conference program

The conference program for ROTORTECH 2018 will feature a broad array of top level presentations from the most senior of industry participants, advisers and regulators, who's collective activities impact upon the helicopter industry.

Please be advised that the 'structure' of the Conference and Program of Activities at ROTORTECH 2018 will be different to past events.

There will be concurrent manufacturers break-out sessions/technical workshops and interactive displays. Participation at these specialised sessions will be free to all registered Rotortech Conference Delegates.


Day 1 - Thursday 24 May

Coffee in Exhibition Hall - Registration desk open
Exhibition Hall open
Welcome/Conference Opening - Australian Helicopter Industry Association (AHIA) President, Mr Peter Crook

Opening Keynote Address - International VIP Presentation
Mr Charles “Chuck” Aaron - “Never Quit, Never Give Up, Fight It Until The End - Mitigating Risks.”

Many in the worldwide helicopter fraternity are of the view that American pilot, Chuck Aaron is the all time very best. The Australian Helicopter Industry Association is honoured to have him present the Opening Keynote Address for ROTORTECH 2018 on his first visit to Australia. Chuck was the one and only pilot licenced by the FAA to perform aerobatics in a helicopter in the USA, and, one of only three such pilots in the world. His extensive technical qualifications and experience bear witness to his achievements.

Over the years Chuck has been the recipient of many aviation industry accolades and awards. Highlights being the 2009 Art Scholl Showmanship Award, presented by the International Council of Airshows; 2011 Society of Experimental Test Pilots Members’ Award; 2013 Living Legends of Aviation inductee, and, Helicopter Association International, 2014 Pilot of the Year Award.

The mention of Chuck’s name to helicopter pilots everywhere, always generates interest and excitement – this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to share the interest and excitement by hearing first-hand and meeting the legendary Chuck Aaron in person during the 3 days of ROTORTECH 2018.


OneSKY, Rotary+Fixed Wing, RPA’s and Drones-Future Air Traffic Management (ATM) Challenges
Mr Stephen Angus, Executive General Manager, Air Navigation Services Airservices Australia

The ever increasing utilization of Australia’s airspace by so many aviation industry participants creates a challenge for Airservices Australia. It is Airservices operational role to ensure that Australia’s airspace maintains, and retains, its internationally envied safety reputation. The continuing impact of the many and varied demands on Airservices, providing over 10% of the world’s surface ATM coverage, to safely embrace all facets of aviation is a never-ending challenge. Hear how Airservices Australia is presently positioning itself to contend with future ATM demands.


Morning Tea Break


Helicopters within the Investigatory Environment
Mr Greg Hood, Chief Commissioner, Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB)

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau is responsible for investigating any aviation-related incidents that may well compromise safety, or cause a serious accident. Incidents/accidents involving helicopters feature prominently in the ATSB’s portfolio of activities. ATSB experience and administrative guidance is considered helpful in addressing how the industry progresses within a safe environment.


Specialist Helicopter Operational Panel Session
Moderator - Mr Peter Howe - AHIA Director
Mr John Armstrong - Chief Pilot, Heli-Muster: Heli-Mustering-A Most Difficult and Daily Dangerous Challenge
Mrs Bridgette Hasting - GM/Pilot, Barossa Helicopters: Tourism/Helicopters and the Lifestyle Balance
Mr Colin Weir - CEO, Flight Safety Group: Is My SMS Working-How to Prepare for a Safety Audit
Mr Rob Walker - Stakeholder Engagement Manager, CASA: The Service Delivery Challenge-Regulatory Responsibilities versus Customer and Community Expectations

The helicopter industry/businesses from around Australia represent a distinct and diverse operational ‘mix.’ From cattle mustering in the outback, rural and regional search and rescue, fire-fighting, off-shore op’s, air ambulance, tourism, and the list goes on, there is a requirement for varying levels of experience and expertise to safely and satisfactorily conduct these individual types of helicopter operations. All such operations do create demands and expectations from customers and the community that sometimes are difficult to fulfill.

This Panel Session presents industry participants from within the ‘mix’ to share their views on the challenges faced in the immediate future. This promises to be a succinct, hard-hitting, no holds barred session of real concern and interest to all helicopter industry participants.

Lunch Break

Helicopter Fire-Fighting Awareness/Operational Workshop
Moderator - Mr. Ray Cronin - Vice-President, AHIA

At the time of ROTORTECH 2018, the 2018 bushfire season will have passed, hopefully, without significant events adversely impacting upon the broader Australian community. During this particular season, a number of new operational and innovative initiatives were to be trialed and introduced. This session focuses on the eventual outcomes of these arrangements – lessons learnt, considered improvements, effective communications and leadership and impacts on future planning.

Dialogue exchange with keynote speakers and the panel of expert subject matter presenters should make this particular session a must attend for any industry participant with an involvement, or interest, in the evolution of the country’s fire-fighting capacity.

