The helicopter trade association was established in 1948
Today, Helicopter Association International (HAI) celebrates 75 years of advocacy in the vertical flight sector. HAI was founded on Dec. 13, 1948, in Burbank, California, by a group of 16 individuals originally known as the Helicopter Council. Since then, the organization has grown to include thousands of members from at least 65 countries, including pilots, technicians, manufacturers, and suppliers.
“Seventy-five years ago, a small group of visionaries had the foresight to establish an organization that would become the beacon for the vertical aviation industry,” said HAI president and CEO James Viola. “Today, HAI stands as a testament to their vision and the collective efforts of our members, volunteers, and staff. We are thrilled to celebrate this momentous occasion, and we remain steadfast in our commitment to promote vertical aviation worldwide.”
HAI remains committed to promoting safety and community in the vertical flight sector, which in recent years has evolved to include new types of rotorcraft, including electric and autonomous vehicles, in addition to traditional helicopters. The changing landscape of the industry has prompted HAI to consider rebranding with a more inclusive title—one that may or may not retain the word “helicopter.” Announcing the move at the 2023 Heli-Expo convention, Viola pledged the rebranding will “look to the future while honoring the past.”
“HAI remains committed to the industry while embracing the expansion and development of new aircraft, infrastructure, and uses for vertical flight,” Viola said. “Our core mission is and will remain: to support our members and promote vertical aviation’s critical role in creating safe, prosperous, and connected communities around the world.”
HAI will hold its next Heli-Expo event in February 2024 in Anaheim, California.