Flying M Air, LLC is a Wenatchee, WA area helicopter operator that has been serving the western United States since 2001.
Flying M Air was founded in October 2000 when it acquired a 1999 Robinson R22 Beta II helicopter. This 2-place helicopter was leased to a flight school in Chandler, AZ, from October 2000 through May 2001.
In October 2001, Flying M Air began FAA Part 91 helicopter sightseeing tour operations at Wickenburg Municipal Airport in Wickenburg, AZ. In addition to tours, the company provided aerial photography services to individuals and real estate companies. The business was expanded for the winter 2003/2004 season with the lease of a 4-place Robinson R44 Raven helicopter. This larger helicopter enabled the company to triple its tour business and offer rides and tours from locations other than Wickenburg. This helicopter was returned to its owner when the lease was up in April 2004.
Airport FBO Operations
In October 2002, Flying M Air won the Wickenburg Airport Fuel Manager contract and took over operations of the airport’s fixed base operation (FBO). In the process, it completely renovated the town-owned airport terminal building’s interior and landscaping and made many other highly acclaimed improvements to the facility. The company also started a pilot shop based at the airport and began selling aeronautical charts and pilot supplies online. Flying M Air sold its interest in the Fuel Manager contract and gave up airport FBO operations in May 2004 and discontinued its mail order business in January 2005.
A New Helicopter
In June 2004, Flying M Air placed an order for a new Robinson R44 Raven II helicopter. Because of a six-month backlog of orders, the helicopter was not delivered until January 2005. Flying M Air sold its R22 helicopter in October 2004 in preparation for the new arrival and now exclusively operates the R44.
Part 135 Operations
In February 2005, the company received its FAA Part 135 operating certificate. This allows Flying M Air to offer longer tours, including tours with intermediate stopping points, and provide air taxi services throughout the 48 contiguous U.S. states.
Aerial Photography Operations
Since the beginning, Flying M Air has offered aerial photographers a platform for still and video photography ranging from land, development, and building projects to high-speed automotive and boat racing events. The company has worked on extensive projects, including a full-week southwest photo tour offered by a Chicago-based photographer.
Overnight and Multi-Day Excursions
In July 2006, Flying M Air began offering its first Southwest Circle Helicopter Adventure, a 6-day, 5-night journey around the southwest’s most popular destinations. This excursion was featured in the May 2009 issue of Arizona Highways magazine, which also called it “The Best Way to See Arizona in a Week” in the August 2009 issue.
Flying M Air began offering custom excursions in 2009, giving its clients the ability to design their own dream vacation by helicopter.
In June 2008, Flying M Air began offering cherry drying services in Central Washington State. This became an important part of the company’s business, which is expanded annually through partnerships with other owner-operator helicopter charter businesses.
In 2013, Flying M Air added frost control services for almond orchards in California’s Central Valley. In 2014, the company did its first corn pollination job.
Flying M Air still offers all of these agricultural services throughout the west.
Moitek Gyro-Stabilized Camera Mount
In August 2010, Flying M Air acquired a Moitek Gyro-Stabilized Camera Mount. Designed to fit our R44 helicopter, this professional video equipment offers our aerial videography clients a stabilized platform for shooting video from the air, making the company a cost-effective alternative to more expensive helicopter stabilization options.
In the summer of 2011, Flying M Air began offering wine-tasting tours during the summer months in the Wenatchee area of Washington state. The wine-tasting tour business has since evolved to include year-round half-day trips to wineries in Chelan and Quincy, WA. Overnight excursions to Walla-Walla are under development.
Move to Washington State
In the spring of 2013, Flying M Air made a permanent move to the Wenatchee area of Washington. It no longer provides any services in Arizona, although it does still travel throughout the west for agriculture services and other seasonal contract work.