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Monday, September 1, 2008

Services: Exhibitions: Helitech 2008

R&W Staff

With change and challenges aplenty in Europe’s helicopter marketplace, organizers of Helitech bring their all rotary-wing trade show to the Continent for the first time this year.

Helitech’s first show outside of the United Kingdom will highlight aerial firefighting and the VIP markets.

This year’s event will be held in Estoril, Portugal Oct. 14-16. During the first day of the show, an aerial firefighting conference will be held in Estoril, close to Airport Cascais where the exhibition is being staged. The firefighting event will offer recent case studies in the aerial firefighting arena, as well as discussions of advances in technology and of future growth of that market. On Oct. 15, an all-day conference will spotlight VIP helicopters, covering issues such as future market predictions, financing, collaboration and interiors.

The day before Helitech begins, the European Helicopter Safety Team is to hold its annual conference in Estoril.

During the past year, that team’s focus was to determine and implement an effective method for analyzing helicopter accidents throughout Europe. One goal is to make the results of that analysis compatible with the work of the International Helicopter Safety Team’s Joint Helicopter Safety Analysis Team so that, eventually, results can be aggregated at a worldwide level. To accommodate the multiple languages used in accident reports across Europe, a subgroup of the team, dubbed the European Helicopter Safety Analysis Team, established regional teams in France, Germany, the U.K., Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Latvia and Slovenia. The regional analysis teams account for more than 90 percent of the helicopters registered in Europe.

This one-day safety conference is expected to address areas such as the European-specific accident analysis method adapted from the global team, as well as analysis results and intervention suggestions and how to prioritize these and other recommended measures to reduce the accident rate. Delegates from European regulatory bodies and across operator communities are invited.

Launched in 2006, the European team brings together manufacturers, operators, research organizations, regulators, accident investigators and a few military operators in Europe. It is committed to the goal of reducing the helicopter accident rate by 80 percent by 2016 worldwide, with emphasis on improving European safety.

To further the focus of aerial firefighting during Helitech 2008, Eurocopter and Portuguese government firefighters have signed up to attend the event. Empresa de Meios Aéreos, the Portuguese government department that manages firefighting contracts, will be showcasing its capabilities. Other major players participating in Helitech 2008 include Bristow Helicopters, European Air-Crane, L-3 Communications Wescam, Pratt & Whitney Canada and RUAG Aerospace.

Helitech typically includes tools and technologies to complement rotary-wing flight. This year’s exhibitors promise to bring operators and pilots materials that will enhance safety, communications and more. Here’s a sampling.

Prism-Safety will be demonstrating its newly released Web-based quality and safety management tool. The vendor says this tool covers everything from storing and organizing meeting agendas and minutes up to complex audit and accident reports. The system addresses all current regulatory standards, including the implementation of a safety management system (which will be required under ICAO standards starting in January).

Following the safety theme, Atlantic Inertial Systems will be showcasing its Helicopter TERPROM Digital Terrain System. Until now, few aircraft have been able to fly demanding missions safely and effectively by day and night, in all weather, unless they used forward-looking radar that may alert the enemy to their presence. This system combines a highly accurate navigation capability with a digital terrain map to provide safety and tactical benefits with what Atlantic says is no forward electronic emissions. The system generates advanced terrain-avoidance cues, predictive obstruction and wire-threat warnings, as well as audio and visual ground proximity warnings, by scanning forward in the terrain database and predicting appropriate maneuvers to avoid ground collisions.

Skyquest Aviation, which specializes in developing airborne surveillance equipment, will be showing its new 6.5-in mission display, designed to assist pilots of Eurocopter EC135s and EC145s. The new display has been designed to be installed on the pilot side of the cockpit panel and to swivel backwards when not in use or for takeoff and landing. During flight, the display can be swivelled from its storage position and used to display a variety of information, such as moving maps, radar, enhanced-vision system images or live video from the onboard, forward-looking infrared sensor. When integrated with a moving map, the display utilizes its touch-screen functionality to control map inputs.

Also new is Aero Quality Sales’ latest aircraft battery charger analyzer. The combined charger/analyzer is electronically controlled and features integral software that enables the unit to be calibrated by the user, as opposed to sending it to a service center.

In the field of communications, SkyTrac’s automated flight-following and satellite communications equipment has recently obtained a supplemental type certificate for installation onboard Robinson Helicopter R22s and R44s.

AD Software has developed a helicopter-specific management solution that will be demonstrated live on its stand at Helitech.

Rotor Blades, the blade repair company, Bell Helicopter customer service facility and EASA Part145 maintenance company, will be meeting with conventioneers and customers alike.

Scandinavian Avionics specializes in avionics sales, certification, installation and maintenance, particularly for larger helicopters. The company holds EASA Part 21 design approval, EASA and FAA Part 145 maintenance approval. At Helitech, the company will be promoting everything from its MRO and installation services to its technical training and engineering portfolio.

Simplex Manufacturing was recently certified for quality management system standards and requirements under ISO 9001:2000 with design and AS9100 Revision B. Simplex specializes in the design, manufacture and certification of aerial application systems and mission equipment for helicopters. The company employs the latest technology in design and manufacturing systems for high-strength, low-weight composite materials to make cost-effective products for fire management, powerline maintenance and aerial applications.

With nearly 100 exhibitors, a large static display showcase and rotary-wing experts from around the globe, Helitech is more than just an exhibition, it’s a "three-day educational experience" that is expecting to enlighten and energize its attendees.

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