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The European Helicopter Association (EHA) is joining forces with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to create European Rotors, a show dedicated to rotorcraft and newcomers in the vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) industry. The first edition of the new annual event will take place in Cologne, Germany, from Nov. 10 to 12. The announcement was made Jan. 21 in Cologne, and received support from major OEMs.
The new show’s tagline is “the VTOL show and safety conference.” In addition to an exhibition floor and a static display, it will offer panel discussions, seminars and training sessions. The annual EASA Rotorcraft Symposium will be integrated into European Rotors.
Show organizers have secured 15,000 square meters (160,000 square feet) for the event from Koelnmesse, the owner of the exhibition and convention center that will host European Rotors. While they hope to attract would-be manufacturers of electric VTOLs, they are not opening the show to small drones. All of EHA’s OEM members – Airbus Helicopters, Bell, Kopter, Leonardo and Safran – have committed to exhibit.
The event will be open to the public, particularly on the third afternoon, when attendance will be free of charge. EHA chairman Peter Möller emphasized the need for the industry to find future talents. The public will get to know what EASA is doing for safety and the environment “so they can trust the system,” EASA’s head of VTOL David Solar noted.
European Rotors’ organizers are launching their sales effort and intend to promote the show at the upcoming Heli-Expo 2020, to run from Jan. 28 to 30 at the Anaheim Convention Center in California.
They plan to have their show in Cologne for the next two or three years and are considering moving it around Europe afterwards.
Asked about the date, Möller explained the summer and the winter were ruled out because they are peak seasons for operators. They also looked at the schedule for other fairs worldwide and concluded November was the best compromise, Möller said. A challenge, though, may be the concomitance with the renowned Cologne Carnival.
The creation of European Rotors is the outcome of a two-year-long process. After EHA parted ways with Reed Exhibitions in 2018, the latter company formed a new show, Vertical Flight Expo, the first edition of which took place in Farnborough last November. However, none among Airbus Helicopters, Bell, Kopter, Leonardo and Safran exhibited.
From 2018, EHA has intended to establish a new show but, under the contractual agreement with Reed, had to wait until 2020 to release details. EHA has long used shows as a source of revenues, in addition to being a relevant place for its members to meet and do business.
In parallel, since the mid-2000s, EASA’s annual Rotorcraft Symposium in Cologne has been seen by EHA members and officials as a valuable event and the two organizations have cooperated to an increasing extent. The symposium grew consistently and was fully booked last year, at 400 attendees, prompting its organizers to look for a new way to grow.
European Rotors is thus being organized by EHA with EASA support. Messe Friedrichshafen, the organizer of the Aero annual general aviation show in Germany, was contracted as a service provider. The city of Cologne is also supporting the event and will provide some logistics services.
Frank Liemandt, an industry veteran who has notably worked for the German helicopter lobbying association, is the show director.