Korean helicopter winter test ‘worth $2M’ to Yellowknife


A South Korean aerospace company is about to test one of its helicopters in the frigid winter temperatures of the Northwest Territories. 

According to the territorial government, Korea Aerospace Industries will conduct cold-weather testing on an in-development light armoured helicopter at Yellowknife Airport.

The helicopter is expected to arrive in the city on Sunday on an Antonov 124, a massive cargo aircraft, with testing stretching until early February. The Department of Infrastructure said the aircraft had originally been due to arrive on Friday but the inbound flight from South Korea had been pushed back.

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“This is one of many successful partnerships bringing innovation and economic opportunities to the North,” infrastructure minister Diane Archie said in a statement.

“As one of the best Arctic cold-weather testing destinations, YZF will continue to work with private partners and leaders of the aviation industry to attract more cold-weather testing opportunities while also contributing to local economic growth and success,” the minister continued, using an abbreviation for Yellowknife Airport.

Korea Aerospace Industries has contracted Det’on Cho Logistics, part of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation’s financial arm, to coordinate logistics.

The Korean company is sending 40 staff, including engineers and pilots, to spend 10 weeks in Yellowknife working on the testing program. The NWT government estimates that work will inject $2 million into the local economy through spending at hotels, restaurants, and other businesses. 

The territorial government said Korea Aerospace Industries employees will comply with existing public health orders.

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