Campaign Week 7: 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.”