HAI: ‘Heli-Expo’09 a Resounding Success’

 - February 26, 2009, 11:01 AM

Despite all the gloom about the recession, this year’s Heli-Expo in Anaheim, Calif., easily exceeded all expectations when it ended on Tuesday, with record attendance of 17,995 people, up from last year’s record total of 17,373. Exhibitor numbers also climbed a strong 12 percent, to 585 from last year’s 523, and the show exhibit area and static display included 65 helicopters. Vendors on the show floor reported plenty of activity, attributed to helicopters’ primary use as working machines less subject to the vagaries of public opinion and economic pressure that are affecting general aviation airplanes. There were only two helicopter program announcements this year. RotorWay plans to develop and certify a two-seat trainer powered by Rolls-Royce’s RR300 turboshaft. And Erickson Air-Crane announced plans to build new S-64s at prices that could run as high as $50 to $75 million per helicopter. Rolls-Royce unveiled a turboshaft version of the RR500 engine, a 475-shp derivative of the RR300 that powers Robinson Helicopter’s R66. Heli-Expo ’10 is set for February 21 to 23 in Houston.