2015-02-25 09:57:19
Starting from Scratch
story & photos by Mike Reyno

Over the past four years, the Trinidad and Tobago Air Guard has been building a military helicopter capability from the ground up. Vertical visited their corner of the Caribbean to learn what that takes....


The Trinidad and Tobago Air Guard’s fleet of AW139s recently surpassed 5,000 flight hours. The unit continues to expand its operational capabilities.

On the morning of Dec. 15, 2014, Trinidad and Tobago Air Guard pilots Christen Garnes and Kevin Maharaj departed the Air Guard’s base at Piarco International Airport in an AgustaWestland AW139 helicopter. The weather was fine — warm, humid, and partly cloudy, as it often is in this twin island natio...

2015-02-19 10:06:20
Power Trip
by Guy R. Maher | Photos by Sheldon Cohen

Vertical test pilot Guy Maher gets behind the controls of the Eagle 407HP — and finds an aircraft that performs like a workhorse on steroids....



In the interest of full disclosure, I must confess that I am a huge fan of the Bell 407. Truth be told, it’s one of my three favorite aircraft — fixed-wing or helicopter. So it should come as no surprise that I was more than a little excited when I was invited to fly Eagle Copters Ltd.’s Eagle 407HP — which replaces the stock 407’s Rolls-Royce C47 engine with a Honeywell HTS900D-2-1D for more power for “hot and high” operations. The company received a supplemental type certificate (STC) for the conversion from Transport Canada on Dec. 9 (approval from the United States Federal Aviation Administrat...

2015-02-13 08:39:03
Vertical's Search for the Top 10 Helicopters of All Time
by Kenneth I. Swartz

We asked, and you voted — in your thousands. Here are the results of our survey to find your favorite civil helicopters....


In December, Vertical began the search for the helicopter community’s favorite civil aircraft. We created a shortlist of 30 helicopters from the ages that have made a particular impression on us, and then invited you, our readers, to vote for your top three on our website. Each first place vote registered three points for that aircraft, a second place got two points, with one point for a third place. Thousands of you took part over the two-week voting period, and the emotions stirred by the contest were clear from the discussion it ignited on our social media pages.

We’ve tabula...

2015-02-03 10:06:31
A New Legacy
story by Guy R. Maher | photos by Mike Reyno

The venerable Bell 412 has learned some high-tech tricks from its younger brother, the Bell 429, and in doing so has gained a new lease on life. ...



Have you heard that 50 is the new 40? Well, that’s what I’ve been told. I’m hoping this also means 62 is the new 52, but the problem is, I can’t seem to remember back that far as to what that felt like!

But what I do remember are the 18 years I spent flying the line in the ever-young Bell 412. It’s sometimes hard to believe that this incredibly capable helicopter was spawned from a design dating back to the ‘50s in the form of the Bell UH-1.


What’s kept the airframe fresh over the years is a fairly regular evolution in its design. This has taken ...

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...


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