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Enstrom: A Year in Review

Enstrom Factory Floor in Menominee, MI

On May 13, 2022, Chuck Surack, founder of Surack Enterprises, announced the purchase of Enstrom Helicopter Corporation in Menominee, Michigan. To say that a lot has happened at Enstrom in the 12 months since then would be an understatement.

“The factory is buzzing with excitement not felt in many years,” said Vice President of Sales and Marketing Dennis Martin. “There is no doubt that Enstrom is back and better than ever.”

To celebrate the anniversary of Chuck’s acquisition, we at Enstrom want to take a look back at how our employees and leadership team have helped rebuild the company into the thriving business and industry icon it once was.

Back in Business

Reenergizing the production lines wasn’t as simple as flipping a switch. Fortunately, we were able to rehire dozens of former employees as engineers, product planners, administrators, shipping personnel, and more, allowing us to restart operations quickly. Enstrom’s workforce has only grown since then. Today, our Menominee facility boasts more than 125 employees!

The first international sales representative to sign with the new Enstrom was Aero Facility Co, Ltd. In Japan. Aero Facility was a long-time representative of the previous Enstrom and supports the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s fleet of 30 TH-480B training helicopters.

Letting the World Know

Enstrom made a splash at several major trade shows in the following months, demonstrating to the world that Enstrom was back in business. The company also welcomed Adam Richardson as Chief Operating Officer last fall to help oversee day-to-day business operations.

Up until this point in the months following the acquisition, Enstrom had been manufacturing parts under our Type Certificate authority with approval from the FAA. But in late 2022, just six months separated from our reopening, Enstrom received a FAA Production Certificate, which allowed us to start approving parts under our normal processes.

Working on a helicopter

Enstrom Receives FAA Production Certificate

Once we were satisfied with our ability to provide replacement parts to our existing customers, we were finally ready to dedicate attention to building all-new rotorcraft. Our machinists and fabricators put in weeks of hard work, and it all paid off when the first new 480B helicopter built since the acquisition took flight in January.

HAI HELI-EXPO 2023 offered the perfect opportunity to showcase this new helicopter to the public. There at the expo, Enstrom debuted its all-glass instrument panels, which will be available on all Enstrom helicopters we build this year. We also announced the development of a new RPM governor for the piston-powered 280FX and F28F. Enstrom sold a dozen helicopters during HELI-EXPO.

Enstrom press conference

Enstrom press conference

Focused on the Future

April 2023 saw a significant passing of the torch at Enstrom, with President Matt Francour retiring from the company he’d dedicated nearly four decades of his life to. Matt’s good friend Todd Tetzlaff has since officially taken on the position, bringing with him decades of experience in the aerospace industry.

“When I look to what this next year will bring, I see a future that’s bright,” Todd said. “I’m so proud of everyone here, and I’m excited about what we’re going to do together.”

About Enstrom Helicopter

From Rudy Enstrom’s early designs in 1943 to initial testing in a Michigan Quarry in 1957 to aircraft operating on six continents, Enstrom Helicopter Corporation has maintained a reputation for safety, value and performance. Based in Menominee, Michigan and proudly made in the United States, Enstrom has a rich history for design innovation. The goal is to provide helicopters to the customer’s exact specification and deliver support and maintenance worldwide.