At the start of the 20th century, flying was only a remote possibility for humans, which could only be imagined. Nevertheless, in 1903, the Wright brothers gave wings to this dream, with the invention of the aeroplane, which was acclaimed to be the best invention man has ever made. However, in due course, the operational difficulty in providing long runways for horizontal take-off made people consider alternatives, leading to the creation of the helicopter, a vehicle that could take off and land vertically, countering many disadvantages of the aeroplane.
The proposal for the use of helicopters for commercial purposes was made in the late 1950s. Slowly, helicopters were used for surveying, commercial observation work, and also to transport people to places where landing an aeroplane was not viable. As helicopters are capable of taking off and landing vertically, their use has grown by leaps and bounds, spreading to various sectors like rescue, construction, tourism, aerial observation, agriculture, and offshore purposes. Owing to the increase in usage for miscellaneous purposes, their production has also increased steadily, since the 1950s.
The intensive use of helicopters for various applications has simultaneously increased the need to incorporate advanced technologies, in order to facilitate their use for distinct purposes. Technological developments, like the enhancement of the engine performance, makes helicopters more suitable to function in tough and challenging environments. Along with seating comfort, ergonomics and safety aspects are also taken into account to ensure the security of passengers who are on-board the helicopter.
Technology facilitating the helicopter market
Innovations in technology in the field of helicopters are growing at a considerable pace. Bell’s FCX-001, which has features like morphing rotor blades, which change automatically to suit flight conditions, a hybrid power system, an airframe crafted from sustainable materials, and an artificial intelligence co-pilot, created a buzz among aviation enthusiasts. The traffic-alert and collision-avoidance systems, which also provide automated resolution advisories, were being provided by Rockwell Collins’ TTR-4100. Night-vision helmets, cockpits featuring four-axis autopilot, moving map system, weather radar, four Active Matrix Liquid Crystal Displays (AMLCDs) and Helicopter Terrain Awareness Warning System (HTAWS) are some of the emerging technologies that enhance the safety of the pilot, as well as the passengers, and also diminish the rate of occurrence of accidents. Fixing an exterior camera to the helicopter can help collect clues about the cause of occurrence of a crash, and can also be used in tourism, to record videos, which could enhance tourists’ experience.
Though emerging technologies and advancements in them are aiding the performance of helicopters, the costs incurred in designing and manufacturing them are increasing. The sales of the commercial helicopters are expected to be obstructed, due to the lack of qualified helicopter maintenance technicians and uncertainty in obtaining machine parts and components. Tight leasing standards, government standards, and the growth of interest rates are leading to difficulty in procuring loans. However, the rise of smart sensors, Internet of Things, Big Data, and cloud computing, may reduce costs by improving resource management and decreasing ground time, which may increase the sales of commercial helicopters.
From manifesting the concept of flight to enhancing the experience with advanced and luxurious facilities, technology has always aided the growth of the industry. With advancements continuing at this pace, far more benefits can be expected from the commercial helicopters industry.
About the market:
The Commercial Helicopters market is expected to register a CAGR of 3.5%, during the forecast period (2018-2023). Emerging technologies and the application of helicopters, in a wide range of fields, are huge drivers for the market.
Mordor Intelligence is a market intelligence and advisory firm operating in 14 industry segments, serving over 600 clients, worldwide.