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Enstrom Corner

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Enstrom Corner


Old 15th Apr 2002, 03:38
  #21 (permalink)  
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I understand the 280fx's coming from the Chilean Army were used as primary and instrument trainers. In the US, it can be a real issue to get ex-military helos re-certified for "normal" catagory operations, particularly if the helos come from a "foreign" (non-US) military service.

In the US, some of the applicable information is...

AC21-13, AC20-96, AC21-12B, and perhaps AC21-17. I think FAR 21.185(b) comes into play also. I can't find it right now, but I've read that "foreign" surplus military aircraft might not be certified. Maybe someone with more knowledge can shed more light on this subject. I bring this up since these helos are coming from a "foreign" military service relative to the UK.

FAA Advisory Circulars

I think md600driver is correct, these machines appear to have been manufactured as normal production 280fx's when sold to the Chilean Army, so they should be re-certifiable as "normal" catagory aircraft (or the UK equivalent). I just hope the non-UK military surplus thing is not an issue.

(edited for a typo)

Last edited by Flight Safety; 15th Apr 2002 at 03:51.
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Old 15th Apr 2002, 23:23
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flight safety

we have had on the uk register bell 47 ex uk military with full pt cof a also ex uk mil as3130 ex yugo 341g ex mill hillers ex swiss mil allouettes
where it seems to get cloudy is when aircraft have special engines / modifications ie ex uk mil gazzelles .ex french mil allouettes .ex us hueys, th55,th57,oh58 ect
did not some of the oh6 [hughes 500,s ] go on the us register as these were production helis
some one in the us must know more about this regarding us ex mil
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Old 17th Apr 2002, 19:00
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You can be 100% certain of one thing - if the CAA can find a way of making it more difficult for the aviation industry, they will.
The Gazelles are a case in point.
The ex-mil Gazelles were produced on the same production and to the same standards as the civvy machines. Customers were offered three engine variants (same engine, slightly different specs) but only two were type certificated at the time. The one chosen by the mil was not because there was no need.

The Swaziland reg came about because one of MW Helicopters was exported and the Swazi CAA treated it as a variant of a certificated engine, looked at its long established impeccable safety record, confirmed that there was full manufacturers back-up and, very sensibly, issued a Type Certificate for the ex-mil Gazelle.

The UK Campaign Against Aviation, in their infinite wisdom, refuse to recognise the Type Certificate and will only issue a Permit with silly and completely unnecessary restrictions.
Sadly predictable.

Last edited by Hoverman; 18th Apr 2002 at 00:51.
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Old 20th Apr 2002, 05:33
  #24 (permalink)  
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We got a 480B, brand new from the factory about 3 months ago, it has been AOG, for two months due to constant tail rotor GB chips, several trim unit failures, the belts slipping constantly, and engine stalls.

Another dumb thing is that our field elevation is 7,341 FTAMSL and according to the charts with a given weight/temp you can hover OGE but you cannot take off or land at this same weight, go figure!
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Old 21st Apr 2002, 02:24
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Has anyone else had a similar experience with a 480B (or other Enstrom)?

Also, who in their right mind would buy a helo, with only marginal performance at the operating airfield's altitude and expected temp conditions????? No intelligent person that I know, would make a purchasing decision like that.

(edited for a typo)
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Old 21st Apr 2002, 05:11
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See what happens when you don't read one of these threads - you miss the best stuff!

Interesting topic this. I used to maintain a very old F-28, and hated the thing - but I think it was much more to do with the particular aircraft, and perhaps even more to do with the particular owner!

I still never really thought of them as real machines, until I had the great pleasure of witnessing Dennis Kenyon flying one! Dennis is able to demonstrate the capabilities of the aircraft in such an amazing manner, that I have never known anyone to not be impressed by an Enstrom after that!

All of the Enstrom owners I have ever met, have had nothing but good to say about them - so just shows you what I know (knew?).

In response to the certification issues, I have addressed some of this in the Swazi thread.

For FAA standard category certification, a product is eligible for certification under a Type Certificate if it conforms to that TC. It is also possible for a product that was not manufactured under a TC to be certified in Standard Category, if it can conform to the TC (unusual situation, but possible).

In the instance of a former military aircraft. FAA Restricted Category certification is limited to aircraft previously operated by the US military ONLY, any foreign military operation removes eligibility (of course you need to have a TC as well). It used to be possible to cobble a Restricted TC together very simply and reasonably rapidly, but those days are gone now.

FAA Standard Category certification is available for ex-military machines, regardless of who or where they were operated so long as they conform to a TC. The key to certification is the ability to conform the product to the TC, and good paperwork which also includes repairs, overhauls etc; - standard fare for the business. This option also exists for many agencies outside the US, as a complete standard airworthiness and certification package exists for the product and the issuance of the TC.

