By Gary Hebbard
A Bell 429 Global Ranger helicopter touched down in St. John’s, Newfoundland on Monday, July 3 for refueling and an overnight crew rest stop. What made this landing unique is the crew of the Canadian- built bird and her crew, collectively known as C150GO.
Known officially as the C150GO Odyssey, what Bell proudly claims as the world’s most advanced light twin helicopter is being flown by a father and son pilot team with the goal of setting two world records as part of the celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday. Father Bob and son Steven Dengler, accompanied by retired Bell test pilot Rob “Dugal” Macduff, set off from Ottawa on July 1 to make the first Canadian circumnavigation of the globe by helicopter and become the first father/son duo to complete such a journey.
St. John’s was an early stop that will see the epic journey visit more than 100 airports in 14 countries as they zig zag the globe covering an estimated 38,000 km in about a month. Also accompanying the team for strategic parts of the trip is internationally renowned photojournalist Peter Bregg documenting the adventure in video and still images.
Ontario native Bob Dengler is the founder of Dynatec Mining and a recognized pioneer of modern Canadian mining. His son, Steven, is an entrepreneur with 20 years of leadership in hi-tech innovation and founder of XE, a world trusted currency authority. Both are accomplished helicopter pilots with passion for aviation.
While in St. John’s the C150GO crew was presented with two articles for delivery later in their flight. One is a wreath to be laid at the Beaumont Hamel Newfoundland Memorial in France commemorating the sacrifice of the Newfoundland Regiment during World War I, one of the historic sites to be visited. The second is an original brick from an unused fever hospital on Signal Hill in St. John’s, the building in which Guglielmo Marconi received the first trans-Atlantic wireless signal from Poldhu, England. The artifact will be presented to the Marconi museum in Poldhu.
C150GO is a registered not-for-profit organization supporting a hospital charity in Ontario and funding for the True Patriot Love Foundation, dedicated to supporting Canada’s military veterans in need of help.