Helicopters Defy Aviation Doldrums...

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While many segments of general aviation are just creeping back into positive territory from the recent slump, and the airlines are drowning in red ink, the sunny side of aviation these days could be the vertical folks. Helicopter companies are "thriving," The New York Times reported Monday, and that goes for small operators right on up to manufacturers. New models that are quiet and comfortable are attracting corporate customers, the Times said, and flight schools report a surge of new recruits hoping to take the place of Vietnam-era pilots who are reaching retirement age. Medevac business is up more than 8 percent this year. Industry-wide sales of helicopters for commercial use are expected to hit $1.5 billion this year, in addition to another $5 billion or so for military contracts.