HAI Convention News

Eagle Copters, Ozark Aero Partner on T53 Type Cert Deal

 - March 10, 2022, 7:16 AM
Ozark Aeroworks and Eagle Copters are bolstering support for the T53 turboshaft engine after partnering to buy the engine’s type certificate. (Photo: Mariano Rosales)

Engine repair specialist Ozark Aeroworks and Canadian MRO and leasing company Eagle Copters (Booth 10960) have acquired the type certificate and intellectual property of the T53 turboshaft engine from Honeywell Aerospace, the Springfield, Missouri-based company announced on Wednesday at Heli-Expo. The deal enables Ozark to continue to support and maintain the more than 50-year-old family of engines that power the Bell UH-1H Huey, Huey II, and AH-1H Cobra, as well as Kaman’s K-Max and Bell 204, 205B, and 210 helicopters.

“It’s a long, very successful history on the T53 engine, and we’re proud to be associated with that,” said Ozark president and CEO Ken Essary. Eagle CEO Mike O’Reilly “and I personally have been working on and around this engine for well over 40 years. So, the engine means a lot to us.” There are about 1,800 T53s and its variants in use by the Air Force, foreign militaries, and civil operators, he said.

For more than 30 years Eagle used T53 engines on its leased fleet and overhauled them but made the decision seven years ago to close the engine line, O’Reilly explained, and move the overhaul work to Ozark. “We are now the proud owners of that engine line,” he said. “And we look very much forward to improving a number of things on that front.” Essary explained that Eagle provided financial and contractual support for the T53 deal.

With the type certificate in hand, Eagle and Ozark will use the opportunity to increase the reliability of the T53’s carbon seals and, through discussions with customers, implement best practices into the engine’s maintenance manual, Essary said. They may also consider manufacturing new T53s, although there is no immediate plan for that, he added. Eagle also will provide engineering support for the T53, as will Ozark, which Essary said plans to expand its in-house engineering team.

Also partnering with Ozark and Eagle on T53 support are aircraft aftermarket parts manufacturer Extex Engineering and parts distributor Norcatec.

At the same time, Ozark has begun moving to a larger facility in Springfield. The 73,000-sq-ft building replaces its 38,000-sq-ft facility, and the move is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter, Essary said.