CHC Helicopter celebrates 75 years
CHC Helicopter is celebrating its 75th anniversary of operations, which has seen it grow from a crop-dusting operation in British Columbia to a major provider of helicopter services worldwide
To celebrate the milestone, the company has launched a website, 75.chcheli.com, which will be regularly updated with content illustrating the range of services conducted by the company and its crews.
The company traces its roots back to Okanagan Air Services, a crop-dusting firm based in western Canada which was established after the Second World War.
Initially, they operated fixed-wing aircraft, such as de Havilland Tiger Moths and Cessna 140s, but was an early adopter of helicopters, acquiring their first Bell 47B-3 – designated CF-FZX – in 1947.
The company experienced rapid expansion in both its helicopter fleet and operations throughout the 1950s, alongside a suitable name change to Okanagan Helicopters – with the company acquiring its first overseas contract in 1963, for the provision of a single Bell 47J to East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).
By 1975, a fifth (20 per cent) of all revenue could be derived from international contracts – leading to the formation of the company’s international division.
In 1987, Okanagan was acquired by a group of investors called the Canadian Holding Company, led by Sealand Helicopters founder Craig Dobbin, who merged the company with his own business, as well as Viking Helicopters, and Toronto Helicopters.
Nowadays, the company delivers a range of contracts in over 30 countries worldwide, offering services for civilian search and rescue (SAR), medical evacuation (medevac), offshore oil and gas platform transportation, and helicopter maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO).
David Balevic, CHC’s CEO and President said: “We are proud of CHC’s rich history and culture, which recognizes and appreciates the various opportunities that have allowed us to become the global provider we are today. We are proud to reflect on our heritage, especially as we prepare for the next chapter.”