For a bird’s-eye view of this resplendent tropical island – its rivers, mountains, green rice fields and myriad changing scenes of country and town – what better way than to fly over it all by helicopter? Upali Aviation, the pioneers of the private aviation industry in Sri Lanka and operators of the only licensed scheduled helicopter and fixed-wing air services to any comer of the island, offers a twenty-four hour service. Started in 1979 and backed by a well-trained force of experienced personnel, the helicopter service from door-to-door can be chartered to travel anywhere in the island.
The fixed wing planes will fly passengers from their base at Ratmalana to any airstrip in the islandAnuradhapura, Vavuniya, Jaffna, Sigiriya, Hingurakgoda, Koggala, Wirawila, Batticaloa and China Bay in Trincomalee. This valuable and much-needed service was initiated and set up by Mr. Upali Wijewardena, one of Sri Lanka’s most successful entrepreneurs, who in June 1978 became the youngest millionaire in Asia at that time. Their helicopters, Bell Jet Long Rangers, accommodate the pilot and five passengers on each flight and are mainly used by tourists visiting the Cultural Triangle and by expatriates involved in joint venture projects to inspect and visit their sites.
The fixed-wing flights are used primarily by civilians on internal flight sectors and by visiting tour groups. The entire operation of all the aircraft is done according to the regulations of the Director of Civil Aviation, who stipulates British Civil Aviation standards. The Upali Aviation base at Ratmalana has a full-fledged infrastructure hangar and a licensed maintenance workshop with all aircraft operational facilities. They provide an added advantage to foreign aircraft in maintaining, servicing and housing them.
Upali Aviation can proudly claim another step forward among their achievements with their flying school which was started on 4 August this year at Ratmalana. The syllabus is based on the British system and the complete examinations are conducted by the British Civil Aviation authorities and the Director of Civil Aviation in Sri Lanka. The students prepare for the Private Pilot’s License (PPL) and the Commercial Pilot’s Licence (CPL).
The men behind the flying machines at Upali Aviation are highly experienced and well qualified and they maintain consistently high standards, which ensures “a perfect touchdown” everywhere they go