Everything you need help with.

I’ve been on the HAI Board of Directors for almost two years, but I’ve been associated with the organization for almost two decades. One of the most common questions I’m asked is: What can HAI do for me?

The best answer is: What do you need help with? I’ve been a line pilot, middle manager, safety officer, aviation manager, director and chair of a regional advocacy group, and public spokesperson. In each role, I’ve taken advantage of HAI resources to better meet my challenges.

Can HAI help you get a better job? (Yes.) Can HAI work with elected officials to provide needed relief such as Payroll Support Program funding ($179 million and counting!) and an excise-tax holiday during the pandemic? (Yes.) Can HAI help you and your colleagues in the vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) industry be safer? (Yes.) Can HAI pursue a national aviation policy that won’t allow the airspace to be carved into micro-jurisdictions? (Yes.) Can HAI work with regulators to get more designated pilot examiners, restore human external cargo operations, or shorten the wait for Part 135 approvals? (Yes, yes, and yes.)

HAI isn’t an annual trade show; it’s an international member services organization. Although HAI HELI‑EXPO® is an important revenue stream for the association, as treasurer, I can tell you that member dues, while very much needed, don’t come close to covering the expenses incurred by HAI’s work on issues that affect the global helicopter industry. And because HAI is a not-for-profit organization, any revenue beyond expenses goes directly back into creating and delivering member services.

We’re also fortunate to have hundreds of HAI members who volunteer to address industry issues, taking time out of their busy schedules to give back to the industry that feeds them. In my opinion, THAT is what HAI is about: a community of peers working to address their common problems.

Art Fornoff and the other 15 folks in the room when this organization was formed in 1948 weren’t trying to amass member dues or find a revenue stream. They were motivated by a different purpose. Although the civil helicopter was only two years old, these farsighted operators understood that, though they were competitors, they had to all band together to ensure a safe, sustainable, and economically viable industry. No small task, then or today.

I will say that HAI needs to communicate better and make it easier for all our members to enjoy the benefits the association offers. Through recent polling, we found that most people who work for HAI member organizations don’t know that they are automatically members too. That’s right—everyone who’s an employee of an HAI member company can access all the information and resources for HAI members, including direct access to HAI’s technical, regulatory, and legislative staff members.

Other HAI members-only benefits include several programs aimed at improving operational safety, discounts on attending or exhibiting at HAI HELI‑EXPO and HAI education courses, as well as opportunities to promote your organization in HAI media. In HAI’s working groups, members can take on a leadership role by tackling industry issues. ROTOR Daily, ROTOR magazine, weekly webinars, the Washington Update newsletter, on-point safety videos—HAI provides our community with information, data, and one-on-one contacts for your questions.

Is your company an HAI member? If not, why not? And if it is, then ask your company’s HAI member representative to update your HAI company roster with all staff who should enjoy our benefits (or contact member@rotor.org for help). You’ll quickly learn what HAI can do for you.

Author

  • Jeffery Smith holds the position of treasurer on the HAI Board of Directors. He is chief helicopter pilot for ROP Aviation and has worked with the Eastern Region Helicopter Council for more than 15 years, having served as the group’s chairman for 5 years. Jeff is a US Army veteran and has accumulated more than 10,000 flight hours, including over 700 hours in military and commercial helicopter air ambulance missions.

Jeffery Smith

Jeffery Smith

Jeffery Smith holds the position of treasurer on the HAI Board of Directors. He is chief helicopter pilot for ROP Aviation and has worked with the Eastern Region Helicopter Council for more than 15 years, having served as the group’s chairman for 5 years. Jeff is a US Army veteran and has accumulated more than 10,000 flight hours, including over 700 hours in military and commercial helicopter air ambulance missions.

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