Jim Ricklefs, first president of California Helicopter Association, now known as Helicopter Association International, stands next to a Bell 47D helicopter. (HAI Archives)

The organization we know today as Helicopter Association International (HAI) was founded on Dec. 13, 1948. Sixteen people representing six operators and one manufacturer met at the offices of AF Helicopters at Burbank Airport in California. The group initially chose the name Helicopter Council but changed it the following year to California Helicopter Association.

In less than three years, the entity grew to be known as the Helicopter Association of America. Thirty years later, recognizing its international nature, the organization adopted its current moniker, Helicopter Association International.

From a small handful of people at AF Helicopters to the world’s leading helicopter organization, HAI WAS THERE to shape, encourage, protect, promote, and guide the industry to where it is now.

Countdown to the 75th anniversary: 72 days!

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