Marianna Helicopter Manufacturing Owners Hopes Business Will Soar


Jackson County helicopter manufacturing owners Bobby and Delane Baker want to take their global business to new heights.

'Safari Helicopter' has been a well-kept secret in Marianna.

The couple acquired the once Canadian-owned company in 2009.

The Bakers are now getting back on their feet after a rough recession, and with a few changes in mind.

"We're hindered by the fact that we don't have enough space," said Delane Baker.

They need more production room since they are in the developing stages for creating a more sleek-modeled helicopter.

This helicopter requires a separate workspace.

They also need more room for their aircraft.

Most of the helicopters are housed in a hangar at the Marianna Municipal Airport.

"It is awkward that we don't have enough space to have all the helicopters inside the building," said Delane.

The new facility is three times the size of the current manufacturing site, and is only a mile and half away.

The Bakers are expanding production, but partnerships as well.

Abe Gaskins has experience with aviation and has joined the team as co-owner.

"I do think I bring some synergies in relationships, from flying with people that have the passion for aviation. Opportunities are created with passion," said Gaskins.

The Bakers said they'll be looking for more licensed helicopter mechanics.

They are hoping to hire more than the nine employees currently there for the next three years.

"Hopefully twenty, maybe even more. We're looking to grow the company much bigger than it is. That's what it's all about, growing your business and making it more profitable," said Bobby.

The Bakers are expected to move Safari Helicopter to the new location by next month.

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