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Whyalla's new helicopter company has set up at the airport and is ready to 'turn blades'

 

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ON THE GROUND: Captain Aaron Hillier at the Whyalla Airport with the Bell 206 B3 Jet Ranger.

A shiny red and white chopper is here, there’s an office at the airport and Becker Helicopters is open for business in Whyalla.

The advance party of Captain Aaron Hillier and a Bell 206 B3 Jet Ranger helicopter is now based at the Whyalla Airport as the former Sunshine Coast-based company starts its relocation to our city. Cpt Hillier has been tasked with setting up the initial shop and starting operations in the city and surrounding regions.

He has been busy touching base with the community, business operators and city leaders to raise awareness of the company’s operations. While helicopter pilot training forms a large portion of Becker’s workload, the company is ready and keen to offer other services with its fleet of choppers.

Joining the Bell 206 in September will be a Bell 427 twin-engine chopper capable of carrying up to seven passengers. Becker is looking to offer a range of services including fly-over services for mine and agricultural operators, worker transport, animal control services, aerial photography, weed control, tourism flights, surveying service and even assistance with agencies like the CFS in firefighting when needed.

“That’s why we are here already, we are ready to turn blades,” Cpt Hillier said.

becker“I’m here to connect with the community, talk to business people, government departments and council but basically we’re ready to start working.

“We are working on a plan to develop commercial work in the region and a progressive plan to relocate our training activities.

“It’s a big move and it all takes time to implement.”

Cpt Hillier was particularly enthusiastic about the scenic tourism flights and mining services the company will be able to offer.

“We are working on a plan to move forward and how we can become involved in Whyalla,” he said.

“We know what we can offer the mining industry and we want to work out what we can offer the community in regards to scenic flights to bring people to Whyalla and provide a unique experience for residents too.

“That could involve creating some tourism packages with sunrise and sunset flights along the coast … it would be beautiful.

“It could also involve creating your own experience like flying out, landing in a special spot, having a picnic and then flying home.”

Cpt Hillier has been with Becker Helicopters for two and half years and put his hand up to be the “advance party” in Whyalla. He and wife Sheree packed up their home on the Sunshine Coast and moved to Whyalla in May this year with their four-month-old daughter Chloe.

“We’re loving it, the welcome from the community has been amazing,” he said. “Even before I tell them I work for Becker, everyone is so keen to help.

“We both love the ocean and the coastline is beautiful so we’re always down the beach for a walk.

“This is a beautiful part of the world and we’re having a ball exploring it all … it is all very exciting.”

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GOOD VIEW: Becker Helicopters took Council up for a look at the city from one of its helicopters.

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