Barry Hewko was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and grew up on a farm near the small town of Dugald, MB where he attended high school and formed his interest in aviation, especially helicopters. He began his aviation career in 1968 by attending and successfully graduating from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in the Aircraft Maintenance Engineers program. He served the majority of his apprenticeship with Rocky Mountain Air Services (later called the Copter Shop) in Calgary concurrently while he was attending the S.A.I.T. program.
Barry joined Klondike Helicopters where he was employed as an AME working on Bell 47, 206, and 205 helicopters. He primarily worked in the NWT, Arctic, and South America (Venezuela). In 1974 he became a co-owner of Tundra Helicopters where he saw his duties expanded to include flying as well as maintenance. Tundra operated Bell 47-G3B-1, Bell 206B, and Sikorsky S55T helicopters. In 1978 Barry went to work for Vancouver Island Helicopters (VIH Helicopters Ltd) where his talents were soon realized and he became Chief Engineer. About 1985 he became general manager, a director, and partner in the company. Under Barry’s guidance as General Manager combined with his strong engineering background the VIH maintenance and overhaul shop located at the head office facility at the Victoria International Airport in Sidney flourished not only providing in-house service but also services to third parties. Barry played an instrumental role in the development of the ‘VIH Easy Loader’, a patented patient loading/stretcher system, which was installed in the VIH Bell 222UT helicopters and also sold worldwide. Under Barry’s guidance VIH became a prominent player in the Bell 222 model operating and overhaul expertise through buying / overhauling / installation of EMS (Emergency Measures Services) interiors and sales throughout the world. During Barry’s time at VIH he demonstrated strong leadership, dedication to maintenance quality, and compassion for employees. Since 2005 Barry Hewko has operated his own Aviation Consulting Firm.
VIH Helicopters Ltd. and Barry were always strong supporters of the Pacific AME Association; they supported and participated in the local and annual symposiums. In addition to sponsoring employees to attend training seminars VIH Helicopters Ltd. provided sponsorship and assistance providing training seminars to the local aviation community. His expertise, advice and assistance are still sought by colleagues and companies around the world. Barry has a reputation for providing a knowledgeable common sense solution to helicopter problems. During his career Barry has helped many others establish their careers and always takes the time to assist anyone in need.