FLIGHT DEPT PROFILE
AW139 ops allow LAS to carry pax at fixed-wing speeds to remote resorts
Expanding in tough times, YVR-based LAS adds 3rd AW139, buys 5 Learjet 85s and Vision-equipped Global Express XRS.
Completed last year, LAS’s new YVR hangar complex is 360 x 150 ft with 7-zone fire suppression system. (top photo) Lacroix (L) and Production Mgr Helicopter Div Gordon Dale wrap up morning preflight inspection of an AW139.
Flying the AW139s
In terms of IFR helicopter flying the job has its pros and cons. Summer months are very busy and pilots typically fly 25 days each month and push vacations to off-season.
Compared with overseas helicopter postings this sort of work does not enjoy the same tax advantages.
On the plus side crews are home most nights with an average of just 2 RONs per month. They work a stunningly beautiful coastal mountain flying environment with new IFR equipment and have staff privileges at the Sonora Resort to fish or relax in a wilderness setting once in a while.
AW139s are rated for single-pilot ops although they’re normally flown 2-pilot. Missions range from 12 and 23-min flights across Georgia Straight and to downtown Victoria to longer 3 to 4-hr charters up and down the coast.
Some may wonder how any organization, particularly a charter operator, can contemplate expanding fleet and operations during such a seemingly depressed business environment.
“We’re a customer-driven organization and we’re willing to work hard to keep market share,” says Powell. “We want to have all the equipment the customer needs when he/she needs it, we pay cash for our aircraft and we’re big believers in new, clean-sheet design equipment.
We have to look at things strategically and position ourselves for the future. We bought the AW139 on faith as we felt the design had huge merits and that it would be best-of-breed equipment in its category.
Over 4 seasons of operations the AW139 has exceeded our expectations.”
Editor-at-Large Grant McLaren has written for Pro Pilot for over 20 years and specializes in corporate flight department coverage.