In February of 2014, Enstrom Helicopter unveiled its newest product on opening day of the Heli-Expo 2014. The TH-180, which is a low-cost scaled-down version of the company’s currently widely-used FX-280 three-seater, will launch with an approximate price tag of $365,000. This two-seat, piston-powered training aircraft is powered by a 210-hp Lycoming HIO-390 engine and is expected to incure costs of only $175 per hour to operate while burning less than 12 gph of fuel.The aircraft will also feature a Lycoming engine governor as well as an electric clutch switch. Compared with the larger and more expensive FX-280 model, the TH-180 boasts more versatile landing gear and a frame that is 500 pounds lighter, amounting to about $2,250 total pounds in gross weight. Enstrom Helicopter is anticipating a large market for the new TH-180, a market with an excess of small operators that are currently short of low-cost aircraft. With a new expanded production plant in Michigan, the company has announced an annual production capacity of 100 TH-180s per year.
First flights have already taken place and certification is expected to take place by early 2015. The high hopes for this aircraft on the market have resulted in plans by the company to focus on bringing the TH-180 to market as opposed to other current products such as the Model 480, their turbine helicopter. If this new aircraft performs to expectations, look for Enstrom Helicopter’s business to steadily increase in the foreseeable future as they move to capture a larger market share of the rotorcraft aerospace industry. Enstrom Helicopter Corporation is a Chinese-owned company based in the United States that designs and manufactures rotorcraft. It was founded in 1959 by Rudy Enstrom as RJ Enstrom Corporation. As a mid-cap company today, Enstrom Helicopter employees 174 people and generates $37.5 million in annual revenue.
As of 2013, the company was acquired by a Chinese investment firm, Chongqing Helicopter Investment Co, becoming the latest in a series of US companies that have been acquired by Chinese investors. The acquisition changes foreign ownership from the previous Swiss investors to the Chinese and will tap into the growing Asian aerospace market. ASAP Semiconductor, through our proprietary website ASAP Fasteners, specializes in the distribution of rotorcraft products around the world
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