phuebner
Posts: 240
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Why No Helicopter Airlines?

Thu Mar 09, 2006 7:12 am

Why do you think that Airlines have never picked up helicopters for their fleets? I am curious to know why you think that is.
Remember this, Your Body is a temple Not a pull toy!
 
JRadier
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RE: Why No Helicopter Airlines?

Thu Mar 09, 2006 7:24 am

Define airlines....

Pan Am flew helicopters


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British Airways flew helicopters


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KLM had a helicopter division (KLM North Sea helicopters), now schreiner:

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We still have Helijet in Canada, flying between Victoria Harbour and Vancouver Harbour (it's core route, they fly a lot more)


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and I'm sure there are a lot more.

Jurgen
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phuebner
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RE: Why No Helicopter Airlines?

Thu Mar 09, 2006 7:29 am

Interesting pictures. I was reading one of my textbooks and it said "It has been more than 30 years since the end of the scheduled helicopter transport era." Gesell & Dempsey -Air Transportation Foundations for the 21st Century -

This statement caused me to think about it and I was wondering why now, no "legacy" airlines have helicopter service and why there hasn't really been a major "helicopter" airline.
Remember this, Your Body is a temple Not a pull toy!
 
LeonB1985
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RE: Why No Helicopter Airlines?

Thu Mar 09, 2006 7:32 am

I would assume cost would be a considerable factor. Not sure of the amounts of cash involved, but you can obviously only transport relatively small numbers of people at a team (even in a large helicopter like a Sikorsky 61 or 92).
From the construction site that is better-known as London Heathrow Airport
 
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Btriple7
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RE: Why No Helicopter Airlines?

Thu Mar 09, 2006 7:33 am

I think the main reason helicopters are not used as major parts of airline fleets is because they are not are practical. They're slow and don't have a large passenger capacity. A regional jet or even a small prop is much more economical than a helicopter.

Regards,
Btriple7
Just...fly.
 
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Owleye
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RE: Why No Helicopter Airlines?

Thu Mar 09, 2006 7:38 am

Copterline in Finland is a true helicopter airline:

http://www.copterline.com/fi_FI/

http://www.expi.de/pvf/skand05/Copterline-Einstieg.jpg

They even have concidered the new Sikorsky S-92:
http://www.liladesign.com/aircraft-profiles.html
 
prebennorholm
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RE: Why No Helicopter Airlines?

Thu Mar 09, 2006 7:45 am

http://www.airgreenland.gl
Well, http://www.airgreenland.com is probably easier to read..  Wink

Greenland would have very limited travel infrastructure without helicopters. It would have been a totally different country in case helicopters had not been invented.
Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs
 
remcor
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RE: Why No Helicopter Airlines?

Thu Mar 09, 2006 8:21 am

It is common to have helicopters flying scheduled routes in the former Soviet Union as well. I know that in Tajikistan they use some Mi-8s for internal flights.
 
isitsafenow
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RE: Why No Helicopter Airlines?

Thu Mar 09, 2006 8:31 am

You had em in the late 50's and into the 60's.

CHA Chicago Helicopter Airlines
LA Airlines
New York Helicopter Air

Those were the majors in the USA
safe
If two people agree on EVERYTHING, then one isn't necessary.
 
joness0154
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RE: Why No Helicopter Airlines?

Thu Mar 09, 2006 8:47 am

Its not really economical. The short range and relatively low capacity of a helicopter is not worth it. Probably easier to drive, in the US anyways....
I don't have an attitude problem. You have a perception problem
 
planesarecool
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RE: Why No Helicopter Airlines?

Thu Mar 09, 2006 9:49 am

There is a regular schedule helicopter between Malta and Gozo which operates about 7 or 8 times a day in each direction.
 
LeonB1985
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RE: Why No Helicopter Airlines?

Thu Mar 09, 2006 9:55 am

I believe BA used to offer services between LGW and LHR for connecting passengers by helicopter.
From the construction site that is better-known as London Heathrow Airport
 
Lando
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RE: Why No Helicopter Airlines?

Thu Mar 09, 2006 10:07 am

Well if you had the Boeing 234LR, the capacity shouldnt be a huge problem. It could carry a good load, I would think. Also, helicopters are more versatile in where they can land. So, scheduled flights could get you where you need to go faster, and bring you closer to your actual destination. For instance, the helicopter service that is starting in New York, that takes you from downtown to the airport. If you need to go downtown a helicopter can get you there while a plane can only take you to the airport, in which you would have to spend time commuting in a car. So, I think that if a helicopter could be made to carry more passengers and in turn keep ticket prices low, if you had the right destinations it could be a success.

