Those of you who worked for Midwest Helicopters–especially you old-timers out there (I won’t mention any names, but I know some of you)–know about its colourful past. I was aware of some of it, of course, having worked there very briefly in the early ’70s, but I had no idea how far back the company went in aviation history–both fixed-wing and helicopter.
I had an email from Al Nelson, former GM of Midwest. He was offering some of his images from back in the day. Since I have some great memories of my all-too-brief time spent at Midwest, I thought I’d put them up. You can see some of Al’s photos here at the bottom of the page.
Thanks to Al Nelson, former General Manager of Midwest Helicopters:
Midwest Aviation was originally started by Jim McBride in the late fifties. He started with one Super Cub and worked up from there. Jim bought his first helicopter, a Hughes 269, about 1964. Al went to work for him in 1966 when he bought his first twin Otter and DC-3. He had several Bell 47s by then and acquired a couple of new Jet Rangers at about the same time. In the early seventies, Jim merged Midwest with Transair and Al became general manager of the Midwest Helicopter division. He left there in 1979. Jim later acquired Turbo-West helicopters and Al Nelson worked for him as operations manager from 1996 to 1999.
Al Nelson designed the yellow, brown and gold paint design that all the Transair and Midwest aircraft were painted. The brown was a Bell Helicopter color “Tangier Gold”, originally used on the 47s and the yellow was a 1970 Chrysler color.