Introductory Comments/Setting the Scene - Moderator
[Each speaker and panelist will address and cover issues germane to their specific area of expertise, experience and operational responsibilities]
Mr Richard Alder, General Manager, National Aerial Firefighting Centre
Mr Martin Gibson, Manager Aviation, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services
Afternoon Tea Break
Mr Phil Hurst, CEO, Aerial Application Association of Australia

Night Bombing - Trial Results - Way Forward
Captain Richard Butterworth, Head of Training Kestrel Aviation
Mr Wayne Rigg, Operational Lead Night Fire Bombing, Emergency Management Victoria (EMV)
Mr Richard Alder, General Manager, National Aerial Firefighting Centre
Mr Robert Walker, Executive Manager Stakeholder, Engagement Division, CASA

Brief Summing-Up
Moderator - Mr Ray Cronin - Vice-President, AHIA

Welcome Cocktail Function in Exhibition Hall
Sponsored by  

Day 2 - Friday 25 May

Coffee in Exhibition Hall - Registration desk open
Exhibition Hall open

Important Pilot Briefing

The Performance Classes Explained - Why PC 1 is not CAT A

Captain Greg Ohlsson – Fleet Manager, Rotary Wing - CareFlight

CASA are likely to implement a version of the ICAO Helicopter Performance Class system in the future and this discussion describes the system in simple terms to clear up some common misconceptions such as why PC1 is not Cat A. Concentrating on twin engine helicopters and using EMS as the example, we will explore the concepts of PC1 and PC2 in terms of where they differ, where they address risk, and how they treat exposure to engine failures. We will explore the risk principals of ALARP (As Low As Reasonably Practical) leading into a discussion on aspects of the cost and risk implications represented by the Performance Class system on our Industry.


Major Helicopter Manufacturers Technical Workshops

This ROTORTECH 2018 innovative initiative is a first for the Australian aviation industry. For the first time, in conjunction with an international aviation Conference and Exhibition, the major helicopter manufacturers will be convening Technical Workshops specific to their product line.


Airbus Manufacturers Technical Workshop

Airbus Helicopters – The Past, the Present and the Future

Workshop HostRalf Nicolai - Operational Marketing. Airbus Donauworth. Germany

Ralf will bring many years of experience and expertise on the H145 development, production and latest initiatives and provide an insight into upcoming projects:

  • A view behind the scenes on the H145 program. A review into the certification campaign of the H145.
  • A movie documentary on the final assembly process of the H145.
  • A presentation on the CityAirbus and Racer projects.
Morning Tea Break

Sikorsky Helitech Manufacturers Technical Workshop

Workshop Host - Blair Drinkwater, Key Account Manager (Sikorsky Australia)

Sikorsky Innovations & Sustainment (Safety through Support) - Rodahn Gibbon, Manager Key Accounts & Programs (Sikorsky Australia)Rodahn will provide insight in to some of the latest innovation, design and support initiatives from Sikorsky which are assisting operators in reducing their overall cost of ownership and continuing to raise the bar in safety standards within the industry.

Black Hawk Refurbishment Program for Commercial Restricted Category – Blair Drinkwater, Key Account Manager (Sikorsky Australia)Blair will take the audience through the process that Sikorsky Australia is undertaking to bring ex-U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawks to Australia to refurbish and certify them for Commercial restricted Category operations. An exciting program which will be welcomed addition to the capability of Australian rotory wing fleets.

Sikorsky Australia Capabilities & Support Network – Blair Drinkwater, Key Account Manager (Sikorsky Australia)
Blair will provide insight to the capabilities of Sikorsky Australia and the greater Sikorsky network in the Asia Pacific region.

Lunch Break

Meet the AHIA Board and its Industry Sector Expert Advisers
Regulatory Issues, Feedback, Action Plans
Chair - Mr Peter Crook - AHIA President, AHIA Board Members and Advisers

This session presents a unique opportunity for AHIA members (and prospective members) to engage with their elected industry representatives on issues currently confronting the industry. The impact of CASA regulatory requirements, future opportunity and viability, are but a few of the topics under consideration. This is an important session for all helicopter industry participants to learn first-hand how the AHIA will promote and provide leadership and its supportive role in the years ahead.

The Real MRO Challenges-Who Keeps the Rotors Rotating?
Moderator - Mr Ken Cannane - CEO, AMROBA
Mr Myles Tomkins - CEO, Airwork Helicopters
Mr John McDermott - President, McDermott Aviation

Currently there is an acute shortage of qualified LAME’s and AME’s in the Australian aviation industry. There is little likelihood of that situation improving any time soon. Educational institutions around the country are curtailing their training courses for aviation specific engineers and apprentice programs have come to a standstill. This issue will have a significant adverse impact on Australian helicopter operations within the very near future.

Hear first-hand what is happening on a factual basis and what initiatives the industry needs to undertake to protect the on-going viability of Australian helicopter businesses. This session is a must attend for anyone involved in support services for the helicopter industry.

