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The global rotorcraft industry continues to face challenges, with economic uncertainty and the recovering oil-and-gas industry leading to cautious optimism among operators.
To help businesses plan for the future, Helitech International returns at the beginning of October with a series of Insight Seminars that will shine a light on developments within key market sectors.
There are certainly signs that the civil helicopter — including light, intermediate, medium, and large and heavy helicopters — will experience strong growth over the next six years.
Aging helicopter fleets, demand from developing nations and increasing usage in firefighting and emergency medical services are driving sales. Additionally, countries such as China, Brazil and India, continue to present huge market potential, as governments prepare to develop their civil helicopter fleets.
However, this positive outlook is tempered by the findings of Honeywell’s 19th annual ‘Turbine-Powered Civil Helicopter Purchase Outlook’ that forecasts between 3,900 to 4,400 civilian-use helicopters will be delivered from 2017 to 2021 – around 400 less than the company forecast the previous year.
These conflicting views show an industry that is still extremely cautious about planning for the long term, with many operators across the globe operating short term strategies.
At Helitech International — which is co-located with MRO Europe and runs at ExCeL London from Oct. 3 to 5 — rotorcraft industry professionals will be able to hear about future helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) operations, search-and-rescue (SAR) missions, the offshore sector; maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) trends and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) integration, while the connected helicopter concept will be debated by leading original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and operators.
The program will deliver invaluable insights into these areas, enabling businesses to take advantage of the opportunities presented.
Using technology to advance SAR missions
On the opening day of Helitech International, experts from the Air Ambulance Services of Norway, Bristow Helicopters, Babcock Mission Critical Services and CHC Helicopter will discuss how new technologies are helping to optimise and improve safety on SAR missions.
In addition to discussing equipment and training systems, the panel will discuss how Norway’s new national database is signally a new era, by using web and mobile apps to map all air ambulance landing sites in the country, as well as marking all known obstacles — such as wires and mobile masts.
There are signs that the oil-and-gas industry is recovering after a turbulent few years. With developments moving further from shore, deep water activity continues to be another strong driver.
As a result, Douglas-Westwood’s World Offshore Helicopters Market Forecast 2017-2021 predicted that there will be a three per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) increase in global oil-and-gas helicopter expenditure.
Coupled with the burgeoning offshore wind turbine sector, there are expected to be many opportunities for operators in this area over the coming years.
Focusing on wind farms, Alastair Riches, chair of the Renewable UK Offshore Aviation Task Group, will moderate a not-to-be-missed session on day one that will discuss how helicopters will be integral to future offshore logistics operations.
Representatives from DONG Energy Wind Power, the global leader in developing and building offshore wind farms, offshore consultancy service SeaState Aviation and Babcock Mission Critical Services will consider what will be required of operators and the challenges that face those involved in transporting equipment and people to offshore sites.
On day two, the Flight Ascend Consultancy will chair an important seminar that will bring together stakeholders from across the offshore oil-and-gas sector.
BP, Bell Helicopter Textron, Bristow Group and aircraft leasing company Milestone Aviation Group aim to leave the session with a set of initiatives that will help foster a culture of ongoing safety innovation.
The connected helicopter
The internet of things has become buzzword in many industries and the rotorcraft industry is now looking towards a connected helicopter concept. At Helitech International on Wednesday, Oct. 4, some of the industry’s leading players will begin a discussion about how data can be better harnessed to improve operations and safety.
Rotorcraft industry professionals from across the supply chain will be able to join this seminar as Airbus Helicopters, Bell Helicopter, Leonardo, Safran Helicopter Engines, Lufttransport and Rolls-Royce Corporation look at how the many sensors that capture huge volumes of aircraft and mission data can be better utilised to optimise operations.
This session is expected to help define the blueprint of the helicopter of the future.
Also on the agenda
Among the other topics to be discussed at Helitech International’s Insight Seminars will be whether there should be a one-size-fits-all approach to HEMS operations and how medical equipment in rotorcraft should differ from ground vehicles.
What’s more, with UAVs playing an increasingly important role supporting manned rotorcraft, a panel of global leaders will explore how larger devices can support the sector in the future.
Teresa Heitor, event manager of Helitech International, commented: “The Insight Seminars at the event this year will deliver the latest trends and identify growth opportunities for OEMs, operators and technology vendors. We are excited about the program we have put together and believe it will deliver invaluable information to attendees.”
To register for Helitech International, click here. The event runs at ExCeL London from Oct. 3 to 5.