The European Helicopter Association (EHA) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) today launched a new annual conference and trade show called European Rotors, to be held from November 10 to 12, 2020 in Cologne, Germany.
This new show is intended to include all vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft, including both conventional helicopters and new-generation electric (eVTOL) aircraft being developed for so-called urban air mobility applications. The conference program will include EASA’s annual Rotorcraft Symposium, which has been held at its headquarters in Cologne.
EHA said it has the support of all leading helicopter manufacturers, including Airbus, Bell, Leonardo, and Kopter. Sikorsky and MD Helicopters were not present at today’s launch press conference and have yet to state whether they will also participate.
“The event is the perfect opportunity to talk about safety with the whole community, and the timing is right because we have recently launched our new safety road map,” said David Solar, head of EASA’s VTOL department.
Until 2018, EHA partnered with Reed Exhibitions for the annual Helitech show. In 2019, Reed launched its new Vertical Flight Expo event, but this was not supported by any of the main helicopter manufacturers.
“This is the first time there has been a common rotorcraft and VTOL event that is fully supported by all EHA members in partnership with EASA,” said EHA chairman Peter Möller. “It is the one show organized by the industry for the whole industry and with participation by the regulator.”
European Rotors is being organized in partnership with Messe Friedrichshafen, which organizes the annual Aero Friedrichshafen general aviation show in Germany. Show director Frank Liemandt told reporters that the plan is to keep the event in Cologne for two or three years and then move it to various locations around Europe.
The new show will include an indoor static display for aircraft. An arrangement has been made for helicopters to be moved to the downtown Koelnmesse convention center from nearby Dusseldorf Airport.
Organizers said members of the public will be allowed to come to the event and especially welcome on the third day, when admission will be free. “It is important that we are not seen [by the public] to be behind the curtain and that they can really trust us [industry and regulators] and see what we are doing,” said Solar.
In July, EASA issued new special conditions to cover the certification of eVTOL aircraft. Solar told AIN that in the next few weeks the agency plans to publish the associated means of compliance for these rules, as well as a set of special conditions for propulsion systems used by this category of aircraft.