Heli-Expo 2024 Report


Story and photographs by Jeff Serpa

Anaheim, Ca The world’s leading Manufacturers of Rotary Aircraft gathered at the 35th annual Heli-Expo in Anaheim, California. Heli-Expo—the show’s 35th-anniversary edition and final under that branding—set a new record attendance, attracting 15,000 people to the Anaheim Convention. Visitors from 87 countries saw 63 aircraft on display, along with the latest technology, products, and services for the vertical aviation industry. The show featured 125 educational and training courses on topics ranging from aerial firefighting to automation, which were attended by nearly 4,200 participants.

A major point on the eve of the event was the change of its organizers name, from Helicopter Association International (HAI) to Vertical Aviation International (VAI). HAI President James Viola announced the rebranding of HAI and the Heli-Expo event during the association’s welcome reception on Monday evening, at the Anaheim Convention Center. The rebranding comes as the association closes out the celebration of its 75th anniversary. “We’ve got all kinds of great things going on,” said VAI president and CEO James Viola, adding that the rebranding is part of a “great year” that also marks the first eVTOL on the show floor. The Heli-Expo name for HAI’s annual gathering was retired after the 2024 show closed. The new show moniker will be changed to Verticon. HAI’s new rebranded name will officially be Verticon Aviation International (VAI).


Aircraft from across the country began arriving at the Fullerton Airport, where they staged for the three day event. Heli-Expo officially opened its doors to thousands of visitors on the morning of February 26th, and continued thru February 29th.

Industry leaders Airbus, Bell, MD Helicopters, Sikorsky, Augusta and Robinson were among some of the top manufacturers with aircraft on display at Heli-Expo. Hill Helicopters was also on hand for an exclusive showcase of the groundbreaking HX50 helicopter.


During the show, teams from both Airbus and Bell provided live demonstration flights for prospective customers. Hosted by Hangar 21 Helicopters at the Fullerton Airport, Airbus showcased their H145 and H125 models, while Bell demonstrated the Subaru Bell 412EPX, used for critical firefighting missions, and the Bell 505 with a law enforcement configuration. In addition, prospective customers were able to experience aircraft demonstrations of a Bell 407, Bell 429, and Bell 505 – all with corporate configurations.


Airbus Helicopters wrapped up the 2024 edition of HeliExpo with 155 commitments, including 40 firm orders, from customers worldwide for a variety of its multimission helicopters. Airbus Helicopters continues to position itself as the leader on the helicopter emergency medical services market with the H145. Bell Helicopters announced a signed purchase agreement with Equinor for the sale of 10 Bell 525 aircraft for North Sea offshore operations with deliveries expected to begin in 2026, in addition to commitments from the Heli-Expo, while Hill Helicopters announced more than 700 orders for their new HX50.


ROTAK Helicopter Services was on hand with their impressive, freshly painted CH-47D Chinook. Equipped with a HELITAK tank, the Chinook can drop just under 3,000 gallons of water or retardant on a wildfire in one pass. HELITAK also debut a 2,500 gallon bucket system that is expected to be a great tool during wildfire season.


HAI HELI-EXPO is the world’s largest trade show dedicated to the international helicopter community. Whether you are new to the industry or an established part of the community. HAI HELI-EXPO is the must-attend event to engage qualified buyers from around the world. The next Verticon expo is scheduled for March 10, 2025 in Dallas, Texas.

You may also like...