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From The Desk of The Editor Innovation = Survival

Several projects we have created here at the magazine have given me new insights into the helicopter industry during the last few months. I have always preached that our rotorcraft industry’s diversity has been key to its survival and long-term steady growth rate. For example, even though the sectors of fl ight training and oil & gas support are currently taking a beating, many other sectors are relatively healthy and providing some balance. Recently, I visited several businesses in the industry who have innovated themselves into a new reality.

In last month’s issue we visited Erickson Inc. Traditionally regarded as a helicopter operator, they have reinvented themselves into an MRO and training organization. In this issue I report on a recent trip to Astoria, Oregon, where Brim Aviation uses an Agusta A109SP to transport members of the Columbia River Bar Pilots Association to and from large ships crossing on of the most dangerous bars in the world.

Looking forward to our October issue, I will report on a recent visit to Haiti. Although recently there on a mission trip, I took time to visit Ayiti Air Anbilans, an air ambulance service that would not exist except for the innovative spirit of two Americans armed with only an idea and a desire to help people.

Additionally, in this issue we announce the winners of our inaugural Rotorcraft Pro Innovators Contest. (Some of the results may surprise you!) This competition brought to my attention how creativity and innovation can come from companies of any size. Naturally, we received entries from giant companies like Airbus and Rockwell Collins. Their entries were true technology breakthroughs that I am sure cost a small fortune in R&D. Still, we expect high levels of innovation from companies like those. However, most of the interesting entries came from smaller companies—even one-man organizations.

I sincerely value the innovative contributions of the big guys, but as a small businessman myself, I feel a

2 September 2015

deeper connections and appreciation for the little guys. It takes 10 times the eff ort for them to bring an idea to fruition, and the fi nancial risk is very real: Failure can mean personal fi nancial catastrophe.

Finally, James Careless reports that many military organizations are using third-party helicopter training. See page 38 to read the interesting details. In an era of tightening budgets, it’s an approach that is, well … innovative.

Lyn Burks, Editor In Chief

Publisher Brig Bearden Editor-In-Chief Lyn Burks Account Executive Teri Rivas Layout Design David Matuskey Online Accounts Manager Lynnette Burks Copy Editor

Rick Weatherford Social Media Guru Laura Lentz

Subscription / Circulation Manager Pam Fulmer

Contributing Writers Rick Adams James Careless

Randy Mains Brad McNally

Steve Goldsworthy Tim Pruitt Caterina Hessler Matt Johnson

Randy Rowles Scott Skola

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