BCWF Study how wolves impact moose pop

2019-12-04T09:27:49-08:00Categories: News|Tags: |

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BCWF Study how wolves impact moose pop

BC Magazine, Outdoors Hunting Special Issue, Sept/Oct 2019

Upcoming issue news article by the BC Wildlife Federation – The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF) studies on the declining moose population in north-central BC. They are looking into how wolves use their home territory and its impact on moose. 

BC Ministry of Forest, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development have been utilizing helicopters to capture members of regional wolf packs near Prince George and Fort St. James, installing satellite collars to track up to 10 packs.

A PDF version of the article can be read here

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Terrace SAR training @ Yellowhead YXT

2019-12-04T09:33:28-08:00Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

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Terrace SAR training @ Yellowhead YXT

May 8, 2019 Yellowhead Helicopters Terrace Base

Base manager Jeff Patmore spent a few hours with Terrace Search and Rescue members training for class D external load procedures. The video below was created by Black Press Newspaper.

 

“We want to make sure we’re ready for all the different projects… we’re seeing more workers working in the field, it’s only a matter of time that they are going to be rescued and we’re doing everything we can to make sure we prepare for that.”​

Dave Jephson

Terrace Search & Rescue

You can read the full article interview with Jeff and SAR VP Dave Jephson in the May 16 edition of the Terrace Standard; a digital version is located here.

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Retiring Heli-Ski Pilot Beat Steuri

2019-12-04T09:46:16-08:00Categories: News|Tags: |

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Retiring Heli-Ski Pilot Beat Steuri

Excerpt from the website Mike Weigele Heli-Skiing, a great article about the career history of long-time heli-ski pilot Beat Steuri… read the original post, complete with photos, at their website Wiegele.com

 

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Beat Steuri has accumulated over 22,500 flying hours in 39 years, during which he spent 31 winters flying heli-skiers. However, at the end of the 2018-19 season, he will hang up his helmet and retire from his position as Job Manager at Yellowhead Helicopters and Mike Wiegele Heli-Skiing. His wisdom for these mountains has been passed on through numerous safety techniques and guiding procedures, but his confident, warm smile in the helicopter next season will be greatly missed.

At Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing, Beat is responsible for working hand in hand with guides and pilots to ensure everyone’s safety.

During the winter season, every morning before the sun rises in Blue River, Beat checks the weather while he eats his breakfast. He checks for fronts coming toward town, if the weather will be improving or deteriorating, the temperatures and winds at higher altitudes and possibilities of freezing rain.

Each day, he attends the morning guide meeting to make plans for the day based on guests, conditions and more before heading to the hanger for daily aircraft inspection.

“Then it’s time to go flying,” Beat said. ­

Beat hasn’t always spent his days high above the Cariboo, Monashee and Rocky Mountain ranges. As a child and grandson of a mountain guide, he spent years watching climbers push their limits on the Eiger and surrounding mountains in his home town of Grindelwald, Switzerland. He was inspired by the helicopter pilots who rescued those who got in to trouble on the iconic Eiger mountain.

“It leaves an impression. I was always fascinated by helicopters and the difficult rescues, but it was just a dream,” he said.

Instead of chasing what seemed unattainable, Beat completed an apprenticeship as a tool and die maker and diligently trained on the side to become a mountain guide. To pass the final exam he needed to learn a second language and therefore, was heading to Canada. 

“After one year, I went back home and successfully finished earning the mountain guide diploma. That opened the door for me to come back and work as a helicopter-ski guide…as I was leaving Switzerland my brother-in-law said, ‘You should be a helicopter pilot’ and that’s the first time I thought about checking it out.”

“So, I returned to Canada with my then girlfriend, now wife (Therese Steuri) and promised to go back to Switzerland someday.”

As a heli-ski guide in B.C. he met many pilots and decided to proceed with the training and soon found employment. After seven years of learning the skills of flying it was now time to go back to Switzerland.

One of his duties was rescuing injured and stranded climbers in the mountains that towered over him as a young boy.

“It felt amazing to achieve my boyhood dream and to be flying into the mountains where I grew up.”

Beat, his wife and their two daughters, moved back to Canada in 1988, where he finally fulfilled his dream of working as a helicopter-ski pilot. “It’s one of the hardest jobs,” he said, “even compared to mountain rescue and construction work.” 

“When flying in adverse winter weather, there are no colours. It’s all black and white. When you approach a landing all you see is two flags, like two lines on the windshield. That’s the reference from which you have to judge the height, the speed and the approach angle. On the snow below, you see no indication of the helicopter’s movement. Now you have to bring those flags closer and closer to the helicopter till they end up beside the ski basket. If the approach speed in the last 30 yards is too slow, the powder snow will show you what a white out is. If you’re going too fast the helicopter will end up on a place where you don’t want to be. Finding your way around in the mountains in low visibility conditions is not easy. The GPS usually doesn’t help much. It will point straight through a mountain, but you have to know the way around the mountain following the valleys.”

