Sloane Helicopter founder celebrates 50 golden years at Sywell base
The firm grew from a one-aircraft outfit to a leading European on-shore helicopter company
The UK’s longest-established privately-owned helicopter company has celebrated its 50th year of operation with customers and suppliers at Sywell Aerodrome's Hangar One.
Sloane Helicopters celebrated the firm's five decades in business with founder and current chairman, David George, still at the helm.
Initially offering ad-hoc charter and agricultural support services, Sloane started out with one Bell 47 aircraft and fifty years later the company has expanded as a helicopter dealer and engineering and training support hub.
Mr George said: “I am very proud of what we have achieved during our first fifty years. There are few companies in the aviation industry who have achieved this milestone which would never have been possible without the dedication and loyalty of all of our present and past employees.
"We can now look forward to the next 50 years.”
From the one-aircraft business in 1971, Sloane's success led to the operation of additional aircraft with helicopter sales soon becoming a core business activity, expanding to five sites across the UK.
In 1975, Sloane became the UK’s first Robinson dealer and has sold more than 500 new Robinson helicopters during this 46-year relationship.
The company also became the UK and Ireland’s sole Leonardo distributor in 1995 and has since sold more than 90 new Leonardo aircraft throughout the 26-year partnership.
As a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) operator Sloane currently has three contracts for air ambulance services - Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance, Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance and the Irish Community Air Ambulance.
Having been an established HEMS operator for over 22 years, Sloane introduced the AW109SP GrandNew to the UK EMS market and has continued to operate AW109s for the vital air ambulance service.
Sloane has also re-introduced the dedicated helicopter service flying to the Isles of Scilly from Penzance, and has provided training for a number of pilots.
The company provides helicopter, engineering and training support for 32 (the Royal) Squadron to be used by senior military commanders and Government ministers as well as being an authorised service centre for both Robinson and Leonardo aircraft.
Sloane’s 50th celebration comes shortly after the company announced its expansion to operate a fifth base at London Elstree Aerodrome which is expected to be open early 2022.