INVERNESS COUNTY: Celtic Air Services, a Port Hastings-based company that earlier this year hosted the first-ever air show at the Port Hawkesbury Airport, continued to offer something novel last weekend.

The company offered helicopter tours out of the communities of Inverness and Port Hood.

Photos by Grant McDaniel
A Robinson R44 helicopter is seen here setting down in Port Hood.

“We’ve been working on getting this operation up and running for quite some time,” said David Morgan, President of Celtic Air Services Ltd.

“Believe it or not, this is what started it all for us. This is what brought Damian [Celtic Air’s Vice-President Damian MacInnis] and I together. Two years ago, he posted on LinkedIn that he was looking for someone to start a helicopter company down here.

“We had named it, went through the business plan and everything, but we realized we couldn’t afford a helicopter.”

Pictured here are (from the left): David Morgan, president of Celtic Air Services; Robert Thorne, pilot and owner of Advanced Heli-Flight; and Damian MacInnis, vice-president of Celtic Air Services.

After that, the brain trust of Morgan and MacInnis took over operations at the Port Hawkesbury Airport. The guys and staff are in their second season of operation there, and they are now leasing a helicopter to flesh out their original plan of offering helicopter tours.

“We’re in the process of acquiring our own helicopter,” Morgan said, noting that the whirly birds run from between $585,000 to just under $1 million.

The Admiral Lounge and Dining Room and High Road in Port Hood were visible from high in the sky.

If last week’s bookings are any indication, it certainly seems Celtic Air’s venture into helicopter tours is earmarked for success. Dozens and dozens of flights left in 15 to 20 minute intervals, from Port Hood and Inverness.

With that, a Facebook contest giving away a free helicopter ride (for three) was very well received. Morgan said the contest saw over 140,000 engagements with the social media post.

The Mabou Coal Mines Wharf was one of the sights.

In order to get off the ground, Celtic Air Services partnered with Advanced Heli-Flight Ltd., a New Brunswick based company to offer tours using Robinson R44 helicopters, a four-seat aircraft that offers incredible visibility with unobstructed views in all directions.

“Cape Breton is one of the most beautiful places to fly in the world and we’re very excited to be working with Celtic Air Services to show it off to their guests,” said Rob Thorne, President of Advanced Heli-Flight.

The Port Hood Co-op and Haus Treuburg Country Inn and Cottages are seen here from several hundred feet up.

It might seem that finding someone to fly the helicopter would be difficult, but Morgan said the number of people looking to sign-on to pilot the machine is staggering. Since mentioning on Facebook that Celtic Air was looking to expand into heli-tours, Morgan and MacInnis have been approached by pilots on a weekly basis.

To inquire about future heli-tours, Celtic Air would be happy to field all inquires made to 902-625-2206 or hello@celticairservices.com.

Pilot Robert Thorne prepares for a landing at the Al MacInnis Sports Centre.