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The Kostner brothers take off

It only takes a few minutes to fly up 3,500 metres and away over the jagged peaks of the Dolomites. Gabriel and Marco Kostner know this feeling well. Neither of them enjoy staying on the ground, neither in the summer nor in the winter. As well as the helicopters, the brothers let a very special invention “shoot into the air”.

It all started with hang-gliding. Gabriel was 13 years old when he took off for the first time, his brother Marco was 18. The two brothers inherited the passion from their grandfather. Their older brother Raffael is the founder of Aiut Alpin, the air rescue service in the Dolomites. Marco and Gabriel are also mountain rescue pilots. Together they founded Elikos in 1998, a company specialising in private flights and materials transport in difficult-to-reach areas.

Their helicopter base is in Pontives, near Ortisei (St. Ulrich) in Val Gardena. This is where the brothers start their helicopter trips around the spectacular mountains of the Dolomites. In the winter season, transfer flights are offered from one skiing area to another. Domestic and foreign flights to different destinations, hotels and airports are also possible if you want to avoid the winding mountain passes and traffic. As the Dolomites are a grand backdrop for aerial photographs, the two brothers even work together on film and television productions.

Good ideas often come when you least expect them. That’s how it was for us when we heard the firecrackers waking up the bride and groom on their wedding day.

Gabriel and Marco Kostner

When firecrackers go off on a wedding day, Gabriel and Marco noticed how it triggered a pressure wave. “This is exactly what a targeted avalanche needs,” says Gabriel. This led to the brothers inventing “Daisy Bell”. This bell contains oxygen and hydrogen and when you mix the gases together they explode. If close enough to the snow cover, the resulting pressure wave will set off an avalanche.

In dangerous situations, streets and ski slopes have to close immediately. “With a helicopter and the Daisy Bell we’ve managed to defuse countless avalanches by setting them off,” explains Marco. The system of the two brothers from Val Gardena is now sold throughout Europe. Daisy Bell has also set off numerous avalanches in the Dolomites – to the delight of Gabriel and Marco. And countless skiers and hikers.

When we’re up in the air, we don’t just feel free, we feel at home.

Information about Elikos Helicopterservice

Elikos offers a variety of services: round trips in the Dolomites, domestic and foreign flights, ski transfer, aerial shooting, goods transport and installation flights.

Telephone: +39 331 8877888

Email: info(at)


Address: Pontives 26/A – 39040 Laion

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