Brian Patrick McMahon, president and founder of McMahon Helicopter Services, Inc. and cofounder of the Michigan Helicopter Association, passed away February 9. He was 63. As an entrepreneur, innovator, inventor, professional aviator, and flight instructor, Brian was recognized by many as a pioneer in helicopter aviation.
Brian became involved with helicopters during service as a door-gunner/crew chief with the United States Army in Vietnam. His actions earned him a Purple Heart, the Air Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, and the Vietnam Campaign Medal.
In 1980, Brian founded McMahon Helicopter Services, Inc., which started primarily to mitigate lost production time for automakers throughout the Great Lakes region. More than 33 years later, McMahon Helicopter Services continues to provide unparalleled, critical transportation services.
In addition to flying, Brian had a passion for film production, and in 1985, he cofounded Aerial Films, Inc. Brian, along with his teams at McMahon Helicopters and Aerial Films, developed and patented camera systems and mounts that continue to set the standard in aerial production today. He personally held two U.S. patents, flew in numerous feature films and television shows, and shot countless live productions of major events across the United States.
In the early 1990s, Brian changed the way the world watched live television events with development of a gyrostabilized camera system called the “GyroCam.” The GyroCam allowed camera operators to capture steady shots from the air without compromising the length of the camera lens or the aerodynamics of the helicopter.
Brian’s developments and years of dedication helped transform television news from what he called “I Missed It News” to “Eyewitness News.” He often referred to this technological transformation as “the GyroCam Revolution,” as it tremendously improved the way media was delivered from the air and how breaking news was brought to the television.
Aerial Films was reorganized as Gyrocam Systems LLC in the early 2000s and acquired by Lockheed Martin in 2007.
“It was my distinct honor and privilege to meet and work with Brian regarding the Michigan Helicopter Association’s activities last year at the FAA Great Lakes Aviation Symposium,” says HAI President Matt Zuccaro. “His passing notes a loss to the helicopter industry of a passionate and dedicated individual who has worked tirelessly over many years to enhance the safety and operational efficiency of our community. The thoughts and prayers of HAI and its members are with Brian’s family and friends.”
Brian is survived by his wife, Linda; children Nicholas, Nathaniel, James, and Kristen; and grandchildren James, Jr., Amelia, Penelope, Lillian, Evelyn, Benjamin, and Harry. Brian also leaves his siblings Lee, Mike, Peggy, Nancy, Judee, Paul, and Jamie. He was preceded in death by his brother Steve and sister Maureen.
- First Sikorsky S76D arrives in Europe
- Latest British Cabri G2 is first with Aspen Avionics panel
- Fourth Snow Landing Crash for The Helicopter Line
- Register Update – USA – week to 25 September 2016
- HeliAir Sweden Replaces MD500s with EC120B
- SB-1 Defiant and V-280 Valor to Fly in 2017
- Santo Domingo Heliport Expansion
- First search and rescue for MH-60R
- Australian military marks first EC135 Flight
- GNAAS seeks funding for base project
- Aircraft Structural Repair to sponsor UH1OPS.com
- Tribute fly past for National Police Memorial Day
- Apply for an HFI Scholarship
- M International Exhibiting at Helitech 2016
- CEO Rescue in the Rockies fundraiser raises nearly $400,000
- American Helicopter Museum marks 20th Anniversary
- Bristow Rescues Louisiana Residents from Flooding
- Airlift wins Norwegian marine pilot contract with AW169s
- Statoil report warns cost cutting should not risk safety
- Boeing and Korean Air Work on Unmanned MD500