Business Operations
As the extractive industries ramp up and enthusiasm spreads in our industry, the ever-pervasive fear that, once again, every operator will suddenly feel “expansive” is becoming more acute.
I woke up on January 23 to news of a major earthquake overnight near Alaska, which set off tsunami warnings from the Aleutians to Baja and sent residents of coastal towns scurrying for high ground.
It was a record year for wildfires in British Columbia in 2017 and many operators, which was good news for helicopter operators in the province engaged in aerial firefighting.
Events of the last couple of years – Fort McMurray in 2016 and British Columbia’s 2017 season of disaster – are a hint from Mother Nature that we need to rethink our relationship with forests, especially the part about what happens when things catch on fire.
Rain has finally arrived on B.C.’s south coast – and maybe, just maybe, there will be an end to the 2017 fire season. It’s been a record year for wildfires in B.C. and as we passed through the Labour Day weekend, the nominal finish line, there was no end in sight.
CAE loyalists might be forgiven if they refer to the company founder as Saint Ken Patrick.
Don’t look now, but the world has been changing around us in every way imaginable. People are living longer, healthier lives, crime is the lowest it has ever been, never has so much wealth been created across the widest possible range of demographics, and at the same time, never have so many people been so pessimistic about the future and the passing of “the good ol’ days.”
Shakespeare wrote about a winter of discontent more than 500 years ago. Well, we’ve certainly had our winter of discontent, though while the Bard’s seasonal woes were followed by a “glorious summer,” Canadians will have to wait and see how ours play out.
You definitely know something important is up when former Montreal Canadien Guy Lafleur is in the house. And even though the superstar right winger and current helicopter pilot was a shining NHL star in the mid- to late-1970s, he still provides plenty of “wow” factor wherever he goes, especially in La belle province.
Spring is emerging along the West Coast as winter has been slow to release its grip this year. It has been a difficult winter in many places and looking beyond the weather, it has been an interesting few months around the world to say the least.
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.”  
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