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EDITOR’S LETTER
From the desk of the Editor
It’s Showtime!
February is always an exciting time for the rotorcraft industry. Aside from the beginning
of a new year, we always look forward to the annual Helicopter Association International
trade show. It is at this benchmark event that we all can get a good indication of what the
following year will be like. Economic indicators are what they are, indicators. The rubber
hits the road at HAI; everyone is waiting patiently for the big announcements, the huge
orders. While we have heard a few rumors of significant order announcements, I’m afraid
it will not be quite like HAI 2008, when over 1 Billion U.S. dollars of new aircraft orders
Ron Whitney
were announced. However, the good news is that orders of military aircraft remain strong and steady.
Editor
Those “in the know” are looking toward 2011 for any significant upturn on the civil side.
Traveling About
Recently Rotorcraft Professional Publisher Tim Smith and I had the opportunity to visit with a few
of our industries OEM companies, Sikorsky and Kaman. We had the honor of being invited to the pre-
sentation announcement of Sikorsky Innovations. A new, virtual company, created by the development
and engineering teams, Sikorsky Innovations promises to bring together leaders from all facets of in-
dustry, academia, and business in an effort to create new efficiencies and bring innovative solutions to
the rotorcraft industry. You will find a summary of Sikorsky Innovations in this issue. It was at this
event that Sikorsky Innovations publically announced their “Optionally Piloted Aircraft” project, 2-Pi-
lot, 1-Pilot, No-Pilot. More on that in an upcoming issue. While we were in Connecticut we also had
the opportunity to take a private tour of the Sikorsky plant. Of course, having spent over 5000 hours be-
hind the stick of one Sikorsky helicopter or another, I could have spent weeks on that visit and still had
plenty of questions to ask. We will have a fully detailed story on that visit in an upcoming edition.
We also had the opportunity to visit with Kaman Aerospace. Although we didn’t have time for a full
tour of the facility, we did indeed learn that Kaman, along with Lockheed-Martin, has indeed been
very busy on the technology development of “Optionally Piloted Aircraft”. Shortly after our visit Ka-
man announced the results of their trials at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah. There, in partnership with
Lockheed-Martin, a K-Max remotely piloted from 150 miles away, safely demonstrated that vertical re-
plenishment could be conducted without placing an aircrew in harms way. We expect “Optionally Pi-
loted Aircraft” to be the big buzz at this upcoming HAI show.
We weren’t the only ones traveling about, Contributing Editor and Online Editor Lyn Burks traveled
deep into the bayous of Louisiana to visit offshore giant Bristow. From there he began his “Day in the
Life” series. Unless you’ve had the opportunity to actually live, work, and fly in the Gulf, it can be kind
of difficult to fully understand what it is like. Lyn will soon deliver a comprehensive report, both in print
and on video. The Day in the Life series will cover all of the major career tracks in the coming months.
Rotorcraft Professional Media Network
What do you get when you merge the #1 audited print and digital rotorcraft magazine, the #1 rotor-
craft web site, the #1 and #2 most highly visited and read forum sites, and the #1 Online Helicopter
Video site? Rotorcraft Professional Media Network. RPM Network was created to give our readers
a uniquely comprehensive media experience. One network which promises to deliver the most current,
talked about, and important media content in the industry. Oh, did I mention we have the #1 sub-
scriber based weekly newsletter as well. Simply put, RPM Network is a media network unlike anything
else in our market; we reach the most readers, more often, and in more ways than any other.
In This Issue
Although we have a great many interesting stories and features in this issue, I’d like to mention one
in particular; Pioneers in Rotorcraft. Never has such an interesting and complete story been told about
the men who had the vision, the desire, and the courage to do what they were told couldn’t be. This
month’s subject is Mr. Frank Piasecki. Contributing Editor Brad McNally continues his series with a
very compelling account of Mr. Piasecki’s contributions to rotor wing flight.
4 ROTORCRAFT PROFESSIONAL • February 2010
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