Beat began working for Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing in 2000, often working with Senior Lead Guide Erich Schadinger learning the terrain and sharing knowledge.

“With my experience as a guide, when I’m flying around I see lot of terrain and new lines and runs I’d like to ski. This information I share with the guides.” 

Beat has found countless pickup spots over the years, like the center pick up on Diamond Head which opened up a lot more terrain, Beat’s Wall, Aloha trees, Tighty Whitey and runs like Beat’s Basin, B&B (Bill & Beat’s Basin) and Beat’s Home Run, which is his favourite.

In addition to runs and pickups, Beat dedicated his time to improve safety and efficiency at the resort. His skills extended to computer programming where he wrote multiple computer programs for various needs. One tracks all helicopters for MW dispatch tracks wildlife closures and a message system where a guide or pilot can report any concerns during the day. “It was quite a big project, but it makes work really easy for the dispatchers.”

Beat also redesigned the MWHS booking and grouping programs for a better overview and simpler usage. He constructed the grouping sheet, where guides import the guest’s names, sort them into groups, inserts templates for the various helicopters and then the program sends out automatic emails to various departments. Another program he developed, keeps track of all guests’ weekly vertical footage. It used to take about two to three days per week for one person, but now with the program it takes one hour to do the work.

He still loves flying every day but is looking forward to spending more time with his wife rock climbing, skiing, hiking, canoeing, traveling with his classic 1970s motor home and most of all spending time with his five young grandkids.

“I will miss the guides, my friends and the smiles from the guests after an epic ski day… so long Blue River.”

Beat is a well-loved member of the extended Wiegele family. The entire team at Wiegele World wishes him much happiness and powder skiing of course in his well-deserved retirement.

Drone Flying Regulations Set to Change

2019-12-04T10:30:40-08:00Categories: News|Tags: |

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Drone Flying Regulations Set to Change

Yellowhead Helicopters (YHL) director of operations, Sean Rickards, was recently interviewed by Prince George’s CKPG-TV regarding the upcoming changes to drone flying regulations. The new Transport Canada aviation regulations are expected to be effective in June 2019. Helicopter pilots are welcoming the new laws, and the improvement to helicopter flying safety.

View the original article with full 2 minute video at

https://ckpgtoday.ca/article/550128/drone-flying-rules-set-change-june

Drone Flying Rules Set to Change In June

Local helicopter pilot welcomes the new laws, as it will increase the overall safety of flying a helicopter.

Posted by Dave Branco on Friday, January 11, 2019

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Important discovery in Wells Gray Park

2019-12-04T10:47:02-08:00Categories: News|Tags: , |

Important discovery in Wells Gray Park

“Earlier this year a small group conducting a caribou census for the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change found more than they were counting on during a flight over Wells Gray Provincial Park.”

“Ken Lancour, a Clearwater based pilot for Yellowhead Helicopters, and biologist Bevan Ernst, spotted an unusual feature in the ground in a remote corner of the park that would turn out to be one of the largest caves in the country.”

“After Lancour reported the find to BC Parks it was recommended he get in touch with Catherine Hickson, a geologist with the Royal Canadian Geological Society (RCGS), who quickly realized its importance after viewing photos of the cave.”

“Tod Haughton (of B.C. Parks) suggested (Lancour) get in touch with me because my long association with the park, so at the beginning of May, he sent a few of the photos and the location and as soon as I saw the photos I realized this as very significant,” said Hickson.”

Excerpt from BarriereStarJournal.com

By Jaime Polmateer

Read the full post at https://www.barrierestarjournal.com/news/important-discovery-in-wells-gray-park/

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Newly discovered cave in BC

2019-12-04T10:56:01-08:00Categories: News|Tags: , |

Newly discovered cave in BC

05 December 2018

In March 2018, while conducting a caribou census in Wells Gray Provincial Park, a helicopter crew from the province’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change discovered an unusual feature in the area. The amazing new discovery starts a dramatic new chapter for Canadian cave exploration.

Geologist Catherine Hickson visited the cave back in September. “It’s about the size of a soccer field. So if you think of a soccer field and you put that soccer field on its end so you have this pit going down.  Think about this giant circular or oval hole that just goes down and down. It is truly amazing.”

Read more about the finding on Global News or CBC.

