HAI Heli-Expo Sees Record-Breaking Attendance

According to organizers, 15,000 professionals from 87 countries came to the 35th annual show in Anaheim, California.

The last HAI Heli-Expo, which the organization will rename VERTICON next year, is in the books, and according to show organizers, attendance records were set at the 35th annual event in Anaheim, California.

This year’s event from February 26-29 included the announcement that the show’s producer, Helicopter Association International (HAI), was rebranding as Vertical Aviation International (VAI).

VAI is the world’s leading membership association dedicated to the vertical aviation industry, which encompasses all aircraft capable of vertical or short takeoff and landing.

According to James Viola, VAI president and CEO, during the four-day event you could feel the excitement and optimism.

“Both our attendees and exhibitors reported experiencing an outstanding show in Anaheim,” Viola said. “Every exhibiting company I spoke with reported high-quality traffic, and our attendees took advantage of the hundred-plus networking and education opportunities.”

The rebranding of the event plays into the growth in the industry, according to Nicole Battjes, chair of the VAI board of directors.

“We chose to announce our rebranding at the show because each year it becomes the center of the vertical aviation universe,” Battjes said. “Our theme for the 2024 show, ‘Building Tomorrow,’ perfectly aligned with our reasons for rebranding.”

Expo by the Numbers

Part trade show, part conference, Heli-Expo brought in 15,000 professionals from 87 countries. For four days, they had the opportunity to visit with some 625 exhibitors and get a close look at 63 aircraft.

The show also represents an opportunity to network and see and learn about the latest in technology and services for vertical aviation businesses.

Issues and Advancements in the Industry

Traditionally, Heli-Expo has been a good place to job hunt, and this year was no exception. VAI offered numerous opportunities for industry professionals, such as pilots, mechanics, and engineers, to network and connect with employers through its Industry Career Fair. In addition, there was a well-attended Mil2Civ Workshop, a program designed to assist military members transitioning into civil aviation.

In all there were 125 educational and training courses offered, ranging from the use of automation to aerial firefighting, that attracted more than 4,180 attendees. Plus, the annual Rotor Safety Zone featured presentations, demonstrations, and access to the regulators overseeing aviation safety. 

VAI Getting Cleaner

During the conference VAI promoted greater use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) by providing it to all aircraft flying into this year’s show.

“Vertical aviation must do our part to reduce our carbon footprint by incorporating SAF,” Viola said. “We want to thank Hangar 21, HeliStream Inc., Fullerton Municipal Airport [KFUL], World Energy, and Titan Aviation Fuels, who were instrumental in bringing SAF to HAI Heli-Expo.” 

Next year’s show, which will be called VERTICON 2025, will be in Dallas from March 10-13, with exhibits open March 11-13.

More information about VAI can be found here.


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