A tour with this operator is putting your life in danger. the tour operator has perfected the art of squeezing as much profit out of his rinky dink tour operation by cutting corners in all areas, including safety``
Just for example:
1. use one of the oldest aircraft in the industry, some of which are 30 to 40 years old, some of whichare rentals, not even owned by the tour operator. Maintenance or abuse history may not be known to the tour operator and he may not care.
2. pilots are the youngest, least experienced in the world. He hires two dozen fresh faces with fresh licenses, some with the ink on them still wet, mostfresh out of flight school.(he saves money this way)He then puts them to work dawn to dusk, painting, cleaning and cooking for him (for free) in exchange for the opportunity to fly his helicopters and advance their starting career. He gets basic slave labour and he abuses this masterfully.
3. put the rookie pilots into one of the highest elevation, windiest, roughest environments in the world, above the Canadian Rocky mountains. winds so strong it can slap a small aircraft hard enough to do damage. safe landing zones so infrequent that even an experienced pilot would have difficulty
4. load the helicopters to capacity, using weigh scales to get max capacity into each. bums in the seats is the revenue requirement. safety pused to max and then some. the heavier they fly, the riskier they fly.
5. did i mention winds? winds so strong it has been known to blow doors open in mid flight.
6. mechanic or flight engineer may or may not be around to fix machines. owner operator will make crucial safety decisions based on his income. same with weather. owner operator will push weather and visibility to suit his revenue and not necessarily his customer
7. same with speed. tours are timed with stopwatch precision, and if it means loading and unloading get rushed, so be it. time is money. if it means pushing max speeds in the mountains or cutting corners, so be it. tick tock is all the owner knows. your tour will be rushed, your a** will be jammed, your view will be impeded with the middle seat in a 40 year old helicopter
8. this operator does not have a reputation as a nice person. not to his workers. not to his neighbors. he knows one thing and one thing only. how to try and make money by cutting as many corners as he can
i write this to prevent another accident by this tour operator, or to make potential customers aware that there are other, more professionally run, tour operators out there. operators who have not gone down the road of cutting corners. Operators who pay their staff a fair wage, and work them a fair day. Operators who own newer machines, with mechanics on site at all times to keep them safe.
there are good helicopter tour operators out there and icefield helicopter tours is not among them