Best in tow

Well before the first Bell 505 Jet Ranger X was delivered to its debut customer in the summer of 2017, Helitowcart was planning how to move it.

“We had some of those first Bell 505 customers asking us for a way to move their helicopter,” said Maxime Perron Caissy, vice president of operational support, “so we really worked hard to make sure we had a solution for them.”

The Quebec-based company has long been a pioneer in ground handling equipment, but as with countless makes and models before, the Bell 505 had some specific requirements.

“Because the skid of the Bell 505 is quite unique, we needed to develop a new bracket,” said Perron Caissy. “We already had a good idea of how it would fit, but we fine-tuned it with the collaboration of the first few Bell 505 owners.”

Helitowcart has adapted both its light duty V900 and its newly released multi-terrain, heavy duty V1000 series for the 505 Jet Ranger X. The Heli-Carrier has a reputation for effortless handling in tight spaces. Compatibility with the 505 makes it a perfect choice for private owners and commercial operators, he said.

“The 505 is a tail-heavy machine, so if you only have the ground handling wheels to move it, you almost have to have a person sitting in the cockpit, one at the back to hold the tail, and another pushing. Our machine is a great tool because it becomes just a one-person job.”

The versatility of the Heli-Carrier, which even includes a remote-controlled option, has so far generated sales from Bell 505 customers in Chile, Australia, the United States, United Kingdom, and across Canada. And that might be the tip of the iceberg as Chinese operators begin to take possession of many more.

Helitowcart changed management in 2017, with three employees taking ownership of the business. That has meant a fresh and modern approach to marketing, with a more visible online presence and more e-commerce services. But the change has also strengthened the company’s focus on its customers.

“We are always improving our products,” said Perron Caissy. For example, Helitowcart is now converting its popular Robinson towcarts to remote-controlled units, he noted. “If a customer has a need, even if it sounds impossible, we’re always willing to look at it. That’s how we have evolved.”

Chris Thatcher: