Helicopter makers regained momentum after a one-year blip in 2012 to announce a total of 141 orders at the Heli-Expo convention from 4-6 March.
The flurry of order announcements, including several key contract signings for emerging programmes, underscored a helicopter market exhibiting new signs of significant growth during the next five years.
On 5 March, Honeywell updated its five-year market projection to forecast 4,900 to 5,600 helicopter deliveries from 2013 to 2017, or 200 to 400 more shipments than Honeywell projected between 2012 and 2016.
The latest survey also found that buying plans among North American operators have increased for the first time in five years.
"The buyer confidence reflected in this year's survey is a much needed shot in the arm for the industry," says Brian Sill, vice-president of Honeywell aftermarket helicopter sales.
Eurocopter and Sikorsky led the orders charge at the convention, with each manufacturer adding 46 more aircraft to their backlogs.
After exhibiting the first production EC175 at the show, Eurocopter secured a long-expected order from Texas-headquartered Bristow Group, which also added Sikorsky S-76Ds and AgustaWestland AW139s to its tally.
Another order for five of the super-medium EC175s also came from helicopter lessor Milestone Aviation. Milestone has plans for rapid expansion and was the most active buyer at Heli-Expo, signing deals for a total of 49 helicopters. Besides the Eurocopter orders, Milestone also added firm commitments for seven Sikorsky S-76Ds and 23 S-92s.
The orders helped Sikorsky reset the narrative on the long-delayed S-76D programme, which finally received certification in October and is on track to be delivered later this year. Sikorsky signed four deals for a total of 23 S-76Ds, or roughly eight months' of backlog at planned production rates.
The improved market outlook has been felt across the rotorcraft industry. MD Helicopters had not announced a new order since July, but booked deals for two MD500s at the show.