Wisk Air Helicopters has been supplying safe, trusted, high-quality helicopter services in Northwestern Ontario for over 32 years.
Mark Wiskemann, company president and chief pilot, created the business in 1984.
At the time, he and his business partner owned one helicopter that they leased out of Red Lake. A few years later, Wiskemann became sole-owner of Wisk Air.
Over the decades, he’s grown the business into an established company with headquarters in Thunder Bay.
Wiskemann now owns a fleet of seven helicopters (407s and longrangers), with over 6,000 sq./ ft of hangar space, and a team of 27 which includes 12 pilots, maintenance staff and office administrators. Wisk Air has also expanded across the country with a maintenance facility in Brandon, Manitoba, and two operational bases located in Dryden, Ontario and Goose Bay, Labrador.
“The business philosophy is to provide high-quality helicopter services that are trusted, and we are known for our reliability and excellence,” says Wiskemann.
The company focuses on delivering helicopter services to mining, forestry, government and utility sectors.
Since he began his career, Wiskemann has singlehandedly logged over 19,000 hours of flying and is the company’s chief pilot.
He says Wisk Air’s outstanding safety record is due to the team’s diligent attention to detail, strict training standards, and excellent aircraft maintenance.
Wiskemann points out flight instructor Randy Bechtel has over 35 years experience in the industry and provides annual training for all pilots.
As well, Wiskemann says the company constantly reinvests in helicopter parts.
“We have over $3 million worth of spare parts for helicopters that we keep on hand. We do this because it is important to relentlessly invest and maintain them – our primary focus is safety,” says Wiskemann, giving credit to Kevin Robins, Wisk Air’s Director of Maintenance, for the company’s excellent maintenance standards.
“Creating a pristine work environment promotes performance and excellence in our employees,” Wiskemann says. “We make considerable and continual investment into training our employees and maintaining our aircraft.”
Investing in relationships with partners and clients is the company’s lead directive. In fact, Wisk Air has spent years developing relationships based on respect and transparency with several First Nations in the Northwest.
In April, three First Nation communities signed multi-year agreements with Wisk Air, including the communities of Mikawaa (Marten Falls), Eabametoong (Fort Hope) and Webequie. The agreements enable the communities to participate in helicopter services within their traditional territories, focusing on the Ring of Fire.
“What we see is the relationship has been great. It continues to be, to us, more meaningful by showing mutual respect and the level of commitment shown by the actions of Wisk Air and that’s what we see - this is real,” says Charlie Okeese, Band Councillor in Eabametoong.
The agreements state that Wisk Air will foster engagement, respect, and transparency while supplying services to industrial groups working on First Nation land. The agreements also provide for joint oversight between Wisk Air and each First Nation for helicopter services in their territory.
“These agreements recognize that the rightful stakeholders and landholders, who are clearly the First Nations, are a vital component to the management and development of all projects in their region,” says Wiskemann.
Wisk Air is also pleased to have agreements with the Red Rock Band and Council in the Nipigon area of Lake Superior, and partnership with a joint-venture Innu-owned company in Goose Bay, Labrador - Big Land Aviation Ltd.
“We seek to engage and support these First Nations,” Wiskemann says. “Our company prides itself on respect, transparency and prosperity for the communities it serves.”
Among its loyal customer base, Wisk Air is proud to be the sole-service helicopter provider to Cliffs Natural Resources Inc., an international mining and natural resources company.
It is also the soleservice supplier of helicopters to Newmont Mining Corporation, one of the world’s largest gold producers.
With an eye to expand services in mining exploration, Wisk Air now offers Airborne Geophysical Surveys - a new specialized helicopter service.
The company also continues to offer traditional helicopter services t o m i n i n g companies, which include aerial drill moves, mining exploration, and mining support and development.
“It is our goal to provide our customers with a service they can trust,” says Wiskemann. “We pride ourselves on taking the time to understand our clients so that we can offer ideal helicopters olutions before they even ask.”