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    Young Entrepreneur’s New Helicopter Business Takes to the Skies above Santa Barbara

    Taylor Nancarrow's Nanco Helicopters offers tours, other aerial services in first year off the ground

    Taylor Nancarrow, left, and flight instructor Charles Aaron are getting the Nanco Helicopters business off the ground locally. The 6-month-old company is offering scenic helicopter tours of Santa Barbara County as well as aerial assistance to farmers, videographers and photographers. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

    Flying was always a challenge, a type of freedom only a pilot could appreciate.

    Sitting in a classroom at Santa Barbara City College, on the way to earning a degree in architecture, Taylor Nancarrow suddenly sorely missed that familiar, fast-paced lifestyle.

    The 24-year-old Santa Barbara native grew up around airplanes, a third-generation pilot who first manned aerial controls at age 13. He decided to leave school to start his own helicopter tour business, and six months ago that dream took form as Nanco Helicopters.

    “I’ve learned more in the last six months than I ever learned in the classroom,” Nancarrow told Noozhawk recently. “I’ve always wanted to be a pilot. Being an entrepreneur really is a lifestyle. But it doesn’t feel like work because I love what I do so much.”
    Nancarrow took out a loan to buy his Robinson R44 Raven helicopter, a new, clean machine housed and operated out of a hangar at Santa Barbara Airport.

    He’s offering visitors and locals three different aerial tours — 30 minutes, 45 minutes and one hour — featuring varied views of coastline and valley beauty as far east as Carpinteria and west as Gaviota.

    He also recently brought on flight instructor Charles Aaron to teach hopeful helicopter pilots and to split tour-guide duties.
    Aaron, 33, of Ventura, has the same love of flight flowing through his veins as a third-generation pilot. He used to fly a Red Bull helicopter and his father, Chuck still does, boasting the title as the first — and only — civilian pilot ever licensed to perform helicopter aerobatics in the United States.

    “It’s exciting, and it’s a joy to fly,” Aaron said, noting the value of Nancarrow’s tours. “You get to see all of Santa Barbara.”
    Two to three passengers can fit comfortably inside Nancarrow’s helicopter, a more affordable and intimate experience than that of another recently launched business, Santa Barbara Helicopter Tours, according to Nancarrow.

    In addition to tours, Nanco Helicopters offers aerial services to the local agriculture industry, photographers and videographers, and for pipeline or power line patrols.

    “I felt this was a market for a smaller helicopter,” Nancarrow said. “I’m pretty passionate about growing this company.” siness_20140124

  • #2
    New helicopter school ready for liftoff

    SANTA TERESA, N.M. – Albuquerque-based Vertical Limit Aviation has opened a helicopter flight school here, which will offer helicopter flying lessons, tours and aerial photography.

    The school, headed by Army spouse Deb Rothchild, is the only one in the El Paso region. Company executives say there is a large market here that has gone mostly untapped.

    Deb Rothchild, southern region manager for Vertical Limit Aviation, gets out of a helicopter at the flight school in Santa Teresa

    Just the second opened by Vertical Limit Aviation, the flight school officially launches this week at Doña Ana County International Jetport in Santa Teresa, 25 minutes from Downtown El Paso, where it shares hangar space with Francis Aviation.

    For now, the company offers helicopter flight training here and, for those who just want a ride, aerial tours.

    But the company hopes to offer a helicopter-for-hire service in the future, including charter flights for business executives. It also has a helicopter fitted with a high-definition broadcast camera that news organizations and law enforcement agencies can charter.

    The company also offers training for Army helicopter pilots stationed at Fort Bliss who want to get their civilian pilot certificates so they can fly civilian aircraft or even transition to a civilian job. Qualifying veterans can use their post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to help pay for helicopter flight training, owner Doug Christian said.

    Vertical Limit Aviation’s El Paso operation is headed by Rothchild, whose husband was stationed at Fort Bliss more than a year ago.

    Rothchild, a certified flight instructor, will teach the classes and said there are some unique skills she will be able to teach students here in the desert, where all flights start at about 4,000 feet above sea level.

    “The heat and the altitude, those are skills that are really important for pilots to be able to negotiate,” she said.


    • #3
      More 'gossip' than news but ..

      Harrison Ford departs Santa Monica Airport on 26th January 2014 with his 407 N96GU.


      • #4
        NTSB Adds Helicopter Ops To Most Wanted List

        January 27, 2014, 1:20 PM

        The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is stepping up efforts to improve helicopter operational safety after adding this to its Most Wanted list of goals for increased awareness and advocacy.

        In a January 14 statement, the NTSB said that between January 2003 and May 2013 there were 1,470 helicopter accidents, resulting in 477 fatalities and 274 serious injuries. The Board is concerned that helicopter accidents will continue to happen unless a concerted effort is made to improve the safety of rotary-wing operations.

        “Reducing fatalities related to helicopter accidents is a top priority at the FAA,” said the agency in a written statement to AIN. “The FAA is in the final stages of completing a rule that addresses a wide variety of helicopter operations, including helicopter air ambulances, commercial helicopters and general aviation helicopters. Many of the requirements of this rule will address the Safety Board’s recommendations. We will continue to work aggressively with the Board to improve aviation safety.”

        The U.S. civil helicopter industry continues to see strong growth and demand for emergency medical services, law enforcement support, electronic newsgathering and offshore oil and gas support in particular.


        • #5
          Trooper 7 helicopter crews begin transition training

          St. Mary’s Airport-based Maryland State Police Aviation Division Trooper 7 pilots and flight medics will begin their AW-139 transition training up the road Monday, January 27th.

          Their training will involve both academic and hands-on flight training to acquaint the flight crews with the new helicopter and its associated systems.

          Meanwhile, Andrews AFB-based Trooper 2 pilots, flight medics and helicopter began operating from St. Mary’s Airport Sunday night, January 26th until the new Trooper 7 helicopter arrives in late February.

