Australian Operator McDermott Aviation Celebrates 40 Years of Operation

May of 2024 saw Queensland, Australia-based McDermott Aviation celebrate 40 years of operation.

John McDermott, who still serves as the company’s founder and CEO, started the business after taking flight training during his aircraft mechanic apprenticeship. He later fell in love with helicopter operations after seeing a Bell 47 spraying grapevines along a river. At this pivotal moment, John decided he wanted to be a helicopter pilot and start a business in the same aircraft, the Bell 47, of which the company still owns and operates two types for agricultural spraying.

The next several decades would see McDermott Aviation grow into an industry juggernaut in Australia. Pioneering what would later become the booming aerial firefighting industry in Australia, the company became the largest worldwide operator of the Bell 214B, operating in multiple countries fighting fires.

The company has also recently embarked on an ambitious fixed-wing aerial firefighting mission, converting the C-160 to become an aerial firefighting aircraft with the assistance of Helitak Aerial Firefighting Equipment, providing a tank that will soon become part of a new aerial firefighting fixed-wing water bomber working in Europe.

Congratulations to John and the McDermott Aviation team on reaching 40 years of operation.

Ryan Mason
Ryan Mason
Ryan is an accomplished writer and aerial photographer that has worked in the aviation industry for over a decade before co-founding AerialFire Magazine. Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Ryan is a former police officer that focuses his writing and photography efforts on para-public operations and agricultural aviation.

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