Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Business & Economics Entrepreneurship

One Hell of a Ride

How Craig Dobbin Built the World's Largest Helicopter Company

by (author) John Lawrence Reynolds

Douglas & McIntyre
Initial publish date
Jul 2009
Entrepreneurship, Business
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jul 2009
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2008
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


The hell-bent-for-leather story of helicopter magnate Craig Dobbin, a larger-than-life figure and one of Canada's greatest entrepreneurs.


One Hell of a Ride traces the life, triumphs and tragedy of Craig Laurence Dobbin, weaving a tale that is inspiring, amusing, tragic and, like its subject, never less than gripping. Dobbin was an irrepressible Newfoundlander who counted prime ministers and U.S. presidents among his friends, teetered on the edge of bankruptcy for much of his life, and remains a legend among all who knew him.


Born during the Great Depression, Dobbin built a small empire in real estate and discovered the joy of fishing in remote salmon pools. To reach these he bought a helicopter. Ten years later, he was running CHC Helicopters, a public corporation earning hundreds of millions of dollars annually, most from ferrying men and equipment to offshore oil platforms. He soon grew the company into the largest operation of its kind in the world.


When he died in October 2006, Dobbin left behind a legacy of business and personal achievements unmatched by any Canadian of his time. Everyone who dealt with him agrees: they will never see his like again.

About the author

John Lawrence Reynolds has had thirty works of fiction and nonfiction published. His work has earned two Arthur Ellis Awards for Best Mystery Novel, a National Business Book Award, and a CBC Bookie Award. His bestselling book Shadow People, tracing the development and influence of secret societies through history, was published in fourteen countries and twelve languages. He has also authored several business and investment books, including the bestselling The Naked Investor and its sequel, The Skeptical Investor, as well as his assessment of the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, Bubbles, Bankers & Bailouts. A Murder for Max is his first book in the Maxine Benson Mystery series. He lives in Burlington, Ontario, with his wife, Judy. For more information, visit

John Lawrence Reynolds' profile page

Editorial Reviews

"This book could just as easily have been called 'One Hell of a Read.'"

National Post

"[One Hell of a Ride] is a great balance between the human side of its subject and the hard-edged details of his business ventures...It confirms that all the cliche attached to Craig Dobbin over the years 'one of a kind, larger than life' really were true."

Vertical Magazine

"One Hell of a Ride is not another dry biography about another successful business person. On the contrary, it is a page turner due, in equal parts, to the writing and to the subject. Larger-than-life Newfoundlanders often seem to fall into two categories: fictional characters or politicians. Craig Dobbin had qualities of both. His 71 years...became the stuff of legend...and like the best politicians, Dobbin could inspire people to join him in making his dreams realities."

Chronicle Herald

"Newfoundland's Craig Dobbin decided to invest in a helicopter to ferry himself to remote spots where he could fish for salmon. It was uneconomical, so he decided to look at leasing out the helicopter. One thing led to another (as it usually did for the daring entrepreneur) until he owned the largest helicopter in the world. In One Hell of a Ride, writer John Lawrence Reynolds tells Mr. Dobbin's inspirational story, from buying companies with no apparent assets to be able to pay for them, to his life-saving lung transplant, to his love match with his younger wife."

Globe & Mail

Other titles by John Lawrence Reynolds