Elevating horizons: The transformation of vertical aviation with VAI

As of Today, February 27, 2024, the preeminent association in the vertical aviation industry is adopting a new identity.

Helicopter Association International has officially transitioned to Vertical Aviation International, or VAI, marking this significant transformation during the HAI HELI-EXPO 2024 Welcome Reception on Monday, February 26.

The rationale behind this change is succinct but powerful: a shift towards inclusivity, binding together all facets of vertical aviation, including helicopters. As the global vertical aviation fleet expands and diversifies, our industry is fortifying its capacity to bring the distinctive advantages of vertical flight to communities worldwide. Through embracing all aspects of vertical aviation as a unified industry, we aim to amplify our advocacy efforts on its behalf.

For our esteemed members, this change translates into several key aspects:

  1. HAI members seamlessly transition into VAI members, retaining access to their existing member benefits.
  2. No adjustments to member dues are foreseen at this juncture.
  3. The HAI Board of Directors and staff assume their new roles as the VAI Board of Directors and staff.
  4. The board will meticulously review member classifications, VAI bylaws, and other governance aspects to align them with the association’s strategic initiatives.
  5. VAI remains committed to offering connection, advocacy, safety, education, and unwavering support for its individual and corporate members through meaningful benefits and exceptional service.

Further information about this rebranding is provided below. However, should you have any lingering questions, concerns, or comments, please don't hesitate to reach out to VAI President and CEO James Viola at president@rotor.org. Despite our new name, our dedication to member service remains unwavering.

Why did HAI rebrand to VAI?

To assert its position as the world's paramount membership association for vertical aviation, the decision was made to broaden the scope and influence to encompass all forms of vertical flight. The consolidation of the industry aims to fortify our ability to advocate effectively with legislators, regulators, and other stakeholders, ultimately enhancing communities worldwide through the power of vertical flight.

Who made the decision to rebrand the association?

The HAI Board of Directors unanimously decided to embark on this rebranding journey. Enshrined in the unanimously approved Strategic Industry Plan of October 2022, Strategic Initiative 1 directed the association to "unify the industry around a new vision of vertical aviation." The decision to rebrand is a pivotal step in realizing this strategy, fostering a more inclusive association.

How were the new name, logo, colors, and other brand aspects chosen?

The rebranding process, steered by the Board of Directors over the past 18 months, has been deliberate and purposeful. Every element of the new brand, from the name and vision to purpose, colors, tagline, and even the new nomenclature for our annual conference and trade show, garnered unanimous support from the board.

To facilitate this process, the association enlisted a marketing agency with expertise in rebranding. Driven by data, the agency conducted comprehensive research, including interviews with members and industry stakeholders, an analysis of the vertical aviation industry, surveys, and brand workshops.

Who should join VAI?

VAI extends its arms to all aircraft capable of vertical or short takeoffs and landings (V/STOLs). Whether you build, fly, fix, supply, or operate V/STOL aircraft or contribute to vertical aviation in any capacity, Vertical Aviation International welcomes you!

Are helicopters still important to the association?

Absolutely! VAI's mission is to fuel the growth of the vertical aviation industry, recognizing the indispensable role helicopters play in undertaking essential missions that sustain modern society. Helicopters possess unique capabilities unparalleled by any other aircraft, and VAI takes pride in representing those who build, operate, fix, fly, support, and supply them.

Aside from the name, what else will change?

Our members can expect continuity in services – connection, advocacy, safety, education, and support for individuals and businesses. The transition to VAI signifies growth, not elimination, as we rebrand while maintaining leadership continuity under the VAI Board of Directors and staff. Membership remains open to any professional involved in vertical aviation, and student memberships are also available.

What does the VAI tagline, Powering Up, mean?

Powering Up encapsulates VAI's contribution to the vertical aviation industry. We empower all stakeholders to grow and prosper through connection, advocacy, safety, education, and support for businesses and individuals.

What about HAI HELI-EXPO?

We are renaming HAI HELI-EXPO to VERTICON, and we extend an invitation for you to join us at VERTICON 2025 in Dallas, Texas, from March 10–13! The event will continue to showcase:

  • Vertical aviation manufacturers and suppliers globally, including major airframe, engine, and technology OEMs.
  • A comprehensive education program, encompassing long-form courses, shorter sessions on safety and business topics, and manufacturer technical briefings.
  • Industry meetings, including those with VAI working groups, covering vital topics for the vertical aviation industry.
  • An industry job fair and Mil2Civ workshop.
  • Ample opportunities to expand your network and reconnect with peers.

Will my membership dues change?

At present, there are no plans to alter VAI membership dues.

What about HAI’s publications, ROTOR magazine, and ROTOR Daily?

VAI is committed to publishing the association's quarterly magazine and daily e-newsletter. Updated and redesigned versions will be unveiled later this year, ensuring continuity for current subscribers.

Where should I go for more information, to renew my membership, or update my member profile?

While we work on a brand-new website, verticalavi.org, expected to launch by August 2024, both the association's new web address and its current one, rotor.org, can be used to access your VAI member account during the transition. Rest assured, both web addresses will redirect users to the site currently in use.

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