The past has seen significant changes in the use of the helicopters for transportation purposes. Traditionally, the helicopters have been used for the provision of the emergency services during disasters and transporting people to inaccessible areas that cannot be reached by the larger planes. Helicopters' features like its ability to reach inaccessible regions, small size, and suitability for emergency operation makes it the most desirable form of air transport in many countries. Aside from using it to provide emergency services and passenger transport, the use of the helicopters for the provision of corporate VIP transport in the recent past has risen significantly in the past. The use has spread across states and has received significant attention due to its class, flexibility, and quality air flight to the VIP individuals (Aviation, 2009).
Therefore, this research paper evaluates the different aspects of the helicopter use for the provision of corporate VIP transport. It begins with the analysis of the history of the use of the helicopters for the provision of corporate VIP services alongside the ways in which they are used to provide VIP transport to individuals. In addition, the research paper discusses the different models of helicopters used to provide corporate VIP transport alongside the desired qualifications most employers consider when hiring helicopter pilots. Finally, the analysis focuses on the challenges that face the companies that provide corporate VIP transport services.
The use of the helicopters for the provision of corporate VIP transport dates back to the late 1928. The first use of then helicopters for providing corporate VIP transport was witnessed in the United Kingdom in 1928. The idea of providing the transport services using the helicopter emerged due to the need for providing quality services to the Royal Family. The services provided depended on the prevailing circumstances, such as the predicted weather conditions and the availability of the qualified civilian and military personnel. Between 1929 and 1935, the prince of the United Kingdom at that time the Prince of Wales ordered thirteen aircrafts including one helicopter for his VIP corporate transportation purposes. The flights referred as the "Kings Flight" provided special air transport services to the Royal Family whenever they needed. In specific, the helicopters were used for transportation services within the UK because they could access different regions country (Tetrick, 2002).
In 1952, the Queen's Flight introduced the use of a variety of air transport for the provision of high quality air transport to the Royal Family. The replacement of the military-operated King's Flight with the Number 161 Squadron saw the introduction of first class helicopters for VIP corporate air transport to the Royal family. For example, the later witnessed the introduction of the use of the Queen's Helicopter Flight (TQHF) to provide that provided the desired air flights to the Queen and the Royal Family of the United Kingdom. On the other hand, the U.S. started using the helicopters for the provision of the VIP corporate transport in 1957. The use began when the president at that time, Dwight D. Eisenhower travelled using the Bell UH-13J Sioux helicopter. Historical analysis shows that factors such as an increased need for a quick and faster access to inaccessible areas and flexibility in air transport made the U.S. adopt the use of the helicopters for providing corporate VIP air transport services (Heppenheimer, 1995).
The early helicopters lacked the feature of comfort found in the VIP helicopters used currently. It lacked amenities such as toilets for the in-flight use and air conditioning that are present in the modern helicopters used for the provision of corporate air transport. The Sikorsky H-34 replaced the use of the Bell UH-13J Sioux helicopter used for the provision of VIP to the president. The present had features such as improved comfort for the president alongside the establishment of a protocol and ample room within the helicopter for the president and the security team.
In 1976, the United States Army had the responsibility of providing helicopter transportation to the president with the Marine Corps. The Marine and the Army helicopters provided air transport to the president whenever applicable. By 1978, significant changes occurred in terms of nature and quality of the helicopter services provided to the president. For example, the VH-3D and VH-60N replaced the previously used helicopters including VH-3As. The new helicopters had significant improvements from the early due to the improvement in the technology across the world (Crouch, 2003).
(U.S. presidential helicopter)
By 1980s, most of the global countries had adopted the use of the helicopters for the provision of VIP corporate transportation. For example, the U.S. saw a shift in the use of the helicopters for providing corporate transport to the executives in the government for the use of the helicopters for providing transport services to the other citizens in need of the services. As such, the changes resulted in the commercialization of the use of the helicopters for the provision of VIP corporate air transport. Between the year 2000 and 2010, significant transformations have been witnessed in the use of the helicopters for VIP corporate transport. Factors like the constantly changing consumer needs and competition between helicopter companies providing corporate VIP transport has transformed the nature of the air transport significantly. Therefore, it is expected that more changes will happen in the coming years (Aviation, 2009).
(The Queen's Helicopter Flight)
The helicopters are used for different purposes. They provide quick and flexible flights to its clients to different destinations. In most cases, most clients consider using the helicopters for reaching regions that are considered inaccessible to the use of the normal planes or jets. For instance, the former president of the U.S. (1957) Mr. Dwight D. Eisenhower introduced the use of the helicopters for providing air transport to the VIPs when he wanted a quick reach to his home in Pennsylvania. However, the inaccessibility of the region necessitated the use of a helicopter over the Air Force 1; hence, giving dawn to the use of helicopter services. In addition, the helicopters provide emergency services to the VIPs and their families in times of crisis. The modern helicopters that have improved qualities such as less noise are effective in providing emergency services to the VIPs and their families during times of crisis such as political upsurge and any other form of insecurity (Crouch, 2003).
The VIP helicopters also provide its individuals with reliable, discreet, and safe services that meet their needs. The continuous evaluation of operations in most of the companies providing such services attests to the ways in which the clients receive the best services that precede their expectations. Apart from the passenger transport services, the helicopters are also used for transporting cargo for the VIP to their required destinations. Luggage considered fragile is best transported using the helicopters due to the safety and less time used in the process. Significant evidence shows that most of the VIP personnel use the helicopters for fun. They find it a way of spending their leisure time through activities such as skydiving. In addition, the VIP uses the helicopters for other purposes such as for tourism purposes, scenic flights, environmental assessment, and corporate events (Heppenheimer, 1995).
Varieties of helicopter makes and models are used for the provision of corporate air transport to the VIPs. It began with Bell UH-13J Sioux that was used in 1957 for provide air transport to the U.S. president (Dwight D. Eisenhower). It then progressed to the use of the Sikorsky H-34 (1958) and VH-34 (1961). The VH-3D replaced these in 1978 paving the way for better models such as the VH-60N in 1987. Most of the commercial companies that provide similar services as those offered to the presidents use helicopters such as the S-92, VH-71, AgustaWestland AW 101, and Sikorsky UH-60. Apart from the old models, the modern ones have unique features like air conditioning and in-built toilets alongside compartments for cargo transport. This makes it the most desired method of air transport. From the above, the most popularly used include Sikorsky UH-60, S-92, VH-71, and UH-60L (GNVQs, 1999).
When hiring pilots, employers often consider various issues concerning one's skills, training, experience, certification to ensure they hire a qualified and competent person. Mostly, employers want pilots with 250 hours flying experience for the commercial license and 1500 hours of the total flight time for the airline pilot certificate. The pilot should have a minimum of a bachelor's degree in various fields, including aviation, aircraft operations, and aeronautical engineering, among other fields of aviation. In addition, they look for one's personal skills such as communication, monitoring, depth perception, decision-making, and problem solving skills. The pilot must have computer skills to enable him/her to navigate systems and operate the computer system of the helicopter. In addition, the employers also consider one's technical skills that include checks before a flight, monitor of hydraulic and engine systems and the ability to use the radio. Other additional requirements most of the employers look include age (18 years and above), pass…