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Southern California hosts Heli-Expo 2009Southern California hosts Heli-Expo 2009

Heli-ExpoHeli-Expo 2009 will open on Sunday, Feb. 22, at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif. The Helicopter Association International’s annual event is the world’s largest gathering dedicated to the international helicopter community.

The association hopes to break last year’s attendance of 17,373 aviation professionals and exhibiting companies, featuring the latest avionics, accessories, components, and other related products.

Although the show is shaping up to be busy and exciting, the atmosphere might be a little more subdued than last year. The helicopter industry has seen tremendous growth in markets such as law enforcement and oil exploration; however, the slowing economy and dropping oil prices have dampened some of the growth. During the last six months, many manufacturers have reported a drop in new civil helicopter orders. However, even with the slowdown, forecasts still show a fairly strong and health industry for the next decade.

Many attendees are looking forward to seeing Robinson Helicopter’s new R66. The helicopter is powered by the Rolls-Royce RR300 turbine engine, a first for the company. The R66 has been flying at the company’s headquarters in Torrance, Calif., for more than a year, and certification is scheduled for later this year.

Even if the attendance does not top last year’s record, the event is a great opportunity to network with other aviation professionals. In addition, Helicopter Foundation International will offer a number of educational courses for pilots and technicians, and the Job Fair will have companies from around the world seeking to fill positions.

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