Safety, Trust & Integrity with Highland Helicopters

September 2, 2020

Since 1959, Highland Helicopters have flown people, supplies, and equipment across Western Canada. With a roster of 30 bush pilots, and 15 bases over two Canadian provinces, the team covers almost 7% of Canada’s 10 million square mile territory.

At times, Highland’s pilots fly as far north as the Northwest Territories; a vast and remote province we have written about before. Their pilots operate from the most southern regions to the highest altitudes of Northern Alberta and British Columbia, known for their majestic mountainous terrain.

Highland Helicopters is a charter company, with major industries hiring their pilots for various work across a range of sectors. Although they fly tourists to remote locations for helicopter tours, they mostly do industrial work. Oil and gas, mining, forestry (wildfire fighting), wildlife and resource management are just a few of the industries Highland works with. They fly crews to some of the region’s most inaccessible places and do a wide variety of work, including aerial mapping, tree planting, environmental surveys, and mining sampling.

Laura Weich has worked with Highland Helicopters for nearly five years. Aviation runs in Laura’s family, but she’s not a pilot herself. After she started working in the industry in 2011, she hasn’t looked back.

 “I used to work in law, but once I got into aviation, I found my fit. I came across an industry where you make connections for life. It becomes almost like a family,” Laura says.

As Highland’s Operations Coordinator, Laura fulfills requests for pilots needing assistance while out in the field. She says it’s a unique position, from making travel arrangements, maintaining pilot training records, flight following to updating company operational manuals and assisting the sales and marketing team. 

Predominantly, she works to support the Director of Operations, Brian Douglas. Brian oversees that the appropriate aviation regulations are met daily across all 15 bases.

For Highland Helicopters, safety has always been and is number one. Highland’s Chief Pilot, Chris Haslock, joined the team two years ago. Together, Brian and Chris began implementing small improvements, one of which was Spidertracks.

Although Brian set up the first meeting to bring Spidertracks on board, Laura took over implementation and setup of the software.

“It was straightforward and easy to use. Honestly, we couldn’t have asked for a smoother transition for our fleet,” Laura says.

Having a piece of technology that was user friendly, as well as being a cost-effective solution, were principal reasons for the switch. The ease of installation was a significant factor for the company as well.

“Brian saw that Spidertracks offered an up-to-date technology with a simplistic approach. It has the Spidertxt feature and the software upgrades can be done in the hangars via internet connection. With our previous provider, we had to send [the unit] out, it was time consuming and the upgrades were costly,” she says, “Always keeping safety in mind; it has the tools and features we were looking for."

Like everything, the switch was a change that the team had to get accustomed to. However, feedback from the team has only been positive.

“If we have any issues, Spidertracks’ customer service team is quick to help troubleshoot or send us a new unit right away,” Laura says. “For me, customer service has been the most positive change.”

“I love talking to Helen on the Spidertracks support team. She always helps me out and follows up with any issues."

In such a vast area, with several bases and pilots to keep track of, simplicity and reliability are essential components when it comes to safety technology. This aligns with what Laura says is part of Highland Helicopters’ value mantra: safety, trust, and integrity.

For Laura, the best part of the job is the people. When an industry feels like family, a simple tool for safety can make a world of difference.


See how Spidertracks can help you build a safer, more efficient aviation operation. Book your free demo here.

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