          The new AW-139 helicopter is one of ten purchased by the state at a cost of $121.7 million to replace the current aging


          • #6
            Son picks up dad by helicopter from Birmingham church

            A Birmingham man rode home in a helicopter after his son picked him up Wednesday morning by chopper from the church where he spent the night.

            Dave Upton's son David owns CraneWorks and had been using the helicopter to help other stranded people during the night, including a pregnant woman.

            David Upton collecting his father who was stranded along with about a hundred others due to icy road conditions

            Upton took shelter from the cold and icy roads at 6th Avenue Church in Birmingham, along with about 100 other people who stayed there overnight.

            Upton's son landed at the church parking lot around 10 a.m., scooped up his dad and flew him home.
            "First time I've every been stranded, and then he came and picked me up," Upton said.

            Upton praised the 6th Avenue church members for their warm welcome to him and many other strangers who would have otherwise been stuck in the cold.

            "People are unbelievable at this church, I can't say enough good things about them," he said.

            David Upton landing at the 6th Avenue Church in Birmingham

            The other people still at the church were fed breakfast this morning. The church is one of many places across the state open as a warming station for people stranded in the icy weather.


            • #7
              Route 195 project puts fate of Providence’s helicopter stop up into the air

              PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Whenever private helicopter pilots want to touch down in the city of Providence, they have to call James Warcup.

              He’s in charge of managing the city’s only public helicopter-landing area, an octagonal bit of concrete that’s 25 feet in diameter along the Providence River, near 345 S. Water St.

              About 50 times a year, helicopters land there, free of charge, says Warcup, chief aeronautic inspector for the Rhode Island Airport Corporation.

              He says the site serves several Rhode Island entities, including Brown University and Textron.

              But now, the fate of the helistop is up in the air.

              About 50 times a year, helicopters land on this octagonal patch of concrete between the Providence River and South Water Street

              The Route 195 Redevelopment District Commission’s executive director, Jan A. Brodie, just learned Friday that the panel charged with developing vacant land in the city now owns the helistop. She discovered that while researching exactly where to place temporary art installations this spring.

              When the state Department of Transportation sold more than 41 acres to the commission last spring, as one of the final steps in its highway-relocation project, it transferred ownership of the helistop as well, DOT spokeswoman Rosamaria Amoros said Tuesday.

              It’s a responsibility — and a potential liability — the commission doesn’t necessarily want.

              The helistop is an official site recognized by the Federal Aviation Administration, Warcup says. It was established in November 1969, he says.

              For now, the little strip of land between the street and the river has several uses. It’s also the location where The Providence Flea set up last summer and plans to do the same this year, Brodie said.

              The land parcel is too small for any viable development options, commission Chairman Colin P. Kane said Monday. That’s why, Brodie said, she’s hoping the parcel could eventually be used for a concession stand for activities at surrounding parks.

              Brodie isn’t sure what will happen to the helistop.

              “We are going to look into this 1969 understanding to try and get a sense of how formal and how legal it is,” she said.
              “I know it’s a somewhat risky location for a helipad,” Brodie said. “It’s right immersed in pathways and people are there. They have to sweat it every time they’ve got someone calling in saying they want to land.”

              At Textron on Tuesday, the company’s director of aviation, David Nigri, said he knows other companies also use the helistop, and he’d hate to see it closed down, as some in New York City have closed recently.

              “The efficiency of the helistop is to be able to get to the City of Providence, have our passengers disembark and have the helicopter take off,” he said. “And mostly this is business people in support of business in the city or Providence. … If it’s removed, what do we do?”

              Warcup says he requires people to get permission to use the helistop.

              Then, he checks the riverfront site about a half hour before touchdown, to be sure no one’s in danger — including the occasional kayaker who’s unaware that helicopters land there.

              When that happens, “You just have to grab one side of the kayak and get it across the street as fast as you can,” he says.


              • #8
                Northwestern Michigan College to offer helicopter training

                TRAVERSE CITY -- A new kind of training just came to Traverse City - Northwestern Michigan College will now offer helicopter training lessons.

                The training is through TC Helicopters and NMC's Aviation program - and it will make the college one of the few helicopter schools in the Midwest.

                The training is through TC Helicopters and NMC's Aviation program - and it will make the college one of the few helicopter schools in the Midwest

                Five students have just started training and NMC says this is a great opportunity for student pilots to get extra experience and earn ratings even if they aren't looking to get a degree.

                "There's a need in aviation in general - whether its fixed wing or rotary wing pilots," said Aaron Cook, the Director of Aviation at NMC. "There's jobs out there with the retirements and things like that; there's certainly a demand for helicopter pilots."

                Both NMC and TC Helicopters say helicopter-trained pilots can get a career working in a lot of different fields - including the healthcare and logging industries, oil platform transportation, and sightseeing tours.


                • #9
                  Harrison Ford's second entry on this page!

                  Still a superhero! Harrison Ford, 71, takes his helicopter out for a solo spin but not before doing pull ups on its tail boom

                  Some people may slow down as they get older but not Harrison Ford - he just puts life into full throttle.

                  The 71-year-old showed he is still one of Hollywood's most daring action men as he took his helicopter out for a spin in Santa Monica, California on Monday.

                  Proving he still has the moves to be bad guy fighting anthropologist Indian Jones, Harrison turned the pre-flight check into an acrobatic display.

                  ​Top gun: Harrison Ford took his helicopter out on Monday in Santa Monica, California

                  The Star Wars actor is, of course, an experience pilot - both flying planes and helicopters - so made sure to check out the 2013 Bell 407 himself before taking off.

                  While most people may use a ladder, Harrison ensured his tail rotor was in working order by doing a pull up on the helicopter's tail boom.

                  Impressively holding himself in the chin up position, the veteran actor dangled off the ground long enough to check it was in tip top condition.

                  ​Action man: The 71-year-old ensured his tail rotor was in working order by doing a pull up on the helicopter's tail boom

                  After checking the expensive flying machine from top to bottom, the 71-year-old jumped in the cockpit and took off over Santa Monica with all the skill of a professional pilot.

                  Getting away from it all, the movie star flew around for two hours just for the pleasure of it before returning to the airport.

