Helicopters have served the public since they first lifted off the ground. As the list of missions that helicopters conduct grew over time, so did public interest—both positive and negative. To address this interest and these concerns, HAI WAS THERE to give the public opportunities to see aircraft up close and to interact with pilots and operators. Throughout the years, tracing back to annual conventions in the late 1950s (when HAI was known as the Helicopter Association of America [HAA]), HAI has supported public events. This support includes hosting and participating in fly-ins, chili cook-offs, open houses, and other important interactions, including the Women in Aviation International Girls in Aviation Day, Whirly-Girls events, Rotors ‘n Ribs, and other gatherings.
In 1992, HAI, in conjunction with the Ninety-Nines and the National Association of State Aviation Officials, introduced Heli-Hound, a mascot, to promote early childhood aviation interest and awareness. The Heli-Hound program represented helicopters, while a national Air Bear mascot represented aviation in general. The mascots attended community events and accompanied school-age children on field trips to local airports to give the students a real-world view of aviation in their communities.
As the industry continues to grow, HAI will be there to support events that help educate the public about the benefits of vertical aviation and inform enthusiasts about how they can get involved in the vertical aviation community.
This year, we celebrate the 75th anniversary of HAI, formed on Dec. 13, 1948.
Countdown to HAI’s 75th: 23 days!