(sources Global News and CBC)

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Wildfires in Canada 2018

2019-12-04T11:01:48-08:00Categories: News|Tags: |

Wildfires in Canada 2018

Excerpt from the website Vertical Magazine, a great article about the 2018 BC wildfire season. The full news article can be viewed at their website Vertical

wildfire photo news

“A heavy wildfire season across much of Canada appears to have reached its peak on the West Coast, with British Columbia declaring a state of emergency as spreading wildfires saw more than 100 helicopters providing aerial firefighting support throughout the province.

As of Aug. 14, there were 469 fires burning across B.C. – 255 of them being out of control. Across Canada, B.C. has been hit by the most wildfires (1,677) and seen the most hectares burned (373,801) of any province so far this year, according to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC).

“I think pretty much every helicopter in Western Canada is engaged in the wildfires right now,” said Robert Gallagher, owner and president of Coldstream Helicopters based in Vernon, British Columbia.”…

…”According to Charlie Mooney, director of corporate development at Yellowhead Helicopters in Valemount, British Columbia, virtually all the smoke being produced from B.C. wildfires is staying over top of the province right now.

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“I was talking to one of the fire centers a few days ago, and in one of the complexes up near Quesnel they had 25 helicopters in total that they had on hire in that one area,” Mooney said. “But it was so smoky there were only two of them that got out to be able to work — the rest of them were sitting on the ground.”

Yellowhead Helicopters has 13 out of its nearly 40 aircraft on contract with the province for wildfire support, which include the Bell 212HP, Bell 212 Single, Bell 206 B3, Bell 407HP, and Airbus AS350 B2.

Mooney told Vertical some of the aircraft the company has been able to put out on fires were actually scheduled for other jobs. But because of the extreme fire hazard and fires, some of the projects have been postponed until it’s safe for crews to be out in the backcountry.

The province currently has 108 helicopters in the air to support firefighting operations.”…

…”Elsewhere in Canada, Ontario has also been hit hard by wildfires, with 1,060 fires burning 233,089 hectares from April 1 to Aug. 14. The 10-year average from April 1 to Aug. 14 is 597 fires, with 2017 seeing 561 fires for the same time period.

“It’s been a very active fire season for us, especially in northeastern Ontario . . . we haven’t seen this type of fire season here in the northeast in quite some time,” said Shayne McCool, fire information officer at the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF).

“We’ve seen a lot more high-profile fires that have impacted people and their properties much more than they have in [the] recent past.”

The above-average number of wildfires in Ontario has meant more helicopters in the air for fire suppression, monitoring purposes and ground crew support.

“Helicopters are a major part of our operation,” McCool said. “They’re utilized as a resource for transporting people/fire attack crews in and out, they could be used for fire suppression, [and] they could be used for lookout purposes to keep an eye on the fire situation to ensure our people are safe.”

Aircraft come in handy especially when a fire starts in a remote location with no road access, he added.”…

Read the entire article at Vertical Magazine’s website.

Improving fleet visibility with Spidertracks

2019-12-04T11:06:32-08:00Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

Improving fleet visibility with Spidertracks

Excerpt from blog post at Spidertracks.com. Original can be viewed here

Yellowhead Helicopters is a charter company that does everything from mineral exploration, heliskiing, to firefighting, oil and gas work. Most of Yellowhead’s operations are focused on British Columbia but they operate Canada wide with a fleet of 35 aircraft.

“We charter say between 30 and 40 aircraft, which is a good operation number that fluctuating with market demands,’ says Sean Rickards, Yellow’s Director of Operations. ‘’Some of the challenges of maintaining a fleet of our size would include knowing where the aircraft are, getting people and parts, equipment out to the aircraft.

“We cover a lot of ground in a short period of time. The systems that we did have in our aircraft were a mixed-bag. A lot of products were archaic so it was time for an upgrade for us. Spidertracks solved the problems of getting the fleet equipped rapidly with very minimal cost.

Kate Biernaski, Assistant to the Director of Operations at Yellowhead says the primary application of Spidertracks is for flight following. ‘’The integration was incredibly seamless. We found every point of it to be very user friendly and simplified. There was no challenge for our crews to adopt this new system or sunset all of our aircraft out of the old system and into the new to keep up with the times.

“Spidertracks has made my job easier because I can rely on the information that we are getting. I know that the data feed we are getting is up to date. Having the ability to have situational awareness has really benefited us.”

Sean says they give some of our clients the ability to view the Spidertracks, through a web browser or for a login. ‘’If we are on a job that’s out in the middle of nowhere they are monitoring us so we know that we have that connection to them.

“Yellowhead Helicopters has been dealing with Spidertracks for about a year now and when we started talking with them Spidertracks was there every step of the way. We’ve brought up potential ideas for them, things that would make our business run better and they’ve been extremely receptive of that.

“Just a click and you can connect to Carlos or Todd, and send them the information you need and they obviously spend the time and the effort to know the customer and know what their business in, and get a product that makes sense for them.”

