Our History

Henderson Aviation started 70 years ago in 1946, originally founded as Livingston Air Dusting. The company operated Stearman biplanes from the Corvallis airport, providing crop dusting services throughout the Willamette Valley.

Charles “Herb” Henderson began work as a line pilot for Livingston in 1947, and took over as Chief Pilot in 1951. In 1961, Herb purchased Livingston Air Dusting and changed the name to Henderson Aviation. In the 1970’s, Henderson Aviation debuted the first commercially operated turbine-powered helicopter on the west coast; a Bell 206 Jet Ranger.

From Father to Son

Herb retired in 1993, and his son, John Henderson, took over as president of Henderson Aviation. John Henderson began helicopter flight training in 1974 when he was 15 years old. Throughout junior high and high school, he spent most of his spare time hanging around the airport and working with his dad. John soloed on his sixteenth birthday in a Bell 47G4A, and received his private helicopter license in a Bell Jet Ranger on his 17th birthday in 1976. On his 18th birthday, he received his commercial helicopter license. Once John graduated from high school, he went to work at Henderson Aviation full time.

In 1980, when Mount St. Helens erupted, John and Henderson Aviation were recruited to capture aerial coverage of the volcano. For several months, John flew around the erupting volcano with NBC National News, The US Geological Survey, and various other entities.

In 1982, John received his qualification to pilot helicopters for the United States Forest Service. That same year, John was the primary pilot on an initial attack fire suppression contract for the U.S. Forest Service, flying a Bell Long Ranger, based at the John Day airport. He was the second youngest person on the entire crew.

john henderson with his dad and daughter

Henderson Aviation Now

Over the years, John attended numerous courses at the Bell Helicopter Training Academy, including ground, flight and maintenance courses for Bell Jet Rangers, Long Rangers and the Bell 407. He currently has over 10,000 hours of pilot in command time in helicopters.

John and all of the pilots at Henderson Aviation are Inter-agency approved and carded with both the Department of Interior and the United States Forest Service. In addition to FAA, Agency and Insurance standards, all of Henderson Aviation’s pilots have met high safety and flight experience qualifications.

John and his crew at Henderson Aviation have provided services for a wide range of customers over the years including government agencies, the United States Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife organizations, timber companies, land owners and sightseers looking for the trip of their life. The company continues to evolve as one of the most reliable helicopter aviation companies in Oregon, and looks forward to providing you with safe and professional service.

history of henderson aviation