2014-10-28 22:28:10
On The Line: Training with BPA and Priority 1 Air Rescue
story by Elan Head | photos by Heath Moffatt

Human external cargo operations are now commonplace in powerline construction and maintenance. Should they be? A visit to Bonneville Power Administration provides a case study of the choices that go into putting lives on the line — literally....



Priority 1 Air Rescue has worked with BPA on its helicopter rescue program for four years. Constant skill review, practice, and debriefings are provided by Priority 1 instructors to ensure a high level of standardization. Heath Moffatt Photos

Pasco, Wash., is not the first city that comes to mind when you hear the words “Pacific Northwest.” Seattle and Portland, ...

2014-10-27 09:19:43
Made in Canada: Airbus Helicopters Canada turns 30
story by Oliver Johnson | photos by Mike Reyno

Airbus Helicopters Canada celebrates its 30th anniversary with expanded capabilities that it hopes will usher in a new period of growth....




Airbus Helicopters Canada (AHCA) is not a standard original equipment manufacturer (OEM) subsidiary. Now celebrating its 30th anniversary, the Fort Erie, Ont.-based company has claimed an impressive 50 percent of all helicopter deliveries in the country since it was established as MBB Helicopter Canada Limited in 1984.

But aircraft sales and completions are just one of five key operational capabilities at AHCA’s 135,000-square-foot facility. It also has a highly experienced engineering department that designs a range of components and modifications; a growing manufacturing component — in which the product...

2014-10-22 08:21:49
From Sea to Sky: GrandView Aviation profile
by Kenneth I. Swartz

Baltimore, Md.-based entrepreneur Dan Naor helped transform the city’s historic inner harbor before turning his attention to the skies, creating a downtown public use heliport and a hugely successful charter company in the most challenging of climates....



A Bell 430 serves ownership partners in Baltimore Marine Center as well as charter customers. GrandView Aviation Photos

As you climb away from the Pier 7 public use heliport in downtown Baltimore, Md., you get a spectacular view of the revitalization of the city’s historic Inner Harbor. A century ago, the Port of Baltimore was of the third largest port of entry for new immigrants to the United States. Today, the area is a magnet for...

2014-10-13 23:15:12
A Brush with disaster
story and photos by Jason Colquhoun

Vertical contributing editor Jason Colquhoun had a flight he’ll never forget earlier this year when his helicopter hit a set of power lines while crop dusting. Here he shares his terrifying ordeal....



Colquhoun gets up close and personal with one of the fleet’s wire strike systems, installed only days before he flew through power lines. Without it, he believes the incident would have been fatal.

Doug Thiel, a good friend and veteran agricultural pilot, was a comforting voice on the end of the phone. “You’re ok, Jay. Now go and hug your wife and son extra close this n...

2014-10-08 00:29:22
Under Pressure: the CAA's North Sea safety review
by Elan Head

Earlier this year, the U.K. Civil Aviation Authority announced sweeping measures to improve the safety of helicopter operations in the North Sea. Did they go far enough?...



Five helicopter accidents since 2009 have shaken the confidence of workers in the U.K.'s offshore oil-and-gas industry. Measures announced this year by the CAA aim to restore this confidence, but some feel there is more to be done. CHC Photo


In February of this year, the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) published CAP 1145, its safety review of offshore public transport helicopter operations in support of oil and gas exploitation. The CAA ini...

2014-10-06 09:58:25
Heavyweight SAR
story by Oliver Johnson | photos by Mike Reyno

It’s the only heavy search-and-rescue aircraft in the Gulf of Mexico — and it’s provided by one of the newest entrants to the offshore market. CHI Aviation’s partnership with Acadian Air Med aims to take offshore SAR to a new level....




In among the giants of the offshore transport industry in the Gulf of Mexico, there’s one operator that fulfills a unique and vital role with just two aircraft. That company is CHI Aviation, and that vital role is to provide 24/7 contract and ad hoc search-and-rescue (SAR) service to those working offshore. As for unique, it operates the only heavy SAR platform in the Gulf of Mexico — a Sikorsky S-92 — along with an AgustaWestland AW139.

CHI has been providing the service, from a base in Galliano, La., for about 18 months. Headqu...

2014-10-03 09:33:17
The MD 530G: A Scout with Teeth
story and photos by Dan Megna

With the ability to carry up to four weapon systems, the MD 530G can pack a serious punch — but how does it fly? Vertical 911’s Dan Megna gets behind the controls. ...



Its ancestors, such as the Hughes OH-6, and more recently the U.S. Army's MD MH/AH-6M Little Bird, have earned distinguished reputations on the battlefield. Now, MD Helicopters has introduced the MD 530G —
an enhanced performer that incorporates cutting edge technologies and weapon systems. Dan Megna Photos


Various incarnations of the legendary Hughes Model 369 have delighted generations of helicopter pilots in the more than 50 y...

2014-09-29 00:19:04
Hot Blades
story and photos by Lloyd Horgan

Military forces from across Europe converge in Portugal for vital joint interoperability training....




For two weeks in July, 40 aircraft and 3,000 personnel from six different nations came together in Portugal for Exercise Hot Blade 2014 — one of Europe’s most demanding and realistic joint interoperability training exercises.

Hot Blade is part of the helicopter exercise program (HEP) put together by the Luxembourg-based European Defence Agency, which was established in 2004 with the aim of improving European defense capabilities in the field of crisis management, and to sustain the Euro...

2014-09-22 10:12:56
Rethinking Ornge
Story by Oliver Johnson | Photos by Mike Reyno

The new executives at the once scandal-hit organization tell Vertical how they’re rebuilding its corporate culture and reimagining air medical transport for Canada’s most populous province....



Having spent 18 months at the head of one of the most publicly scrutinized air medical companies in the world, Dr. Andrew McCallum appears remarkably relaxed. Granted, an interview with Vertical 911 may not be the most intimidating thing McCallum has faced in his role as president and CEO of Ornge — Ontario’s air medical transportation provider — but it’s still difficult to imagine him getting flustered. The former Chief Coroner for Ontario, he has...

2014-09-17 15:23:39
Above and Beyond
by Elan Head

For 30 years, Vanderbilt LifeFlight has been a vital presence in the heart of Tennessee, extending the resources and expertise of Vanderbilt University Medical Center into Nashville and beyond. ...



If you had turned on the radio in Nashville, Tenn., on July 5, 1984, you might have heard “Somebody’s Needin’ Somebody,” which was then enjoying a brief stint at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. Written by Len Chera and performed by Conway Twitty, “Somebody’s Needin’ Somebody” is a song about loneliness and longing, but also hope: “Oh, there’s got to be somebody, out there waiting for me,” Twitty was crooning over the airwaves that summer...


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