The personnel of Industrial Helicopters have been in the herbicide application business for 50 years and the aviation business for 40 years. J. Oran Richard began herbicide applications in 1960. He incorporated Industrial Weed Control in 1964 and began a one man herbicide ground application business serving a range of customers in South Louisiana that grew into a client base ranging throughout the Gulf Coast by 1970.
Seeing the potential of aerial application and the benefits of aviation, he purchased the first helicopter, a Bell 47G5 in 1970. J.O. incorporated Industrial Helicopters in 1973, expanded its aerial application services and by the late 70’s began offshore personnel transportation services to support the rapid growth of oil and gas exploration in the Gulf of Mexico.
By the early 90’s, Industrial Helicopters had grown to a fleet of 21 helicopters serving the oil and gas industry as well as herbicide application. In 1990, J.O.’s son, Mike, attended the Bell Helicopter Flight Training School in Fort Worth where he received his pilots license at the age of 18. Mike became involved on a full time basis in the operations of Industrial Helicopters in 1995. Since then he has expanded the herbicide application business and currently operates 4 Bell 206BIII’s and 1 Bell 47 G5A/Soloy and has taken it from South Louisiana to its current expansion range as far as Pennsylvania.
Industrial Aviation is a result of J.O. merging Industrial Helicopters and American Aviation Charters, LLC at which time Mike became a Partner.