HAI was in Boston, Mass. this week sharing with professional planners from around the world a simple but important message: consider helicopters and heliports early in the process of planning your communities.
Director of Flight Operations and Technical Services Harold Summers manned the HAI booth at the American Planning Associationâ€™s National Planning Conference at Bostonâ€™s Hynes Convention Center April 9-12. The conference brought together more than 5,000 professional planners, elected officials and business leaders to discuss topics ranging from day-to-day project management to long-range planning.
â€œPlanners often donâ€™t think about helicopters and how they can benefit a community until after the construction stops and a need arisesâ€”a helipad for a hospital, a public-safety agency or a local business,â€ Summers said. â€œThis conference is an unparalleled opportunity to interact with hundreds of officials involved in land-use planning and zoning at every level of government.â€
Summers was joined by Don Scimonelli, a member of the HAI Heliports Committee and manager of Washingtonâ€™s South Capitol Street Heliport. At the HAI booth, they played the 2002 film â€œStraight Up: Helicopters in Actionâ€ and the HAI-produced video on helicopters supporting rescue and relief operations after Hurricane Katrina struck the U.S. coast along the northern Gulf of Mexico in 2005. They also distributed other HAI products, includingÂ Heliports: the 25 Most Asked Questions and Answers, theÂ Fly Neighborly Guide, and theÂ Planning Ahead for Helicopters flyer.
HAI has been exhibiting at the American Planning Association annual conference for seven years. Of this yearâ€™s roughly 90 exhibitors, HAI was the only aviation organization represented. Summers and Scimonelli were keen to explain how HAI employs its resources in support of the development of public heliports by working with city planners, zoning regulators, city fire marshals, the FAA, the Department of Transportation and the EPA.
Commenting on the interest shown HAI at the conference, Summers says, â€œwe planted the seed of knowledge that brings hope and development to our field; we did our part, now itâ€™s time for them to do theirs.â€
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