Menominee, Mich.-based helicopter maker Enstrom doubled its workforce over the last year and recently completed a major plant expansion and remodel as it ramps up export sales of its 480B light turbine single and begins assembly and prepares for the first flight of its new TH180 piston trainer. The company employs more than 200 people, 30 of them engineers.
Enstrom executives told AIN that, on the strength of new sales to Venezuela and Japan, they expect to boost production from 32 aircraft this year to nearly 50 next year, with the majority consisting of the $1.17 million 480B. The plant expansion gives the company capacity to produce 100 helicopters annually.
CEO Tracy Biegler said Enstrom expects to receive the first Lycoming IO-390 engine for the TH180 this summer and make first flight by year-end. He expects the TH180 certification program will be relatively short and uncomplicated since the aircraft shares a common type certificate and critical components with the company’s other helicopter models.