Afternoon Tea Break

The Future Rotary Regulatory Landscape
Mr Shane Carmody - CEO/Director Aviation Safety - CASA

In June 2017 Mr Shane Carmody was appointed to lead CASA for the next 5 years. Prior to his formal appointment, there was a noticeable change in the way in which the regulator communicated in a collaborative way with industry. CASA, reflecting Mr Carmody’s personal approach to Industry issues, is slowly but surely regaining the confidence of the overall Australian aviation Industry. This address promises to highlight how Mr Carmody sees CASA and the helicopter industry exchanging and sharing dialogue in the years ahead.


The Regulatory Role, Responsibilities and Accountability of the Chief Pilot
Moderator - Ms Shannon O’Hara-Snr. Associate, Carter Newell Lawyers, BNE, and Australian Director ALAANZ.
Mr Adam Anastasi - Snr. Legal Counsel CASA
Mr Chris Manning - ATSB Commissioner and former Chief Pilot Qantas Airways

The role of the Chief Pilot is often taken for granted and not sufficiently recognised within their organisation or company, which can lead to unfortunate misunderstandings and confused outcomes. This session presents a highly qualified panel of industry experts to discuss in detail exactly the role of the Chief Pilot. This is a must attend session for all current Chief Pilots and any pilot aspiring to one day become a Chief Pilot.

Australian Helicopter Industry Association AHIA Annual Awards Gala Dinner - Lily’s on the Lagoon, Novotel Twin Waters Resort

This is the inaugural AHIA Awards Dinner celebrating excellence in the Australian helicopter industry. There are 4 individual awards to be presented, followed by a surprise or two. This Dinner, and the Awards presentations will become an annual event to encourage, support and recognize special achievements from AHIA members across Australia.

Day 3 - Saturday 26 May

Coffee in Exhibition Hall - Registration desk open
Exhibition Hall open

Robinson Manufacturers Technical Workshops Session 1

The Robinson Helicopter Company has long-serving chief instructor and safety campaigner Tim Tucker from the USA - heading up their Manufacturer’s Technical Workshop

Tucker will bring operators up to date on the latest from the manufacturer, on topics including:

  • The latest Robinson R22/R44/R66 helicopter safety information
  • Safe flying and community aware flying
  • Human factors and reducing risk
  • Educating pilots about general handling and maintenance of the R22/R44/R66;
  • Robinson and future developments – How to best use new technology; and, the Pilot Operating Handbook (POH) – Limitations and their true meaning.

Presented by HELIFLITE – Leaders in Helicopter Sales & Service

Morning Tea Break
Robinson Manufacturers Technical Workshops Session 2

Bell Manufacturers Technical Workshop Session

Business Development Director for Bell in Australia, New Zealand, PNG and the Pacific Islands, Dan McQuestin will present a comprehensive overview of the 505 from concept, certification through to first deliveries in the region.

The Bell 505 is the re-imagined version of the venerable 206. How will it perform – what can it do? Dan has been a pilot in the Australian helicopter industry for 20 years and brings with him that experience of helicopter operations to inform you of Bell’s latest addition.

Lunch Break

Financial Forum - To Spend, or not to Spend – How Best to Spend? Insurance?
Moderator - Mr Peter Langrell, Managing Director, Principle Finance Ltd
Mr Craig Akins - Head of Equipment Management Group, Asset Finance & Leasing- National Australia Bank
Mr Brent Brown - Managing Director, Blackwatch Asset Management Pty Ltd
Mr Martin Williams - Director, Austbrokers ABS Aviation Pty Ltd

This session is a unique once in a generation opportunity to hear from, and question, helicopter industry financial and insurance experts. The majority of commercial helicopters are at a price point where finance is essential. Financing decisions made at the time of purchase / rental have significant consequences during the Term of the financing and at Expiry of the finance agreement. In addition, many in the helicopter business are often confronted with the decision to re-equip and commit to expending large and significant amounts of money.

Industry financing is complex, confusing and not for the feint-hearted. Purchase outright, leasing alternatives, initial valuation and the setting of residual values, alternative finance derivatives, FX and fuel options, are all but a few of the considerations. What might be the appropriate and commensurate level of insurance coverage, is it all that necessary? Our panel will provide a holistic perspective to helicopter finance, hear honest and forthright opinions and advice from helicopter industry financial experts and one of Australia’s leading helicopter insurance brokers on what might best suit your business in the future.

The Importance of the Helicopter Industry at Regional and Metropolitan Airports-Support and Success!
Mr Peter Pallot, General Manager - Sunshine Coast Airport

Earlier in the program, Mr Stephen Angus talked about the demands currently being imposed upon safe ATM throughout Australia. Increasing operational access demands for helicopters around the country present significant challenges for secondary metropolitan, regional and some rural airports. Local community considerations, particularly with regard to noise abatement initiatives, are a shared responsibility between operators and airports. The operational mix and training demands are also important community considerations. How can industry and the airports achieve a win/win outcome and retain the support of the local community? The issues canvassed by Mr Pallot are applicable to all airports around Australia.

Close of Conference.
AHIA President - Mr Peter Crook

To download the current draft conference program (correct as at 17 May 2018) please click the link below.