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The State of the Helicopter Market

Posted 6 years 174 days ago ago by Admin

Last year was difficult: stock market volatility, Eurozone volatility, financing volatility, and for those of us in the helicopter industry—oil price volatility. Just why is the price of oil so important to helicopter values? The answer goes back almost 70 years.

In 1948, oilmen and fur trappers in Louisiana were in a dispute about the oilmens’ marsh buggies (used to reach drill sites) trampling muskrat breeding grounds ... and in turn the trappers’ livelihood. A very young Bell Helicopters brought in a demonstrator to show how the oilmen could bypass the breeding grounds by replacing marsh buggies with helicopters. Bob Suggs took that idea and ran with it, forming Petroleum Helicopters Inc (PHI). From there, helicopters found full-time work in the oil fields. PHI still remains a strong presence in offshore oil & gas, although they have been surpassed in size in the intervening decades by Bristow Group and CHC Helicopters.