WHO WE ARE
HeliNY is one of New York City’s most established, largest, and successful premier helicopter sightseeing tour companies. We have been operating helicopter tours since 1994, with one of the largest fleets of Bell helicopters, highly skilled experienced pilots, and a highly dedicated staff. We provide the best, most thrilling, and safest helicopter flight experience to our customers without compromise. In addition to our New York City sightseeing tours, HeliNY provides:
- Custom Charter Services – for privately chartered flights
- Specialized Destination Tours – providing specialized destination experiences
- Medical Logistics and Organ Transport – (FAA Approval Pending)
- Bespoke Commercial Services – a variety of commercial helicopter services.
HeliNY operates services from two primary locations – The Downtown Manhattan Heliport (NYC) and Linden Municipal Airport (Linden, NJ).
Our sightseeing tours provide an exciting and exhilarating experience while relaxing in spacious cabins with unparalleled views. HeliNY has flown 15,000 flights and serviced over 78,000 customers annually, all in a comfortable modern aircraft with extended high-visibility windows and Bose noise-cancelling headsets – at the most competitive prices. We fly over 200 tours weekly, 7 days a week at several locations throughout the year. Our tour and other flight services are provided by a pilot crew that has over 80,000 hours of combined flying experience, providing best-in-class service and experience in the industry. Our charter flights provide a safe and faster transportation alternative for our clients to reach their destinations by significantly reducing travel times. We provide custom charters, catering to our clients’ busy schedules and need for short travel and convenience, during highly congested periods.
HeliNY has one of the best flight safety records for the 38 plus years the Company has serviced the New York Metro market. At HeliNY, we have made safety our most important requirement in providing our specialized services to our customers. Our commitment to safety goes beyond our daily rigorous maintenance protocol for all our aircraft and experienced pilots; our Safety Management System creates a company-wide culture of above industry safety and procedures. HeliNY is a long-standing member of the Eastern Region Helicopter Council and the Helicopter Association International.
Commitment to our clients and community
HeliNY provides reliable, scheduled, and custom services to each client without compromise. Through our flight service offerings, we pride ourselves on our safety, integrity, attentive services, and professionalism, both in the air and on the ground. Our focused and flexible corporate structure creates a company culture where personalized service is delivered on a consistent and timely basis.
We have always viewed ourselves as a good neighbor to the communities that we serve. HeliNY has been an active participant in the Fly Neighborly Program, as we are able to fly with limited noise impact on our community, at levels below the strictest regulations. This is one example of HeliNY’s commitment to our community.
HeliNY has been focused on providing specialized helicopter flight services to our customers on a consistent and dependable basis for many years. Our services cover five major categories:
- Sightseeing Tours – Operating daily, all year long with flights over the Hudson River around the West Side of Manhattan.
- Custom Charter Services – Flexible pick-up locations in Manhattan and its surrounding areas and flying to all major destinations with the ability to land at over 55+ locations throughout NY, NJ, CT, PA, and Washington, DC. encompassing over 115,000 square miles.
- Custom Commercial Services – which includes premium helicopter transportation logistics for regular and highly valuable packages, air surveys, inspections, and evaluation services.
Areas for Growth
- Specialized Destination Tours – We are expanding our partnerships with luxury experience companies to provide unique itineraries throughout the Northeast. We will provide transport for individual groups and corporate clients who want the experience, thrill, speed, and privacy of helicopter transport. We fly within a 300-mile radius, which is comfortable, nimble, and the fastest form of transportation to these types of destinations. For further distances we are partnering with one of the area’s premier jet aviation companies to provide clients with access to a fleet of spacious private jets, specifically designed for comfort and luxury.
- Medical Logistics and Organ Transport – Provides pick-up and drop-off services for time-sensitive biological matter and related medical items, to and from major airports and numerous medical helipad locations. (FAA Approval Pending).
Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Blodgett is CEO of Helicopter Flight Services, Inc. (“HeliNY”), having joined the Company in 2023. Prior to joining HeliNY, Mr. Blodgett was the COO for Spinnaker Consulting Group, a management consulting firm for Fortune 500 organizations. From 1995 to 2019, Mr. Blodgett held an extensive career in Asset Management industry, most recently as Managing Director at Deutsche Bank in NYC. His tenure included serving in senior leadership roles such as: Chief Operating Officer, Chief Administrative Officer, and Americas Head of Operations and Technology for the Asset Management division. Mr. Blodgett possesses a wide degree of business experience including Operations Management, Financial Management, Strategic Planning & Execution, Marketing & Sales, and Team Leadership & Development.
MBA from Fordham University – Graduate School of Business;
BSBA from The Ohio State University.
Oyvind Vataker (“OV”)
Director of Operations
Mr. Oyvind Vataker is the Director of Operations and has been with HeliNY since 2007. In 2011, Mr. Vataker became the Chief Pilot for HeliNY and was approved by the FAA as a Director of Operations in August 2022. Mr. Vataker holds an Airline Transport Pilot License and has more than 35 years of experience as pilot in command, with over 14,000 flight hours in more than 16 different make and model helicopters in the NY-Metro Area. He has over 13 years’ experience as a Company Instructor and is an FAA approved Check Airman in the Bell 407 and Bell 427. Prior to working at HeliNY, he was a company instructor, tour, and charter pilot in NYC. Mr. Vataker has more than 6 years’ experience as a News Pilot for WNYW and WNBC in NYC. Mr. Vataker has attended multiple manufacturers’ Initial, Transition and Recurrent Training Courses including the Bell 407GX, Bell 427, Airbus EC130T2 and Airbus EC155.
