Fortescue Helicopters ready for take off

Host: Fortescue Helicopters
Written by Weldon Percy – Owner and Chief Pilot, Fortescue Helicopters.

G’Day and welcome back to Fortescue Helicopters for our first post as hosts for 2015.

1.1 copyA lake system at Mulga Downs Station which is near the dry stretch of the Fortescue River. Photo: Weldon Percy.

Thank you to all our loyal clients who helped us make a start in 2014 and have continued to support us in 2015. Without you we wouldn’t be able to be part of the great Australian beef industry and get to enjoy working cattle in the beautiful landscape of the Pilbara all at the same time.

Much has happened and changed around the Hangar here at Fortescue Helicopters since our last turn at hosting on Central Station. Clint, who was part owner of Fortescue Helicopters has unfortunately now departed the company to pursue another venture. We wish him and Anastasia the best for whatever they do in the future.

The company is now owned by Weldon and a silent business partner, with Weldon remaining the chief bovine relocation technician, general sh** kicker, and all things in between, also finding time occasionally to be Chief Pilot and Operations Manager for the company.

1.2 copyAlso occasionally finding time to go for a swim. Photo: Weldon Percy.

Sadly this year we lost a great colleague and friend and a true grandfather of our aerial mustering community, Mr Rossy Rotor of Port Hedland WA. We will dedicate one of our blogs this week to Rossy.

Two of our most experienced pilots have returned this year, along with five new pilots and we are most fortunate to have the people we do in our team. We certainly couldn’t provide the service we do without their dedication and commitment to their work; you’ll get to meet some of our crew in the next few blogs.

Prior to Clint’s departure late last year we purchased another R22 to cater for the needs of our clients, to ensure we can be there when we are required, on time. We were fortunate to purchase a second hand R22 in near new condition which has proven to be a great investment. This aircraft was located in Sydney and our good friend Charlie Elliot from Queensland flew this aircraft home to WA for us in February.

Since then we have also purchased another R22 in near new condition from the East Coast which our junior pilot Alicia piloted home for us. We now run a fleet of six R22’s on mustering operations. At the request of a colleague at the beginning of the year, we have also cross hired a R44 aircraft and are supporting a remote exploration program in the Great Sandy Desert of WA

1.3 copyOur R44 supporting a drill rig in salt lake country in the Great Sandy Desert. Photo: Weldon Percy.

So as we now operate seven aircraft the office was starting to look a little messy without some permanent attention. Mandy Medlen, a local bookkeeping extraordinaire and MYOB whiz is now helping us out (and is doing a great job) with the record keeping, and all of the paperwork that Weldon doesn’t keep up with.

We also now have a second operating base at Hooley Downs Station near Tom Price. This gives us more flexibility in getting to customers further to the West from Newman and our pilots working from Hooley help the company that own Hooley when they aren’t flying which is handy for them too.

1.4 copyThe Hooley Downs gate. Photo: Weldon Percy.

As proud members of our local community, we have continued to sponsor the Newman Campdraft and Rodeo Association, Newman Gymkhana Club, and Newman motocross club throughout 2015.

Most of our clients were fortunate to have a reasonable wet season over the summer months, however it has been patchier in some areas with only a just average season. As across most of the top end cattle markets have remained strong this season which has been a welcome relief after several years of otherwise depressed prices.

1.5 copyThe night before our first day of mustering for 2015 at Mulga Downs Station. Photo: Weldon Percy.

We are proud to help Central station out again this year by being hosts. Their work towards promoting our great Australian cattle industry has no doubt helped spread the word on our professionalism and passion for what we do. We are looking forward to sharing more in with our posts this week!

1.6 copyA mob at Browns. Photo: Weldon Percy.