December 5, 2019
Helicopter Pilot/Entrepreneur Earns Prestigious Award
Helijet founder and president Daniel Sitnam has been recognized by the Helicopter Association of Canada (HAC) by awarding him the 2019 Agar-Stringer Award for lifetime achievement.
“This award is well-deserved. Danny has been a pioneer in the Canadian helicopter industry in many ways. Under his leadership, Helijet has become a highly versatile company, succeeding as both a scheduled helicopter airline and an air ambulance provider,” said HAC president Fred Jones in a written statement. “What’s more, Helijet is an industry leader in managing noise, promoting women in aviation, and doing charitable works in the communities they serve, among other things.”
Sitnam, who obtained his helicopter pilot licence at British Columbia’s Pitt Meadow’s airport (CYVK) in 1977, took a gamble and founded a helicopter airline in 1986 to service the Vancouver to/from Victoria market. Today, Helijet has grown into the largest scheduled helicopter airline in the world, having flown over 2.4 million passengers since its inception 33 years ago.
“I feel humbled and privileged to receive the Agar-Stringer Award,” said Sitnam, also a 2017 Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame inductee.
In addition to scheduled services, Helijet also provides air ambulance services to the B.C. government, with three EMS-equipped Sikorski S-76C aircraft based at Vancouver airport (CYVR) that service southwestern B.C. and one S-76C based at Prince Rupert’s Seal Cove heliport (CBY5), servicing the North Coast and into central B.C.
Helijet also provides helicopter services to the film and television industry in addition to the tourism market, transporting people to remote fishing lodges and other locations.
The Agar-Stringer Award is named in honour of Carl Agar and Alf Stringer, founders of Okanagan Helicopters, a company that, within four years of importing in 1947 the first helicopter to be registered in Canada (a Bell 47B-3), grew to become the world’s largest operators of commercial helicopters. It was later merged into Canadian Helicopters Corporation.
Photo credit: Helijet