Helistar — one of the first company to provide helicopter transportation service in Cambodia, has spent the past eight years making flying a safe option. Samnang Hin is the CEO of Helistar, he worked hard to change the perceptions of flying in Cambodia. “The helicopter industry was new,” Hin recalled. “People were scared because of past flying accidents, so we had to prove we were safe.”

In 2010, Hin had only two helicopters engineers who flew under flight permits. He developed a team to meet the requirements of being certified under the international standards of an Air Operator Certificate (AOC). This is the approval granted by a national aviation authority (NAA) to an aircraft operator to allow it to use aircraft for commercial purposes. This requirement makes sure that the operator has personnel, assets and system in place to ensure the safety of its employees and the general public.

To qualify for the AOC, Helistar engineers needed to pass three categories in the engineer department. First is the air frame or the body of the helicopter, second is the powerplant or the engine, and third, is the avionic or the electronics on a helicraft. All three must pass in order to qualify.

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Complying with American and European standards of aviations, Helistar uses the Federal Aviation Authority (FFA) and Civil Aviation Authority (CCA) to meet international standards. “Our pilots must be type rated, meaning certified and trained for a certain amount of time for that aircraft in order to fly,” Hin said. Stating that some pilots and engineers have trained in Cambodia or overseas, but all must pass in order to fly with Helistar.

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