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Canadian Vfr Helicopter Industry


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I was talking with one of the helicopter manufacturer reps and he mentioned that Canada's commercial VFR helicopter fleet is one of the oldest in the world. Does this mean that we are falling behind in regards to technology, training, safety and piloting/maintenance standards with the rest of the helicopter world? I know we work in remote locations and we let our aircraft go for peanuts but would it be beneficial in anyway to intergrate next generation aircraft/systems into the mix?

Hmmmm.....................

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Have to disagree with this one, sure the Offshore,EMS,Tourist industry do usually have the latest and greatest, but look at the average commercial operation in the states(I do get too see allot of them) and their equipment is not state of the art, old clapped out jetrangers that are not being as well maintained as our stuff north of the border. Look at the Canadian companies that operate New equipment, Alpine, Great Slave,Heli-Max, Heli-Excel, Hy-Ridge,Highland, Phoenix. I hear this all the time that we operate some of the oldest A/C around, but from what I have seen we have some of the best VFR operators/and fleet and with out a doubt Pilots and Engineers in the world. And as for training don't even get me started on that one....we are miles ahead of everybody!!!

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amodao -------I'm saddened to tell you that your "rep" MAY have been voicing his opinion, but the fact of the matter is that it is backed-up by plain old official recorded fact. Those facts can be collected from HAI and the Insurance industry easily. That is not new "news" at all and has been fact for quite some number of years. It does not mean that we as an industry are behind anyone else at all. It only means that the equipment that we use to conduct our business in that industry is older than the rest of the Free World......not the whole world....just the Free World......and "older" doesn't mean "falling apart" either. So it ain't a great fact, but doesn't include the rest that you mentioned......he was just quoting HARD fact. It's hard to buy a/c from other countries when your dollar makes that a/c cost even more. You can't recoup that difference in your rates because the rates are too **** low even for the old equipment you have......so you buy well-maintained, but older equipment so you can make a buck. Yes there are good, well maintained 212's and other Mediums within Canada and Alpine rates high on that list, BUT have you seen the price for a brand new 212 lately? Buy a 204B/C and see if you can find work for it in the States anywhere......and good luck. "Yes" there are new Lights and Intermediates onsite in Canada, but don't write-home to mother about the rates they're getting either and some of those rates are enough to make a buzzard puke..

 

Having said that much, I can also take the worst operator that I've seen in my career, be an uninformed American and generalize when I say........."Canadian operators ain't any better than us and are in fact worse than us in regards their maintenance, etc". That would be what is termed 'an ignorant and uninformed comment, using one ****** paint brush to paint the whole industry and those in it'. Undoubtedly, we've had some "real winners" out there, but for every one of them there's a pile who are anything but. Ditto for the States. It might even have been so at one time, but the insurance companies have changed that greatly and for the obvious reasons. They don't like to pay-out, no matter what side of the border they're on.

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Despite Cougar's new S92, I daresay the rest of EMS and offshore are right there with our VFR brethern. I've been flying some very high time and old S61s for years, granted they're in phenomonal shape but they're still old. And Ontario EMS is using the venerable S76A model, a fine aircraft and very well maintained, but far from state of the art. There's a D model in the works now!

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Bladstrike, you took the words right off my keyboard. I haven't flown a "low-time" airframe in years, in fact the last few ships I put time on have been in the 15,000-20,000hr range - very well maintained yes, but very old none the less.

 

As for EMS, where are all the A139's?? That's right, there aren't any. The 76 is a good machine, but old. In my humble opinion, we're in a market here in Canada, where history has taught us not to run out and purchase new ships whenever there is bright spot in the industry, and most operators are suspicious of introducing new types when the customer has no requirement for it.

 

I would love to see some new machines, but look how long it took to get the Astar established in our country, and you can count the number of 407's working in Canada on a couple hands and feet... And neither machine is particularly new technology. We have one Koala in the country that I know of, how often do you see a NOTAR or Fenstron equiped machine fly by??

 

AR

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there is no question you can continually pump cash into an old ship and keep it safe. It becomes an ecomomic issue involving your accountants as to when enough is enough. Once parts supplies dwindle on some old stuff you will see them slowly dissappear. but with the huge market still out there with these old ships, the parts supply will run for quite some time yet.

 

I'd love to see more new ships flying, I think their newer/safer technology and in some cases far superior crash resistance, it's money well spent. The new cockpits are also reducing the workload on pilots, another good point. so other than dollars and cents issues (get those tarriffs up there boys) I can't convince myself it's a good idea to keep resurecting dead machines. Buget a 10000 hour life on your aircraft, extend it to 15000 on an extension then throw the bloody thing in the blue box for recycling. :punk:

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Perfect Track ---------"on paper", I agree with you 100%, but if you have a 204B/C, 205/212 and need the power and the room, what do you replace it with.......THAT you can afford? Maybe the Bell 210 would "fit the bill" just fine......and MAYBE was worth giving some serious consideration when the price was $3.8M USD. Then the price tag jumped quickly to $6M+ USD.......and into the waste basket those "serious considerations" went. So you stay with the old, but excellent "work-horse" that you already have and "by golly", maybe the old girl is already paid-off even. THEN (son of a b*tch), you read where the FAA has recently imposed "restrictions" on all versions of the T-53 Stateside and that makes you nervous because you know that MoT has a habit of following the FAA and you've seen that many times before also. Now what do you do? Still can't find an adequate replacement that you can afford and the "possibly in-coming" new costs for operating that old girl will rise and may take away most of the profit you DID make before. So you have a choice..... put your rates up, pay the maintenance staff less, pay the pilots less or cut back on the "in-house" parts inventory.........or bid less on contracts and PRAY to the Gods for lots of hours.......and no "dings".

 

You're right though about lots of new and nicer versions out there, but it's hard to go shopping with a "champagne taste' when you got a "beer budget". Ohhhh yeah, I almost forget........your engineers and pilots are expecting a raise this year, you know they deserve one and if you don't come through, you know you're going to loose some bodies....and you can't afford that EITHER. So you say...."Ahhhh the **** with it. I'll sell the whole **** thing and put my dollars someplace where I can get more than 2-3% return on my money, have 90% less headaches and then go golfing." :lol::lol:

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