Second try for copter pad ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY

January 13, 1993

The go-go economy of the 1980s may not return. But Stanley and Gary Bierc, the father-and-son team that has opened a commercial heliport at the Power Technology Center, is betting on an upturn, not to mention increased road congestion in the growing Mid-Atlantic megalopolis that stretches from Richmond to Philadelphia and beyond.

If those things happen, their new heliport venture may turn out to be a success, whizzing businessmen between Annapolis and the Baltimore-Washington area airports, to ski resorts and beach towns, even Atlantic City gambling and Broadway shows. Never mind that a previous heliport at the Power Technology Center's site on Defense Highway lasted only five months.

That ill-fated earlier venture by other entrepreneurs showed the correct vision, according to the Biercs, but was ill-timed because it coincided with the recession and the debilitating slow-down in much of the local real estate market and overall economy.

Things are different now, Gary Bierc says. "We are coming out of recession. People care about efficient travel. Helicopters are the most efficient travel, and they are safe."

Time will tell whether this enterprising pair is right on a number of high-risk assumptions they have made.

The economy, for example, may be on the rebound. But will enough corporations, after the extensive downsizings and reorganizations of the past two years, spend travel money as freely as they did previously?

Or will they keep watching their bottom line and "travel" via telephone and fax lines instead of chartering helicopters -- or even renting cars? And what about Army and Navy helicopters -- will they begin using the landing facility?

There is an old American saying, popular in military circles (and once, among aviation pioneers): "No guts, no glory." Spotting the right opening and correctly timing one's expedition into it has always been part of the American saga of business success.

The Biercs continue this daring entrepreneurial tradition. Should they fail, someone else will come along sooner or later and try the heliport idea again.

That's the American way.

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