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Soaring to New Heights

Townsville Helicopters has long been the leading pilot training organisation in North Queensland and has seen students from across Australia come to learn the tricks of the flight trade. The company is now soaring to new heights as they expand their footprint across the region with their innovative aviation solutions.

“Townsville Helicopters is a locally owned family company providing a range of services including scenic flights, customised charters, island transfers, holiday packages, aerial work and pilot training,” explains Owner, Director and Chief Pilot, Dick Arnold, who has 30 years of experience in the industry.

“We started with a goal of growing the helicopter industry in the region in 2008 before establishing Townsville’s first helicopter flying school in 2010, and since this time have experienced tremendous growth across all aspects of the business.”

The purchase of the company’s large hangar – Hanger 85 – in 2018 gave Townsville Helicopters the opportunity to branch out to include three other additional brands – Townsville Flight Training, Zephair Australia and Aviatrix Australia – which Dick says has enabled them to meet increased demand and expand their service offerings into other key markets.

“Starting Townsville Flight Training enabled us to expand the training division to include the training of aeroplane pilots up to Multi-engine and Instrument Flight Rules which meant the acquisition of larger passenger carrying aircraft,” he continues.

“We also identified a gap in the light fixed wing market in North Queensland and capitalised off this to further utilise the larger aircraft for passenger carrying charter and ultimately form the Zephair Australia, which offers 24-hour custom air charter services.

“This was closely followed by the establishment of Aviatrix Australia in 2018, which was created after my wife Michelle realised the low rate of women’s participation in the global aviation sector, with just over 7% of certified civilian pilots being female.”

When it comes to gender equality, the company is aiming to challenge the status quo of the aviation industry. Dick says training and retaining an increasing number of female aviation professionals is the key to assisting the industry to meet future demands and encourage more women to pursue careers in the aviation sector.

“We identified the lack of female participation in aviation right from the grassroots level of training through to the professional level,” he continues.

“Therefore, we are advocating for the advancement of women in aviation by educating, encouraging and promoting the study of aviation for women in Australia.

“We’re looking forward to continuing to grow and expand as more opportunities arise and seeing where the wind takes us.”

By Georgie Desailly.

Photography credit: Phil Copp Photography 

Georgie Desailly

Georgie Desailly

Georgie is BDmag’s resident writer who is passionate about entrepreneurship, sustainability and regional affairs. She is preparing to study with The School of The New York Times later this year before commencing her journalism qualifications.