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DragonFly to cater to racing enthusiasts and beyond as rotary AOC becomes a reality
UK-based DragonFly Executive Air Charter is looking to expand its portfolio to rotary wing operations after taking on a Bell 206 under management for an existing client.
Read this story in our October 2015 printed issue.

UK-based DragonFly Executive Air Charter is looking to expand its portfolio to rotary wing operations after taking on a Bell 206 under management for an existing client. The Bell 206 B3 JetRanger will shortly be available for charter from the company's main operating base at Cardiff International airport, and DragonFly is presently in the process of obtaining approval from the CAA to extend its AOC to encompass helicopter operations.

The aircraft has a range of 350 nm at a cruise speed of 130 kts, and can carry four passengers. Ceo Howard Palser remarks that the helicopter is in immaculate condition with low hours, and will greatly enhance his existing fleet of three King Air 200s.

Says Palser: “We never intended to get into rotary wing operations, but this particular aircraft is owned by a client of ours. He uses it quite a lot personally, and he has asked that we manage it, and produce some kind of commercial return. We do get quite a few enquiries for helicopters out of Cardiff. In the same way that our King Airs are iconic aircraft, the same I think applies to the Bell 206. It is a classic, almost irreplaceable, aircraft.

“This aircraft is not part of our King Air charter operation as such; it is just an extension of it. This will allow us to get up to mid Wales where there aren't any airports and there are decent country house hotels, and we can pick up people from mid and south Wales and fly them in to Cardiff, and then take them onwards in the King Air.”

The JetRanger owner is very interested in horse racing, and Palser sees charter potential in this field: “One possibility is to encourage jockeys and the like to come to Ffos Las, the racecourse in south Wales to the west of Swansea, who can fly by fixed wing into Cardiff and then can be taken by helicopter straight in to the middle of the racecourse.”

The rotary capability was not online in time for the Rugby Union World Cup in England and Wales, with CAA approval expected to take a few weeks.

“All of our manuals have been written, and we are now looking for suitable crew to be attached to the aircraft,” he continues.

“This does open up a new door for us. I have other clients looking to place an Agusta 109 twin, so it will certainly pave the way for that. We are always open to growth.”

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