Enstrom Helicopter (Booth No. 4810) had its best year on record last year. With 16 helicopters delivered during the year–14 of which were Enstrom 480B turbine models priced at more than $1 million each–the Menominee, Mich.-based helicopter manufacturer earned its highest annual revenue in its 52-year history.
With the recent sale of a 480B turbine single to Wuhan Helicopters, Enstrom has returned to the Chinese market. It was in the early 1990s that the Menominee, Mich.-based manufacturer first sold helicopters into China when Wuhan Helicopters imported some of the first civil certified helicopters–Enstrom 280FXs used by the Wuhan Police and Enstrom 480s for agricultural spraying.
Days before Heli-Expo 2011, Enstrom Helicopter delivered the first of 30 TH-480B turbine training helicopters ordered by the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF), and the company is still hovering a little above the ground in the afterglow of the late February delivery ceremony in Japan.
The first Enstrom 480B helicopters to be equipped with Powerline Detection Systems (PDS), which are designed and manufactured by Safe Flight Instrument (Booth No. 1615) of White Plains, N.Y., will soon be flying. Safe Flight has begun delivery of three such systems to Enstrom, which will install them on new 480Bs destined for the Royal Thai Army.
Last year AgustaWestland (AW) acquired a majority interest in Polish airframer PZL-Swidnik. The deal included Swidnik’s long-in-development SW-4 light turbine single, which was on display at this year’s Farnborough airshow. While an AW spokesman declined to reveal the helicopter’s price, the SW-4 is widely believed to sell for a base price near $1 million, with prices approaching double that figure for a well equipped model.
The Japanese Ground Self Defense Force has selected the Enstrom 480B turbine single as its next-generation training helicopter and is scheduled to take 30 of the aircraft between now and 2014.
Enstrom Helicopter, which saw 12 of its 20 deliveries last year go to customers outside the U.S., is seeing a continuation of the trend in 2009.
Mere months after a corporate shakeup rocked Enstrom Helicopter to the roots of its mahogany row, the Menominee, Mich.-based rotorcraft manufacturer celebrated the largest single-customer sale in its 44-year history. Making the marketers dance was news of the sale of no fewer than 18 Enstrom 480Bs to the Indonesian National Police. The 480B is a turbine powered by a single Rolls-Royce 250-C20W.
Enstrom 480, Goshen, Ind., Aug. 5, 2005–The NTSB determined the landing accident was caused by “ground resonance experienced by the pilots.” The student pilot/owner was flying the turbine helicopter, accompanied by a 2,107-hour CFI, when it experienced ground resonance and disintegrated. The helicopter’s tail was sheared from the body and landed 30 feet away, the front seats about 10 feet away.
Enstrom Helicopter recently delivered the first five-place 480B destined for Turkey to Istanbul-based Enstrom dealer Kaan Air. Enstrom handed over the turbine-powered helicopter–which features Garmin avionics, a leather interior and a photo door–to Kaan Air Capt. Muzaffer Atici at its factory in Menominee, Mich.