HAI Convention News

Helitech returns after inaugural success

 - February 20, 2010, 4:34 AM

Helitech will once again be staged at Airport Cascais, Estoril, Portugal, on October 5 to 7 after the success of its inaugural event in Portugal in 2008. Organizer Reed Exhibitions said this year’s event is going to be bigger, with more than 50 percent of the exhibition space already sold.

New for this year is a two-day conference that will take place onsite at Airport Cascais. Initial proposed themes include looking at “Safety Management Systems (SMS) for the Smaller Operator,” “Training to Standards or Proficiency?” and “Aerial Firefighting.”

Most major helicopter operators already employ SMS, but only a small proportion of smaller operators have embraced the concept. And the clock is ticking as the European Aviation Safety Agency requires all operators, regardless of their size, to have the system in place by 2012.

On the training question, while the overall answer is that it is vital to train for both standards and proficiency, the balance to be struck between them is currently a hot topic. Training organizations are questioning how much of a course should be apportioned towards getting students to pass an exam and how much toward ensuring that, once qualified, they have the skills to be effective crewmembers.

The aerial firefighting session will include subjects such as how to attract a new generation of pilots, advice on negotiating government contracts and other topical areas.