Safety First at the World’s Largest Helicopter Trade Show

By Debbie Hersman

Chairman Hersman, Member Mark Rosekind, and Senior Aviation Safety Investigator Clinton Johnson receiving a briefing from an official with Appareo Systems on the safety and training benefits of its flight recorders.

This past weekend Member Mark Rosekind and I were in Dallas, Texas, for Heli-Expo 2012, the world’s largest helicopter trade show. My visit started with a keynote address to the members of Helicopter Association International (HAI). This was a great opportunity to highlight the good work the helicopter community has done to improve safety as well as to challenge them to do even more to move safety ahead with safety management systems, safety culture, and flight recorders.

After my speech, we toured the exhibit hall and visited with manufacturers, suppliers, and service providers, and finished up at booth # 8536, which is the NTSB exhibit.

At American Eurocopters’ exhibit, its helicopters featured onboard image recorders. American Eurocopters has committed to equipping all new AStars with these low-cost, lightweight systems. And at Appareo Systems, we learned more about the safety, training, and operational applications of its cockpit imaging and flight data monitoring device, the same device that is being put on the AStar helicopters.

At the Aviation Specialties Unlimited (ASU) exhibit, we put on night vision goggles and saw for ourselves just how effective they can be in dark conditions. Talk about seeing is believing! Additionally, it was illuminating to see how interior lighting can affect the performance of the goggles. Finally, it was a pleasure to congratulate ASU President Mike Atwood in person for receiving one of the HAI Salute to Excellence Awards for his work introducing night vision technology and for his company’s work developing guidance and training.

It was a great trip. I greatly appreciate these opportunities to meet with dedicated and passionate aviation professionals – people who are making a difference and improving safety every day.

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