Friday, March 22, 2013
New Chinese Ownership Brings ‘Great Change’ to Enstrom
Enstrom Helicopter of Menominee, Mich. used Heli-Expo 2013 in Las Vegas as a backdrop for the introduction of a Garmin G1000H flight control option for its 480B light turbine aircraft. The fully integrated system is primarily a flight information source that provides terrain avoidance, collision awareness, weather and engine data on two, panel-mounted displays.
“It’s already been flying and we’re in the certification process,” Enstrom President Jerry Mullins explained to a gathering of conference attendees. “We think it’s an innovation that’s really going to propel our product to compete in the industry.”
Enstrom CEO Jerry Mullins and Guo Huaqiang, with parent company CQHIC. Photo by Andrew Parker
Mullins expects the system package to sell for approximately $155,000 and to receive FAA certification by September 2013.The first aircraft example will go to long-time customer Rick Boswell, who approached Enstrom about adding the system to their product line as an option.
“You’re going to see a lot of new improvements like this.” Mullins said. “It’s exciting for us.” Enstrom’s sales figures had been suffering for many years, mostly due to its larger, more financially backed competition. But in late December of 2012, the 53-year-old company was purchased by Chongqing Helicopter Investment Co. (CQHIC), of Chongqing, China. The infusion of cash from a firm based in a region where rotorcraft sales are expected to quadruple soon, dovetailed with Mullins’ second announcement, which was the sale of 10 Enstrom helicopters to its parent company in Chongqing.
Enstrom booth at Heli-Expo. Photo by Ernie Stephens
With a population of 28 million residents, Chongqing is the fourth largest metropolitan area in China. It currently operates six Enstrom aircraft, and will be ordering another 15 helicopters from the company in the near future.
“We’re seeing a great change in the company coming from our new ownership,” Mullins proudly stated. “So, you’re going to see a new Enstrom on the horizon, and some great things are going to be happening here!”
Related: Airframe News