Australian Helicopters’ new Kawasaki BK117B2 twin-engine helicopter, left, and the single-engine Eurocopter AS350BA Squirrel which the company has owned for a number of years.
Australian Helicopters’ new Kawasaki BK117B2 twin-engine helicopter, left, and the single-engine Eurocopter AS350BA Squirrel which the company has owned for a number of years. Chrissy Harris

Helicopters on the way up

FLYING helicopters every day over the harbour, around Gladstone's beautiful islands and out to the hinterland sounds like a whole lot of fun, but one helicopter company has serious plans for Gladstone.

So could choppers become the new corporate taxi in the region?

With multi-billion-dollar projects popping up in hard-to-reach places, Australian Helicopters has spotted an opportunity to expand a service that underlines the new prosperity of our industrial landscape.

The company has just brought in a new twin-engine helicopter to cater for the region's biggest players.

The company had been operating at Gladstone Airport with a single-engine helicopter.

Australian Helicopters' Gladstone base manager and senior pilot Drew Willard said the new helicopter had been brought in to take the company's capabilities to another level, in line with changing demands.

The Kawasaki BK117B2 is a twin-engine helicopter that offers exactly what the region's big industrial players are seeking.

"We've had it in mind for quite a while that some of the industrial companies require a twin-engine (helicopter), because of some of the international requirements for extra safety requirements," Mr Willard said.

Mr Willard said Australian Helicopters was forecasting an increase in demand for helicopter travel in the future.

A number of big companies have approached Australian Helicopters about using the twin-engine helicopter.

The chopper can carry up to nine passengers.

 

BIG PLANS

So far this year Australian Helicopters has done flights involved in recent water sampling, trips along the proposed LNG pipeline route, rescue work during the floods in Rockhampton and a whole lot more

Hoping to grow its business at the Gladstone base (Gladstone Airport), the company has recruited a second pilot, Jake Moore

The Kawasaki BK117B2 also has emergency medical service capability, which Mr Willard said would prove invaluable for industry and the community