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Costa Rica has very diverse terrain in which helicopter pilots can experience four or five microclimates in one flight. From high-altitude mountain ranges (Mt. Chirripo is the highest at 12,500 feet msl), to coastal regions, to rain forests, to dry jungles, they have it all. Because of the beautiful and challenging terrain, pilots come from all over the world to train in both helicopters and airplanes.


AENSA, the flight training arm of the business, utilizes Robinson R66 and R44 helicopters for its helicopter training alongside two single-engine and one twin-engine airplane for its fixed-wing pilot students. According to Laurencich, AENSA carries approximately 12 helicopter pilots and over 100 fixed-wing pilots in training at any given moment.


On the commercial side of the business, Aerotour operates a Bell 407GX alongside an Airbus H125 B3e and a Robinson R66. “All three helicopters complement one another, and as far as single-engine turbine helicopters go, the mixed fleet provides flexibility and there’s not much the company cannot do, depending on client needs,” said Laurencich. Approximately 30% of the charter business done by Aerotour is from Costa Ricans, with the remaining 70% from international clients.


Aerotour and AENSA are proud to perform all maintenance in-house with a team of five personnel, which includes a director of maintenance, three mechanics, and one administrative person. Mechanics are trained at OEM factory schools in the U.S. In addition to maintaining their own aircraft, the company also provides maintenance services to other helicopter operators in Costa Rica.


With over 9,000 species of flowering plants, and 300,000 species of insects, Costa Rica hosts more than 5% of the world’s biodiversity even though its landmass only takes up .03% of the planet’s surface. Additionally, more than 25% of Costa Rica’s land is dedicated to national parks, reserves and wildlife refuges. There are more than 150 different protected areas to visit. Partly because of their recreational, laid- back ‘pure life’ culture, Costa Ricans have a life expectancy of almost 80 years, one of the highest in the world. Still, Laurencich and the Aerotour team do have all the stressors of any other helicopter business in the world, but with a pura vida mind-set as the rule, along with a pioneering and entrepreneurial spirit, the life expectancy of Aerotour and AENSA should be a long and healthy one.


54 Jan/Feb 2019


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