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Wow. This seems to be unbelievable. Only 150 Enstrom 480b's flying in the WORLD? And their record year constitutes only 14 new ships sold?

 

Am I missing something? Or do they just have low expectations?

 

According to AIN Online:

 

"Enstrom Helicopter had its best year on record last year. With 16 helicopters delivered during the year–14 of which were Enstrom 480B turbine models priced at more than $1 million each–the Menominee, Mich.-based helicopter manufacturer earned its highest annual revenue in its 52-year history."

 

“The market seems to be doing very well, estimating that approximately 150 Enstrom 480Bs are flying in 18 countries."

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Enstrom has always marched to their own drummer. They are small, but it seems they were prefer to stay small. They tend to stay under the radar of the bigger manufactures. If private owners took a closer look at the Enstrom, its record and the small number of life limited parts, they might reconsider their Robinson purchase.

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Part of the reason for the low 300C production at Sikorsky is due to them moving everything 300/333 related from the old Schweizer building in Horseheads, to Sikorsky Global Helicopters' facility in Coatsville, PA last year. The whole process was slow moving when I worked there at the Military Completions Center in Horseheads. My understanding was that there was a demand for them, which is what pissed off the old Schweizer employees when the laid off a few hundred people last year.

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The 480 has been in production since 1993. Approx 160 total produced means 8 or 9 built per year. Wikipedia lists their revenue at $37.5 mil. Not bad for a little home grown American company. Have you been to their factory? Each machine is hand assembled with care by a small group of professionals. Many parts still hand machined in house. It's not like stamping out matchbox cars in an assembly line...

Edited by 280fxColorado
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Light observation, ag spraying, photo and video, external load, training, personal pleasure flying, you name it. There's even a medevac config for the 480B that can accommodate a pilot, paramedic, and stretcher. I'm currently flying ~40hrs/wk in a 280 doing pipeline patrol. Couldn't imagine a better, safer, more cost efficient machine for the job. Stout construction, outstanding stability and handling, power in excess, good speed, excellent crashworthiness, most forgiving HV curve in class, and low DOCs.

Edited by 280fxColorado
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Light observation, ag spraying, photo and video, external load, training, personal pleasure flying, you name it. There's even a medevac config for the 480B that can accommodate a pilot, paramedic, and stretcher. I'm currently flying ~40hrs/wk in a 280 doing pipeline patrol. Couldn't imagine a better, safer, more cost efficient machine for the job. Stout construction, outstanding stability and handling, power in excess, good speed, excellent crashworthiness, most forgiving HV curve in class, and low DOCs.

 

So its a great helicopter competing with everything from a 22 to 407. Why so few then?

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Because they are not well known, a bit spendy new, and the mx side has a bit of a learning curve, too often dismissed as "quirky." Yes they can do all the tasks I mentioned, but obviously also have limits. The "3 seat" is really a 2+1* and the "5 seat" is really a 3+2*. I wouldn't say the 480 competes with a 407 except in very light loaded tasks. The 480 temps out too soon and can only has ~1100 useful load. They turbocharged 280 has nearly 1000 useful load, at a fraction the cost! They were also certified with too low VNE and service ceilings. 280 limited to 12,000 DA but 13,600 IGE, 480 limited to 13,000 DA. Both would far exceed those altitudes. If Enstrom would stretch the 480 and add a C30 to make a true 5-6 place (or fix its temp issues with the c20), they'd give other lights turbines a real run for the money.

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I remember seeing an Enstrom at heliexpo. Nice looking, but a bit small and no back seat. What need are they trying to fill with these helicopters?

 

No back seat? Yes ... along the back firewall. And they are VERY ROOMY. Personal experience here. Five adults - no problem with room (you may have to manage fuel load and temps). But room is all there!

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Because they are not well known, a bit spendy new, and the mx side has a bit of a learning curve, too often dismissed as "quirky." Yes they can do all the tasks I mentioned, but obviously also have limits. The "3 seat" is really a 2+1* and the "5 seat" is really a 3+2*. I wouldn't say the 480 competes with a 407 except in very light loaded tasks. The 480 temps out too soon and can only has ~1100 useful load. They turbocharged 280 has nearly 1000 useful load, at a fraction the cost! They were also certified with too low VNE and service ceilings. 280 limited to 12,000 DA but 13,600 IGE, 480 limited to 13,000 DA. Both would far exceed those altitudes. If Enstrom would stretch the 480 and add a C30 to make a true 5-6 place (or fix its temp issues with the c20), they'd give other lights turbines a real run for the money.

