Plans are in the works to reopen an Upper Michigan helicopter facility.
The Enstrom Helicopter Corporation filed for chapter seven bankruptcy earlier this year. The agreement comes with a new name: Enstrom Aerospace Industries. The new business will provide parts and support to the existing owners. along with new helicopters. Former Enstrom president Matt Francour says it will take time to close the transaction, but customers looking to order new parts and aircraft should be able to soon.
The asset purchase agreement was approved by the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Michigan as part of The Enstrom Helicopter Corporation’s Chapter 7 bankruptcy process.
Kevin Griffin, MidTex’s Principal, said, “We are extremely excited about acquiring these assets, restarting the former Enstrom facility, and expanding the scope of the business. We already have a number of former Enstrom employees working with us on a contract basis. After closing, we expect to make job offers to a substantial number of former Enstrom employees.”
MidTex expects to operate through a new entity, to be named Enstrom Aerospace Industries. The new business will provide parts and support to existing owners, as well as new helicopters. In addition, the new company plans to expand into providing engineering services and component manufacturing for other OEM’s. Upon closing, MidTex will acquire all of the former Enstrom parts, owned aircraft, tooling, materials, drawings, intellectual property, factory buildings and airport lease.
“This was just too good of an opportunity to pass up,” said Michael Dixon, Aviation Manager for MidTex. “Not only will we get a turn-key helicopter manufacturer with a great brand and an established customer base, we will also get an excellent springboard to launch an aerostructures and component manufacturing business. Most people don’t realize that Enstrom was vertically integrated, building nearly 90% of the helicopters under one roof. They had the facilities to build almost anything.” Dixon is also excited about the company’s engineering capabilities. “Enstrom had a great relationship with the FAA, and a proven track record of getting certifications quickly and efficiently. Likewise, we look forward to working with the FAA to expand to other aerospace projects, including eVTOL’s, fixed-wing, military equipment, and other advanced air mobility products,” said Dixon.
According to Matt Francour, former President of Enstrom, “The former employees and management team couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to work for a new company operating the facility. This was the best possible outcome. There are a lot of Enstrom helicopter owners out there who have been holding their breath, and now they can breathe a sigh of relief.” Francour’s sentiments were echoed by Dennis Martin, former Director of Sales and Marketing for Enstrom. Martin said, “Not only will MidTex bring financial backing to operate the facilities and expand the business, it has a real vision for the future that goes beyond just building helicopters. MidTex plans to invest and grow the company in a meaningful way. It’s incredibly exciting.”
With the expected new ownership structure after closing the sale, the question for many customers shifts to when they can order parts and new aircraft. “Soon,” says Francour. “It’s going to take a little time to close the sale transaction, get the employees back, and get production ramped up. But, MidTex understands that the immediate priority is restoring support to the fleet.”