Sunrise Aviation Co. Inc. was formed as a company in Estevan in 1992. Pilots trained in the Recreational, Private and Commercial Categories. Sunrise became successful in expanding airport usage, increased the fuel sales and began providing a charter service.
“It started over in Estevan actually, with a satellite school over here in Carlyle,” explained John Erickson, Operations Manager and Chief pilot. “I then sold my business up in Estevan and kept the one here. I just kind of kept it going.”
After Sunrise Aviation Co. Inc. decided to allow another company to take over the operation at Estevan, they moved to Carlyle full time where the same Flight Training and Charter Service are available to everyone in South Eastern Saskatchewan.
“I’ve been flying since 67’,” proclaimed Erickson. “Seeing students do their first solo and get their license, maybe even buy a plane, that’s my favorite thing. And of course I enjoy doing what all us pilots like doing, flying.”
Sunrise offers a Cessna 172 plane for rent at $170.00 per hour including fuel. They encourage renters and pilots to use the aircraft for weekend flights to visit friends or relatives at other locations, and for this reason block rates are available for this plane as well as the Cessna 177 aircraft.
Chartered services are even offered for companies to any destination within an 800 mile radius of Carlyle. An aircraft providing space for three passengers can be used, with a trip to Calgary taking approximately three and a half hours, costing on average 2,141 dollars. This price does not include taxes or the pilot expenses, but offers a fairly inexpensive and quick way of travel.
“I think working in the Carlyle area everybody is very positive and helpful. It is a really pleasant town to work in,” said Erickson. “People are very supportive but we’d like to do a little bit more charter work and hot shot work because we can get the job done quickly most times. If they want to use our services they aren’t that expensive considering it can be done quicker than by roads.”
Sunrise has 15 years experience under their belts in low level surveillance of power lines and pipelines. They offer experienced spotters who are trained at spotting leaks, line damage, structure damage, signage replacement, and encroachment.
“Getting in to and flying into bad weather is not fun,” Erickson said on his least favorite aspect of the job. “We do some pipeline work, and sometimes have to be out when the weather is bad. Sometimes we do power line control, and we are out trying to spot a problem in the power lines when the weather is pretty bad.”
They are up to speed with all the latest technology, using G.P.S. equipment for reporting their findings immediately. They hold a 702 and 703 charter license with Transport Canada and have special authorization for flight in built up areas.
“Here at Carlyle I’d like to develop a company that someone would like to take over someday, cause you know I’m getting close to retirement,” Erickson expressed eagerly. “So if we could create something that somebody would like to continue doing what I’m doing that would be great.
For all of those out there interested in signing up for your pilot training, and hope to one day get your license, Sunrise is ready for you.
“Here in Carlyle we’ve trained 35, close to 40 students just in the past two years,” Erickson said. “It’s 45 hours of flying time and the cost is usually ranging from ten to twelve thousand dollars to get your license.”