 

Totally agree. Your knowledge of Enstroms is impressive.

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280fxColorado

 

"If Enstrom would stretch the 480 and add a C30 to make a true 5-6 place (or fix its temp issues with the c20), they'd give other lights turbines a real run for the money."

 

THAT i agree with. I understand from many who fly these machines that the temp challenge is a major issue, and that mx on them is quite extensive, especially if you don't stay on top of them. But if you could put a C30 in them and cool it properly, i think they would really stand out.

 

I will say tho, that most of the folks that i know that fly them personally LOVE them and two people that operated them in the past here in Colorado swear by them.

 

We have considered many times looking into them as a adjunct training platform... but just don't see them as viable (for us). Wish they were tho as the 300s are getting harder to find parts for.

 

jmho,

 

 

dp

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Id like to know what is limiting speed on the 480.

 

Also a 1-2 foot stretched cabin and a good Pratt in and it would steal the show.

 

Although if they did that they wouldn't be the small company they want to be. :)

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Wish they were tho as the 300s are getting harder to find parts for.

 

 

Sorry to hijack the thread...

 

I am hoping that issue will get fixed soon. I think the parts backlog that we are seeing is due to the Sikorsky takeover, and the S300 program is now at the bottom of the priority list with things like parts manufacturing falling to the wayside. It took me a solid week of cold calling suppliers and maintainers just to find a set of new drive belts for a 300C. That is NOT a good sign! Everyone is on back-order with no lead times. My question is... Why would Sikorsky by the rights to this helicopter if they have no desire to support it? And despite the parts shortages, the Alert Service Bulletins keep coming...

 

Once again.. sorry to hijack the thread...

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Sorry to hijack the thread...

 

I am hoping that issue will get fixed soon. I think the parts backlog that we are seeing is due to the Sikorsky takeover, and the S300 program is now at the bottom of the priority list with things like parts manufacturing falling to the wayside. It took me a solid week of cold calling suppliers and maintainers just to find a set of new drive belts for a 300C. That is NOT a good sign! Everyone is on back-order with no lead times. My question is... Why would Sikorsky by the rights to this helicopter if they have no desire to support it? And despite the parts shortages, the Alert Service Bulletins keep coming...

 

Once again.. sorry to hijack the thread...

 

This is pretty much the case. Schweizer machined a lot of their parts in house. Sikorsky sold all the precision machining equipment and all the molds to make the parts to 3rd party suppliers late last year, with the intent to contract everything out like all of Sikorsky does these days. Not sure why they are being so slow about it. Sikorsky's reason for buying Schweizer Aircraft was to fill the need for a light aircraft in their fleet, and it does seem as though they are doing nothing to get it going.

Edited by superstallion6113
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This is pretty much the case. Schweizer machined a lot of their parts in house. Sikorsky sold all the precision machining equipment and all the molds to make the parts to 3rd party suppliers late last year, with the intent to contract everything out like all of Sikorsky does these days. Not sure why they are being so slow about it. Sikorsky's reason for buying Schweizer Aircraft was to fill the need for a light aircraft in their fleet, and it does seem as though they are doing nothing to get it going.

 

 

Sorry to hijack the thread...

 

I am hoping that issue will get fixed soon. I think the parts backlog that we are seeing is due to the Sikorsky takeover, and the S300 program is now at the bottom of the priority list with things like parts manufacturing falling to the wayside. It took me a solid week of cold calling suppliers and maintainers just to find a set of new drive belts for a 300C. That is NOT a good sign! Everyone is on back-order with no lead times. My question is... Why would Sikorsky by the rights to this helicopter if they have no desire to support it? And despite the parts shortages, the Alert Service Bulletins keep coming...

 

Once again.. sorry to hijack the thread...

