CHC Helicopter

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CHC Helicopter
PredecessorSealand Helicopters
Okanagan Air Services
Toronto Helicopters
Viking Helicopters
SuccessorCanadian Helicopters (Canadian operations only)
FoundedSt. John's, Newfoundland (1947)
FounderCraig Dobbin, Carl Agar (Okanagan Air Services)[1]
HeadquartersRichmond, British Columbia, Canada
Area served
Key people
Karl Fessenden, CEO
Scott Thanisch, CFO
ServicesHelicopter services
RevenueDecrease US$1.70 billion (2015)[2]
Number of employees
4,500 (2014)[3]

CHC Helicopter is a large helicopter services company, specializing in the following services:

  • Transportation to offshore oil and gas platforms
  • Civilian search and rescue and air medical evacuation services
  • Helicopter maintenance repair and overhaul

CHC Helicopter is headquartered in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada and operates more than 250 aircraft in 30 countries around the world. CHC's major international operating units are based in Australia, Brazil, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United Kingdom. The company is one of several global providers of helicopter transportation services to the offshore oil and gas industry (others including Bristow Helicopters and NHV). CHC has capabilities in precision flying techniques and technical support.[clarification needed]

CHC has long-term working relationships with most of the major oil and gas companies. CHC operates the marine search and rescue service for the Irish Coast Guard at Shannon, Waterford, Sligo and Dublin airports. CHC provides helicopter services in Australia for the Fire and Emergency Services Authority of Western Australia, Victoria Police and the Ambulance Service of New South Wales.


A Sikorsky S-61 in Okanagan Helicopters livery

Commercial helicopter flying began in British Columbia in the summer of 1947. Three ex-RCAF officers, pilots Carl Agar and Barney Bent, and engineer Alf Stringer, were operating a fixed-wing charter company, Okanagan Air Services Ltd., from Penticton. In July 1947 they raised enough money to purchase a Bell 47-B3 and pay for their flying and maintenance training.

Okanagan Air Services moved to Vancouver in 1949, renamed Okanagan Helicopters Ltd. By 1954, it had become the largest commercial helicopter operator in the world.[citation needed]

In 1987, Newfoundland businessman Craig Dobbin headed a group of investors organized under the name Canadian Holding Company and using the initialism CHC. CHC purchased Okanagan Helicopters, Viking Helicopters, and Toronto Helicopters and merged their assets with Dobbin's own company, Sealand Helicopters, to form a company named Canadian Helicopters. The parent company was renamed CHC Helicopter Corporation. CHC acquired British International Helicopters in 1994; Helicopter Services Group of Norway in 1999 (including Bond Helicopters), Helikopter Service AS, Lloyd Helicopters of Australia and Court Helicopters of South Africa. In 2004, CHC purchased Schreiner Aviation Group who provided offshore helicopter services in the Dutch sector of the North Sea and to the Nigerian offshore industry.

In 2000, CHC entered into an agreement with Fonds de Solidarité FTQ (FSTQ) and the management of its two Canadian divisions, Canadian Helicopters Eastern and Canadian Helicopters Western, for the sale of an interest in CHC's Canadian assets in a management buyout to form Canadian Helicopters. As a result, senior management and FSTQ acquired 10% and 45% equity interests in Canadian Helicopters, respectively, while CHC retained a 45% equity interest.

CHC restructuring in 2004 saw the creation of a new corporate headquarters in Richmond, British Columbia and the creation of three main operating segments:

  • CHC Global Operations, based in Richmond, B.C.,
  • CHC European Operations, based in Aberdeen, Scotland, and
  • Heli-One, CHC's leasing and repair and overhaul support group, now based in Delta, B.C.

In February 2008 all of CHC's shares were purchased by First Reserve, a US private equity company, for CAD$3.7 billion ($3.5 billion). At the time, the word "Corporation" was dropped from the company's name, which is now simply CHC Helicopter. On 16 January 2014 CHC announced an Initial Public Offering of 31,000,000 shares.

On 15 Jan 2016, CHC offered 31,000,000 shares at US$5.17.

On 5 May 2016, CHC Helicopters filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.[4] CHC shares dropped from US$176.10 (17 Nov 14) to US 0.45cents 17 June 2016. A Texas court allowed CHC in July 2016 to shed 65 helicopters from its financial obligations, most of the Super Pumas.[5] CHC reorganized in March 2017.[6]


CHC manages its global operations through the following divisions:

  • EEA Helicopter Operations B.V. ("EEA"), a Dutch company majority owned by EHO Holdings S.a.r.l. and minority owned by CHC Helicopter S.a.r.l., provides helicopter services in the North Sea. EEA operates under the CHC brand name and uses CHC logo under licence. It provides services from 17 bases in the UK, Ireland, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands.[7]
  • Brazilian Helicopter Services (BHS) (Brazil)
  • CHC Helicopters Global Operations/Corporate Office (Richmond, British Columbia)
  • CHC Helicopters (Australia)
  • CHC Helicopters (Africa)
  • CHC Composites (Gander, Newfoundland)

CHC EMS and SAR services[edit]


CHC S-61 operated for the Irish Coast Guard

CHC Helicopter serves as the sole provider of Search and Rescue helicopter services to the Irish Coast Guard, where it had operated a fleet of six Sikorsky S-61N helicopters based in Dublin, Shannon, Waterford, and Sligo. This fleet has now been replaced by 5 Sikorsky S-92 Helibus. The S-61N exited service in December 2013 with a flight from Dublin Airport to Weston Aerodrome, West Dublin. The flight was operated by EI-SAR, the oldest S-61N in commercial operation at the time.[8] On 14 March 2017, a CHC Sikorsky S92 EI-ICR, operating as Rescue 116, crashed into Blackrock Island off Blacksod, West of Ireland. As of August 2019, there are 2 fatalities, 2 still missing.

