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Fh1100


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I recall around 1989, there was one that stopped in at the CHC hangar in Vancouver.

I don't recall whose it was or why it was there.

The only reason this one sticks out in my mind was because Jim Masse asked me if I knew what it was, then gave me a walk-around.

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The FH1100 you refer to in 89 could have been one of Western Heli,s. There was a German (I believe ) fellow over at Delta Heliport that had a huge Hiller parts and maintenance shop, and Western was always buying Hiller parts for their 1100,s/12E from them. His name escapes me at the moment, but it was foreign. Western was sold around then and I believe the 1100,s went south to the states, so it could have been.

 

The other possibility was a Forest company out of Cobble Hill on the island had an 1100, but sadly the owner was killed in a fatal crash with it about 15 years ago or so.

 

If you go back to the very beginning of Photo,s in the field I posted a few picture,s of Western,s 1100.s and 58P, good times in ol Buffalo Narrows.

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Yes, Okie did run several(10 ?) 1100's out west in the late sixties,early 70's. West Coast Helicopters(Div. of West Coast Transmission(West Coast Energy)ran one or two also before the aircraft were transferred to Okanagan.

 

Conrad Busch(spelling?) was the gentleman who had an extensive supply of Hiller parts and sold/refurbished aircraft as well. His hangar was in Delta close to the Delta Town & Country Inn.

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Probably just as well, let the good memories drift up to the surface on occasion, and the bad sleep.

 

Hope all is well with you and your,s.

 

GWK

 

 

Conrad Busch, that was the fellow, right beside Delta Helicopter School,s old digs.

 

Thanks

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Okanagan operated nine or ten FH1100s.

Bought one, then placed a fleet order for use out of their BC bases. Company pilots went back to Hagerstown, NJ to pick up the aircraft and ferry them to the Helicopter Association of America (HAA) convention in Las Vegas in early 1968, then north to Vancouver after the helicopter show. There were a few adventures flying north through Oregon in a snow storm.

 

When the helicopters arrived in BC in early February 1968, they made a formation fly over of Okanagan President Glen McPherson's home on Marine Drive in West Vancouver (near Caulfield) before turning south towards Point Grey and landing at Vancouver Airport. I remember seeing them flying past West Bay as a kid but it was 20 years before I figured out what I had seen.

 

The helicopters parked on the ramp near the old Okanagan Hangar at YVR, and were then moved inside. Good thing because on February 7, 1968, a Boeing 707 leased to Canadian Pacific Air Lines ran off the runway while landing and veered to the south right through the ramp area where the helicopters had been parked before colliding with some buildings. The FH1100 arrival also happened to coincide with Carl Agar's passing.

 

Reflecting the psychedelic era, the FH1100s were painted in about eight different colours (white/green, white/red, white/blue), with the FH1100 assigned to Campbell River painted white and orange. This aircraft was lost in the bush and later easily spotted from the air because of its orange colours. I heard that this incident became the basis for Okanagan's adopting an orange and white colour scheme in the late 1960s, which later became overall orange colour in the early 1970s once the JetRangers arrived.

 

Okanagan lost three FH1100s in fatal accidents and decided to drop the FH1100 from its fleet, trading the surviving aircraft to Bell for a fleet of new 206A JetRangers. The FH1100 became known as the "Killer Hiller" in BC. Some of the Okanagan FH1100s ended up in Alaska and others with Condor Helicopters in California which operated a large fleet from Oxnard.

 

I believe that Canex Placer was one of the only BC based operators of the FH1100 in the 1970s until operated one for many years until replaced by an Astar. The last base for the FH1100 was in a hangar next door to North Delta Copters, north of the Town and Country Inn.

 

The FH1100 was also operated by Kenting Klondike and did a lot of work on the Grand Duc Mine out of Stewart flown by Jim Lapinsky. The last two tone blue Kenting FH1100s were sold the Glen Pearson at Century Helicopters in Bellingham who had been a Fairchild Hiller tech rep when the FH1100 was first introduced in the 1960s. A couple of these ended up at the local spray operator at Bellingham Airport.

 

Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting had a FH1100 based out of Flin Flon which replaced their S-55 which was wrecked in the 1960s. The FH1100 did a lot of bird towing work on geophysical survey jobs.I think this later ended up in BC.

 

Roland Simard at Air Alma acquired a large fleet of FH1100s in the 1970s for use at James Bay. Most of these faded from the scene in the 1980s as James Bay work fell off.

 

In the late 1970s or early 1980s (can't recall the date), the Thai Police Bell 204B and FH1100 fleet was acquired by Canadians (who?). The helicopters were unloaded from a ship and the 204Bs went directly to Calgary. The seven or nine FH1100s ended up on a farm south of the highway near Langley. I made a trek out to Langley to see them stored outside a barn (whose farm?) in about 1982 (?). Most of these FH1100s were later trucked to Calgary for refurbishment in the early to mid-1980s, and many went south to the US when the oil sector collapsed in the mid-1980s.

 

xxx

 

I'd like to track down any surviving Okanagan pilots or AMEs who were on the great FH1100 ferry flight of 1968.

 

KIS

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