BS in Mechanical Engineering (NORWAY)
General Manager/Human Resources Director
Ms. Wiig is the General Manager/HR Director and has been with HeliNY since 1996, and has served many management roles within HeliNY. As the firm’s General Manager, she has oversight responsibility for tour and reservation operations, ramp agent management, charter sales & marketing. In 2006, Ms. Wiig was promoted to assume additional responsibilities as the Director of Human Resources Operations. She is responsible for planning, leading, directing, developing, and coordinating policies and employee appreciation activities for all human resources operations initiatives.
Bachelor of Music, Minor in Business Administration – Ithaca College
Mr. Roberts joined the Company in 2013 and currently serves as the Chief Pilot for HeliNY. Mr. Roberts is responsible for all 15+ pilots daily work schedules and certifications. Mr. Roberts’ experience includes over 9300 flight hours, with vast experience across a variety of helicopters including Bell 407 and 427, and Airbus EC130 and EC155s. His career includes pilot experience at Helicopters Inc., New York Helicopter, and serving as Flight Instructor at both Nassau Helicopters and Mercer County Community College.
Nassau Helicopters Princeton, NJ, Mercer Country Community College
Vice President of Maintenance
Mr. Dillon originally joined the company in 2013. Today, in conjunction with the Director of Maintenance, he leads the supervision of maintenance personnel and maintenance operations and manages the daily activities of the assigned maintenance personnel. Prior to joining HeliNY, Mr. Dillon was the Chief Inspector and Director of Quality control at Sterling Helicopter. Prior to this, Mr. Dillon served as Manager Sales and Service at Standard Aero, where he was awarded the Sales Excellence Award for multiple years. Affiliations include past EMG Committee Chairman for Helicopter Association International, and Co-Chairman for Eastern Regional Helicopter Council. Mr. Dillon brings invaluable support to HeliNY through the maintenance processes, equipment procurement, and acquisition logistics.
Mr. Dillon holds a number of certifications across a range of aircraft and is a member of the Helicopter Association International. Industrial training includes Bell Helicopter and Airbus Field Maintenance.
Director of Maintenance
Ms. Sadelski joined HeliNY in 2013 and has served as the Director of Maintenance for HeliNY since 2020. Ms. Sadelski began her maintenance career with HeliNY as the Parts Coordinator, progressing through the Company’s maintenance organization. She brings a high degree of industry knowledge, certifications, and highly focused experience. Ms. Sadelski manages helicopter maintenance and maintenance personnel ensuring safe operations at HeliNY. Her team of mechanics and parts specialists provide daily in-house servicing for HeliNY’s fleet for both preventative and unscheduled maintenance, keeping our fleet at optimal flying performance with nearly 5,000 flight hours in 2022. She has performed scheduled maintenance, repair, routine servicing, and inspections of Bell 407/GX/XP/HP, Bell 427, Airbus EC130 T2, and EC155’s B&B1. Ms. Sadelski is further certified and experienced in Rolls Royce M250 C47B series IV FADEC engine maintenance, turbine engine tear down, inspection and repair.
Teterboro School of Aeronautics; Moonachie NJ
Rolls-Royce M250 Series IV FADEC Maintenance and Turboshaft Maintenance Certification, Bell 407 Field Maintenance Certification, Level 1 Safran Arriel 2B/2B1/2D Engine Certification, Level 1 DSS Helicopter Vibration Maintenance Rotor System Track and Balance
The Company’s Founders Lesley (Topsy) Taylor and John Kjekstad, partnered in 1985 when they purchased Bell 206 Jet Rangers and later formed the Company in 1994. The veteran pilots with more than 60 years of combined aviation experience, wanted to provide a better tour and charter experience than other operators. Their mission has been to have a professionally operated company that has ample infrastructure and staff, a larger helicopter fleet, and consistent and reliably services daily all year long.
Topsy Taylor co-founded the Company in 1994. She is an aviation enthusiast and has been involved in Aviation for more than 40 years. Ms. Taylor began her training for her pilot license in a Beach Baron 58, out of LaGuardia Airport, NYC, flying all over the Northeast. Ms. Taylor first soloed in a Piper Cub in 1962, and in 1974, received her Private Pilot License. In 1985, Ms. Taylor began taking helicopter lessons and received her Commercial Helicopter License. Her flight instructor was John Kjekstad; the Company’s other Founder and Topsy’s Partner. The Founders launched Helicopter Flight Services, Inc. (“HFS”) in 1994 and purchased the Company’s first helicopter, a Bell 206 Jet Ranger. Ms. Taylor has always been a pioneer in private aviation and helicopter services, and HeliNY has been the NY-Metro market leader since its founding. Although Ms. Taylor retired from running daily operations in 2023, HeliNY remains committed to her founding principles to provide a world-class experience, with a dedication to safety for all customers.
John Kjekstad co-founded the Company in 1994. Mr. Kjekstad has been instrumental in implementing the company’s tourism business in NYC. Mr. Kjekstad holds an Airline Transport Rating, the highest rating possible as well as being a Certified Flight Instructor and Instrument Flight Instructor in helicopters. He has more than 11,000 hours of combined helicopter and fixed-wing experience, with the majority spent in Bell Helicopters 206 B/L and the Bell 407. Mr. Kjekstad retired from daily operations in 2022.