Two leading forecasts into civil helicopter trends have predicted sales of 5,000-6,000 over the next decade, with the technical setbacks suffered in recent years now being put behind the industry.

At this year's Helicopter Association International's (HAI) Heli-Expo air show taking place this week in Dallas, Texas, Honeywell predicted "close to 6,000 new civil helicopter sales during the 11-year period 2006-2016" in its eighth turbine-powered civil helicopter purchase outlook. This view was seconded by Rolls-Royce, which projected a more cautious total of 5,191 civil orders in the same period in its sixth forecast of worldwide helicopter demand.

Honeywell says it expects 2,600 new civil helicopter sales over the next five years, which will then rise in the 2010s. The 2006-10 figure is 15% higher than total sales in 2001-05, and will be driven by increased demand for single engines and intermediate twin-engined craft.

Corporate, emergency medical services and law enforcement helicopters combined are expected to account for more than 70% of all new civil rotorcraft sales in this period.

Meanwhile R-R says it expects some 10,915 turbine rotorcraft to be delivered during the 2006-2015 period, of which 48% will be civil. But split by aircraft value, the split becomes 15% for civil, with a massive 85% of revenues coming from military variants. R-R estimates ten year military market to be worth over $80 billion in airframes and $7 billion in installed engines; compared with around $14 billion for civil helicopter airframes and almost $2 billion for engine manufacturers.

The defence market will bring in 78% of revenues for engine sales, the survey says. R-R sees a key growth areas in the security field with light singles used as armed reconnaissance helicopters, or as vertical take-off unmanned air vehicles, accounting for around 18% of the total market in ten years time from almost nothing today.

External links:
View Honeywell's full five-year purchase expectations survey for new turbine-powered helicopters
Or the Rolls-Royce annual ten-year forecast of worldwide turbine helicopter deliveries.

Source: Flight International