Businesses land new operations at SARA

Published 4:00 pm Friday, September 16, 2022

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McDermott Aviation, LLC and Isolair, Inc. announced Thursday the location of its business operations to the South Alabama Regional Airport in Covington County, bringing about 30 new jobs to the area.

McDermott Aviation was established in 1982, beginning operations as an Aerial Application specialist company. Since then, it has grown into Australia’s largest privately-owned helicopter company while still operating out of their original premises on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

The company has evolved over 35 years from providing purely Aerial Application operations to operating Australia’s largest fleet of privately owned helicopters and are currently the industry leaders in lifting/aerial crane operations, mosquito and fire ant control application, search and rescue operations, aerial application, VIP charter and freight, and aerial fire fighting – currently holding one of the greatest number of National Aerial Firefighter Centre contracts in Australia, and pride themselves on their level of fire fighting abilities, performance and customer service.

McDermott Aviation saw an opportunity to further expand its business and has just completed the acquisition of 12 Bell 214 ST helicopters. They were seeking a North American operation center and have landed at the South Alabama Regional Airport.

“We had a local contact tell us about the South Alabama Regional Airport and the reception we received was amazing,” said McDermott Air President John McDermott. “Working with SARA Executive Director Jed Blackwell, Covington County Economic Development Director Rick Clifton, and local officials made our difficult acquisition and site location decision a lot easier. We are happy to be a part of the Covington County community.”

Joining McDermott Air is Isolair, Inc. Founded in the early 1980s, Isolair was created to satisfy customers’ needs for helicopter equipment superior to those that were found on the market. In 1998, current owner Michael Powell purchased the company, and Isolair has continued to see consistent growth. Michael and his wife, Terry, have guided Isolair to sales that are in the millions of dollars yearly. With the increasing reliance upon helicopters throughout the world, Isolair is well positioned to propel the helicopter application industry throughout the next decade and beyond, with one goal in mind: design and manufacture equipment to fulfill the customer’s needs.

Isolair has been manufacturing quality helicopter systems for the firefighting, agricultural, and forest industry for the past 40 years. From agricultural spray systems, to seeders, torches, buckets, forestry grapples and fire-fighting equipment, Isolair offers a broad line of certified and custom helicopter equipment. Isolair and McDermott Aviation have been business partners for many years.

“We saw the opportunity to grow our business by relocating to Covington County. We have found that Alabama is truly business friendly and that is exactly what we need as we make this big transition,” said Michael Powell, president of Isolair. “My wife, Terry, and I are looking forward to making Covington County our home.”

The project was negotiated and approved by the Covington County Economic Development Commission, the South Alabama Regional Airport Board, the Covington County Commission, and the cities of Opp and Andalusia.

Blackwell said he is excited to welcome the airport’s newest partners.

“McDermott Aviation and Isolair locating at our MRO hangar is a big boost for our airport and our community. The jobs they offer will create opportunities for workers throughout our region. Thanks John and Michael for making South Alabama your headquarters!”

According to the CEDC, the companies will employ around 30 people and are looking for qualified A&P certified applicants to maintain and grow their Bell fleet and manufacturing facility. For employment opportunities, send a resume and application to Isolair at

For more information about McDermott Aviation visit

For more information about Isolair visit