Erickson Elevates Legacy Aircraft Maintenance Services Program
Innovation Drives U.S. Navy Fleet Refurbishment and OEM Parts Manufacturing
PORTLAND, Ore. — Erickson Incorporated (NASDAQ:EAC), a leading global provider of aviation services, has increased its support of legacy aircraft with several key project updates.
“We have more than 200 mechanics and engineers on our team at Erickson,” said Kerry Jarandson, Erickson’s Vice President of MRO and Manufacturing. “They have taken our existing offering of services for legacy aircraft, and consistently improved the end product through innovations in avionics, rotor blades and more.”
MH-53E Sea Dragon Refurbishment
In support of the United States Navy Heavy Lift Helicopter Program, Erickson was subcontracted by Adams Communication & Engineering Technologies (ACET) for the complete refurbishment of two MH-53E helicopters. The MH-53E Sea Dragon is one of the largest helicopters in the United States Navy. The contract is for the return of two MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopters to service which requires multiple stages of a complex refurbishment schedule. This is the first contract awarded by the U.S. Navy for a depot-level maintenance event of a MH-53E helicopter to a commercial contractor.
CH53 Super Stallion Tail Pylon Production
Recently Erickson completed delivery of the final tail pylons for this aircraft. Erickson was contracted by Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, to fabricate and assemble five out-of-production spare aircraft tail pylons. The major assembly of these specialized tail pylons directly supports the U.S. Marine Corps, where the CH-53E performs critical defense missions supporting freedom and preserving lives.
Composite Main Rotor Blade Program Development
“The Erickson composite main rotor blade program has several goals,” said Jarandson. “Primarily, the program was designed to develop a single main rotor blade that was able to be installed on four different aircraft models: CH54A&B and the S64E&F. The existing main rotor blade inventory for these models is becoming exhausted, so creating lower manufacturing and life-cycle costs for replacement blades are essential.
The new blades increase maximum aerodynamic efficiency by 15 perfect, reducing aircraft fuel consumption and significantly increasing aircraft performance at high elevations and temperatures. The rotor blade simply bolts onto the existing rotor heads of the CH54B/S64F and requires a minor main rotor head modification for the CH54B/S64F.
The program’s development began in 2013, when Erickson partnered with Helicopter Transport Services. Last year, Erickson designed and completed the construction of a 12,000 square foot composite manufacturing facility in Medford, Oregon. The facility satisfies cleanliness and production requirements of major OEM composite specifications. In addition to the Aircrane Main Rotor Blade, it is also currently used for the manufacture of other non-S64 blade programs.
OEM Support and Experience
In addition to being a Bell Certified Maintenance Center, Erickson also has significant expertise with Sikorsky legacy aircraft. Familiarity with Sikorsky drawing and specification systems on the S64 equated to direct relevant experience on the S65 (H-53) as the designs on both systems were created in the same period. Erickson is well equipped to perform comprehensive aero structure assemblies and low volume production projects. The company possesses a unique familiarity with Sikorsky systems, with the purchase of the iconic S-64 (CH-54) Skycrane certificate in 1992. Erickson’s experience with the S-64 is directly relevant to the specifications and construction of the S-65 (CH-53E) as both designs were created within the same decade.