Mesa company does aerial stunts for Hollywood

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

MESA, Ariz. -- Some of the airplanes flying out of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport are making Hollywood appearances.

International Air Response, an unusual company based at the airport, carries out aerial stunts for movies. The company's planes have been featured in blockbusters including "The Dark Knight Rises" and "Fast Five."

The company's most recent stunt work will be featured in "Fast & Furious 7," the latest installment in the popular action series.

Owner Billy Grantham said he enjoys being able to watch a stunt in action and see the finished product on film.

"When you see it on the screen sometimes, it's kind of surprising that you get the footage you get," he said. 

There are few companies that specialize in aerial stunts. International Air Response is one, but its mission is much broader.

The company has a fleet of C-130 planes that are used for NASA testing and U.S. military covert operations training.

The aircraft also respond to disasters, dropping dispersants on oil spills and providing humanitarian aid to disaster victims.

"We used it quite extensively during the Deepwater Horizon spill," Grantham said. "That was the first time it was used in the real world, other than testing, and the system worked flawlessly."

The company has a plane and crew in Singapore ready to assist victims of Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the Philippines earlier this month.

"It's a catastrophe that's going on and it's really the right thing to do for those people who are really in need," Grantham said.