hawaii, and the 2023–24 chair of the VAI Board of Directors. She is a dual-rated pilot, flight instructor, and check pilot with more than 3,500 flight hours in helicopters. An active industry volunteer and advocate, Nicole has worked on issues such as community compatibility and SMS implementation for small operators in the Hawaiian Islands.