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Helicopter lifts off for Vancouver House construction

Russell Hixson
Helicopter lifts off for Vancouver House construction
VANCOUVER HOUSE — An aerial shot shows Vancouver House under construction. The 60-storey residential tower recently used a helicopter to fix a large glass pane the broke after the construction crane had been dismantled.

Downtown Vancouver was treated to a strange sight this month: a helicopter hovering above the Granville Street Bridge.

Kelsey Wheeler, operations manager for Talon Helicopters, explained the rare scene was part of construction work for Vancouver House, a neo-futurist residential skyscraper.

Work on the 60-storey tower, which was designed by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, began in 2015 and is scheduled to be complete this summer. 

Wheeler explained the project required a helicopter when a pane of glass was damaged. Getting the replacement 1,100-pound glass pane up the tower wouldn’t be possible via the elevator and the project’s construction crane had already been dismantled.

The best option was to fly it up.

The bridge was closed for 15 minutes while it was used as a staging area to attach the glass to the helicopter. 

“From the load being hooked to us flying away was about six minutes,” said Wheeler.

He noted the company recently purchased a new helicopter with more horsepower to ensure lifts like these have the biggest safety cushion as possible.

He noted that Talon sometimes does construction work at hard-to-access jobsites like islands, towers or remote areas. The team has even helped fly in wood to repair the Grouse Grind, a popular hike in the Metro Vancouver area. In the city this means occasionally replacing hot tubs or helping replace the Shaw Tower’s sign. 

The company also does work for North Shore Rescue, which aids people missing, injured or lost in the region’s outdoors.


Follow the author on Twitter @RussellReports.

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