company history

Founded in 1980 by Vietnam veteran Brian McMahon, McMahon Helicopter Services, Inc., began with one leased Bell 206B helicopter. Brian was a man known for getting things done. His strong work ethic and his drive to put the customer's needs first helped grow the business consistently over the next 20 year period.

Brian started out providing niche services to the automotive, energy and motion picture and television industries –eventually growing his helicopter charter fleet to 8 aircraft. Perhaps one of the greatest examples of how technology can improve business was when Brian purchased one of the first Motorola "brick" phones for $4,000 in 1984. According to Brian, "I doubled my business nearly overnight" thanks to his new found ability to "instantly respond" to customer calls. The brick phone quickly became a standard issue piece of equipment to all pilots at McMahon. Nowadays the pilots prefer their iPhones.  

In addition to his helicopter business, Brian McMahon co-founded and financed a separate entity, Aerial Films, Inc., in the mid-1980's, which specifically provided aerial film production services to the motion picture and television industry. Aerial Films eventually went on to pioneer and manufacture gyro-stabilized camera systems known as the "Gyrocam" and other revolutionary camera isolation mounts specifically designed for helicopters. This new technology changed the way the television news industry captured breaking stories from the air. It also helped to create a full-time news helicopter industry, known as Electronic News Gathering (ENG), which rapidly expanded to nearly every major market within the United States. Aerial Films later became Gyrocam Systems LLC and is now a division of Lockheed Martin. 

In 2006, McMahon Helicopter Services diversified its charter business and began offering helicopter maintenance and sales services to customers who owned and operated aircraft. In 2008, McMahon became a Robinson Helicopter Company factory authorized dealer and service center. The maintenance services part of the company has since expanded and regularly services  over 20 regional aircraft (in addition to McMahon's own fleet of 4 helicopters).  

Brian McMahon pictured in New York in the early 1990's with a Bell 206B and his patented Super Nose Mount designed specifically for the Wescam camera system.


Three of McMahon's Sikorsky S-58T cargo aircraft pictured over downtown Detroit in 2001.


A Robinson R66 goes through inspection at McMahon's 10,000 sq. ft. maintenance facility.

In early February of 2014, Brian McMahon unexpectedly passed away from heart complications at the young age of 63. Brian is remembered by his family, friends and employees as one of the most generous and trusting people in the world. In his career Brian logged well over 20,000 hours of accident free flight time, which included time in numerous makes and models of helicopters and airplanes. He is remembered as one of the finest helicopter pilots who truly helped pioneer new uses for helicopters and promoted the helicopter industry wherever he traveled and with whomever he met. 

McMahon Helicopter Services, Inc., is owned and operated by Brian's two sons, Nick and Nate McMahon. Nick serves as President and has worked for the company since 1997. Nate  serves as Vice-President and has worked for the company full-time since graduating from Arizona State University in 2009. Nick and Nate McMahon are both rated helicopter pilots and like Brian, continue to run the company with the same drive for getting things done and always put customer's needs first.

In June of 2015, McMahon received FAA authorization to conduct commercial Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) operations, more informally referred to as "drones". McMahon plans to slowly integrate UAS operations into its flight operations currently being conducted by certified aircraft. Some of this work includes aerial film production, surveys and other transportation applications. As FAA regulations become more conducive to those types of work, UAS will become a large part of McMahon's flight operations as business aviation moves into the future...