HAI’s HELI-EXPO 2015 (part 1)

Last year I tried to keep summaries for each day of HeliExpo and post them up here, that would end up proving to be a really tough task. It was my first HeliExpo and I made the naive mistake of thinking that I would have anything that resembled free time during the week. My days started before 7am at press breakfasts and meetings and then spilled over into the convention hall floor for interviews, booth announcements, and photography. The action of the day would only melt away and intensify into the after parties, banquet halls full of catered food (often the same menu) and open bars. I can’t recall a day that ended before 3am THE NEXT DAY.

So this year, I know more, and I still feel as though I’m not entirely ready for HeliExpo15. I packed smarter this time, I didn’t bring any notebooks or pens like last year because I know my first function is going to provide more than enough of those. Paper and ink is never in short supply at the “Expo”. I brought a tape recorder (LOL…”tape”), and I brought a hotshoe mount for my gopro so I can slap it to the top of my camera and film all the glorious action in 4K…not that I film in 4K – expect 1080p. Because I like you.

It’s March 1st and all is silent here at the Hilton Orlando. It’s quiet for two reasons, first the expo doesn’t officially start until tomorrow and, second, it’s 4am and for some reason I can’t sleep to save my life. So I’m down in the lobby chugging an over priced coffee and writing this. I’ve been aware of a slowly increasing hum of life as more and more people trickle into the lobby. An interesting side note about the lobby at 4am, they play the weirdest retro techno music.

This year is going to be my second Expo and I’m more excited for this one than I was for the last one. Last year I was wide-eyed and overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the expo, and by all the people I was being introduced to, and by all the people that already knew me. It was a little unsettling to not need an introduction sometimes, often I was greeted with “Oh you’re the Facebook guy” (which isn’t normally a high-accolade) and a hearty handshake. I think the biggest source, however, for this upswelling excitement is that in two days time the Expo hosts the single largest helicopter pilot hiring event of the year – and this year I’m a candidate. I’m armed with a mountain of finely printed resumes and business cards in packets, the packets themselves in individual plastic sheets. But I am nervous, I’ve never interviewed for a pilot position before, so I don’t know anything of what to expect going into this. What questions will they ask, should have I brought my logbooks with me, what questions should I ask? My mind is racing with scenarios and questions – and I think until Tuesday is done and past, I’ll be more than on edge a little bit.

For all of you, I plan on photos and videos of the big reveals, interviews as I can, I already have two requests from pilots unable to attend (one needs answers from Garmin…) and of course a summary when I can. Members of the Helicopter Pilot Group on facebook, or our community as a whole, are encouraged to stop by the HeliOps booth (sorry I don’t know our booth number) and say hi. Reach out to me on Facebook and if it’s possible I’ll meet up with you. I’ll even sign autographs, if you’re into that sort of thing.

So stay tuned – and get ready for a week at The EXPO.

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Landing at Phoenix Sky Harbor International on my way to Orlando for HeliExpo15
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