YVR-based Helijet eyes the electric market

The company's helicopter fleet gives the advantage of reaching remote places otherwise inaccessible by plane


By Clarissa Kurniawan

In its drive toward adopting eVTOL (electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing) aerial vehicles by 2035, B.C. based air medical service provider Helijet is facing some challenges, such as legislation and building credibility.

Currently, the company is still waiting for Transport Canada to accept eVTOL aircrafts under its governance, to regulate the upgrade of existing heliports and their operation, in order to accommodate the new technology.

Helijet International is one of Western Canada’s largest air medical service providers and has been providing helicopter medevac charters for the B.C. Ambulance Service since 1998.

“Typically, the biggest challenge is time, because the regulator is always behind the technology in timing,” said Danny Sitnam, president of Helijet. “It takes the regulator quite some time to build the rules to be able to accept these new vehicles in this very congested airspace environment.”

Another challenge is proving the system’s safety and efficacy to build confidence in the market.

Still, Helijet is working to gradually include eVTOLs in their future operations.

“Our objective is to be doing trialing with a lot of these vehicles and certain manufacturers of these vehicles to study what would be best suited for Helijet,” Sitnam said. “And that, I expect to be doing over the next three years.”
Sitnam said he believes that the use of advanced air mobility technology will allow Helijet to help reduce the carbon footprint in the Metro Vancouver area, as well as noise pollution.

It also benefits the company as eVTOL aircrafts are expected to incur lower operating costs than conventional light aircraft.

Read our related story: Vancouver can expect a vertical lift out of traffic congestion


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