Air charter operator VistaJet, which has a fixed-wing fleet of large-cabin Bombardier jets, has been “testing” short-distance point-to-point service with an AgustaWestland AW109 GrandNew over the past year. The helicopter is based in St. Moritz and has been used to fly customers on short hops to such places as Milan, Geneva, Munich and Monte Carlo, as well as for heli-skiing excursions in the Swiss Alps.
The EASA has certified the FastFin tail rotor enhancement and stability system for the Bell 205. It follows recent certification for the Bell 212, and Bell 412 certification is under way. “With FastFin, most operators will receive between a 10- and 90-percent increase in useful load depending on specific model and density altitude,” said Dave Marone, vice president of sales and marketing for BLR Aerospace.
For an elite band of thrill-seekers and the pilots who fly them, heli-skiing is the ultimate adrenaline rush.
“We change people’s lives,” said Mike Olson, one of the three owners of Wasatch Powderbirds, a leading heli-skiing tour operator. “Anyone who does this has a sense of adventure that we respect.”
Bell 206B JetRanger, Sirnach, Switzerland, March 26, 2005–The pilot and three passengers were killed when the Swiss-registered Jet-Ranger they were using for heli-skiing crashed into a mountain. The local Heli Partner flight had departed Sirnach, Switzerland, to take skiers to the Steingletscher Glacier.