Stanley Cup will be travelling 3D
3D Helicopters has outfitted a Sikorsky S-76 with leather seating for eight to go after the executive charter service market in Newfoundland and Labrador. — Submitted photo
Mark Dobbin’s new executive helicopter service has a special guest to help launch the new business: the Stanley Cup.
The St. John’s businessman’s new 3D Helicopters venture is scheduled to fly NHL winger Michael Ryder from St. John’s to Bonavista on Tuesday with the Cup, which Ryder won this year with the Boston Bruins, and will serve as a coming-out party for the new company, which aims to fill a high-end passenger need in the province.
“Newfoundland is very well-served by the existing helicopter companies, whether it be Cougar, Universal, Canadian Helicopters — they’re all great companies,” he said. “(But) they don’t really provide an executive charter service. They tend to be more focused upon the traditional Newfoundland market, which is utility. We had a requirement for an executive personnel helicopter, and we’re piggybacking our requirement to offer it to the general public in the local business and government agencies.”
The service consists of a single helicopter, the Sikorsky S-76. In offshore configuration, the Sikorsky would seat 12, but 3D Helicopters has a passenger cabin with leather seating for eight people. The company will charge $3,500 an hour for the helicopter plus fuel, which Dobbin said makes the actual cost of the helicopter flight about $4,500 an hour.
“It’s quite a fast helicopter, 260 kilometres per hour,” said Dobbin. “It’s twin-engine, so it can fly direct, point-to-point anywhere in the island.”
Dobbin said the helicopter will take Ryder and the Cup from St. John’s to his hometown in Bonavista in about half an hour.
“It’s pretty exciting. We were contacted a little over three weeks ago when the date was picked for Michael to have the Cup — as you know, (winning team members) only get it for one day each,” he said.
“Michael, being very community-minded as he is, wants to get as much done as he can, so he’s actually going to be bringing the Cup around St. John’s. … He’s doing some community service work with the Cup in St. John’s and of course wanted to bring it to his hometown as well. And to accomplish both, he wanted to minimize the amount of time spent in a vehicle on the road, hence the turn to us.”
Dobbin said the company’s lucky to be able to launch with such a high-profile assignment.
“Weather permitting, the aircraft will land down just off the waterfront behind Raymonds restaurant. We’ll load the Cup and the passengers aboard the helicopter and then half an hour later they’ll be stepping off in Bonavista,” he said. “We’re very fortunate. I guess the stars lined up in that respect.”
Dobbin said the company is called 3D Helicopters for two reasons: the first is to emphasize a helicopter’s ability to fly in any direction. But there’s also a personal reason.
“I have three children with the last name ‘Dobbin,’ so it’s a nod to them as well,” he said.