In March 2018, Rainier Heli International signed a memorandum of agreement with Kopter North America for five firm and five SH09 options. Rainier has continued to monitor the development of the SH09 and, based on the anticipated performance along with the operational cost advantages expected from the helicopter, the company has made the decision to expand its existing options for five SH09 by an additional five aircraft, making a total of 10 options.
“We continue to monitor the development of the helicopter and, based on what we see in terms of performance versus forecasted costs of operation, we felt compelled to expand our order book by five,” says Richard Larew, president of Rainier. “If the performance and operational costs of the SH09 play out as advertised we see a definite role for it in our operation, and we look with anticipation towards certification and the eventual delivery of the SH09 into our fleet.”
Larry Roberts, president, sales, marketing and customer support for Kopter North America, adds: “Historically the operating margins in the highly competitive helicopter utility and firefighting industry are quite thin. One way that most successful helicopter operators are able to expand those margins is through their own operational savings. We believe this is an area where the SH09 will shine. Advances in composite technologies as well as helicopter health, usage and monitoring systems will allow for improved operational predictability, which will hone unscheduled maintenance events as well as provide more complete prognostics to optimise scheduled maintenance, resulting in increased mission readiness and lower maintenance costs.”
Rainier Heli International is a family owned business with roots dating back to 1998, when the company was started by long time international helicopter industry stalwart Elling Halvorson and his son Lon Halvorson. The company has successfully grown its fleet of helicopters to over 20 machines and continues to service the utility, firefighting and construction industries. In addition to Rainier Heli International, the Halvorsons have access to and can draw support from other family owned companies, mainly Papillon Airways Inc and Grand Canyon Airlines Inc. In total, the combined companies operate in excess of 100 helicopters.