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Papillon, March 30, 2015 - BOULDER CITY, NEV. – For the first time, Papillon Group will unveil its "Golden Helicopter" on Thursday, April 16 at 2 p.m. The celebration will be the culmination of 50 years of hard work from three generations of one family.
The Golden Helicopter, also known as "Copter 50," will arrive at Papillon's Boulder City Aerocenter* via a 5-helicopter formation. This ceremonial formation symbolizes five decades of operation as the world's largest and longest-running helicopter tour company. On board the helicopters will be three generations of the Halvorson family, including Elling Halvorson, chairman and founder, Papillon Group. Once the helicopters have landed, members of the Hualapai tribe will officially bless the brand-new helicopter. More than 250 guests are expected, including dignitaries, community leaders and industry influencers, as well as nearly 100 Papillon employees.
"This dazzling helicopter was created to commemorate our golden anniversary and to celebrate the greatest aviation team in the tourism industry," says Brenda Halvorson, president and chief executive officer, Papillon Group.
Beginning Thursday, April 23, the Golden Helicopter will be entered into Papillon's regular tour rotation and utilized throughout 2015.
Rossi Ralenkotter, president and CEO, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority adds, "I’m pleased to recognize and congratulate Papillon Group on its 50th anniversary. The vision of Elling Halvorson helped bring a whole new type of attraction to Las Vegas – aerial tours. Papillon helped make Las Vegas the true gateway to the Grand Canyon and provide our visitors with an exhilarating new way to see the sights in and around Southern Nevada. Congratulations on 50 years and best wishes for many more."
The concept of a symbolic 50th anniversary helicopter was several years in the making. The unique gold livery with red eagle is a reversal of Papillon’s traditional red livery with the gold eagle. The original livery was designed by Airbus Helicopters, along with Papillon executives, in 2002 as a throwback to the original Grand Canyon helicopter logo designed by Elling Halvorson in 1965. The interior package for this helicopter was created and manufactured by Andy Mirabelli, owner, American Aircraft Interiors. The Airbus H130T2 is a light, single-engine helicopter equipped with the latest navigation and safety technology and a spacious modular cabin that can accommodate one pilot plus up to seven passengers. It is the quietest helicopter on the market: its Fenestron tail rotor and automatic variable rotor speed control result in a significantly reduced external sound level.
Papillon's History: The company’s story began in 1965, thanks to the vision of Elling Halvorson, who was a young contractor at the time charged with building a 13.5-mile-long water pipeline from the North Rim to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. During this project, Halvorson was first introduced to helicopters, which he used to lower sections of pipeline into place. Upon completion of the project, he recognized the incredible opportunity to utilize helicopters for air tours and Grand Canyon Helicopters was born. The company would go on to make history by becoming one of the first aerial sightseeing companies in the world and the first helicopter tour operator to fly the Grand Canyon. Years later, as the company expanded into Hawaiian tour operations, it adopted the name Papillon Helicopters, which still remains to this day.
Halvorson’s daughter, Brenda, and son, Lon, both joined the company in the late '80s. Brenda Halvorson has served as president and CEO of Papillon Group for the past two decades while her brother, Lon Halvorson, has served as executive vice president, overseeing fleet acquisition and financing. Together, they have increased Papillon’s daily passenger volume by more than 600 percent and grown the fleet of aircraft from 23 to 75 in the past 20 years. The company is now welcoming a third generation of family into the business to ensure the legacy continues.
*Media must RSVP by Tuesday, April 14 to Marina Nicola at firstname.lastname@example.org. Media check-in time will be 1:30 p.m. The Boulder City Aerocenter is located at 1265 Airport Rd., Boulder City, NV 89005.
About Papillon Group: Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015, Papillon (French for "butterfly" and pronounced pah-peh-YOHN) is the world’s largest and longest-running helicopter tour company with 3,500 passengers served daily on 75 state-of-the-art helicopters and airplanes, specifically designed to reveal panoramic views beyond imagination. Family owned and operated, its brands include Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters, Grand Canyon Helicopters, Grand Canyon Airlines, Scenic Airlines and Grand Canyon Coaches. Papillon is also one of the few companies that fly the entire Grand Canyon, including the South and West rims, Las Vegas and Page, Ariz. Tours afford maximum flight time, enabling guests to fully discover the Grand Canyon’s great wilderness and scenic attractions