Title and statement of responsibility area
General material designation
- moving images
- multiple media
- textual record
- graphic material
- cartographic material
- architectural drawing
Other title information
Title statements of responsibility
- Source of title proper: Title based on contents of fonds.
Level of description
Edition statement of responsibility
Class of material specific details area
Statement of scale (cartographic)
Statement of projection (cartographic)
Statement of coordinates (cartographic)
Statement of scale (architectural)
Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)
Dates of creation area
1931 - 1997, predominantly 1945-1985 (Creation)
- Okanagan Helicopters Ltd.
Physical description area
Publisher's series area
Title proper of publisher's series
Parallel titles of publisher's series
Other title information of publisher's series
Statement of responsibility relating to publisher's series
Numbering within publisher's series
Note on publisher's series
Archival description area
Name of creator
Okanagan Helicopters was founded as Okanagan Air Services Ltd in 1947 by Carl Agar, A H ‘Barney’ Bent and Alf Stringer. Operations commenced in the Penticton area, but the trio soon rented hangar space at Vancouver’s International Airport. The company changed its name to Okanagan Helicopters Ltd in 1952 and adopted a corporate management scheme, appointing Glenn McPherson executive vice-president. By 1963, the company implemented the base system, which soon extended across Canada and internationally, and which initially started as an employee-driven initiative to combat lay-offs. Ian Kennedy was appointed president in 1968, but was replaced in 1970 by John Pitts. By 1983, Pat Aldous, an Okanagan veteran who had joined the company in 1969, was appointed president, although he resigned in 1987. During the 1960s and 1970s, several subsidiary companies were created and competitors were amalgamated. The company began operating internationally in 1958 and eventually had partners on every continent except Africa
Okanagan spent 1948 conducting agricultural spraying in the Fraser and Windermere Valleys, but a year later turned to assisting with topographical surveys and supplying timber cruises and mine exploration expeditions. Notable early operations included the 1949 Palisade Lake Dam site and the Kemano project of the early 1950s. By 1955, Okanagan had expanded to 90 employees.
In the early 1970s, Okanagan expanded into heli-logging, and the company’s subsidiary, OK Lifts Limited, logged the Redonda Island area. Shortly thereafter, Okanagan Helicopters, T M Thomson Associates, and Traer-Mahood formed Heli Aero Logging Limited. Okanagan also participated in heli-skiing, and featured in several commercial heli-skiing films.
Among the company’s many innovations was Agar’s ‘bump jump’ process for high-altitude take-offs, which involved tipping an aircraft over the side of a cliff and waiting until the air was heavy enough for the rotor blades to operate. Other innovations included the Monsoon Bucket for use in forest fire suppression.
Okanagan was acquired by Canadian Helicopters in 1987, and changed its name to CHC Helicopter Corporation.
Scope and content
The fonds consists of photographic material, correspondence, fact sheets, advertising material, reports, minutes, maps, architectural drawings, and film reels created and acquired by Okanagan Helicopters Ltd, its predecessor Okanagan Air Services Ltd., and its successor, Canadian Helicopters. The fonds consists of executive council records and material relating to the administration of the company, as well as records pertaining to both domestic and international operations. The records, which were created between 1945 and 1997, chart the company’s development and activities, including relationships with aircraft manufacturering companies, innovations in aerial fire-fighting equipment, and early involvement with the heli-skiing and heli-logging industries.
A portion of the records originated with other companies and were transferred to Okanagan Helicopters as a result of mergers and acquisitions. These companies include : Ambank Aircraft Limitée; Aerial Engineering Limited; Associated Helicopters Company Limited; Canadian Helicopters Limited; Creighton Helicopters Ltd.; Dominion Pegasus Helicopters Ltd.; Haida Helicopters Ltd. ; Heli-Aero Logging; Lac St Jean Aviation Limitée; Lecky Paper Ltd.; Sept-Iles Helicopter Services; and Smith, Davidson & Wright.
The fonds is arranged into 17 series created by the archivist : Accidents and crashes; associated companies’ records; awards and certificates; director and shareholder records; equipment; hangar and base records; leases and agreements; manuscripts and research material; news clippings and history files; newsletters; operation records – BC; operation records – extra-provincial; personnel records; proof sheets and photograph collections; promotional material; reports; and Sikorsky Aircraft records. The archivist has maintained the creator's file titles.
Of the films, those which did not directly relate to the operations and activities of Okanagan Helicopters Ltd have been removed from the fonds. A list of these items is available.
Immediate source of acquisition
Language of material
Script of material
Location of originals
Availability of other formats
Restrictions on access
- Several files are closed until December 31, 2015