The test flight is a significant milestone for the company, being the first time a newly produced 480B has taken to the air since the company reopened its facility eight months ago.
Enstrom was purchased by Indiana-based Surack Enterprises in May 2022, following a failed takeover attempt by MidTex Aviation. The aerospace manufacturer shut down operations after filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy at the end of 2021.
The turbine-powered 480B is the 255th 480 series helicopter produced, as well as the 1,317th Enstrom helicopter. The aircraft was built using new components, rather than being assembled from unfinished left-over airframe.
The helicopter was flown by Enstrom Production Test Pilot, Cody Parkovich, who said the helicopter had ‘no issues’ during the test flight, with all ‘flight test steps’ being completed ‘on schedule’.
“This was a critical milestone in our plan to not just bring back Enstrom, but to start to reinvent ourselves and the way we operate,” said Enstrom Chief Operating Officer, Adam Richardson.
“It took all functions to focus on the objective. New supplier relationships, new machinists and fabricators and luckily many from prior years, better print definitions, a high standard of workmanship, and everyone onsite helping each other cross-functionally to bring us back online.”