We’re one of the largest combined helicopter and airplane flight training schools in the U.S., with students from over 75 countries across the world, but it wasn’t always that way.
Hillsboro Aero Academy, formerly Hillsboro Aviation, began as a one-helicopter flight school in 1980. The school grew as Hillsboro, Oregon thrived and airplane flight training was introduced early on.
In 1992, Ed Cooley, a man who helped shape Oregon’s economic, cultural and educational landscape used his years as a Fortune 500 CEO to solidify Hillsboro’s professional future for everyone.
Cooley hired Max Lyons as GM and VP of operations because of his love for flying and knowledge of the surrounding environment. Max was a ground crew member for a Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane and began his pilot career when he enrolled in Hillsboro Aviation’s helicopter professional pilot program. Lyons spent time as a Hillsboro helicopter flight instructor and the manager of our foreign student pilot program — he also flew turbine helicopters for a variety of operations.
He used his experience as a pilot to lead the development of the school, ensuring students got professional training and Hillsboro’s reputation strengthened with each graduate entering the workforce. After leading the school for seven years as its general manager, Lyons purchased Hillsboro Aviation from Cooley and became president and CEO.
In November 2014, Lyons sold the flight school portion of Hillsboro Aviation to Renovus Capital Partners and Graycliff Partners, and Hillsboro Aero Academy was born.
Our name has changed, but the company is still run by pilots, for pilots.