Global heavy-lift helicopter operator and manufacturer Erickson will expand on that latter capability with the announcement here at Heli-Expo that it has been selected as the U.S. manufacturer for the Seeker purpose-built light observation aircraft.
“To ensure the quality of the Seeker’s construction meets the demands of its end users, we are very pleased to have a partner whose dedication to excellence assures us of producing a top-quality aircraft,” noted Seeker Aircraft CEO David Pohlman. The light fixed-wing aircraft with short takeoff and landing (STOL) capability is currently flying operations in more than 10 countries including the U.S., where it is in use by the New Mexico State Police.
Based in Portland, Ore., Erickson (Booth 9251) recently bolstered its leadership by hiring industry veteran Rob Lewis as vice president and general manager of its commercial business unit. Lewis succeeds Andy Mills, who was named vice president of global business development. Also joining the company is Gary Starr, vice president of global supply chain; Erick Nodland, global director of operations; and Chris Maynard, Erickson’s business development manager for Alaska.
Known also for its heavy-lift helicopter maintenance, the company was recently subcontracted by Adams Communication & Engineering Technologies to refurbish two MH-53E Sea Dragons, the largest rotorcraft in the U.S. Navy’s inventory. The company also completed the delivery of the last of five out-of-production tail pylons to Sikorsky to support the U.S. Marine Corps CH-53E program.
On the operational front, the Erickson S-64F Aircrane continues to prove its versatility in a variety of operations around the world. The company was just contracted by NASA to study the concept of using a helicopter to conduct mid-air retrieval of spacecraft upon atmospheric re-entry. The company is also partnering with India’s largest private developer of power transmission systems to install nearly 160 power line towers in the country’s rugged Pir Panjal mountain range. It will mark the first time transmission lines will be constructed in India using a precision heavy-lift helicopter.
Lastly, the company recently announced the renewal of two Canadian aerial timber harvesting contracts, marking the company’s return to its roots. “Erickson has operated in Canada for more than 30 years,” said Mills. “Aerial timber harvesting is where we began as a company.”