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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 with Yellowhead Helicopters. The respective owners, Mike Wiegele and Garry Forman, 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 current 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.

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Bell 212HP addition to fleet


As of August 2023, the company has 12 bases.

British Columbia


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


Yellowhead Helicopters fleet of aircraft registered with Transport Canada as of 2023.

Aircraft Type

No. of Aircraft



Aerospatiale AS350


AS350 BA, AS350 B2, AS350 B3, AS350D

Also listed as Eurocopter

Bell 206


206B, 206 L3, 206 L4


Bell 212





4 (3 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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