Rotors will be turning across an entire continent on the inaugural, Airbus-sponsored European Helicopter Day – which is being held 30 June to raise public awareness of rotorcraft, their important roles, continued innovation and more.

This all-day event is organized by the French Union for Helicopters, with flights schools and clubs, rotorcraft manufacturers, helicopter operators and related organisations planning to hold events and demonstration flights. The general public is invited to find local gatherings through the European Helicopter Day website.

“Airbus is proud to sponsor European Helicopter Day, which recognises the hard work and dedication of the helicopter community, from its pilots and mechanics to its safety coordinators, trainers, technical and medical specialists and the many others who use rotorcraft on a daily basis,” said Yves Barillé, Vice President Communications at Airbus Helicopters. 

Mission variety for European rotorcraft

While helicopters are best known for their uses in traffic surveillance, search and rescue, and law enforcement pursuits, their roles in public life are far more extensive, ranging from power line maintenance, technician transport to offshore oil rigs and wind farms, avalanche blasting, firefighting, anti-poaching and many less celebrated uses.

The earliest helicopters were developed, starting with autogyros, in the first half of the 20th century, reaching production status after World War II. Helicopters have performed some of the world’s great physical feats, such as holding the world record for the highest takeoff and landing, on Mount Everest, performed in 2005 by an Airbus Ecureuil AS350 B3 (now re-designated the H125).

Rotorcraft also have helped turn the tide during times of crisis, enabling disaster response management during the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, Hurricane Katrina, and numerous earthquake, fire and flood crises.