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