Legacy and Innovators in Aviation
Bristow today is comprised of two great companies when we combined with Era in June 2020.
Bristow started as a small business to support oil and gas companies looking to transport crews to the rigs in the Persian Gulf, has grown to become one of the largest civilian helicopter companies in the world. Alan Bristow started Bristow in 1955 with a dream to create a vertical lift service company unlike any other in the world. That visionary beginning has turned into a fleet of aircraft servicing oil and gas, search and rescue (SAR) and aircraft support services to government and civil organizations across the world.
In 1948, an adventuresome young man named Carl F. Brady identified an opportunity to assist federal surveyors as the U.S. Government was preparing to map the vast uncharted territories of Alaska. Recognizing this unique opportunity, Brady founded "Economy Helicopters" and brought his Bell 47B helicopter to Alaska. Brady was unaware of it at the time, but his entrepreneurial and innovative spirit laid the foundation for what would later become the longest serving helicopter transport operator in the United States.
By 1950, Economy Helicopters had expanded its service model to include petroleum support and was instrumental in launching offshore petroleum operations off the Alaskan southern coast in the Kenai Peninsula. In 1958, Economy Helicopters merged with Rotor Aids to form ERA Helicopters. While many operators have played an important role in their area of operation, Era literally transformed Alaska with its early operations. Carl Brady helped map Alaska and his helicopters were crucial in the construction of the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline. Era played a role in expanding commercial and civilian access to new areas of the Last Frontier.
Our story is a remarkable one, not only because of the visionary and adventurous spirit of our leaders, but also because of the skill and courage of our people. Bristow has been defined as a leader in the aviation world through our safety standards, innovative processes and commitment to advancing the helicopter industry.