Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

ACTION IN THE AIR – Helicopter company pilots are recertifying, hence the plethora of choppers gracing the air above Whitehorse.

Chopper pilots taking training, re-certification

Just like the return of the swans every spring, helicopter pilots take to the air over Whitehorse and around the city for annual training and re-certification.

By Chuck Tobin on April 23, 2019

Just like the return of the swans every spring, helicopter pilots take to the air over Whitehorse and around the city for annual training and re-certification.

Operations director Clint Walker from Fireweed Helicopters said Wednesday that because some of the mandatory re-certification involves simulating emergency landings, it must be done over the Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport.

Emergency landings involve simulating engine failure where pilots must throttle back the engines and use what’s referred to as auto-rotation of the rotors to touch down on the runway, he explained.

Because it’s a simulated emergency, if anything were to go wrong, Walker said, they want to be close to emergency response services in Whitehorse and not out in the bush at a remote area.

The “annual recurrent training” involves a number of procedures and manoeuvres such as flying approaches into confined areas like the Hidden Lakes behind Riverdale, or mountain approaches, he said.

Approximately 38 to 40 local pilots and pilots from around the Yukon go through the re-certification here, Walker said.

Each pilot must be checked out on each of the helicopters they’re certified to fly, he explained.

Walker said re-certifying a pilot on one type of aircraft takes approximately an hour in the air, in addition to classroom time.

In the case of Fireweed Helicopters, most of the company’s 12 pilots will be getting checked out on two or three of Fireweed’s four choppears, and a couple of them will be re-certifying on all four, he pointed out.

Comments (1)

Up 7 Down 1

Peter Cambridge on Apr 23, 2019 at 11:40 pm

I heard accounts of climbers hearing the helicopter toe in at the Everest Summit and they could not believe a machine was up there.
Was not many years ago that helicopters were at their limit around 5200 metres.

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