Lando
 
xwizard
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RE: Why No Helicopter Airlines?

Thu Mar 09, 2006 10:55 am

There's also the (seemingly) highly successful services provided by Heli Express here in Hong Kong between Hong Kong and Macau, as well as their services between Macau and SHZ.


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fanofjets
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RE: Why No Helicopter Airlines?

Thu Mar 09, 2006 11:04 am

Ah, back in the 1960s and 1970s, helocopters actually landed on the roof of the Pan Am building in Manhattan. After a crash in the late 1970s, this practice was abandoned. New York Airways also flew among the three New York City area airports, first using S-55s and Boeing Vertols, later Sikorsky S-61Ls.

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There was another airline, Island Helicopters, that flew local tours. I believe they are now Liberty Tours.
The aeroplane has unveiled for us the true face of the earth. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
 
Boeing744
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RE: Why No Helicopter Airlines?

Thu Mar 09, 2006 11:07 am

Quoting JRadier (Reply 1):
We still have Helijet in Canada, flying between Victoria Harbour and Vancouver Harbour (it's core route, they fly a lot more)

Yup, Helijet is a full airline. They also operate (or used to, I don't know) some B1800s, YQQ-BFI. Their other main (heli) routes are Vancouver Harbour-Whistler and Victoria Harbour-YVR.

[Edited 2006-03-09 03:09:43]
 
isitsafenow
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RE: Why No Helicopter Airlines?

Thu Mar 09, 2006 11:09 am

Quoting Fanofjets (Reply 14):

Don't forget the Wall street stop on the pier. That's the one I used, then walked a few blocks to catch the subway and head over to Brooklyn to visit the relatives....in the 60's.
safe
If two people agree on EVERYTHING, then one isn't necessary.
 
chrisjake
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RE: Why No Helicopter Airlines?

Thu Mar 09, 2006 11:20 am

Helicopters will be in the skies over New York again soon. USHelicopter is about to start service between JFK and Manhatten.

http://www.flyush.com/


chris
 
TomTurner
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RE: Why No Helicopter Airlines?

Thu Mar 09, 2006 11:40 am

Quoting Fanofjets (Reply 14):
There was another airline, Island Helicopters, that flew local tours. I believe they are now Liberty Tours.

Island Helicopters actually flew S-62s(!) between East River Heliports (Downtown and Midtown) to Garden City Long Island. Sadly no images on A.net. I am hoping some show up eventually.

They flew Bell Long Rangers as well I believe. It would be a surprise to me to learn they morphed into Liberty, but I don't know either way.

Long after I saw the last of Island Helicopters, a couple of different companies flew, implausibly enough, S-58s around Manhattan and briefly to New York area airports.

One of the last of those (S-58s) had its swan song as an NYPD imposter in the George Clooney move "PeaceKeeper" (I think that was the name of the movie). Not sure if they applied police decals or it was done cgi.

Tom
 
TomTurner
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RE: Why No Helicopter Airlines?

Thu Mar 09, 2006 11:41 am

Quoting Isitsafenow (Reply 8):
You had em in the late 50's and into the 60's.

CHA Chicago Helicopter Airlines
LA Airlines
New York Helicopter Air

Those were the majors in the USA
safe

I believe there was an operator SFO-OAK as well.

Tom
 
SFOMB67
Posts: 371
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RE: Why No Helicopter Airlines?

Thu Mar 09, 2006 1:42 pm

Quoting TomTurner (Reply 19):
believe there was an operator SFO-OAK as well.

Yes, I was about to mention that, when I got down to your post. I think it was called SFO Helicopters. When I started working with TWA in rampservice back in '68, I remember driving at the terminal, at night, and this helicopter coming out of nowhere, above me, trying to land. I couldn't see him, and he probably didn't see me. They landed right near the gates, in those days.
Not as easy as originally perceived
 
AeroWesty
Posts: 19551
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RE: Why No Helicopter Airlines?

Thu Mar 09, 2006 1:55 pm

Quoting TomTurner (Reply 19):
I believe there was an operator SFO-OAK as well.

Yup, took it many times. SFO Helicopter "The BEELINE to your Airline". It flew all over the Bay Area. SFO, Oakland, Berkeley, Concord, Sunnyvale, Sausalito, etc.

http://www.airtimes.com/cgat/usc/sfo.htm
International Homo of Mystery
 
ikramerica
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RE: Why No Helicopter Airlines?

Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:20 pm

Are there any helicopter airlines still left in Hawai'i?

And the new york service extended into the 80s, both with Pan Am and with New York (they had a red apple logo, right?).
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
ikramerica
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RE: Why No Helicopter Airlines?

Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:22 pm

I wonder if there is a business model to fly services between SNA, Santa Monica, Malibu, and Santa Barbara...
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
HAL
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RE: Why No Helicopter Airlines?

Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:36 pm

I believe it was a combination of cost, and the unfortunate accident rate from the startup helicopter companies in the 1960's that ended large scale attempts at helicopter airlines.

I lived in Newport Beach CA until I was 11 years old, and I remember my parents taking my sister and me on LA Airways helicopters from the Newporter Hotel to LAX to catch our flights out from there. It was great fun, and always scarily impressive to walk up to that helicopter, its engines screaming, with the blades whirling by overhead as we boarded. I know one of the LA Airways Sikorsky's crashed sometime in the late 60's, which ended their operation.


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It was fun while it lasted though.

HAL
One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
 
HAL
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RE: Why No Helicopter Airlines?

Thu Mar 09, 2006 4:52 pm

After a little research I found that LA Airways had two fatal crashes only three months apart in 1968, both due to failure of the main rotor hubs on the helicopters.

Try this link: http://members.aol.com/jaydeebee1/crash60s.html and go about two thirds of the way down for the descriptions of the accidents.

HAL
One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
 
levent
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RE: Why No Helicopter Airlines?

Thu Mar 09, 2006 7:49 pm

SABENA operated helicopters, and there is also a helicopter service between Nice and Monaco, and between Malaga and Ceuta.
 
RAFVC10
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RE: Why No Helicopter Airlines?

Thu Mar 09, 2006 10:23 pm

Quoting Levent (Reply 26):
and between Malaga and Ceuta.

Yes operated by Helisureste with bell Helicopters
El dia que los gilipollas vuelen, no podremos ver la luz del sol!
 
BMED
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RE: Why No Helicopter Airlines?

Fri Mar 10, 2006 3:19 am

Also British International operate s-61n to the scilly isles. This is an helicopter airline.

http://www.islesofscillyhelicopter.com



The Penzance - St Mary's route has been operated by helicopter since 1964 and has achieved the distinction of becoming the world's longest running scheduled helicopter service. The Tresco service was inaugurated in 1983 and therefore 2004 marks two major milestones in the history of the company.

The aircraft, two Sikorsky S61 helicopters, allow the passengers stunning views of the West Penwith Peninsular and western approaches whilst transporting them in comfort to their archipelago destination. There is a friendly cabin attendant on each flight; who will answer any questions you might have on your 20 - minute journey.
Living the jetset life! No better way to be
 
ltbewr
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RE: Why No Helicopter Airlines?

Fri Mar 10, 2006 4:10 am

In NY City and other cities I would suggest a number of reasons for the end of helicopter connecting services to/from central business districts and the airports:
- Safety - fears of crashes as happened in 1977 at the Pan Am Building (where I have worked since 1990);
- Costs of operating helicopters - very expensive
- High fares - the ops costs meant high fares and thus only the richest could afford helicoper connecting service. Many employers wouldn't pay for that cost either over the much lower costs of cabs or limos.
- Weather - wind, rain, snow, fog could all suspend service any time
- Air traffic - Who want's helicopters in and out of airports, near or crossing landing/take off routes of airliners with the traffic in many areas
- Improved train or bus services and for a lot less $$$.
- Security/fears of terrorism - what a platform for a terror act, hijacking a helicopter, landing on top of a building, or having a bomb on board. Such fears was probalby the final ending of helicopter services in many areas
 
aeroweanie
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RE: Why No Helicopter Airlines?

Fri Mar 10, 2006 4:10 am

Quoting Fanofjets (Reply 14):
Ah, back in the 1960s and 1970s, helocopters actually landed on the roof of the Pan Am building in Manhattan. After a crash in the late 1970s, this practice was abandoned.

This is crash (actually a roll-over) on May 16, 1977 is widely credited with killing that era of helicopter airlines. The accident happened because a high-stress spot in the landing gear got painted over, hiding a crack. Interestingly, the S-61L was dissassembled and removed via the building's freight elevators. It was later rebuilt as a S-61N and is in the database as such:

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Rumor back in the 1980s was that the only profit making helicopter airline route was the British Airways Helicopter S-61N route to the Scilly Isles. Then, they introduced Westland WG-30s on this route and killed this too. I have heard since then that Helijet is profitable on their Vancouver to Victoria run (using S-76s) and that the Copterline route from Helsinki to Tallinin (also using S-76s) is also profitable. The LA Airways and NY Airways might have been profitable at some point, but eventually died from crashes and economics.
 
SFOMB67
Posts: 371
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RE: Why No Helicopter Airlines?

