If the past decade hasn’t been proof of the old adage about living in exciting times, things promise to get a little more interesting in the future based on recent world events.
I wrote this column from the back of a Combi Dash 7 with virtually no heat whatsoever (it eventually came on, but it was still very cold).
May 7, 2015, Wilmington, Ma. - Operators who support global oil and gas producers are known for their high standard of helicopter operations. In recent years, the desire to increase connectivity to the aircraft coupled with the sharp decline in world oil prices has posed a particularly difficult economic challenge to those companies.
May 7, 2015, Vancouver - CHC Helicopter has announced that Lee Eckert will be succeeding Joan Hooper as Chief Financial Officer effective July 16, 2015.
April 15, 2015, Portland, Or. - Erickson Incorporated has announced that the company has contracted with Group Desarrollo Infaestructura, SA de CV (GDI) who is contracted with Transcanada Corporation’s Mexican Subsidiary, Transportadora de Gas del Noreste, for a new rural infrastructure pipeline project that will bring clean-burning natural gas to businesses and citizens in Mexico.
Feb. 2, 2015, Calgary - Despite a troubling economic forecast amid falling oil prices, Canada’s energy sector showed its support for STARS Saturday night by helping to raise more than $1 million, yet again.
Dec. 10, 2014, Edmonton - Edmonton’s STARS air ambulance will now be stocked up on a life-saving resource, opting to carry units of blood on board at all times when responding to medical missions.
Dec. 1, 2014, Prince George, B.C. - Tempest Aviation Group has become the latest local business to donate to a campaign to establish a dedicated rapid-response air ambulance helicopter service for northern B.C.
Nov. 24, 2014, Prince George, B.C. - The executive director of the Helicopter Emergency Response Operations Society (HEROS) says she should know by the end of January whether there is enough support to bring dedicated emergency medical helicopter service to northern B.C.
Sept. 3, 2014, Vancouver - For three hours, Sue Gordon watched as a massive rescue operation unfolded after a tour bus carrying 56 people flipped on the Coquihalla Highway Thursday afternoon. As she was getting ready to continue her trip home to Tsawwassen, she bent down to pull off a bloody piece of paper that had blown against her leg.
July 28, 2014, Moscow, Rus. - As recently announced by the Moscow Health Department, following an open tender, Airbus Helicopters Vostok was awarded a contract to supply two medical helicopters for the Health Department’s Scientific and Practical Centre of Emergency Medicine. The preferred rotorcraft among two other bidders was the proven EC145.
July 23, 2014, Saskatoon - Barrie Tolmie couldn’t contain his excitement about STARS Air Ambulance’s new helicopter. “Compared to what we’ve been flying before, this helicopter is just absolutely phenomenal,” the pilot said, with the enthusiasm of a teenager showing off a new hotrod.
British Columbia’s volunteer Search & Rescue (SAR) teams are on their way to a record year for callouts at a pace that will see them exceed last year’s total by more than 30 per cent.
Jan. 21, 2015, Singapore - The AS365 Dauphin rotorcraft full-flight simulator at Airbus Helicopters’ Singapore-based training center has been upgraded to provide highly realistic training in both day and night search and rescue (SAR) operations, offering pilots the unique capability to safely practice these demanding life-saving missions.
Jan. 12, 2015, Samarate, Italy - AgustaWestland has announced it has achieved European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification for the Search and Rescue variant of the AW189, paving the way for the delivery of aircraft for the UK search and rescue programme.
Jan. 2, 2015 – One man or woman was not going to replace Tim Jones after the search and rescue hero died suddenly of heart failure last January.
Dec. 23, 2014, Samarate, Italy - AgustaWestland has announced it has achieved European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification for the Search and Rescue variant of the AW189, paving the way for the delivery of aircraft for the UK search and rescue programme.
Sept. 11, 2014, Coatesville, Penn. - Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. and Bristow Group Inc. have announced the acceptance of an S-92 helicopter by Bristow Helicopters Ltd. The helicopter, configured for search and rescue service, was accepted during a ceremony at the Sikorsky facility in Coatesville, Pa.
I consider myself an optimist. The glass is always half full – and it can always get worse.
Gold. It’s the stuff that dreams are made of.
Anxiety is not conducive to positive job performance. It may be especially concerning in high-risk roles – surgery, for example, or landing a helicopter on an oil rig platform on a dark and stormy night.
A few years ago, I was working off at a camp in northern Quebec for a major multinational mining company. The camp was one of the best I have ever been in. Two five-star chefs, warm waterproof accommodation, pleasant customers and hot showers. I didn’t want to go home.
About 5,000 people have been evacuated from the path of a wildfire that has prompted the northern Alberta hamlet of Wabasca to declare a local state of emergency.
Variety. New opportunities. Mentorship. A sharing of important industry safety data and trends. All are just part of the typical work cycle for Gary Krebs and it’s made for a truly interesting and diverse career.
The helicopter industry used to be a fun place to work. There was always a new frontier to explore, some new helicopter being rolled out by the OEMs, some curmudgeonly operator claiming the old helicopters were good enough and some oil company saying we need to get aircraft with at least one engine per passenger in order to be safe. The growth in industry has been meteoric, with some operators mistaking a bull market for business acumen, while others think there’s no challenge they can’t handle.
Let’s face it. We all love challenges or everyone in this industry would abandon helicopters, just like everyone except the federal government has abandoned fax machines.
Think globally and act locally would describe many businesses today, but you wouldn’t necessarily include a small regional airport on the outskirts of Vancouver on that list. Langley Regional Airport (CYNJ) is not as small as it might first appear and packs an economic punch far above its weight class.
Andy Rooney of 60 Minutes fame once wrote, “ . . . airplane pilots are open, clear-eyed, buoyant extroverts, and helicopter pilots are brooders, introspective anticipators of trouble. They know if something bad has not happened, it is about to.”
Is it possible to create a working environment that is completely safe? Can we reduce the chance of errors, oversights, omissions and/or deviation to zero in our various workplaces, and in particular an aviation environment?
There are people out there who simply don’t recognize opportunities until they are rapidly diminishing in their rear-view mirrors. For those that “get it,” a sound definition of opportunity might be as simple as this: it’s a set of circumstances that make it possible for you to “do something” – in other words take a chance to implement change or seek employment.
Focus, integrity, clarity, leadership. They’re critical attributes in establishing success at any operation and they’re even more necessary when an organization has gone through periods of scrutiny and corporate strife.
Aviation, photography and movies – it’s a creative bond that goes back to the very inception of flight. Wilbur Wright, for example, is credited with the first use of a movie camera from an aircraft in April 1909. Not long after, the First World War saw the wide acceptance of aerial photography and the post-war years saw a surplus of aircraft and trained pilots, a combination that was a boon to the nascent motion picture industry.
Eagle Copter was born in Calgary some 40 years ago, but don’t let its journey into middle age fool you – the company shows little signs of slowing down.
Ah, spring. It’s the perfect time to retool and clean the slate for the season ahead. And for western Canadian operator Highland Helicopters, spring is also an ideal time to continue one of its most important new projects – a brand “refresh” and integration of all things Highland into one neat intellectual package.
Sept. 11, 2014 – We were flying up the Fraser Canyon in a small plane just north of the two-car Big Bar reaction ferry, way west of the tiny cowboy town of Clinton in the south Cariboo, when we finally found it.
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