For Kate having Spidertracks means for the rest of our team that they are all on the same page ‘’. . . we know what to expect of each other, where we can find the information and that it is reliable. We really do have a grasp of the big picture.”

Want to find out more about Spidertracks? Try a demo here.

Spidertracks resource library of free ebooks regarding flight tracking, communications, SMS available here for download

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Prince George SAR is pleased to announce…

2019-12-04T11:08:37-08:00Categories: News|Tags: , |

Prince George SAR is pleased to announce…

…the start of our availability to provide Helicopter Long Line Rescue.

02 June 2017

Prince George Search and Rescue (PGSAR) supports Police, Fire and Ambulance look for those missing and rescue those who are stranded or injured. PGSAR has a number of specialty teams to support emergency services such as Swiftwater, Avalanche, Rope and Tracking. Helicopter Long Line Rescue was a need identified in the northern part of the province. The closest provincial resource is in the Okanagan. PGSAR has been working on this program since May, 2015. It will complement the other specialty rescue teams PGSAR offers in the region.

Helicopter Long Line Rescue, is a well-recognized rescue technique practiced throughout BC, and the world. The team members are trained to be harnessed to a rope, attached to a helicopter. It is capable of transporting or “slinging” a rescuer and a subject into and out of the steep, heavily forested mountainous terrain that we have surrounding Prince George.

“It’s very gratifying and proud accomplishment for PGSAR to be in a position to have a Helicopter long line rescue system as an another valuable rescue tool.” said Jeff Smedley, PGSAR Search Manager “The commitment of our volunteer members, hours of hard work and training has definitely paid off for the team. Fundraising, training and meeting provincial guidelines has taken a lot of work. This newly minted team is made up of 10 members who will continue to train to meet the standards set out by Transport Canada, Emergency Management BC and the British Columbia Search and Rescue Association. The group has been training since November 2016, with the funding of the $90,000 from the Province of BC.”

PGSAR has trained 10 members, purchased the equipment, formed a partnership with Yellowhead Helicopters and became operational as of June 1st, 2017. The Helicopter Long Line Rescue members will offer rescue services during any time of the year.

This tool will be available to support SAR operations in Northern BC. This is the first long line rescue team based in North Central British Columbia allowing rapid access and evacuation of injured subjects, and quick responses to a rescuer who may need assistance. This program will increase the safety of the team, and the people we rescue.

Prince George Search and Rescue joins 12 other SAR groups in BC capable of this type of rescue.

Read “My Nechako Valley Now” news article here.

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YHL moves to Spidertracks Flight Following System

2019-12-04T11:12:10-08:00Categories: News|Tags: , , , , |

YHL moves to Spidertracks Flight Following System

16 March 2017

British Columbia based helicopter operator, Yellowhead Helicopters, has completed their fleet transition to Spidertracks aircraft management devices.

Yellowhead’s Director of Operations Sean Rickards says after a detailed review of our fleet tracking requirements it was a logical decision to go with the Spidertracks flight following system.

“Spidertracks meets our expectations and commitment to system safety in all areas of our day to day operations. Knowing that if our people had a problem, we could know about it right away no matter where they are is basic safety management.

We are very pleased with the support provided by Spidertracks during this transition along with the ease of install, ease of use and savings realized.

Spidertracks’ CEO, Dave Blackwell says Yellowhead’s feedback is encouraging and indicative of the market’s growing appetite for smarter aircraft management in Canada.

“We’re excited to be able to provide Yellowhead, and a number of similar operators across Canada, the peace of mind and productivity gains that the Spidertracks system delivers. It is highly competitive industry they are operating in where every cent must count.”

“Now 10 years old, Spidertracks is fast evolving with the technologies available and with the requirements of the industry, but the fundamental driver of our success remains – a delightfully simple product philosophy and an outstanding team of people that take it to the world with their hearts and souls.”

For more information, contact Todd O’Hara on +64 21 1864111 or todd.ohara@spidertracks.com

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Spidertracks Company Description:

Spidertracks are a New Zealand-based aircraft software company who provide smart and simple solutions that enable aircraft operators to make better decisions with their assets. Spidertracks provide situational awareness and business insight through their suite of business tools which include real-time aircraft tracking, global two-way messaging, an emergency management framework, and aircraft and pilot scheduling.

Yellowhead Company Description:

Established in 1975, Yellowhead Helicopters is a well-respected, privately-held Canadian company that provides commercial helicopter solutions to the public, industry and government. From bases strategically located throughout British Columbia and Alberta they actively support industries including forestry, mining, petroleum, utility and tourism.

Through well-planned growth, Yellowhead continues to renew and update its services and equipment to keep pace with the ever-changing demands of these important Canadian industries.

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