Columbia Helicopters is a large heavy-lift helicopter company that specializes in precision, external load operations. It has worked for the United States agency for international development in Sudan for famine relief, has helped establish Saudi Arabia s civil defense, fire fighting and search and rescue helicopter force and carries out petroleum exploration and development support operations throughout the world. Columbia prides itself on its high standards of flight safety, cost-effective operations and maximum aircraft utilization. The company also believes in and contributes to the thinning of forests to prevent large-scale destruction from forest fires. Columbia began by selling helicopter rides at county fairs in 1957 and has headquarters in Aurora, Ore.