 

Sikorsky bought Schweizer for their Skunk Works in Elmira for Military projects. Schweizer engineers and factory workers are the ones that designed and built the Sikorsky X2. I dont think Sikorsky really cares about the light helicopter line, but I might be wrong about that. Moving S300 assembly to PA was a good move to get away from the Unions. Production will definitely increase when you are actually paid to work and not nap half the day on your workbench! The next year should tell us a lot on their real feelings about the LHL.

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Sikorsky bought Schweizer for their Skunk Works in Elmira for Military projects. Schweizer engineers and factory workers are the ones that designed and built the Sikorsky X2. I dont think Sikorsky really cares about the light helicopter line, but I might be wrong about that. Moving S300 assembly to PA was a good move to get away from the Unions. Production will definitely increase when you are actually paid to work and not nap half the day on your workbench! The next year should tell us a lot on their real feelings about the LHL.

 

Thanks for this. I had heard muddled remarks, but nothing illuminating.

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Sikorsky bought Schweizer for their Skunk Works in Elmira for Military projects. Schweizer engineers and factory workers are the ones that designed and built the Sikorsky X2. I dont think Sikorsky really cares about the light helicopter line, but I might be wrong about that. Moving S300 assembly to PA was a good move to get away from the Unions. Production will definitely increase when you are actually paid to work and not nap half the day on your workbench! The next year should tell us a lot on their real feelings about the LHL.

 

Sikorsky designed and built the X2 at the Schweizer facility yes, but it was Sikorsky engineers that designed and built it, with the help of Schweizer workers. Sikorsky inherited two military projects when they bought Schweizer, a S-333 based UAV helicopter, and a spy plane that was created by Schweizer. Neither have had much success, both have runaway costs over budget, and neither have had any contracts for production. The spy plane has been being built for the last 3 years, with no end in sight, and has zero units sold, and is constantly going through design changes because there are so many things wrong with the design, and they aren't really putting any assets towards either of those two aircraft. The UAV 333 has had a few units delivered to Lockheed Martin, that installs the UAV systems on it and does the completions.

 

99% of the work done at the Horseheads, NY facility is in a new building that was built a few years back, and is brought in from West Palm Beach(UH-60L) and Stratford(UH-60M). There was a lot of S-70B Sea Hawk production there, but it was always late on delivery dates because of quality of work issues at the old Schweizer plant, and Sikorsky took the Sea Hawk away and it's all done in Conneticut now. Sikorsky has cleaned house at the old Schweizer building, sold all the tools, moved light production to Coatsville, and has the old Schweizer building listed for sale. We were told that Sikorsky's interest was in the light market. They have a major contract with the Saudi MOI selling them a military version of the 333, I believe they were calling it the 433, with 4 blades, as a recon helo.

Edited by superstallion6113
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Sikorsky designed and built the X2 at the Schweizer facility yes, but it was Sikorsky engineers that designed and built it, with the help of Schweizer workers. Sikorsky inherited two military projects when they bought Schweizer, a S-333 based UAV helicopter, and a spy plane that was created by Schweizer. Neither have had much success, both have runaway costs over budget, and neither have had any contracts for production. The spy plane has been being built for the last 3 years, with no end in sight, and has zero units sold, and is constantly going through design changes because there are so many things wrong with the design, and they aren't really putting any assets towards either of those two aircraft. The UAV 333 has had a few units delivered to Lockheed Martin, that installs the UAV systems on it and does the completions.

 

99% of the work done at the Horseheads, NY facility is in a new building that was built a few years back, and is brought in from West Palm Beach(UH-60L) and Stratford(UH-60M). There was a lot of S-70B Sea Hawk production there, but it was always late on delivery dates because of quality of work issues at the old Schweizer plant, and Sikorsky took the Sea Hawk away and it's all done in Conneticut now. Sikorsky has cleaned house at the old Schweizer building, sold all the tools, moved light production to Coatsville, and has the old Schweizer building listed for sale. We were told that Sikorsky's interest was in the light market. They have a major contract with the Saudi MOI selling them a military version of the 333, I believe they were calling it the 433, with 4 blades, as a recon helo.

 

So... Where does that leave production and support for the 300 series?

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