Alpine Helicopters co-founder Ted Jansen died at the age of 86 on Sep. 21. He also was an avid agricultural philanthropist.
Jansen’s heavy involvement in agriculture and aviation stemmed from having been raised on a farm in Canada’s Porteeve area. In 1949, he moved to Alberta, where he worked on oil rigs, eventually becoming a head driller. He received a professional pilot’s license there in 1954 and then a commercial license and night rating thereafter.
In 1956, Jansen attended the Lewis College of Science and Technology, where he obtained a helicopter pilot’s license, and then moved to New Zealand where he served for a local company as an agriculture spray pilot.
Back in Canada under the name of Hawk Helicopters, Jansen bought his own helicopter and successfully contracted his services to Ontario-based Spartan Aviation in 1959.
Two years later, Jansen and Jack Nicholson formed Alpine Helicopters with two Bell 47s at a base in Calgary. Specializing in heli-skiing, tourism and firefighting services, the West Kelowna, British Columbia-headquartered company has now has numerous locations in Canada.
In his agricultural ventures, Jansen served as president of the Gelbvieh Cattle Assn. In the early 1970s, he was also involved with the effort that imported Canada’s first herd of lowline cattle, a small breed suitable to raise as locker beef or as docile pets. He also volunteered with the Calgary Stampede and the International Youth Livestock program, in addition to numerous other organizations.
As a philanthropist, Jansen donated regularly to area hospitals and medical programs, having been instrumental to the construction of a new Southern Alberta Institute of Technology facility at the Calgary International Airport.
Jansen is survived by his wife of 63 years, Enid; a sister, and several nieces and nephews. There was no funeral service, at Jansen’s request.