U.S. Helicopters Founder Cress Horne Dies at 61

 - January 19, 2021, 9:37 AM

Cresful William “Cress” Horne, Jr., who founded U.S. Helicopters as a college student and turned it into a nationwide company supporting the film, television, and a range of other industries, died on December 18 at the age of 61 at his home in Marvin, North Carolina.

Horne established U.S. Helicopters in 1979 while still a student at Wingate University, combining his passion for flying helicopters and his business understanding, according to his obituary information. The company began in a barn in Marshville, North Carolina, originally flying crop dusting missions and supporting aerial surveys of land and timber. U.S. Helicopters evolved into providing helicopter services for film and TV news, along with aerial surveys. In addition, it ventured into charter, maintenance, sales, and a range of other support activities.

Horne’s roles evolved with the company and he became a noted aerial director, pilot, and technical director of films with credits including The Fugitive, Nell, and The Gingerbread Man, among many others. He was a member of the Screen Actors Guild and Directors Guild of America.

But Horne ultimately returned to the Carolinas to expand U.S. Helicopters, as well as focus on his family, according to his obituary. He is survived by his wife Shawn King Horne, son Cresful William “Wil” Horne, III, and daughter Skylar Kimberlyn Horne.