ROTOR Magazine2020 Q3Message from the President

Seeking Translational Lift

By June 19, 2020March 26th, 2021No Comments

Use this moment to prepare for better times.

COVID-19 has meant fewer flights and tight finances throughout our industry. HAI has taken this time to focus on how we can help our members, and we’ve also looked internally to see how we can improve our processes. You also should plan for improvements in safety and efficiency, so when the fast pace of flight operations picks up again—and we all know it will—you’ll be ready to pull pitch and accelerate safely to the new challenges of 2021.

While the pandemic has certainly affected our translational lift for 2020, it hasn’t eliminated it. My two priorities are to enhance HAI’s ability to deliver services that our members need and want, and to deliver those services more efficiently. To meet those goals, we’re establishing a vision for HAI and reviewing our mission statement. With that guidance, the HAI Board of Directors and staff will draft a five-year strategic plan for the association by the end of the year.

Your input is vital too. We’ll be reaching out to the membership to ensure that the HAI strategy will help you solve your biggest problems; drop me a line at [email protected] if you already have some thoughts on this. I want to have a clear understanding of what HAI wants to accomplish for you, our member, and then work from a strategic plan that aligns our everyday activities with that vision and mission.

We’re also wrapping up a reorganization of staff and department leadership that’s aligned with what we call Workforce 2021. What this means to you is that the staff at HAI has been reduced to numbers that reflect the minimum needed during the current operating environment.

Now that I’ve cut back our staffing levels, I want to plan for expansion. But future staff growth must be tied to providing the member services you need from HAI. If I’ve cut too far and you feel the pain, please tell me how HAI is no longer meeting your needs. Also, let me know your views on where the industry is going: What can HAI do to ensure your prosperity five years from now? Where’s the growth potential in the vertical flight community?

As part of Workforce 2021, we’re also evaluating how we manage our office space. HAI currently occupies a four-story building in Alexandria, Virginia, right outside of Washington, D.C. Tenants occupy most of the first and all of the second floors; HAI offices are on the fourth floor and third floor, which includes meeting rooms and a classroom available for HAI members to use. Please pay us a visit when you can, and if you know aviation-friendly businesses in the D.C. area that need space, give them my email. The more efficiently I can run HAI, the more return I can provide in resources and programs to support and help lead the industry.

I hope you’re as excited about HAI HELI-EXPO 2021 as I am. The aerial recon of New Orleans was conducted in early August, and we’re reaching max torque as we continue to put plans in place for a safe HAI HELI-EXPO®. We’ve instituted more flexible policies for exhibitors and presenters, and our preparations will follow public health guidelines, such as scheduling extra time for cleaning between education sessions. New Orleans is excited to host our industry, and we’re doing all we can to ensure that you have a safe and successful show.

Thanks for all you’re doing to keep our community safe during these demanding times. It’s not quite like the challenges of dissymmetry of lift that we deal with every day, but I’m hoping 2020 is more like we’re in a hover, waiting to move forward and enjoy that feeling when we pick up translational lift. We’re in this together: let me know how HAI can keep your rotors turning.

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James Viola

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].