Helicopters Magazine

Features Procedures Safety & Training
Operators Hover In Uncertainty

Canada’s far-flung helicopter operators seem to be keeping a light hand on their corporate collectives and cyclics as the industry mostly hovers in an uncertain economic climate and awaits an updraft.


July 18, 2007
By Ken Pole

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Canada’s far-flung helicopter operators seem to be keeping a light
hand on their corporate collectives and cyclics as the industry mostly
hovers in an uncertain economic climate and awaits an updraft. A random
national sampling indicates that companies of all sizes are generally
in this mode, although some are doing better than others.

Universal Helicopters Newfoundland Ltd., in Goose Bay, Labrador,
currently flies 16 Bells, all 206 variants except for two 407s, and a
pair of Eurocopter AStar AS350s, a B and a BA. It operates mainly in
Newfoundland and Labrador but sometimes in the Ungava Peninsula and the
Arctic and, thanks to an international operating certification, has
completed several contracts in Greenland. The company began operations
in 1963 and currently has about three dozen employees, many having been
with the company for 15 years or more. Almost half of its 15 pilots
graduated from Universal’s own flight training school, which was
disbanded in the late 1990s.

Company president Geoff Goodyear said it is always difficult to
attract experienced pilots because of the relative remoteness of
operations. That said, “it’s heartening to see a fair number of junior
pilots out there; as a company, we have a mentoring process of sorts.We
keep junior pilots in the hopper and work them up through.’’ What’s
unusual is that Universal is willing to take someone on with as little
as 100 hours.“We’re not as concerned about the number of hours for a
junior pilot as we are about their work ethic and attitude. If he has
those, whether he has 100 or 500 hours is irrelevant and you don’t mind
making the investment.’’

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