2015-01-26 02:00:00
Stand Out Performer
by Oliver Johnson

From search-and-rescue to car chases on film sets, Talon Helicopters’ missions are as diverse as the Vancouver landscape over which it flies. ...



With a fleet of just five helicopters, Talon Helicopters has developed a diverse client list of about 300 different customers. Mike Reyno Photo

One of the reasons Vancouver has become the hotspot it is for movie and TV production is the variety of locations offered within a relatively small area. It has a bustling downtown, a picturesque harbor, extensive parks, beautiful beaches, snow pea...

2015-01-16 13:34:08
Eastern Promise: Helicopter expansion in China, India and Russia
by Andrew D. Parker

Western OEMs have long predicted the emergence of China and India as major rotary wing markets, and the opening up of Russia to foreign manufacturers. Here, they tell Vertical how they are placing themselves to capture this growth — and when they think these markets will mature....



A Sikorsky S-76 C+ returns from an offshore flight. As in other regions around the world, the offshore sector offers great opportunities for OEMs in Asia — particularly in China. Mike Reyno Photo

As the aviation infrastructure continues to develop in the emerging helicopter markets of China and India, W...

2015-01-09 00:36:31
Orange County Fire & Rescue
story and photos by Skip Robinson

Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, the air operations section of Orange County Fire Authority continues its evolution with ever-increasing capabilities....



With two Bell 412EPs equipped with hoists and belly tanks, the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) is both a firefighting and rescue organization.

In 1993, California’s Orange County endured a devastating fire season. All told, fires burned across 36,000 acres, severely damaging or destroying 469 homes. The experience reinvigorated the Orange County Fire Department’s (OCFD’s) desire to get hold of its own firefighting helicopter...

2015-01-05 15:40:40
Dealing with Old Man Winter
by Ed Brotak

With snow, ice, plunging temperatures and freezing fog, winter presents unique challenges to aviators....



An RCAF AgustaWestland CH-149 Cormorant holds a hover during winter operations. Mike Reyno Photo

Winter brings with it a wide-ranging set of weather conditions that can affect aviation, from extreme cold, to snow, to the dreaded icing. All of these factors can at least impact helicopter operations — and at worst lead to accidents. Let’s take a look at them one at a time.

Cold temperatures are the most obvious weather element in winter. When temperatures drop below 32 F (...

2014-12-16 14:49:02
The Cowboy Pilot
story by Elan Head | photos by Kari Greer

Montana rancher and pilot Bill Galt brings a professional, safety-minded approach to a sector of the helicopter industry more often known for its risk-taking....



Spanning more than 100,000 acres near White Sulphur Springs, Mont., the Galt Ranch is one of relatively few North American ranches that have effectively integrated helicopters into their daily operations. Here, owner Bill Galt flies his Bell 206-L4 LongRanger while gathering cattle.

Loretta Lynn once sang, “There’s a built-in troublemaker in every man.” That may or may not be true. But there i...

2014-12-06 01:18:34
Tapping Geological Exploration: Junior Mining
by Amanda Geard

Junior mining exploration companies still need to be persuaded of the benefits of using helicopter support in early stage mapping. Exploration geologist Amanda Geard explains how aviation contractors should pitch themselves to tap this market. ...



A Universal Helicopters Newfoundland and Labrador LP Bell 407 makes its way through the remote Torngat Mountains National Park in northern Labrador. Mike Reyno Photo

In 1952, mining magnate Lang Hancock and his wife Hope boarded their single-engine Auster and flew from Nunyerry to Perth, Western Australia; a route they had flown many times before. Only, on this particular occasion, poor weather caused Hancock to alter his course, and in the process history wa...

2014-11-27 09:17:27
Surviving to Thriving
by Gary Watson

After weathering tough economic times, a leaner VIH Aviation Group has emerged with a focus on strategic, targeted expansion....


VIH Helicopters Ltd. is Canada’s oldest privately owned helicopter company. It has been in continuous operation since 1955. Mike Reyno Photo

Seven years ago, Vertical, visited VIH Aviation Group (VIH) in Victoria, B.C. At that time, the company was targeting a very aggressive five-year expansion plan, operating busy VFR and IFR fleets with a number of new helicopters on orde...

2014-11-21 08:29:32
Long Live the Huey
story and photos by Ted Carlson

The next generation of Air Force helicopter pilots trains in the Bell TH-1H — the most modern Huey in the USAF fleet — with the 23rd Flying Training Squadron....



The Vietnam-era Huey refuses to disappear into the sunset, continuing to find a useful role in a 21st century U.S. military. Ted Carlson Photos

The United States Air Force (USAF) has operated several versions of the famous Bell UH-1 Iroquois “Huey” since the iconic helicopter’s operational introduction during the Vietnam War. The newest kid on the Air Force’s block is the TH-1H, which is operated by Air Education an...

2014-11-06 11:12:51
Hunkering Down: Operators across Canada
by Kenneth I. Swartz

Vertical speaks with operators across Canada to gauge the temperature of the industry — and finds a variety of responses to a natural resources sector in nosedive....



As Canadian commercial helicopter operators continue their transition to larger and more capable helicopters, the Bell 206B JetRanger still accounts for more than 300 units in the fleet. Airspan Helicopters of Sechelt, B.C., flies nine helicopters, including this JetRanger configured for long-line work. Shawn Evans Photo


The helicopter business in Canada often begins where the roads ...

2014-11-03 16:23:52
Going with the flow: BLR Aerospace FastFin
by Guy R. Maher

While it may be the best known in the rotary-wing world for the FastFin, aerodynamics expert BLR Aerospace has created performance-enhancing modifications that are now in use on 5,000 aircraft around the world....



Vertical contributing editor Guy Maher conducts a flight assessment of the BLR Aerospace FastFin on a Bell 412EPI. Mike Reyno Photo

The process of taking an aircraft from conception through to marketing the final product is pretty much standard. A manufacturer either knows or perceives that a market need exists, and looks to provide the most cost-effective aircraft solution to meet that need.

And once an aircraft has been fielded and operators have us...


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