HAI considers rebrand
What’s in a name? A whole new, changing world.
The Helicopter Association International (HAI) is considering changing its name to better reflect an industry-wide shift by the helicopter market to incorporate more forms of vertical lift.
The trade organisation was established in 1948 and now represents more than 2,500 companies in the vertical-flight industry. As the organisation continues to grow, its members now include companies outside of the traditional helicopter market, including unmanned vertical flight and urban air-taxi companies.
So, HAI is considering changing its name to reflect this change.
Matt Zuccaro, president of HAI said in an open letter that the helicopter industry is going through a transformation as drones, tiltrotors and autonomous vehicles enter the civil-aviation market.
Mr Zuccaro added: “As one of the old guys in this industry, I started out flying helicopters and I intend to go out flying an aircraft called a helicopter — but I know that word is no longer big enough to hold all the facets of our industry.”
He also urges anyone reading with ideas on the potential rebranding of HAI to contact him.
Mr Zuccaro continued: “In an effort to be more inclusive, HAI will look at changing our name to better reflect our membership, which includes those active both in manned and in unmanned vertical-lift aviation. If you have any ideas on the potential rebranding of HAI, please let me know your thoughts.” Any suggestions?
Whilst this is a bold move from one of the biggest organisations in the helicopter industry, HAI is not the first helicopter organisation or company to consider changing its name.
Several other big-name helicopter companies have rebranded to incorporate other forms of vertical flight recently. The American helicopter manufacturer Bell Helicopters decided to drop the ‘Helicopters’ from its name to reflect its new vertical-lift projects such as the V-22 and air taxi.
Also, the American Helicopter Society recently changed its name to the Vertical Flight Society (VFS) for similar reasons.
The civil aviation industry in general has grown to accommodate other forms of vertical air mobility in the short time these aircraft have been around. At Farnborough Air Show two weeks ago, some of the most popular stands and biggest announcements were concerning VTOLs. Alongside this, all the biggest helicopter manufacturers are either developing or investing in VTOL aircraft, drones or unmanned flight.