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Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre
Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre (VHFC) is located on the City`s Waterfront immediately west of Canada Place. At peak periods there is a take-off or landing every few minutes here with the potential for some terrific views of the action when the visibility is good, and the towering, snowcapped Whistler peaks on the north side of the harbour form a dramatic backdrop.
With over 50 aircraft currently in operation, Harbour Air including its subsidiaries Westcoast Air, Saltspring Air and Whistler Air, has the largest all-seaplane fleet in the world. The airline was established and started operations in 1982 as Windoak Air Service to provide seaplane charter services for the forestry industry in British Columbia. In 1993, Harbour Air purchased Trans-Provincial Airlines, added charter flights to various resorts on Canad`s West Coast and increased scheduled services. A small subsidiary, Harbour Air Malta, was set up in June 2007 on the Mediterranean island and a DHC-3 Turbo Otter floatplane is permanently based in Valletta, for scheduled flights to Gozo and sightseeing trips over the islands.
Harbour Air`s De Havilland DHC-3 Otters and Twin Otters are utilised on the scheduled flights between the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. DHC-2 Beavers, including C-FWAC (below) service the Gulf Islands and Cessna 195s are available for charter. The Beaver was one of the most successful single engine aircraft designs ever. The type was in production from 1947-1964 and over 1657 aircraft were built with hundreds still flying at various locations around the globe. They are particularly suited for accessing remote wilderness areas of Canada and Alaska as float planes.
Disney Wonder sets sail for Alaska. The 83,000gt cruise ship can accommodate 2,400 passengers with a crew of approximately 950, plus of course Captain Mickey Mouse, and First Officers Donald Duck, Pluto and Goofy!
Above: C-FITF, a Harbour Air DHC-3 Otter.* Numerous smaller airlines visit the Terminal including Harbour Air`s subsidiary Saltspring Air who have recently moved their main base from Ganges on Saltspring Island to the VHFC. They operate a fleet of De Havilland Beavers. This is C-FZZJ. C-FJIM is a 1952 De Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver MK.1 of Tofino Air.* Below: C-GQKN, a Twin Otter of West Coast Air taxies out for take-off.* The Panamanian bulk carrier Bulk Titan. Queen Kobe, a Panamanian-registered bulk carrier is in the background. These shots were all taken in June 2013 when, in addition to the seaplanes, a few helicopters were buzzing around, including C-GCHJ, a Sikorsky S-76 of the BC Ambulance Service.
Yet another Harbour Air float plane touches down. The Hong Kong-flagged 288 metre-long bulk carrier Unique Brilliance is in the background.
An evening view of the Vancouver Waterfront and Seaplane Terminal from Coal Harbour.