HAI was started by a small group of helicopter operators in 1948 as the Helicopter Council which quickly morphed into the California Helicopter Association. The name has since changed to the Helicopter Association of America to Helicopter Association International in 1981. The goals established in 1948 are still the goals of the association having grown with the industry and the inclusion of Associate and Individual members.
HAI's stated mission is, "To provide its members with services that directly benefit their operations, and to advance the international helicopter community by providing programs that enhance safety, encourage professionalism and economic viability while promoting the unique contributions vertical flight offers society." The guy that has the main responsibility for all that is Matt Zuccaro. A 35 year vet of the helo industry, Zuccaro is well positioned to manage the needs and expectations of a dynamic aviation organization... one that seems to be constantly in the political cross-hairs.
ANN had an interesting chat with Matt on the floor of this year's Heli-Expo 2012 and got a read on where Matt sees the rotorcraft industry going from here...
Today; HAI is the professional trade association for the civil helicopter industry. HAI's 1,350-plus-member organizations and 1,150 individual members, in more than 73 nations, operate more than 4,500 helicopters approximately 2.3 million hours each year.