2023 MarchROTOR MagazineFrom the Board

What You Can Expect in Atlanta

By March 7, 2023No Comments

Take advantage of all Expo offers to connect and grow.

Hello from Atlanta, and welcome to HAI HELI-EXPO 2023!

As 2022–23 chair of the HAI Board of Directors, I’ve been fascinated to watch the world’s largest vertical aviation conference and trade show come together. Charlotte Zilke, who as HAI senior director of membership and conventions leads Expo development and operations, and the HAI staff, exhibitors, vendors, and our host city of Atlanta, Georgia, have done a remarkable job of creating experiences and value for the vertical aviation industry.

Jeff Smith

I hope to see you at Monday night’s welcome reception that will kick off HAI HELI-EXPO 2023. This year’s event will be held at the impressive Georgia Aquarium, and the entire place will be exclusively ours. If you see me or any of my fellow board members, please stop and say hello. We would love to talk with you!

The Expo show floor is always a huge draw. Our industry runs on innovation, and like you, I can’t wait to see all the cool stuff our 600-plus exhibitors will bring to Atlanta. And be sure to spend time in the Rotor Safety Zone (Booth #B3555). Chris Hill, HAI senior director of safety, keeps upping the ante each year to provide you with an array of safety resources, best practices, and tips you can use when you’re back on the job. This year’s Zone also offers you an opportunity to compete with other “heli-experts” in a trivia game to test your aviation and safety knowledge and win prizes. Set a personal goal to go home with at least one takeaway that will elevate your operational safety.

I also want to ask you to become more engaged with your industry by attending HAI working group meetings. Composed of HAI members just like you, our working groups volunteer their time to address our industry’s challenges. Some working groups concentrate on sector issues, such as tours and air medicine. Others address activities common to all aviators, such as safety and flight operations.

This year, we’ll see two new HAI working groups: one looking at how our industry attracts and retains our workforce, and the other examining the exploding costs of aviation insurance. Are these issues problems for you, as well? Then as an HAI member, you have the chance to help create their solutions! All working group meetings are listed in your HAI HELI-EXPO 2023 Program & Exhibit Guide, in the HAI Events app, and online at rotor.org/wg.

This year’s Expo will begin the yearlong observation of the 75th anniversary of HAI’s founding on Dec. 13, 1948, and the HAI Board of Directors and staff are committed to making 2023 a year to remember. The board’s Strategic Industry Plan Committee, led by Treasurer Nicole Battjes, has been working tirelessly to enable HAI to expand its leadership of the vertical aviation industry. The committee has completed a three-year strategic plan (see “Defining the Future of Vertical Aviation,” p. 38) and is now leading a rebrand of the association. I know you’re busy, but we appreciate each one of you who responds to a survey or provides feedback. The HAI Board and staff take very seriously their responsibility to provide you with the finest in events and services, and your comments are extremely valuable.

Now, that’s enough of the preflight briefing—let’s buckle in and enjoy the ride!

Author

  • Jeff Smith

    Jeff Smith is the chief pilot for R.O.P. Aviation in Teterboro, New Jersey, and the 2022–23 chair of the HAI Board of Directors. A former US Army aviator, he is a dual-rated pilot with more than 11,500 flight hours. Jeff is an active industry volunteer and advocate who has worked on noise, safety, and airspace issues in the New York City area as a member of the Eastern Region Helicopter Council.

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Jeff Smith

Jeff Smith

Jeff Smith is the chief pilot for R.O.P. Aviation in Teterboro, New Jersey, and the 2022–23 chair of the HAI Board of Directors. A former US Army aviator, he is a dual-rated pilot with more than 11,500 flight hours. Jeff is an active industry volunteer and advocate who has worked on noise, safety, and airspace issues in the New York City area as a member of the Eastern Region Helicopter Council.

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