United Kingdom[edit]

CHC, as part of the Soteria SAR consortium was selected as the "Preferred Bidder" for a 25-year contract to provide a civilian Search and Rescue service throughout the United Kingdom.[9] However, days before the contract was due to be signed in February 2011, the British Government halted the process after CHC disclosed that it had unauthorised access to commercially sensitive information.[10] The Soteria SAR was cancelled and the contract was awarded to back to Bristow Helicopters who had operated the coastguard helicopters from Stornoway Airport, Sumburgh Airport, RNAS Lee-on-Solent (HMS Daedalus) and RNAS Portland (HMS Osprey) during the time of the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force operating there Westland Sea King, prior to the Soteria SAR being setup.


CHC is the largest provider of emergency medical helicopter services in Australia.[11]


CHC Search and Rescue AW139
  • Australian Army – CHC signed a 21-month contract in September 2016 to provide crash response support and aeromedical evacuation, operating its fleet of Sikorsky S76 and Bell 412 aircraft.[12]
  • Royal Australian Air Force – CHC has been providing dedicated rescue support to the RAAF since 1989 and operates six Leonardo AW139s.[12][13][14]
  • Royal Australian Navy – CHC began an interim 15-month contract in May 2017 to provide search and rescue, crash response support and aeromedical evacuation, operating its fleet of AW139 aircraft.[12]



Snowy Hydro SouthCare Multi-purpose helicopter in 2010


Other related services[edit]

  • NH90: CHC is designing, manufacturing and installing 19 life-raft assembly kits for the NH90 helicopter, a new military search and rescue helicopter provided to the military of several European countries through a joint venture shared by Agusta, Eurocopter and Fokker.
  • Supply, rescue, and support Services: CHC provides extensive ship supply and rescue service off the coast of Africa and the Netherlands, and helicopter support services to scientific expeditions in Antarctica and other harsh environments.


CHC operates approximately 250 aircraft in over 30 countries which include Malaysia, Australia, Brazil, Thailand, the Philippines, the Middle East, South Africa, Ecuador, Angola, Gabon, and Equatorial Guinea.[19]




  • Amberley
  • Bunbury
  • Broome
  • Darwin
  • Essendon
  • Jandakot
  • Karratha
  • Nowra
  • Pearce
  • Perth
  • Sale
  • Cabo-Frio
  • Campos dos Goytacazes
  • Jacarepaguá
  • Richmond
  • Cork
  • Dublin
  • Shannon
  • Waterford
  • Sligo
  • Stavanger
  • Bergen
  • Florø
  • Kristiansund
  • Brønnøysund
  • Den Helder
 United Kingdom

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • on 14 March 2017, CHC Sikorsky S92, operating as Rescue 116, crashed into the sea off Blacksod, West of Ireland. 2 fatalities, 2 missing. The flight terrain data was missing for the Island. They hit it straight on. Prelim report shows this.[20]
  • on 29 April 2016, a CHC EC225 crashed near Turøy, Norway, killing all 13 occupants.[21]
  • on 24 August 2013, a CHC Super Puma L2 crashed 2 nm from Sumburgh in Shetland, Scotland. The aircraft crashed into the sea killing 4 passengers and the remaining 12 passengers and 2 crew were rescued.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "CHC History | CHC".
  2. ^ "CHC Group Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2015 Resultsaccessdate=2016-01-25". Archived from the original on 1 February 2016.
  3. ^ "Company Profile for CHC Helicopter Corp (HELI)". Retrieved 8 September 2014.
  4. ^ "Helicopter firm CHC Group files for bankruptcy protection". CBC News. 5 May 2016. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  5. ^ "More bad news for Airbus Helicopters Super Puma family". 20 July 2016.
  6. ^ "CHC Helicopter Launches New Brand and Corporate Website - CHC".
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 March 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Aviation Photo #2051408: Sikorsky S-61N MkII - Ireland - Coast Guard".
  9. ^ "Press Release". Soteria SAR. 9 February 2010. Archived from the original on 12 April 2010. Retrieved 6 April 2010.
  10. ^ Sarsfield, Kate (8 February 2011). "UK government shelves helicopter search and rescue privatisation".
  11. ^ RAC Rescue Helicopter, Perth Western Australia 6000. "RAC Rescue Helicopter". Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  12. ^ a b c Smart, Philip (11 May 2017). "CHC jockeys for ADF-wide SAR/AME contract". Australian Defence Magazine. Yaffa Media. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
  13. ^ "CHC Australia completes roll out of Leonardo AW139 aircraft for Royal Australian Air Force". CHC (Press release). 27 February 2019. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  14. ^ Frawley, Gerard (24 August 2018). "CHC awarded RAAF SAR contract extension". Australian Aviation. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  15. ^ Pearce, Melanie (19 December 2014). "New operator for Orange based rescue chopper". ABC News. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
  16. ^ Sadler, Paul (13 January 2017). "Toll Helicopters starts saving lives in southern NSW". Australian Aviation. Phantom Media. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 February 2010. Retrieved 27 November 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 December 2014. Retrieved 26 November 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ a b [1]
  20. ^ Hennessy, Michelle. "Search continues for three members of Coast Guard helicopter crew".
  21. ^ Ranter, Harro. "Accident Eurocopter EC 225LP Super Puma Mk2+ LN-OJF, 29 Apr 2016".
  22. ^ "Helicopters grounded after crash". 25 August 2013 – via

External links[edit]