We talked with President and CEO Robert Gallagher about his company, its missions and why the twin-engine Super Puma is the future of firefighting.
Could you please introduce yourself?
I’m Robert Gallagher. I’m President, CEO and Director of Operations of Coldstream Helicopters. I have more than 14,000 helicopter flight hours and have worked as an airline transport pilot in both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.
Tell us a little about your company and fleet.
I started the company in 2006 as an Aircraft Maintenance Organization (AMO), and in 2010 it became an operating company. We have 60 employees around the world, including Canada, the United States and Australia, and we operate from bases in British Columbia, Alberta and Oregon.
Our fleet includes eleven Airbus Super Pumas and two Airbus H225s.
What missions do you fly?
Coldstream primarily works in utilities, firefighting, search and rescue, oil and gas and heli-skiing.
How does the Super Puma fit into this picture?
We use the Super Puma across all of our missions. It’s very dependable and offers a high operational performance to our customers.
It’s fast, smooth, carries an impressive payload and is incredibly safe. We would recommend it to any operator.
Although the bulk of your work is in Canada, you’ve been working throughout the U.S as well. Can you tell us about that?
We have been working extensively throughout Canada and the U.S. to provide fire agencies with a dedicated firefighting platform that can operate both day and night. The aircraft comes outfitted with night-vision goggles, and a rappel and winch, capabilities that are instrumental in both Canada and the U.S.
Flying the Super Puma, we’re able to both transport firefighters to and from the scene and battle fires. When we’re not using it for firefighting, it can easily be reconfigured for our other missions.
What does Coldstream have planned for the future?
We will continue to grow our firefighting program, including the new “Firecat,” which is the tanked version of the Super Puma.
Do you have any advice for people wanting to break into the industry?
The game is changing quickly. You need to go where the puck is going, not where it has been. The Super Puma is the future for firefighting.