                  Harrison, who sports an earring and a goatee these days, is quite the avid flyer.

                  Not a weekend warrior: The Star Wars actor is an experience pilot so made sure to check out the 2013 Bell 407 himself before taking off

                  Indulging his passion, the actor is believed to have eight planes plus the helicopter, including a very rare De Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver plane which is a fully restored former US military model.

                  All his toys are painted in the same military-inspired livery of forest and army green.

                  Previously the star has become a real life hero out at his ranch in Jackson, Wyoming helping local authorities in emergencies by flying his helicopter.

                  Boys and their toys: Harrison, who sports an earring and a goatee these days, is quite the avid flyer and is believed to own eight planes plus the helicopter

                  Once he even rescued a lost hiker who reportedly threw up inside the aircraft and, when she became aware of who the pilot was, said: 'I can't believe I barfed in Harrison Ford's helicopter.'

                  Me time: Getting away from it all, the movie star flew around for two hours just for the pleasure of it before returning to the airport

                  The star also crashed a helicopter once during a training flight but has not let that slow him down and he often uses it to avoid peak hour, flying onto set every day for his 2011 movie Cowboys And Aliens.

                  Harrison also flies his wife Calista Flockhart and teenaged son Liam on family holidays in his personal jet.


                  • #10
                    Schiff 'disappointed' with FAA progress on helicopter noise

                    The Federal Aviation Administration gave Congress an update on its efforts to reduce helicopter noise in the skies over Southern California. The FAA says it's making "good progress." Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of Burbank says it's not good enough.

                    The FAA began meeting with Southern California residents and chopper pilots six months ago to try to come up with ways to reduce helicopter noise. In late January, the FAA gave Congress a progress report. The agency met in September with various LA agencies, breaking into "working groups" to break down the issues into "manageable components."

                    Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Astar helicopter, just one of many public service helicopters in the Los Angeles area

                    Democrat Adam Schiff of Burbank says he's "disappointed" and unless the agency “really steps it up,” it won't meet the one-year Congressional deadline to show results. He says some action items, like developing a comprehensive complaint system, "so that we know which helicopters are causing the problem, they have delegated that to the stakeholder groups and said essentially, 'we're going to let you come up with that solution'."

                    The FAA had no response to Schiff's criticism, but referred to its May 2013 report that says the agency intends to “follow through" on the LA helicopter noise initiative "in cooperation with local stakeholders to improve the helicopter noise situation within Los Angeles County.” In its January 30th report to Congress, the FAA says it will support the working groups "with subject matter experts and technical information."

                    Residents agree with Schiff. Bob Anderson, president of the Los Angeles Area Helicopter Noise Coalition, says there have been "a number of meetings" held without much real progress being made. He says residents offered suggestions for "tangible solutions" to reduce noise, but says "the FAA and pilots have not embraced these due to cost and other concerns."

                    The FAA cited cost in its January 30th letter to Congress, saying "it is important to note that implementation timetables are dependent on resource demands and budgetary realities."

                    Congress included a mandate in the omnibus spending bill for the FAA to show results from its voluntary program within a year or be forced to impose mandatory regulations. There was no extra money included in the bill for the FAA to carry out the program.

                    Some are skeptical that Schiff's push will make any difference. Commercial helicopter pilot Zoey Tur says the real issue with LA's airspace is noise from police and fire department aircraft, which are exempt from proposed regulations. "Nothing can prevent the fire department helicopters from disturbing residents as they fight fires and airlift the ill and injured to emergency rooms."


                    • #11
                      Columbia Helicopters buys three CH-47D from US Army

                      Columbia Helicopters has announced the acquisition of three Boeing CH-47D Chinook helicopters. The aircraft were purchased from the United States government.

                      These aircraft will join the company’s fleet of commercial super-heavy-lift helicopters which Columbia uses for its traditional markets. No specific projects or contracts are immediately identified for these aircraft.

                      Columbia acquires more Chinooks (Photo: Columbia Helicopters)

                      “We are pleased to add these aircraft to our fleet,” said Mike Fahey, the company’s chief executive officer.

                      “As a long-time commercial operator of Chinook helicopters, we are uniquely positioned to operate and maintain these helicopters,” added company president Stan Wilson. “The aircraft will come into our maintenance facility for refurbishment before putting them to work.”

                      The company currently has an active fleet of six Columbia Model 234 Chinooks, the commercial variant of the CH-47, and 14 Columbia Vertol 107-II helicopters. Columbia Helicopters acquired the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Type Certificates from Boeing for the two commercial models (the Columbia Model 234 Chinook and Columbia 107-II), and the company also hold a Production Certificate that allows the company to produce FAA-approved parts for these aircraft. The company also has a number of the Vertol 107-II aircraft in storage, waiting on fleet demand before bringing them into active service.

                      Military surplus aircraft sold to commercial businesses may be operated within the Federal Aviation Administration’s “Restricted Category.” These regulations require that the aircraft be identified as “Restricted,” and the owners or operators are limited in how and where the aircraft are used.


                      • #12
                        Billings Flying Service buys two CH-47D Chinooks

                        Billings Flying Service are to have one flying within four months, with the second aircraft slated for refurbishment next winter.

                        The aircraft are: N561AJ ex 90-00184 which sold for $3,500,500 and N562AJ ex 90-00185 which sold for $3,003,762.

                        Billings Flying Service Website


                        • #13
                          Summit Helicopters acquires CC Helicopters

                          The Ledcor Group of Companies, its subsidiary Summit Helicopters, and CC Helicopters announced today that they have concluded a definitive agreement for Ledcor to acquire CC Helicopters, subject to regulatory approval.

                          "Ledcor has been seeking to expand the capability and capacity of Summit Helicopters, and add new operational bases," said Paul McElligott, President of Ledcor Resources and Transportation. "CC Helicopters, with its Kamloopslocation and Central BC client base will be an attractive addition to Summit's Western Canada operations."

