Enstrom Goes Glass, Gets New Owner

 - March 5, 2013, 7:30 PM

Enstrom Helicopter is displaying one of its 480B single-engine turbine helicopters at Heli-Expo with Garmin G1000H glass-panel avionics and is making the installation available to customers as an option. The move to G1000H avionics adds Enstrom to the growing list of helicopter manufacturers that have adopted glass cockpits.

The G1000H in the 480B integrates all primary flight information, navigation data, communications, terrain awareness, traffic, weather and engine parameters on two 10.4-inch, high-resolution displays. Features of the new flight deck include helicopter synthetic vision technology (HSVT), helicopter terrain awareness and warning system (H-Taws), datalink weather and Tcas. Enstrom is aiming for certification of the installation by mid-summer, and will price the option at “about $155,000,” said Jerry Mullins, Enstrom’s president and CEO.

Power on the 480B comes from a Rolls-Royce M250 engine. Here at Heli-Expo, Rolls-Royce announced that the 31,000th M250 was delivered to Enstrom for installation in a 480B, slated for delivery to Japan’s Ground Self Defense Force. The M250 has amassed more than 223 million flight hours over 50 years of service.

Enstrom (Booth No. C4322) announced late last year that it has been acquired by Chongqing Helicopter Investment Co. (CQHIC) for an undisclosed price. The acquisition “will provide Enstrom with the needed resources to enhance marketing efforts in China and around the world,” said Mullins. Enstrom has focused much of its export efforts on Asia with some success in recent years–particularly in China, Japan and Thailand–and has expanded its workforce by 50 percent over the last 18 months. It appointed its first Chinese dealer in 2011.

Mullins said the purchase will not interfere with Enstrom’s sales of helicopters to Japan’s Self-Defense Force.

CQHIC said it is focused on helping Enstrom expand its reach into China and the rest of the world. “The number of helicopters in Asia represents only a small percentage of the number of helicopters in the U.S., while Asia has a significantly larger population and is expected to be a major market for helicopters over the next two decades,” Enstrom noted.

CQHIC itself purchased six Enstrom helicopters in 2012, and here at Heli-Expo Mullins announced CQHIC will purchase an additional 10 helicopters from the company this year and perhaps 15 the following year.