Tuesday marked the opening of Australian’s premier international airshow, Avalon, which runs from Feb. 26 to March 3 near Melbourne, Victoria. While the airshow and the Air Chief’s symposium held the preceding day are the domain of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), the event nevertheless covers both military and civilian aviation and attracts the usual global manufacturers associated with the rotorcraft industry.
Perhaps surprisingly Russian Helicopters was at the center of one of the first events to be staged during the opening morning; the inaugural public outing of the newly formed Australian Helicopter Industry Association (AHIA). The main theme of this early session was directed at the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA)’s recent certification of the Russian Kamov Ka-32A11BC firefighting helicopter.
Photos by Andrew Drwiega
Certifying coordinator John McCormick, CASA’s director of aviation safety, presented the type certificate to the Russian ambassador, H.E. Vladimir Morozo, and the Russian Helicopters delegation, during the event. In turn he was given a model of the Ka-32A11BC.
During his introduction, AHIA president Peter Cook said that the number of civil helicopters in Australia had doubled from 1,000 to 2,000 over a decade. However, he said he expects that figure to double within the next five to six years.
Ambassaor Morozo said the certification of the Ka-32 represented the first of its type in Australia and that he was now keen to see the development of joint ventures between Russian and Australian companies. He added that he hoped other helicopter certifications would follow. Sergey Kretov, director of product marketing, added that Russian Helicopters considered the day’s news a “foot in the door” of the Australian market and they now need to go ahead and seize the potential business opportunities.
Avalon’s organizers have also been celebrating the recent news that the Government of Victoria has agreed to extend its support of the event at the Avalon airshow site near Geelong until 2015. The event, the full name of which is the Australian International Airshow and Aerospace & Defence Exposition at Avalon, is respectively organized by Aviation Development Australia and Aerospace Australia, two non-profit organizations. Airshow CEO Ian Honnery said that the decision was borne out of an understanding that it was one of “Asia-Pacific’s most prestigious aviation, aerospace and defense events.” Considering the rise in the Asian economies this would appear to be a wise move for the Victoria government to make.
Related: Airframe News