BUSI­NESS TAKES OFF

Green Isle Heli Tours is based in Char­lot­te­town

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - BY MAU­REEN COUL­TER

Green Isle Heli Tours gives pas­sen­gers a new look at P.E.I.

Hugh An­drews and Wendy McTag­gart found their dream re­tire­ment home on the last day of their va­ca­tion on Prince Ed­ward Is­land two years ago.

The Van­cou­ver Is­land cou­ple was tour­ing the coast­line try­ing to see as much of P.E.I. as pos­si­ble when they came upon a lit­tle white house nes­tled atop some red sand­stone cliffs with a for sale sign.

An­drews and McTag­gart de­cided to buy the 152-year-old home in DeSable and to in­vest in P.E.I. fur­ther by open­ing a busi­ness in Char­lot­te­town called Green Isle Heli Tours.

“Peo­ple should see how beau­ti­ful this place is from the air,” said McTag­gart. “It’s a van­tage point that most peo­ple are never go­ing to see un­less we take them up there.”

The busi­ness is based at the Port of Char­lot­te­town with Bruce “B.Mac-” Macdon­ald as the chief pilot. Macdon­ald, who has 43 years fly­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and near 17,000 hours of flight un­der his belt, will be giv­ing tours of Char­lot­te­town un­til Oc­to­ber in a Bell 206 JetRanger he­li­copter.

“He is prob­a­bly one of the most pro­fes­sional pi­lots I know,” said An­drews.

McTag­gart said they opened this busi­ness be­cause there wasn’t any­thing like it on P.E.I., and fly­ing in a he­li­copter is some­thing peo­ple should ex­pe­ri­ence.

“It re­ally is like a magic car­pet. It’s not like fly­ing in a fixed wing air­craft at all,” said McTag­gart.

“You don’t get bounced around in the wind,” said An­drews. “It’s very sta­ble.”

McTag­gart and An­drews also own a he­li­copter main­te­nance, re­pair and over­haul busi­ness on Van­cou­ver Is­land and live on P.E.I. half of the year with their two daugh­ters, Piper and Holly.

Holly, who is a pilot, is work­ing to­wards get­ting her Bell 206 en­dorse­ment while An­drews is up­grad­ing his train­ing so that they are both equipped to fly this kind of he­li­copter.

In ad­di­tion to tour­ing, their busi­ness is ready to help in emer­gency sit­u­a­tions. They are well-versed in aerial search and res­cue and they have a Bambi Bucket to put out for­est fires, as well as lit­ter kits so they can air­lift peo­ple to a hos­pi­tal.

McTag­gart said they hope to even­tu­ally ex­pand their busi­ness to give tours in other ar­eas in the prov­ince.

“We love Prince Ed­ward Is­land,” said McTag­gart. “We want peo­ple to en­joy the prov­ince as much as we do.”

For more in­for­ma­tion visit www.greenisleair.com or call 902-954-1491.

MAU­REEN COUL­TER/THE GUARDIAN

Bruce “B.Mac-” Macdon­ald, chief pilot for Green Isle Air Heli Tours, has 43 years fly­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and will be giv­ing he­li­copter tours around Char­lot­te­town over the course of the sum­mer.

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