nbaa welcomes james viola as president and ceo of helicopter association international

January 6, 2020

The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) today welcomed James A. Viola as the new president and CEO of Helicopter Association International (HAI), effective Jan. 16. He replaces Matthew S. Zuccaro, who announced his retirement last year.

“A general aviation pilot at his core, Jim understands the unique challenges facing many segments of the general aviation (GA) community, and has worked side-by-side with industry stakeholders, including NBAA,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “His efforts as director of General Aviation Safety Assurance at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have helped improve the agency’s processes, and GA safety. We look forward to working with Jim and building upon our strong relationship with HAI.”

In his most recent role with the FAA, Viola oversaw 78 Flight Standards District Offices and 2,500 employees across the United States, and was responsible for maintaining consistency and standardization in the application of safety oversight activities for the GA community.

dditionally, he ensured stakeholder and public needs were met quickly and efficiently, and was responsible for starting the U.S. Helicopter Safety Team, serving as the initial government co-chair.

Viola’s aviation career began with the U.S. Army, with the majority of his flying as a special operations MH-6 and MH-47 helicopter pilot. He rose through a series of posts of increasing responsibility, achieving the rank of colonel. His final military assignment was as division chief, Army Aviation for Current Operations.

A strong advocate for GA, Viola flies his American General AG-5B Tiger airplane as often as he can. He holds airline transport pilot ratings for helicopters and airplanes, and is a dual-rated certificated flight instructor who holds an endorsement for Special Federal Aviation Regulation 73 for Robinson R22 and R44 helicopters. He has accumulated more than 6,000 flight hours, which includes 1,100 with night-vision goggles.

Viola holds three master’s degrees and is a member of the Army Aviation Association of America (Quad A), the Military Officers Association of America, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

Zuccaro retired from HAI after serving as president and CEO since 2005.
In a statement issued following Zuccaro’s retirement announcement last year, Bolen noted: “Matt was a strong and effective leader within the general aviation community, with unmatched operational experience and a total commitment to the helicopter industry. We were fortunate to have been able to work closely Matt, and wish him all the best in the future.”