                          Summit Helicopters is part of the Ledcor Group and operates a fleet of helicopters based in the Northwest Territories,Yukon, Alberta and British Columbia. Summit Helicopters specializes in arctic operations, mining exploration, crew movements, oil & gas, environmental surveys, and business travel.

                          "We were impressed with CC Helicopters' executive management, flight operations, maintenance and fleet," said Rob Mauracher, President, Summit Helicopters. "The acquisition of CC will grow Summit's twin engine, medium, IFR helicopter service offering, and bring us fully into rotary wing air ambulance operations."

                          "We are pleased that CC Helicopters will become part of Summit Helicopters and increase the range of opportunities available for the company, its clients and employees," said Ralph Emsland, President Westcan Aircraft Sales, former owner of CC Helicopters. "Together with Ledcor, we developed a new vision for helicopter services in the Interior and I look forward to seeing CC reach its new potential."

                          CC Helicopters has over 30 years of experience in the BC Interior and operates a fleet of light, intermediate and medium helicopters with IFR and VFR crews based in Kamloops and Lillooet. CC Helicopters specializes in BC Air Ambulance medevac, oil and gas exploration and support, forestry survey and protection, environmental and wildlife survey, and power line support.

                          "CC's success directly relates to our high level of customer satisfaction and excellent crew support," said Keith Palmer, General Manager / Chief Pilot, CC Helicopters. "We look forward to becoming part of Summit Helicopters and the Ledcor organization."
                          "We look forward to working with CC's executives, management and employees to integrate the company with Summit Helicopters and better serve our clients," said Rob Mauracher.


                          • #14
                            Erickson Wins Hunt Oil Contract in Peru

                            PORTLAND, Ore.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Mar. 13, 2014-- Erickson Air-Crane Incorporated (NASDAQ:EAC) (“Erickson” or “the Company”), a leading global provider of aviation services to a diverse mix of commercial and government customers, and the vertically-integrated manufacturer and operator of the powerful heavy-lift Erickson S-64 Aircrane helicopter, announced today that it had signed a new contract with Hunt Oil Exploration and Production Company of Peru, L.L.C., Sucursal de Peru (“Hunt Oil”).

                            Udo Rieder, Erickson’s Chief Executive Officer, commented, “This new, significant contract is an excellent example of our strategy to leverage our acquisitions to provide comprehensive airlift solutions. We continue to see a great deal of opportunity throughout South America. We are excited to demonstrate the value of our aerial services platform, which incorporates heavy-, medium-, and light-lift capabilities to support a wide variety of missions.”

                            The four-year deal consists of two years with two optional one-year extensions. Beginning in April of 2014, Erickson is to provide helicopter services in support of Hunt Oil’s operations in Peru. Hunt Oil, one of the largest independent oil and gas companies in the world, is an industry leader in upstream oil and gas initiatives.

                            Operating out of Puerto Maldonado and Cuzco, Erickson will provide a combination of S-64F and Bell 214ST helicopters and their associated services to support the construction and day-to-day operations of Hunt Oil in Peru. This will include external load transport of drilling equipment with the S-64F and passenger and cargo transport with the Bell 214ST.


                            • #15
                              New Helicopter Service For Aleutian Islands

                              For the past year and a half, people on Akutan have been taking a hovercraft to get to their airport. It’s on a different island, Akun. Now, the Aleutians East Borough has made the switch to a helicopter as their new airport taxi. KUCB’s Annie Ropeik reports that the change has been a relief for residents.

                              On a typical quiet day in February, Akutan’s school bus had to do something unusual: yield to oncoming traffic -- in this case, to a helicopter.

                              Kids: "The helicopter’s here! Helicopter! Mr. Sharpe, the helicopter!"

                              The kids’ teacher, Chip Sharpe, was driving them to lunch on the other side of town when the helicopter came in for a landing. This was its second day in service.

                              The students weren’t the only ones excited about their new airport taxi. Sharpe and others in town were more than ready to say goodbye to the old hovercraft.

                              Pilot Todd Engle rolls a barrel of fuel over to the helicopter on his first day flying in Akutan (Photo: Annie Ropeik)

                              Sharpe: "I had my doubts with the helicopter, you know, but yesterday was a foggy day -- it wasn’t real windy, but I can almost guarantee the hovercraft would not have went yesterday because of the fog. And the helicopter, you know, he didn’t seem to mind."

                              Both vehicles come from the Aleutians East Borough, which is tasked with getting people from Akutan to the airport. The borough’s community development director Annie Bailey works in Anchorage. She says at a cost of more than $3 million dollars a year, the hovercraft wasn’t sustainable. It only brought in about $350,000 in passenger and freight fees in 2013, according to borough records.

                              Now, Bailey says they’re contracting with Maritime Helicopters of Homer.

                              Bailey: "We anticipate it to be a million dollars less, which is still not affordable, but it’s more affordable."
                              For passengers, it costs exactly the same -- $100 each way. But Akutan Mayor Joe Bereskin says it’s going to be more reliable.

                              Bereskin: "I think it’ll do a little better job than the hovercraft did, because they don’t have to worry about water -- the swell -- which was, in the wintertime, one of the bigger problems for the hovercraft."

                              Such a problem, in fact, that the hovercraft could only run about 60 percent of the time. Plus, it took about half an hour to make the trip over. The helicopter does it in five minutes.

                              One drawback: The chopper can’t haul as much cargo. Outgoing hovercraft captain Alan Burt thinks that’ll be a problem.

                              Burt: "To be honest, I think the hovercraft’s the best thing for this place... just because of our capabilities, our load-carrying capabilities."

                              But it seems like most Akutan residents are willing to make the trade-off. The biggest items can always be brought in on a barge. And the helicopter can carry some loads in a hanging sling.

                              Pilot Todd Engle and his mechanic, Ray Simpson, are up for that challenge. They were in Akutan until the end of March, when they tagged out with another crew.

                              Engle’s got almost a decade of experience, but he’s never flown in the Aleutians.

