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Enstrom completes Thai helicopter delivery

Aug. 24, 2012 at 6:30 AM   |   Comments

BANGKOK, Aug. 24 (UPI) -- Enstrom Helicopter Corp. has delivered all 16 of the contracted 480B turbine training and utility helicopters to Thailand's army.

Deliveries were completed on budget and ahead of contracted requirements, Enstrom said in a written statement.

"From contract-signing to final delivery, we completed this program in just 19 months," Enstrom President and Chief Executive Officer Jerry Mullins said.

"That included engineering, developing, testing, building and delivering 16 of the most advanced turbine training helicopters in the world."

The helicopters have Cobham electronic flight instrumentation systems, dual Wulfsberg RT-5000 transceivers, Honeywell radar altimeters and dual electronic-analog flight instrumentation.

"I think we've shown a small company can do big things," said Mullins.

Under a deal signed in October 2009, the helicopters have power line detection systems designed and manufactured by Safe Flight Instrument in White Plains, N.Y.

Safe Flight's PDS detects the electromagnetic fields of live power lines and alerts pilots with visual and aural warnings. As the aircraft flies closer to the power line, the warning intensifies.

Enstrom makes the 480B as a three-place advanced trainer and patrol aircraft as well as a three- to five-seat executive transport. Special law enforcement variants are made, called the 480B Guardian and the F28F Sentinel.

David Blake, of Enstrom's Asia representative Blake and DeJong, told Flight Global aviation Web site in early 2010 the 16 helicopters are the first 480Bs for the army but Thailand's civil aviation training school has two older Enstrom 480 models.

The Thai army flies medium Bell TH-67s and Schweizer 300s for training. Enstrom won the tender pitching against six other manufacturers.

In July 2011, Flight Global reported the Thai army had grounded its fleet of 54 Bell 212 helicopters after a crash that month that left three dead.

Local media reports said the 212 was lost in benign conditions as it flew to participate in a search-and-rescue mission near the border with Myanmar.

The mission was to retrieve nine bodies from the site of a Thai army Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk that had crashed 19 July, Flight Global reported.

The Black Hawk was lost while attempting to retrieve five bodies from the site where a Bell UH-1 helicopter crashed on 16 July.

The Bell 212 was heading toward a mountainous, heavily forested area northwest of Bangkok when it crashed.

Enstrom also announced this year it had signed a contract with its representative in Japan to supply the Japanese military with 28 480-B aircraft by 2014. The deal with Aero Facility in Japan was signed at the Helicopter Aviation Industry convention in Dallas in February.

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