Posted 12 years 161 days ago ago by Admin
By Lyn Burks - Recently while in Kona Hawaii on helicopter related business, I swerved off my intended course and popped into a local helicopter operation called Paradise Helicopters. Compared to some of the larger tour operators I have visited over the years, this operation had a true “mom and pop” look and feel. I later found that the outward image of quaintness mixed with a smidge of “Leave it to Beaver” family values was by design. However, scratching through that facade revealed a thriving, hardworking, all around skids-meet-the-ramp helicopter shop.
Paradise Helicopters got its humble start in 1999 when former U.S. Marine Cal Dorn decided to start a helicopter operation with nothing more than one Bell 206 Jet Ranger. Twelve years later, Cal and his wife Stacey have built Paradise Helicopters up to five helicopters, operating from three bases, flying more that 20,000 passengers per year.
Paradise Helicopters Rundown
20,000+ pax per year ~ 5 Helicopters which include (3) B407’s and (2) MD500’s ~ 3 Bases in Hawaii – Kona, Hilo, and Oahu ~ 364 Days operational per year ~ 9 Pilots ~ 5 Mechanics ~ 6500+ flight hours per year.
FAA Operational Certificates include Parts 135, 133, and 137.
Flight Ops include Tours, Charter, Film, Firefighting, Sling/Lift, Law Enforcement, and a variety of Agricultural Work.
“FLY TODAY, REMEMBER FOREVER”
The company’s tagline of “FLY TODAY, REMEMBER FOREVER” is at the heart of how Paradise does business. They recognize that when people are taking tour flights, not only is it expensive, but it’s very likely the flight will be the client’s first, and often times, only experience in a helicopter. Paradise has done its best to create a variety of tours that do not mimic some of the larger “tour machine” type operators. Paradise separates its brand by making the experience more personal and by immersing the client in the culture. This “immersion” can be accomplished by having flights that include special landing sites for exploration or picnics, or simply flying with the doors off. The goal is to send the client home from their vacation with a smile and a memory they will share with all of their friends for years to come.
Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind. – Bruce Lee
Rob Payesko, Director of Business Development, told me that the quote from the late Bruce Lee was an internal mantra shared by employees of the company. It’s a metaphor that summarizes a philosophy that all successful helicopter operators learn to live by. In essence, to be successful in this industry one must be diverse as well as be flexible to the constantly changing winds of the market. Obviously Cal Dorn and his team at Paradise Helicopters have lived by that philosophy. As a former Marine myself, I feel comfortable saying, “This jarhead’s done well”!