                              Engle: "You know, I’m gonna keep my personal restrictions really conservative for the moment 'til I get familiar with the area. I have a family to go home to at the end of the day, so I'm not going to be pushing any limits, and it's not worth anybody’s life for getting somebody somewhere."

                              They’ve been respecting those restrictions, but Engle and Simpson have been keeping busy.

                              In February, they spent their first day on the job dealing with a storage container full of packages left behind after the hovercraft service had ended the weekend before. There were medications, groceries, even Christmas presents that had been stuck there since the holidays.

                              Ropeik: "So this was your first load of mail?"
                              Engle: "First load of mail, yep."
                              Ropeik: "How many do you have to go?"
                              Engle: "There’s probably a good six or seven more loads. Maybe more."

                              Once he landed in Akutan, Engle unpacked the bags and boxes from the helicopter’s cabin. Ray Simpson and postmaster Kay Bereskin, who is also Mayor Joe Bereskin’s wife, loaded them into a pickup truck.

                              Kay Bereskin: "I didn't expect that much -- I didn’t expect you to be able to carry that much!"
                              Simpson: "I like puzzles."

                              There were reasons for residents to be skeptical about the helicopter. The Aleutians East Borough hadn’t worked out fuel storage or permanent housing for the crew before they started running the service.

                              Still, in the first week, borough records show the chopper carried 44 passengers, 290 pounds of freight and more than 11,000 pounds of mail. And that went a long way toward winning over locals like teacher Chip Sharpe.

                              Sharpe: "If what we’ve seen in the last day and a half is any sign of what’s to come, I think we’ll be fine."

                              Fine for now - but the helicopter’s still too expensive to keep long-term. That’s the next challenge, even more daunting than trying to fly or hover over the Bering Sea: the challenge of connecting Akutan to its airport for good.


                              The Aleutian Islands are a chain of 14 large volcanic islands (and 57 smaller ones) forming part of the Aleutian Arc in the Northern Pacific Ocean, occupying an area of 6,821 sq mi (17,666 km²) and extending about 1,200 mi (1,900 km) westward from the Alaska Peninsula toward the Kamchatka Peninsula, marking a line between the Bering Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Crossing longitude 180°, they are the westernmost part of the United States. Nearly all the archipelago is part of Alaska and usually considered as being in the "Alaskan Bush", but at the extreme western end the small, geologically related, and remote Commander Islands are in Russia. The islands, with their 57 volcanoes, are in the northern part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. The Alaska Marine Highway (a ferry service) passes through the islands.


                              • #16
                                Special-Needs Children Soar with Help of Volunteer Pilots

                                BOCA RATON — Despite using a wheelchair, 9-year-old William Peppler had special wings to help him soar into the sky on Saturday.

                                He was one of about 150 children who were passengers on planes, jets and even a helicopter. They got a bird's eye view of Palm Beach County and its coastline.

                                Vital Flight, a Pompano Beach-based nonprofit made of volunteer pilots, hosted "A Special Day for Special Kids" at Boca Raton Airport, an event intended for children with disabilities or illnesses.

                                "The idea is to give them and their family a day away from their daily struggle, a day in the clouds so to speak," said organizer David Knies. "There's more to it than just flying."

                                Javier Gonzalez, 8, of Coral Springs, is strapped-in and ready to go on helicopter ride with his father, Javier, and mother, Rita, courtesy of Vital Flight's program, "A Special Day for Special Kids" at the Boca Raton Airport on Saturday​

                                William's great aunt, Galina Stepina, who accompanied the Boca Raton boy on the flight, said she was grateful to all who took the time to volunteer. The boy has cerebral palsy, she said, but is still aware of how special the moment was.

                                "This world — it's not only pain," she said, growing emotional. "It's fun. It's this sky. It's happy."

                                For Jordan Montenegro, 20, the plane ride Saturday was a magical first flight. He dragged his father, David Montenegro, by the hand and toward the tarmac.

                                "He's beyond words today," his father, David Montenegro, of Miami, said.

                                How did he explain to his son the concept of flying 3,500 feet in the air?

                                The boy's father told him he would be like "Aladdin on a magic carpet," because "he's got an affinity for Disney."

                                When father and son made landfall, Jordan descended from the jet's stairs and gave his grandmother a bear hug upon reuniting with her. Few words were exchanged, but David Montenegro could tell the experience had made an impact on his son.

                                "It's incredible to get any type of emotion out of him," David Montenegro said. "This is amazing. Maybe in the future we can repeat it."

                                But first they planned to post some photos on Facebook to share with relatives and friends who knew about Jordan's special plane ride.

                                Eight-year-old Javier Gonzalez, who has autism, seemed nervous as the slick black helicopter he rode in hovered like a dragonfly. His dad sat next to Javier and held his hand to calm him.

                                When the helicopter returned from its trip, the boy's mother raved about the unforgettable experience and the sights. Rita Gonzalez, of Coral Springs, said her son was known to be intolerant of intensesounds, but seemed unaffected by the airplane engines Saturday.



                                • #17
                                  DHL Introduces Helicopter Courier Service in Los Angeles

                                  DHL express courier services have introduced a new helicopter service providing early morning delivery services for several major banking customers in the downtown Los Angeles area.

                                  DHL's new Los Angeles based helicopter as seen over LAX

                                  DHL Express introduced the helicopter service into its Los Angeles operation as a way to guarantee early morning 9:00 a.m. delivery service regardless of traffic bottlenecks. Used by specific financial services customers, the service will expand to include additional customers in the Los Angeles-area.

                                  “DHL is always looking for innovative ways to move our customers’ shipments with the greatest speed and reliability,” said Mike Parra, CEO of DHL Express US “When business demands early deliveries at the ‘speed of yellow’, DHL Express brings additional assurance with a first-of-its-kind helicopter service to the LA market.”

                                  DHL's new LA-based TwinStar is operated by Helinet of Van Nuys

                                  International shipments arrive at the DHL LAX Gateway, with specific packages transported by helicopter to a dedicated heliport in downtown Los Angeles. A DHL courier meets the helicopter and provides the final mile deliveries.

