With Heli-Expo 2016 in the rear view mirror, we thought we would share some of what we heard at Heli-Expo 2016 in Louisville, KY. Using the last two year’s venues (Anaheim, CA and Orlando, FL) as comparisons, in no way shape or form did Louisville prove itself equal to the task. Now the good people of Louisville were kind and helpful to a fault. Those were not the issues. The issues were the location, the time of year and the weather just to mention a few.
Those of us who attend the Heli-Expo Convention on a regular basis are used to it being held in warmer climes, where there are many other attractions available for family members to go to, so they can have some fun while mom or dad do their thing. The weather was discouraging as it was cold and it actually snowed on us twice for a short time while we were there.
One does not normally think about cold and snow when attending a Heli-Expo Convention. Holding Heli-Expo in Louisville, that time of year was probably a bad call. Last year while Heli-Expo was in Orlando there was a blizzard that hit the Louisville area and people were trapped in their cars on the interstate for more than 24 hours! One cannot predict the weather perfectly, but there are sources available that prove pretty accurate over time. Perhaps more thought to past venues should play a part in the decision making process for future venues.
What was available for family members to see away from the convention hall was also very limited. For the time Heli-Expo was held, about the only indoor attraction was the Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum. Was that on your bucket list? Enough said there.
As to Heli-Expo itself, there were a couple of things that stood out and made one wonder. The show itself was well laid out and the companies you thought would be there were, but where were the people? I would venture a guess that only two thirds as many as last year in Orlando. There were no big announcements by the major OEMs about large sales of product, and there were virtually no big social parties being hosted in the evenings as was usual. The mood seemed to reflect on the general state of the industry in that it was coasting along for the moment. The large turmoil of the oil industry was producing the trickledown theory the experts had predicted. Oh, and to make matters a bit worse, in our total connectivity 24/7 society, if you wanted a premium Wi-Fi connection in the convention hall, be prepared to pay $79.95 per day. A bit much don’t you think? As to what led HAI to decide to hold the convention in Louisville, was never made clear, but lots of money rumors were heard in the halls.
All in all it was less than what I had anticipated, but at least we did not get hit with a blizzard. Hopefully it will be better next year in Dallas, TX.