posted on April 16, 2013 16:33
Alexandria, Va. – Several HAI staff members spent the past week bringing a taste of the rotorcraft world to their fixed-wing brethren.
Sun ’N Fun in Lakeland, Fla., is traditionally considered the start of the flying season for fixed-wing pilots – especially those who fly strictly for the fun of it. Thousands gather at Lakeland-Lindner Airport (KLAL) for a week of camaraderie, hangar talk, and air shows. HAI Vice President of Business Development Karen Gebhart, Vice President of Operations Paul Schaaf, and Director of Communications and Public Relations Chris Dancy joined them to explain the world of helicopters and provide information on how to add “helicopter pilot” to their certificate.
In addition to working for HAI, Gebhart, Schaaf, and Dancy all hold fixed-wing pilot certificates. They were joined by flight instructors from HAI member Bristow Academy in nearby Titusville, Fla.
Feiolim Sharkey, Richard Tedenholt, and Scott Anderson took turns throughout the week patiently answering questions from pilots, would-be pilots, and maintenance technicians about working in the helicopter industry.
Dancy and Schaaf hosted a well-attended forum on transitioning to rotorcraft. Dancy, a fixed-wing pilot who is working toward his add-on, shared his flight training experiences while Schaaf, an experienced professional helicopter pilot who flies fixed-wing for personal enjoyment added the voice of experience, answering questions that ranged from fairly basic to quite in-depth.
The HAI Booth was also the site of numerous meetings with companies, organizations, and associations, discussing the common issues facing the entire aviation industry.
On Saturday, Schaaf joined AOPA President Craig Fuller, Commemorative Air Force President Steve Brown, International Council of Air Shows President John Cudahy, and Recreational Aviation Foundation Director Tim Clifford for an aviation town hall meeting hosted by Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), co-chairman of the General Aviation Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives. Among other things, Schaaf discussed the growing problem of too few pilots.
While HAI will attend nearly a dozen helicopter industry shows and events in 2013, the Association will venture once more into the fixed-wing world during the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., during the last week in July.
If you’re there, be sure to stop by the HAI HELI-CENTERTM, located right up front, near the flightline. And if you’re an HAI member interested in participating in the HELI-CENTER, be sure to visit the HAI website to let HAI know of your interest.