                                  The DHL helicopter, an Airbus AS355 “Twinstar”, is operated for DHL by Helinet of Van Nuys, California and can transport up to 800 lbs of letters and packages.

                                  A DHL helicopter service is also used in New York, providing a 'super express' courier service from the DHL JFK gateway to prime US bank headquarters and Federal bank locations, making stops in downtown Manhattan and at New Jersey's Teterboro Airport to speed deliveries of important financial and legal documents.




                                  • #18
                                    Bell's Aeronautical Accessories Continues to Expand

                                    Bell Helicopter's Aeronautical Accessories division continues to grow with production buildings and business segments employing about 500 people, said Chad Nimrick, general manager of the Bell's Piney Flats operation.

                                    The operation was previously known in Northeast Tennessee as Edwards & Associates, which was founded in 1977. Edwards, with about 50 employees, quietly expanded into international markets, built a larger facility and earned certification as an Federal Aviation Administration repair station and Bell-approved customer service facility.

                                    Sections of Bell's Piney Flats facility which continues to expand

                                    In 1999, Bell Helicopter with the backing of parent company Textron, purchased Edwards and its subsidiary companies, and subsequently fully integrated the location by 2011.

                                    Since then, Bell Helicopter has been adding hundreds of thousands of square feet to accommodate customizing and completing light and medium aircraft for non-military customers.

                                    "Our customers are all over the globe," Nimrick said. "Over 50 percent of the aircraft that are completed at this location go to international customers or outside of North America. ... We have approximately 60 customers we serve in the local area."


                                    • #19
                                      DHL To Grow US Helicopter Services

                                      DHL Express plans to start delivering documents and other items by helicopter in Chicago and Charlotte, North Carolina, this year, buoyed by the service's success in other cities, the new head of the company's U.S. unit said on Thursday.

                                      The international delivery company, a unit of Deutsche Post AG , also plans to double its U.S. sales force to 600 in the next two years to try to increase market share.

                                      And, DHL may use Boeing 747 jets on its route from its Cincinnati hub to Miami, replacing 767s, because of the growing volume of packages heading to and from Latin America, Mike Parra, chief executive of DHL Express for the United States, told Reuters.

                                      A DHL delivery helicopter as used in New York

                                      "We're seeing double-digit growth" in package volume in the United States, said Parra, who became head of the U.S. unit on March 1.

                                      Although revenue for the Americas express-package business was flat at $517 million in the first quarter, it was up about 10 percent when currency fluctuations in Latin America are factored out, he said.

                                      DHL has been using helicopters for deliveries in New York for the past several years, hopping over traffic to carry legal documents to Wall Street and design drawings, fabric samples and clothing prototypes to Midtown.

                                      In March, DHL began using helicopters to carry documents to attorneys and bankers in downtown Los Angeles, cutting a 90-minute trip to nine minutes, and delivering by 8 a.m.

                                      Now, bankers and attorneys in other cities are asking for earlier delivery of trade documents, real estate contracts and other legal paperwork, Parra said, noting that the company is not aware of competitors offering the service.

                                      "We're looking to expand in Chicago in the next three to four months and in Charlotte by the end of the year," he said.

                                      Parra noted that DHL doesn't charge more for helicopter delivery and helps cover the cost of the service by redeploying vans that had made the trip by ground to other routes.

                                      DHL is aiming to lift its operating margin to double digits from the current single digits by becoming more efficient, investing in technology and finding better ways to make deliveries that improve service, such as helicopters.

                                      The company is spending 600 million to 700 million euros ($816 million to $952 million) a year on upgrading its fleet of vehicles, improving hubs, and automating handling and tracking systems.

                                      DHL Express U.S. also is experiencing strong growth in importing e-cigarette components such as smaller batteries, holders and electronics, as the demand for the vapor-based devices grows.

                                      "The vape market is blowing up," Parra said, pointing out that the shipments go to a range of destinations, including consumers, convenience store chains, warehouses and restaurants. DHL doesn't ship lithium batteries or the nicotine liquid used in e-cigarettes because of the risk of fire, he said.

                                      Business-to-consumer shipments from the United States to Australia and the UK are up by double digits, partly because consumers in those countries have realized smaller purchases of less than about $1,000 often are not assessed any taxes.

                                      "It's like duty-free," Parra said.


                                      • #20
                                        Second Heli-Jail-Break in Quebec

                                        Provincial police are searching for three inmates with previous ties to the Hells Angels who escaped from a Quebec City prison using a helicopter.

                                        A Sûreté du Québec spokesperson confirmed to CBC News that the prison break occurred at 7:45 p.m. ET from Orsainville detention centre and the inmates fled westbound in a green helicopter.

                                        "We are talking closely with the detention centre to figure out exactly how the escape transpired,” said Ann Mathieu. "The priority number one is to find the helicopter."

                                        Police are now searching for Yves Denis Yvon Lamontagne, 35, Denis Lefebvre, 53, and 49-year-old Serge Pomerleau.

                                        In 2010, Lefebvre and Lamontagne were arrested by provincial police after a drug operation bust known as Project Crayfish that led to dozens of arrests. Both men were reported to have had ties to the Hells Angels.

                                        During the bust police seized multiple weapons, 41 vehicles, a plane, a helicopter and $905,000, CBC Radio-Canada reported.

                                        They were being held at the detention centre waiting to stand trial

                                        Police are warning anyone who sees the men not approach them and to call police immediately.

                                        Last year, there was a daring escape at St-Jerome prison in Quebec involving a helicopter where a pilot was forced at gunpoint to pluck two inmates from the facility on a Sunday afternoon.

                                        The two escapees and the two suspects who hijacked the chopper were caught by police within a few hours of the escape.


                                        • #21
                                          Canada's Helijet Renews Fishing Resort Contracts

                                          Helijet has announced it has renewed helicopter service contracts with world famous Fishing Resorts in the Haida Gwaii Islands located on the North-West Coast of British Columbia.

