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Yellowhead Helicopters Ltd. (YHL) is a privately held Canadian commercial helicopter company with bases in British Columbia and Alberta, Canada. The fleet of 44 of aircraft work across Canada from BC to Ontario and into the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut for contracts in wildfire suppression and natural resource exploration. YHL provides helicopter services in support of specialty operations including wildfire suppression, natural resource exploration, wildlife conservation, avalanche control, heli-logging, powerline construction.

Company History

The company started operations in Valemount, BC in 1975 when Garry Forman purchased his first helicopter, a Bell 206 Jet Ranger.[1]

Over the years, the company has expanded from its corporate offices in Valemount to include more bases throughout northern and central BC. In 2012, they further expanded with the acquisition of  Vancouver Island Helicopters’ (VIH) base, aircraft and contracts in the nearby Northern BC hub city of Prince George and soon thereafter shifted their operations centre to PG.

In 2013, Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing announced its new partnership [3] with Yellowhead Helicopters. Mike Wiegele (of MWHS) and Garry Forman (of YHL), had worked together in the 1970s to develop heli-skiing in the BC interior. Prior to Yellowhead Helicopters, Vancouver Island Helicopters’ northern division based in Prince George was the primary provider for the Wiegele Lodge.

YHL has remained a private company owned by the family, passing down into the capable hands of the descendants of Nicki & Garry Forman. His son, Carl Forman is chief financial officer. Son, Jacob Forman is chief executive officer and past Chair for the board of directors of H-A-C, the Helicopter Association of Canada. And daughter, Sarah Gibson, is a CPA, CA and past HR director.

A number of the company directors and managers have current or past positions with H-A-C.

At the H.A.C. 28th Convention in November 2023, Jacob Forman was presented with an Honorary Life Member Award.

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Bell 212HP addition to fleet

Air Operator Certificate

Yellowhead Helicopters is approved to operate under Transport Canada AOC No. 5075 with CARs Rules 702 Aerial Work & 703 Air Taxi. 

The company is limited to flying Day VFR only. Our pilots and aircraft are not approved for night flying or flying instruments only.  VFR operations dictate minimum flight visual weather requirements and considerations.

The AOC contains specific approvals for transportation of dangerous goods. 

More information regarding our specialty helicopters services can be found on our Solutions page.

Bases

As of August 2023, the company has 12 bases.

British Columbia

Alberta 

  • Hinton (private heliport) (acquired in 2020 from Peregrine Helicopters)

To find out more about the aircraft safety & operational equipment, visit our Fleet page. and our Safety page.

Fleet

Yellowhead Helicopters fleet of aircraft registered with Transport Canada as of 2024.

Aircraft Type

No. of Aircraft

Variants

Notes

Aerospatiale AS350

19

AS350 BA, AS350 B2, AS350 B3, AS350D

Also listed as Eurocopter

Bell 206

8

206B, 206 L3, 206 L4

 

Bell 212

6

212

 

Messerschmitt

5 (4 serviceable)

BK117 B2

New fleet additions in 2022

Accidents and Incidents

On June 28, 2021, a YHL Bell 212 registration C-GYHQ crashed on approach to landing area to pick up a wildfire crew. Pilot was the only fatality. The investigation found the cause to be failure of a retaining pin that was not manufactured to quality standards.  [2]

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