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Editor’s Notebook

By James T. McKenna | December 1, 2003

Two things that traditionally mark the end of the year for Rotor & Wing have been undergoing some major changes.

This is in keeping with our objective of finding ways to better serve the international rotorcraft community. In the last six months, we’ve redesigned R&W’s pages to help us better present the information you need and want in clear, efficient packages. We’ve rearranged our staff of contributing writers. We’ve refocused on a key question: how can you make more efficient use of the equipment and resources at your disposal.

We’ve really just begun this process of change. Much work remains to be done, including frequent checks to ensure that the course we’ve set is the right one and that we remain on it. You’ve made clear that you won’t hesitate to aid us in those course checks, and we welcome that help. We operate on the assumption that R&W belongs to its readers; we serve as its stewards. Much work does remain, but if the last six months are any measure, it will be as rewarding as it is challenging.

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This month’s issue marks the beginning of the latest change. December usually brings to you R&W’s annual Buyer’s Guide, and this issue is no exception to that. But we are overhauling that guide to make it more useful to anyone operating rotorcraft or supporting them. This month, we bring you a basic Buyer’s Guide. It presents the information you expect to find there but in a format different from that used in prior years.

This year’s Buyer’s Guide provides an alphabetical listing of companies around the world that make, operate and support rotorcraft. Most alphabetical listings include at their end a rundown of the products and services that the company provides. We do not this year present a separate index of companies broken down by the products and services they offer. With the 2004 Buyer’s Guide available on our website, www.rotorandwing.com, you will be able to search the alphabetical company listings for particular products and services.

Come March 2004, you can use a new guide. R&W’s World Helicopter Resource will expand upon the traditional Buyer’s Guide. It will have the usual information on companies and their products and services. But the World Helicopter Resource will have much more detailed data for anyone who owns, operates or works on helicopters. The expanded data will include aircraft and engine performance charts, a worldwide directory of maintenance facilities, a listing of supplemental type certificates and other valuable reference material. The World Helicopter Resource will be distributed exclusively at Heli-Expo 2004 in Las Vegas.

If you have information you feel should be included the World Helicopter Resource, contact me directly at jmckenna@pbimedia.com. Likewise, if in reviewing the 2004 Buyer’s Guide you find information that should be updated or revised, let me know. That will make the World Helicopter Resource an even better tool for you and your colleagues.

December also usually brings news of our annual EMERGENCY RESPONSE Conference and Exhibition. We’ve been changing this conference, too, in recent years, broadening its focus to the challenges posed for the emergency-response community as a whole by major incidents and homeland-defense missions.

Our purpose here is twofold. First, by including in EMERGENCY RESPONSE not just helicopter folks but the entire first-response community, we create a forum in which those helicopter folks can prove to non-believers why rotorcraft are critical tools for emergency responders. Second, with the community as a whole involved, EMERGENCY RESPONSE can be a forum for helping response agencies and professionals find ways to work better together during major incidents.

The people involved in emergency response–whether they work from helicopters, ambulances, fire apparatus, police vehicles, hospitals or emergency operations centers–are dedicated, skilled professionals. As individuals and as distinct agencies, they are very good at what they do. But time and time again we see that, when they are thrown together at the scene of a major incident like a bombing or a high-rise fire, their collective efficiency and effectiveness breaks down. At a time when we all realize that a major incident–natural or manmade–can occur anywhere at any time, that problem must be overcome. We offer EMERGENCY RESPONSE to support that.

This year we were required to put our money where our mouths were. EMERGENCY RESPONSE 2003 was scheduled for Nov. 17-20 in Long Beach, Calif. In the weeks before those dates, thousands of firefighters, law officers, medical personnel and other emergency responders were called on to fight wildfires that ravaged Southern California.

Many of them were to attend the conference. Some were scheduled to speak there or exhibit their wares. One responder who had helped us plan a conference session, Capt. Doug McDonald of the Novato, Calif. Fire District, was critically burned battling one fire. A crewmate of his was killed. Given the sacrifice these responders were making and the prospect, back in late October, that they would be battling the blazes for weeks to come, we judged it best to reschedule EMERGENCY RESPONSE. The new dates are Jan. 7—9, 2004. The location remains Long Beach. You can find out about the rescheduled program at www.emergencyresponse2003.com. I hope to see you all there.

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