                                          Together, the three year service contracts with renewal options exercised are valued at over $12 million. Helijet will provide exclusive summer-season helicopter service to the resort lodge locations utilizing twin-engine Sikorsky S-76 helicopters, which will be operated and maintained by a Helijet team located from both the Sandspit and Masset Airports.

                                          A Helijet S-76 at a Langara Fishing Adventures lodge in the Haida Gwaii Islands

                                          The 13-passenger helicopters will fly Resort guests and supplies to and from these remote Lodges, which are situated along some of most beautiful and rugged wilderness regions of British Columbia’s west coast. The S-76 helicopters will also be available for general charter to other clients at times when they’re not scheduled to serve Helijet’s resort clients. Helijet also operates a year-round operating base located at Sandspit Airport, with a complete hangar and office infrastructure, mission specific helicopters and experienced flight crew, in support of all business sectors.

                                          Helijet president and CEO Danny Sitnam commented,“ The opportunity to present our team’s service delivery and safety standards to our renewed partnered clients, demonstrates Helijet’s ongoing ability to provide the safest and most efficient air transport solutions in one of Canada’s most scenic and rugged environments, all the while supporting the sport fishing industry”.

                                          Helijet has become a leading air service provider on B.C.’s north coast, now providing a significant fleet of single and twin engine helicopters for a total of 13 world renowned sport fishing and ecotourism lodge resorts operating in the Haida Gwaii islands and north-central Coast of B.C.


                                          • #22
                                            Lawsuit Against Evergreen Helicopters over Peruvian Crash to be Heard in Oregon

                                            ​A lawsuit brought against Evergreen Helicopters Inc. by survivors of eight Peruvians killed in a 2008 helicopter crash will play out in Oregon courts rather than in Peru, where the crash occurred.

                                            Last week's decision by the Oregon Court of Appeals is a loss for Evergreen — now a subsidiary of Portland-based Erickson Inc. — after winning an earlier lower-court victory when Multnomah Circuit Court granted its motions to dismiss the suit saying Peru was the more convenient forum to litigate the case.
                                            The estates of the eight Peruvian victims appealed, calling Oregon the proper venue. Plaintiffs allege the company at the time failed to properly maintain the helicopter, train and supervise flight crews, navigate the aircraft in a safe and competent manner and failed to take all emergency measures.

                                            Evergreen Bell 412 N416EV - sister ship to the helicopter which crashed in Peru

                                            Evergreen acquired the helicopter through a sublease and in turn leased it to the Canadian subsidiary of Helinka, a Peruvian company, which then subleased it for use in Peru. As part of the legal agreement, Evergreen provided pilots and maintenance personnel to work in Peru. The lead pilot on the day of the crash was an Evergreen employee.

                                            The appeals court said the lower court erred and remanded the case back.

                                            At the time of the crash, Evergreen Helicopters was a division of McMinnville-based Evergreen International Aviation, which went bankrupt last year. The Evergreen helicopter business was sold in March 2013 to Erickson, a Portland-based helicopter services company, in a $250 million deal.

                                            Plaintiffs in the case are represented by Richard S. Yugler, Robert B. Hopkins, Matthew K. Clarke, and Landye Bennett of Blumstein LLP, which served as co-counsel with Slack & Davis on this case.

                                            The case is Espinoza et. al. v. Evergreen Helicopters Inc.

                                            Editorial Comment:
                                            Background information on the crash referred to in the above article - ​On March 3, 2008, about 11:20 Peruvian time, a Bell 412EP, N417EV, owned by Evergreen Helicopters, Incorporated, and operated by Helinka S.A.C., was destroyed when it impacted remote, mountainous terrain about 10 nautical miles west of Santa Cruz, Cajamarca, Peru. The United States certificated airline transport pilot, the Peruvian provisional co-pilot, and 10 passengers were fatally injured. Meteorological conditions at the time of the accident were unknown. The helicopter was operating on a company visual flight rules flight plan under Peruvian flight regulations.


                                            • #23
                                              PHI Retains Antarctic Contract with National Science Foundation

                                              PHI will provide helicopter support with four helicopters, two AS350B2 "A-Stars" and two Bell 212s, based out of McMurdo Station.

                                              PHI operated Bell 212 N5736J at McMurdo Station in Antarctica

                                              The four helicopters will support research in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Royal Society Range, and on Ross Island.

                                              In addition, Antarctica New Zealand will be providing a ZK-IDE AS350B3 Squirrel (operated by Southern Lakes Helicopters) from about the beginning of November through the end of January 2015.


                                              • #24
                                                RCMP On Hunt for Heli Vandal

                                                The RCMP in Sylvan Lake are searching for a vandal who has damaged a helicopter at a rural location in central Alberta.

                                                Officials said the incident happened between October 17 at 4:30 pm and October 18 at 8 am northwest of Eckville.

                                                This Hughes 500 was recently vandalised in central Alberta

                                                Extensive damage was done to the helicopter, which was being used in the construction of the new transmission lines west of the town.

                                                Damage to the interior and exterior of the chopper has forced it to be grounded for inspection and repairs. Police said the damages could cost up to $100,000.

                                                Several components from the helicopter were also stolen.


                                                • #25

                                                  Columbia Helicopters Appoints New CEO

                                                  Columbia Helicopters is to appoint a new CEO, Jim Rankin, former president and CEO of Air Wisconsin, who will become president and CEO of Aurora-based Columbia Helicopters as from 1st December 2014.

                                                  The company announced a slate of executive changes triggered by a pair of retirements. The move follows the retirements of current board chair Nancy Lematta and current CEO Michael Fahey. Stan Wilson, currently president, is promoted to chairman of the board. Lematta and Fahey will continue to serve on the board of directors.

                                                  Jim Rankin will become Columbia's new CEO

                                                  The new president and CEO has led Air Wisconsin, a regional airline, since August 2006. He previously served as president and CEO of Skyways Airlines. He is an ATP pilot with more than 11,000 flight hours.

                                                  "We are very pleased that Jim has joined our company in this latest growth phase," said Wilson. "We have never hired a president and CEO from outside of the company before now, and we didn't make this move lightly. We feel that he is the perfect candidate to lead Columbia Helicopters into the future."

