In March 1985, Ueli Bärfuss and Leo Caminada founded HeliBernina AG. They started operating on 1st June 1985 with one helicopter and two employees. Shortly after this, the team doubled in size and in their first year they carried 4,500 tonnes of material to various mountain construction sites.
In 1990, HeliBernina moved into its own hangar. It was set to be a record year. The turnover doubled thanks to the storm front 'Vivian', which resulted in countless logging jobs. The colour yellow became the brand’s colour. In 1991, the Ecureuil B2, HB-XXL was purchased and proudly sported the new colours.
The company celebrated its 10th anniversary in 1995. It was an occasion to look back with satisfaction at our many successful projects, including the small Val Champagna power plant, the various film projects, and the major construction site at Lago Palü in the Poschiavo Valley. Once again, our loyal retail customers contributed the most to our positive annual returns.
The summers were often marked by forest fires in the Poschiavo Valley, Val Bregaglia, Misox and the areas above Bever. HeliBernina was significantly involved in helping to extinguish the fires. The winter avalanche of 1999 went down in history. For weeks, all HeliBernina helicopters were in use for evacuations, reconnaissance and avalanche triggering flights.
In the year 2000, founder Ueli Bärfuss retired. Despite the company reaching the 20,000 flying hours mark, this was the worst year in its history. During a landing in the mountains, one of the helicopters tilted onto its side. Ueli Stocker, our pilot, chief mechanic and dedicated member of staff from the very outset, lost his life in the tragedy.
The winter of 2003 is considered to be one of the best years in the company's history. The FIS Alpine World Ski Championships were held in St. Moritz, and 14 Helicopters of Heli Bernina and it's partners were in use throughout the two-week event.
2004 saw the completion of the 10-year project to develop and install a high-voltage power line from the Poschiavo Valley over the Bernina pass and into the Engadine Valley. During the following years, HeliBernina assisted with the execution of construction projects as well as avalanche safety measures and clean-up operations in the region. During the years 2011-2014, HeliBernina took part in several extraordinary support missions in the field of public security in Greece, Macedonia and Albania.
Perfect weather conditions, interesting contracts for high alpine construction sites, notably for a new cable car and chairlift, numerous loggingjobs and very demanding aerial work in special forestry missions, protection measures in the mountains and a renovation project of the Albigna dam characterized the anniversary year 2015.
Today, thanks to their large and loyal clientele, HeliBernina is firmly anchored in the region. Their varied activities and services are focused in the public domain, in line with their original vision. Although legislation has changed greatly over the years, the passion for helicopter flying still remains as strong as it was in 1985.