the Whirly Birds to Victoria,
to be updated Aug, 2002)
"Our charter division also occupies a dominant position in the movie, film and photography industries in British Columbia", President Danny Sitnam said. Helijet's fleet of 15 aircraft comprises seven turbine-powered Sikorsky S-76s that operate on the scheduled flights and eight smaller helicopters used for charter. Web site: www.helijet.com
We found the Helijet experience uplifting, laid back, hassle-free and user friendly; but rather than sit back and relax, my inner child took charge. I was all eyes, in eager anticipation, as minute-by- minute the scene unfolded. Hovering above the helipad next to Vancouver's Canada Place (Five Sails-Pan Pacific -Cruise Terminal), we suddenly swooped upward like Mary Poppins, aiming for Coal Harbour's Waterfront Development site and Lions Gate bridge, with BC Rail's Royal Hudson, Park Royal Mall and Ambleside Beach off to the right; skirting Stanley Park's sea wall, Prospect Point, Lumberman's Arch and the beaches of English Bay, its harbor dotted with craft of every type.
Eagle's eye view: In a wink, we were skimming above the treetops of UBC campus, the Museum of Anthropology and Thunderbird Stadium to the mouth of the Fraser River. Here tiny tugboats flitted about like water beetles, nudging a flotilla of log booms that lined the muddy banks . Approaching for a brief touch down at Vancouver International Airport, we could see its brand new terminal (just out of the gift box), and new runways in various stages of completion. Taking off from Sea Island, our Sikorsky S-76 soared above Steveston Village home of one of the BC. Cannery National Historic Site, and base for a fleet of fishing trawlers. This Richmond community is our top spot to buy the catch of the day right off the boat.
As we swept by the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal, and Roberts Bank, the Gulf islands appeared on the horizon, and in minutes we spotted the Sidney Ferry Terminal, serving Victoria (a fraction of the time it would take by sea). Before long, the British Columbia Legislative Buildings and downtown Victoria's loomed ahead as we circled for a touch down on the Inner Harbor. Our trip was topped off by a free shuttle to the mother of all hotels... Victoria's enchanting Empress. So that was it- from one city center to another in 35 enjoyable minutes. The return trip provided us an other angle on a spectacular experience. Small wonder its so popular with the corporate and business class. And as for tourism possibilities, with charters and convention add-ons? -- you aint seen nuthin' yet!
Our travel agent friends who want to
do their clients a real service should book a Helijet
Extension Package. Speaking of
convenience, Helijet's pad is right next to the Canada Place
Cruise ship Terminal. Golf excursions to Whistler (voted top
year round resort by Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous) and
Powell River's Myrtle Point club, are a popular group
charter option, as are a variety of great fishing
As this Equity item reveals, "...There were those in 1986 who said that Danny Sitnam's concept of a helicopter shuttle between Vancouver and Victoria would never get off the ground. They were wrong. Today, Helijet Airways operates from the position of market leader and flies customers in style with a fleet of Sikorsky S-76s. The S-76 is a powerful, sexy machine, with a comfortable seating for as many as twelve and a flight time to Victoria of 35 minutes. " For business and pleasure, there are now over 30 flights every weekday, plus weekends. The company serves over 100,000 passengers annually, from its three well-appointed locations, each with lounge areas, free coffee and telephone calls.
For details contact your Travel Agent or: Helijet Airways Inc., Vancouver (604) 273-1414; Victoria (604) 382-6222; 1-800-665-4354 (outside BC) Web site: www.helijet.com
(*Salt Water City- early Chinese name for Vancouver)
Feature on Seattle, another Helijet destination.