Sun Mar 12, 2006 8:50 am

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 22):
Are there any helicopter airlines still left in Hawai'i

I know there are several on Kauai & Maui, but for sightseeing trips. Probably some on the big island & Oahu, but don't know for sure.
Not as easy as originally perceived
 
kdm
Posts: 106
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RE: Why No Helicopter Airlines?

Sun Mar 12, 2006 9:15 am

Back in the early 90's I used to work for a computer company called Digital Equipment and they had a small fleet of Helicopters with a check in area at Logan airport.

I'll never forget the time after a 2 month training session in Boston a group of us booked seats on the helicopter to take us back to the airport. It was free provided you actually turned up for your flight, if you didn't a bill was sent to your boss.

Funny thing was you were only allowed 1 suitcase, so we draw straws and one guy had to drive all our suitcases to the airport whilst the rest of us got the helicopter. Flew from somewhere near Maynard over Boston city, a fantastic flight and free at that.

Of course once the Computer industry did a bit of a tumble the Digital Helecopters was one of the first things to go.
 
scalebuilder
Posts: 605
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RE: Why No Helicopter Airlines?

Sun Mar 12, 2006 9:19 am

There are several operators with services dedicated to offshore oil platforms in the North Sea and probably the Gulf of Mexico. It can be argued that these are not "public" unless you have business to do on one of these platforms.

I am not sure if any of them offer services elsewhere.
Go the extra mile......and avoid the traffic!!!
 
AC_B777
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RE: Why No Helicopter Airlines?

Sun Mar 12, 2006 9:24 am

Air Canada used to have helicopter service that ran mainly between Toronto Island Airport (YTZ) and Pearson Airport. I think there may have been a few other connection points close to YYZ as well.
The service only lasted a few years between the mid to late eighties I believe.

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Gemuser
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RE: Why No Helicopter Airlines?

Sun Mar 12, 2006 11:13 am

Ansett Airline used to operate two(?) S61N helicopters on schedualed services from Prospine/Mackay to various Whitsunday resorts.

I flew them in the early 1970s. At that time the choppers were based in Prospine although most pax connected in Mackay. So each morning the chopper would fly, basically empty to Hayman Is (owned by Ansett), then via 3-4 other resorts to Mackay, fly back to Hayman, take Hayman's pax non stop to Mackay. Then after theDC9/B727 had arrived Hayman pax where flown there non stop, the chopper returned to Mackay, took pax for the other resorts and any Hayman overflow back to Hayman via the other resorts. The chopper then returned to Prospine for the night.

One very little know fact was that the Ansett office in Prospine would sell you a return ticket to Hayman on that early ferry flight, make you a day guest of the resort and include lunch and return on the evening ferry for the total sum of $5! That was a great price even then, it was the price of a tank of petrol at the time so it equates to $50 now. We had a fabolus day with over 90 min of helicopter time and a great lunch for $5!!! Basically the only way to know about was word of mouth or a very small sign on the office front window!

Sadly the service expired in the early 1980 when an airstrip was opened on Hamiliton Island and the jets could fly into there.


Gemuser
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melpax
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RE: Why No Helicopter Airlines?

Sun Mar 12, 2006 1:51 pm

Back in the Early to mid 80's, a new hotel complex opened up near where I live in Melbourne's outer east (King Club, now known as Quest Wantirna) One of the services offered was a helecopter service from the hotel to the airport at tullamarine (MEL) to cater for business travelers who lived in the area. This died an early death, as stated previously, employers would rather give their people a cabcharge or pay for a limo, as it was much cheaper. Also the drive to the aiport from my side of town isn't too bad early in the morning (I've driven from Bayswater to Tullamarine in 45 minutes, or a little less at times)

Also, with Ansett, I remember reading that Sir Reg Ansett had a Bell Jet Ranger in Ansett colours that he would use to commut from his home at MT Eliza to Ansett HQ in Downtown Melbourne each day - the copter would land on his back lawn to pick him up!

[Edited 2006-03-12 06:03:23]
Essendon - Whatever it takes......
 
Alessandro
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RE: Why No Helicopter Airlines?

Sun Mar 12, 2006 7:20 pm

I think Air Decca in India got both?
From New Yorqatar to Califarbia...
 
cedars747
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RE: Why No Helicopter Airlines?

Sun Mar 12, 2006 7:49 pm

Heli Air Monaco
http://www.heliairmonaco.com
Ciao Monaco
Alex!!!  wave 
Tengo una pasion por la aviacion !لدي شغف للطيران !I have a passion for aviation !Jeg har en lidenskap for luftfart!j'ai