Heli-Expo 2011 Breaks Previous Show Records

 - March 8, 2011, 7:14 AM

The Helicopter Association International’s 2011 Heli-Expo show, which closes today, looks to have exceeded expectations, with exhibitors, attendees and orders indicating a strong climb out of the long economic downturn. HAI predicts record attendance of more than 20,000, and HAI president Matt Zuccaro said there were "a record 625 exhibitors." All of the helicopter manufacturers announced multiple orders and most launched new rotorcraft at the show, including a new entrant, Marenco Swisshelicopter and its single-engine composite SKYe SH09 single powered by Honeywell’s HTS900. Eurocopter unveiled a new AStar, the B3e version with a Turbomeca Arriel 2D, as well as the fenestron-equipped EC145T2 with new Arriel 2Es, while Bell added two new variants of the 407, the 407GX with a Garmin G1000H and the 407AH armed helicopter targeted at the parapublic and military export market. AgustaWestland brought a mockup of its AW169 twin to Heli-Expo and reported a 56-percent growth in orders during 2010, compared to 2009. MD Helicopters CEO Lynn Tilton is preparing the company for massive growth from pending deals with Boeing and a Middle East EMS operator. And Sikorsky president Jeff Pino reported strong 2010 results and plans for expanding the company’s non-defense portfolio, as well as significant technological advances. Reports from exhibitors indicate strong attendance and buying activity at this year’s Heli-Expo, and some exhibitors are even expressing concern about finding qualified employees.