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Saturday, January 1, 2005

Intro

Randy Jones

Annual reports

Hang around long enough and things are bound to change. This has been my motto ever since I started hanging around anywhere long enough to actually see it come to fruition. After spending the last decade and a half hanging around vendors in the helicopter industry, I have witnessed firsthand the tumultuous changes brought about by mergers, acquisitions and spin-offs among the key companies supplying products and services to owners and operators. Honestly, I don't know how you people keep up with it all! I had occasion recently to go hunting for something in a February 1982 issue of Rotor & Wing. There I found a few names that have managed to hang around through the years--Rockwell Collins, Wulfsberg, GE, FlightSafety, Keystone and my personal favorite, Frasca, with the headline "Train your pilots for as little as $5 an hour." I personally think we should all stop by Frasca's booth at Heli-Expo this year and ask about their $5-an-hour special.

More than a few venerable names have hung around, but added a parental name in front, or firmly on top of the old name we recognize. Bendix Radars, King Radios and Sperry Flight Controls have all found comfort in the open arms of proud parent Honeywell, as have more than a few others.

Then there are the proud names that have simply faded away into the mist, like proud old soldiers--Hughes, Castleberry, Southwest Vert-All and Cooper Airmotive, to name just a few. One even disappeared for a while, only to return recently: Perkins Plastics. It makes one wonder which proud names of today will be gone tomorrow, and which ones will evolve and mutate into an entirely new entity over the coming months, doesn't it?

This is precisely why we developed the Annual Reports issue of our magazine, featuring the Company Profiles that you will find on the following pages. Once a year, we reach out to the vendors who supply the helicopter industry with this unique format to offer them an expanded opportunity to tell you about what is new, exciting or just plain changing within their companies. They paid for the advertising space you see; an equal amount of editorial space was provided, with the services of the R&W editorial staff, to help these companies communicate the important information you need to know about their companies and the products and services they offer.

As an added bonus this year, we offer the Executive Outlook feature. We had our writer ask top executives at these companies to briefly tell us what they see on the horizon for our industry. Our hope is that these pages will pique your interest and give you insight about these people and companies as you prepare your schedule for Heli-Expo next month in Anaheim.

In the meantime, our editors are hard at work on a much more in-depth look at prospects for the coming year on a market-by-market basis for our Heli-Expo issue, coming up next month. So take a few minutes to look over what these vendors think you should find of interest. See if you can garner a few ideas to explore with them when we meet in Anaheim in a few weeks. Until then, we will be gathering a few more ideas to share with you there.

See you in Anaheim.

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