CHC Group and Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company, are marking the 52nd anniversary of their collaboration on the first transatlantic ferry flight by a civilian helicopter, which was also the first unescorted crossing of the Atlantic by helicopter. This milestone was completed in a Sikorsky S-61N operated by Okanagan Helicopters, which later became CHC.
The aircraft was selected to support a joint venture between Okanagan and British European Airways (BEA) Helicopters, named International Helicopters Ltd., to provide offshore support for Shell in the United Kingdom. The decision to fly the Atlantic rather than ship it saved $26,000 (about $200,000 today) and helped put the aircraft and crew in the history books. The joint venture also introduced the very first Sikorsky S-61N helicopters to support offshore oil-and-gas exploration in the North Sea.