                                                  Mike Fahey became president of Columbia in 1999, having joined the company in 1975. Stan Wilson was named president in February 2013, having joined the company in 1986.

                                                  Wes Lematta formed Columbia Helicopter in 1957 after using his World War II GI Bill benefits to take helicopter lessons.

                                                  The company's fleet of heavy-lift helicopters provide services to the government, military, oil and gas industry, firefighting agencies and others.


                                                  • #26
                                                    12 Helicopters Land at Children's Hospital in Massive Toy Drop-Off

                                                    Santa Claus exited the first helicopter, a deep blue Alabama State Trooper machine, holding a big red bag and ambled across the windy helipad.

                                                    That was the first of 12 choppers from 9 agencies dropping off toys at the old Children's hospital helipad in a staged demonstration, months in the making, for the children across the way in the new Children's of Alabama hospital.

                                                    "We can't see them, but they can see us" said Children's CEO Mike Warren at the helipad. "This is something we can do to take their minds off their troubles."

                                                    Warren said there were 256 children in the hospital today and estimated about 100 -- and an equal number of parents -- were watching the show from the windows.

                                                    In one room in the new hospital, three children were at the window.

                                                    Breanna Kenney, 6, of Anniston, watched from a wheelchair. She was in the hospital with a lacerated pancreas and a hematoma in the small intestine suffered in a bad fall, her mother said. Nearby was Makiyah Williams, 6, quietly sipping a frozen drink to ease the pain of a tonsillectomy. And there was also Sarah Perzabal, a 4-year-old, who was at the hospital to visit a sick friend.

                                                    She came at a good time.

                                                    "I saw Santa Claus," said Perzabel, with a smile on her face.

                                                    It was the third annual Operation Toy Drop at Children's of Alabama.

                                                    "The best part about it is to know that those children over there are looking out the windows," said Coffee County Sheriff Dave Sutton.

                                                    Sutton brought a truckload of toys his agency and other neighboring counties had raised in toy drives.

                                                    The participating counties brought their toys to Bessemer Airport where the helicopters were staging, and loaded the toys into one truck. The truck took them to the hospital where they will later be distributed to children staying at the hospital over Christmas.

                                                    Last year, more than 500 children received toys from the event, said hospital spokeswoman Kathy Bowers.

                                                    The idea for law enforcement to collect toys and chopper them into Children's came from Dale County Chief Deputy Tim McDonald. It started in 2012. The helicopter fly-in was rained out last year, but not today.

                                                    It's not just fun for the kids, it's a great morale booster for Children's staff.

                                                    "It helps our staff remember what our mission is," Warren said.

                                                    The 12 helicopters flying into Children's today in order of appearance were: Alabama State Troopers; Hoover Police Department; Children's of Alabama Careflight; Lifesaver; Dale County Sheriff's Department; Tuscaloosa Police Department; Hoover Police Department; Dale County Sheriff's Department; Morgan County Sheriff's Department; Cullman Police Department; Coffee county Sheriff's Department; and Alabama State troopers.

                                                    Jason Peterson, a flight nurse with Children's Careflight who helped coordinate and plan the operation, said the biggest challenge is teaching pilots, especially from rural counties, the logistics of flying into a metropolitan area with controlled air space.

                                                    "We started the planning for this about mid-year," he said.



                                                    • #27
                                                      New Airport Shuttle Service to Trial in New York

                                                      A new helicopter service aims to make it affordable for the masses — not just the ultra rich — to forgo a taxi and hop a flight to the airport.

                                                      Commencing Wednesday 21st January, Gotham Air will offer flights starting at just $99 from Manhattan to JFK and Newark Liberty airports.

                                                      Last year, Blade launched as the “Uber of helicopters.” Clients use a mobile phone app to order choppers to take them to their private jets or a weekend jaunt in the Hamptons. While Blade has added convenience, the price of a seat — around $500 — still qualifies as a luxury.

                                                      “It’s our belief that people who want to charter helicopters to take them to private airports already know how to do this,” Gotham Air CEO Tim Hayes said. “We want to give as many people as possible the chance to experience a helicopter flight.”

                                                      Tim Hayes of Gotham Air with a Helicopter Flight Services Bell 407 at Downtown Manhattan Heliport​

                                                      Gotham’s going rates are higher than the initial $99. After the introductory flight, prices will range from $199 to $219, depending on the time of day and the airport, Hayes said, adding that the choppers will depart from three Gotham Air terminals in Manhattan.

                                                      The service will also expand to other public and private airports and helipads, and increase from a few flights a day to every hour on the hour, he said.
                                                      “I had been a helicopter passenger for many years, but this is my first helicopter venture,” said Hayes, who is also an award-winning music, concert and TV producer.

                                                      The idea took flight after Hayes chartered a helicopter to get his pal, Duff McKagan of Guns ‘N Roses fame, to the airport on time. He was stunned to get a $2,000 bill for a six-minute ride. “I felt that there should be a better way,” Hayes said. “Chopper rides shouldn’t be reserved for the super elite. That was sort of the ‘aha’ moment.”

                                                      While Gotham Air is geared to the “general public,” the flights are first class. “It’s like a Mercedes S class,” Hayes said.

                                                      Gotham Air has leased 10 “state of the art” Bell 407 helicopters from Helicopter Flight Service. John Kjekstad, who co-founded HFS in 1985, is also a co-founder of Gotham Air.

                                                      Gotham Air describes the Bell 407 choppers as the “sports car of helicopters” with speeds of up to 160 miles per hour.

                                                      The flights come with “in-flight” food from Chef Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery and Hermes leather seats, among other travel perks.



                                                      Editorial Comment:
                                                      There have been several attempts over many years to establish a routine airport shuttle service in New York. One day I am sure airport helicopter transfers will be increasingly normal (in many locations). In the meantime I wish Gotham Air all the best in their endeavour!


                                                      • #28
                                                        HAI Walkabout