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How AW139 type training took James Courtney from contracting to full-time touring

Ever wonder if a type course is worth it? Or what kind of people you will meet during training?

It has been two years to the day since we held our first AW139 type course, so we thought we’d check in with some of our past engineers to see what they’ve been up to. And who else would you rather hear from than the engineer in the Santa outfit?

James Courtney enrolled in our AW139 course because he wanted to shore up his pipeline of work as a contractor. But the day after he finished the course, he had an interview with CHC and has been working with them full time ever since.

Here is how he went from the army to contracting and then touring full time.

What is your current role?

I am a Touring Line Maintenance Engineer at CHC Helicopter. My main base is at Karratha, but I sometimes help out at the various RAAF SAR or EMS bases around Australia.

At Karratha, we currently service oil and gas customers including Woodside Energy, Jadestone Energy, BHP, Vermilion Energy and Santos. We have approximately 20 engineers on shift at any one time, and there are three AW189s and five AW139s.

How long have you been in aviation for?

I have been in aviation for over 20 years now. I did 12 years with the Australian Army on the Sikorsky Blackhawk. Since joining the civilian side, I have worked on many different types but I am licensed on Bell 412 and AW139.

Before joining CHC in 2017, I was a contractor (post-army days). I worked in many different organisations in Australia and in a few countries overseas including India, Papua New Guinea and Nigeria.

Why did you decide to get your AW139 licence?

It was a natural step at the time, as the AW139 fleet in Australia had tripled in a few short years. A full-time job wasn’t on the radar at the time, but I thought I could be permanently busy between the Bell 412 and AW139 by contracting to the various operators around Australia.

As it happened, I had an interview in Adelaide the day I finished my course at HeliTSA.

What did you get out of your course with HeliTSA?

I received great hands-on practical and theory knowledge that was extremely helpful from day one at Karratha.

What are you working on at the moment?

Oil and gas aircraft mainly, with some RAAF SAR work as well.

What advice do you have for engineers looking to work on the AW139?

Just pay the cash and get it done!

Wondering if type training is the right step for you? Take a look at our courses to see what to expect during your course.