Campaign Week 7: Heli Air

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Sean Brown is managing director of Wellesbourne based Heli Air

Since establishing its headquarters at Wellesbourne Airfield in 1985, Heli Air has grown from three bases to nine across the country being steered and developed through the recession by owner, Sean Brown.

The company employs around 60 people at Wellesbourne, including qualified engineers, apprentices, pilots and administration staff.

Heli Air is the airfield’s only helicopter training school, helping dozens of pilots each year gain their licences, but there are also several other aspects to the business, not least the engineering and maintenance work carried out at Wellesbourne.

Wellesbourne is an extremely important location for Heli Air as it is the centre of the company’s gas pipeline surveying operations, with helicopters flying across the length and breadth of the country each week to examine the UK’s pipeline network.

Observers on board the helicopters have the huge responsibility of looking out for anyone who might accidentally disturb the pipelines thus preventing breakdowns in utility supplies throughout the UK.

The company offers apprenticeships in engineering, and career opportunities for qualified engineers and pilots while also hosting children’s educational visits to inspire youngsters to take an interest in aviation.

Heli Air’s base at Wellesbourne has even been given royal approval after the Queen’s helicopter dropped by to refuel in 2009.

One of the many eventful days in Heli Air’s calendar has been the British Formula 1 Grand Prix weekend at Silverstone, when pilots from across the company’s bases come together to transport customers to and from the race, after months of preparation and precise timing of landings and departures.  With safety paramount customers could expect first class service from every single Heli Air employee and be rewarded by the phenominal bird’s eye views of the event itself.

Debs Tonkins, a director of Heli Air based in Wellesbourne, said: “Members of the public with cars full of excited children and grandparents regularly drive in and watch what happens here, it is a hub of activity both on the ground and in the air and we are on a wonderful open stretch of green space.

“Wellesbourne Airfield is a fantastic habitat for wildlife, when you arrive in the morning you see rabbits everywhere. There are foxes and protected species of bird surrounding the airfield hedgerows and trees and all this should not be forgotten in the fight to keep the airfield open and this land protected.

“Just imagine Wellesbourne without an airfield; without this huge open space; it becomes a town full of houses but nothing much else, as it stands Wellesbourne village is unique, being home to the spectacular Vulcan bomber. With ever increasing closures of airfields surely this one, steeped in history, should be the one to save.”

  • Ombulu

    Thought I’d post this again since you deleted all comments on this story.

    I don’t know if this is the company which has it’s Robinson helicopters
    (as in the picture) buzzing around and around Stratford during the
    summer, every five minutes. If it is, I won’t be sorry to see them go.
    In principle I’m in favour of the airfield, but the conduct of some of
    the companies at the airfield in the in creating a massive noise
    nuisance over Stratford, has completely overruled any support I might
    want to give Wellesbourne airfield. From some of the letters in the
    local papers I’m not alone. Some of the flights over Stratford have been
    massively below legal height limits – it’s virtually impossible to see
    the numbers on helicopters to report them to the CAA, with some of the
    colour schemes they choose. All in all, it’s a big good riddance
    Wellesbourne airfield from me.

    • Eddie Strong

      Agreed. Good riddance. The large silent majority of folk in Stratford and surrounding villages can’t wait to see the back of this huge noise and environmental nuisance and reclaim back their peace and quiet. It’s far outgrown its original intended use and the helicopters in particular, more so than the planes, are a huge blight on the area.

      • VladTheLibrarian

        ” The large silent majority of folk in Stratford and surrounding villages
        can’t wait to see the back of this huge noise and environmental
        nuisance” Funny how it’s pretty much only you and a couple of your cronies who have bothered to speak up. Obviously the rest think it ‘aint a problem…

    • VladTheLibrarian

      “Some of the flights over Stratford have been
      massively below legal height limits” Sooo…. What IS the legal height limit. How high are the helicopters flying “every five minutes”? Lets see your proof then.

    • Stephen Toyer

      Well Mr Ombolu or whatever your name is,
      We’re all terribly sorry to hear how
      upsetting it is to be LIVING NEXT TO AN AIRFIELD! Your choice or were you put there by the council?? Airfields are not quiet places didn’t you know? It’s people like you curtain twitchers who try to spoil everybody else’s day by writing pure twaddle! Without googling the answer, I bet you don’t even know the height rules of a helicopter do you? The rules are strictly enforced especially near airfields to prevent curtain twitchers like you moaning! Do you have any hobbies? Mine is flying. Helicopters! Let me know your address and i’ll drop a little present off in your back garden…. or better still! MOVE HOUSE!! I doubt you’very been there as long as the airfield has!!!!!

      • Centre Parting

        The choppers are a relatively new operation compared to fixed winged aircraft and are much more intrusive.
        If I kept running industrial machinery with their noise levels in amongst residential areas, the Environmental Health Dept would shut me down.

  • Roger Pickles

    Yes, it seems the Stratford Herald are deleting all comments against the airfield. So much for journalistic balance; a good reason never to actually buy this ‘newspaper’.