Norway’s Helikopter Service, now part of CHC Europe, a division of CHC Helicopter Corp. of Canada, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The company, founded in Oslo by Morten Hanke in 1956, was the first to begin civil helicopter operations in Norway, with a Bell 47.
Like most helicopter operators at that time, Helikopter Service did a little bit of everything until oil was discovered in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea in the 1970s. That brought the offshore oil industry to the country and Helikopter Service soon made a name for itself as one of the North Sea’s and the world’s premier offshore helicopter operators.
The first issue, see cover photo above, of Helikopter Service’s internal newsletter, “Rotor-Bladet” (a play on words, as “bladet” means both “newspaper” and “rotor blade”), printed in January 1981. The following is a rough translation of the text:
“This picture from 1956 is 25 years old, and it is of LN-ORA as it flies its first trip. It is Hancke’s first helicopter in Norway. This was the civil helicopter service’s first year. There has been a development since that time. But nevertheless I think that in the next 25 years there will be a bigger change within the helicopter branch than in these first 25 years that Helikopter Service now has behind it.
“The development will probably be in the direction of a tilt-wing, and Bell’s XV-15 is something that is of interest to helicopter companies all over the world. ‘Rotor-Bladet’ will come back to this topic at a later opportunity.”
According to Per Gram, a retired Helikopter Service and CHC Europe pilot, a celebration of Helikopter Service’s 50th anniversary is planned for this October in Stavanger. He wants to make contact will all former Helikopter Service pilots to invite them to contribute stories and greetings for the event and to attend the party. Gram may be contacted at email@example.com.