Thunder Bay

Wisk Air unveils new $4M helicopter

Wisk Air is unveiling a new $4-million helicopter the company says is one of only 12 of its kind in Canada.

Bell 412 helicopter touted by company as fast, large and strong

Wisk Air's new $4 million Bell 412 helicopter will support power line construction and maintenance and help during fires, among other tasks. (Supplied by Wisk Air)

Wisk Air, of Thunder Bay, unveiled a new $4 million helicopter Friday. The company says is one of only 12 of its kind in Canada.

Wisk Air, which provides helicopter services to remote areas in northwestern Ontario including 14 First Nations communities, said the new helicopter will support emergency response, economic development and power line construction and maintenance, especially in the Ring of Fire area.
Mark Wiskemann, president of Wisk Air in Thunder Bay, says his staff is looking forward to putting the company's new Bell 412 helicopter to work. (Mark Wiskemann)

"It is [a] huge investment for Wisk Air, and this helicopter will support both regional business needs and essential services," company president Mark Wiskemann said.

The Bell 412 helicopter has been dubbed 'Big Bird' by the staff at Wisk Air, because of its impressive size and bright yellow paint job.

Well suited to fight forest fires

Wiskemann said the aircraft is safe, light, strong, fast and large. 

The twin-engine helicopter is the lightest helicopter of its kind in North America, can lift up to 2040 kilograms and travel at 260 km/h. With room for 14 passengers, it is also the largest helicopter in northwestern Ontario.

Wiskemann said it's well suited to fighting forest fires.

"It allows us to seat a full fire crew, all their equipment, and a water bucket along with full fuel, and have a long-range strike distance for wildfires," he said.
The Bell 412 helicopter holds 14 passengers. (Supplied by Wisk Air)

The helicopter was bought in British Colombia and refurbished, rewired and repainted for its new job in northwestern Ontario. 

"It's smooth because of the four-blade system, and it's quiet for the same reason, and it's fast and has all kinds of power, so those are things that pilots really like," he said.

Thunder Bay - Atikokan MPP Bill Mauro said in a statement that it's encouraging when private-sector companies make investments in Thunder Bay.

"It is a strong signal for this economy," he said.


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