The caveat to this statement, is to ensure that the Serial Number of each aircraft is included in the TC. It is not unusual to see specific S/No: aircraft noted as ineligible on a TC, generally as a result of a configuration or build change that was never commercially certified, typically for military customers, often overseas!

That military operators purchase straight commercial products make good sense for the military and the Operator, as the products retain some useful value at the end of their military life and are generally quite marketable.

Current ex-military aircraft from a variety of sources that are in standard category commercial operation include (not a definitive list), Bell 47, 205, 206, 212, 214B, 214ST, S64E, S64F, MD500D, etc....

Obviously it is important to do the background work before starting, as many people have bought aircraft that are ineligible for certification for one reason or another (saw this very recently!). This includes ex US military aircraft that may be ineligible for certification to a Restricted Category TC, due to the advanced modification state of the current aircraft, compared to the original aircraft used for certification (just been through this issue at great length).

I was recently formally advised by the FAA that some of my Restricted ships did not conform to the TC and would have their Airworthiness Certificates withdrawn in 30 days. The basis for this action was the FAA being advised that the aircraft was not manufactured under the data plate the manufacturer had installed at manufacture, but under the BUNO (mil ID) that is used to track it in the military inventory. We were able to resolve the issue pretty simply, not least by referring to the manufacturers own drawing - but makes you sweat a little when you are first told that on the phone!!!!

I also have had access to the entire UH-1 series engineering reports and life limit package, which makes for some pretty interesting reading with respect to the commercial models!

There are many pitfalls for the unwary - so go in with your eyes open, ask questions and track down the people who know what they are talking about for the specific model.
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Old 22nd Apr 2002, 17:53
  #27 (permalink)  
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ive had 2 480 s one oldish one and one new from the factory

i never had a problem with a tail rotor
i have had a main rotor chip light come on when new but it was swarf and did not happen again, my engine never stalled [thank god] but its a allison 250 c20w nearly the same as 206/500 cant see this is a enstrom problem

i never had a trim failure on both 480s
and i didnt have any problems with belts however i do know of someone who did

helicopters all have limitations you dont use a robbo with 2 big men in a hot and high place with full fuel whoever bought this heli should have read the opperation manual before buying as it seems its not very suitable at this height[a lot of other helis would have the same problems]

this experiance was gained in 450 plus hours in 2 enstrom 480,s and approx 400 hrs in piston enstroms

enstrom are not the fastest to respond but 2 months aog sounds a long time i have not had to wait anything like that
you want to ring bob tuttle at the factory and tell him ,he has always sorted out completely any problems ive ever had

i am also a satisfied enstrom customer having 4 pistons before that
i changed my helicopter to another make to get a bigger heli

steve atherton.
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Old 23rd Apr 2002, 11:15
  #28 (permalink)  
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I had a demo in a 280FX at Shoresham and enjoyed the ride. Being only a 22 and 44 man, the Enstrom felt allot bigger and stronger and for a large guy like me, the seating and leg room was ideal. I am doing my conversion soon and if all goes well I will be an owner. Doubt if I will have one by the heli champs as someone has oversped my 22 just as I was about to sell it. Trying to build my partners enthusiasm but all she wants is a new kitchen, oh well.
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Old 3rd Apr 2003, 02:19
  #29 (permalink)  
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Enstrom on the rocks?

What's going on at Enstrom?
The President and Vice President summarily sacked, and rumours of bankruptcy.
Anyone know?
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Old 3rd Apr 2003, 04:34
  #30 (permalink)  
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There is a bit of a story on Rotorhub.com but it still leaves your questions in limbo.
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Old 3rd Apr 2003, 15:32
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I wouldn't be surprised. The aircraft hasn't developed much at all really over the last few years. The competition on the other hand has come on in leaps and bounds.
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Old 4th Apr 2003, 02:15
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The article on Rotorhub


lists Enstrom's owner as "a Swiss national living in the U.S.".

I thought that Dean Kaman (the guy that invented the "Segway" personal transportation gizmo) owned Enstrom - a segment on CBS 60 Minutes last year said something about that.

Did he sell Enstrom, or did I misunderstand the news segment?
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Old 4th Apr 2003, 02:21
  #33 (permalink)  
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i was at the factory after hai the place was busy .steve daniels was seemingly sorting things out lots of new practices and lots of orders seems a shame hes gone

they were also updating lots of things even talking of a speed upgade to 135 kts [cruise] for the 480 with the new dampers assembly they were testing when we were there .

if the enstrom range of helicopters could start volume production they would be a viable competitor for the training market in stead of robinson . remember in the uk nobody has ever has a fatal crash in a enstrom ,its auto rotations are a doddle and as for reliability second to none

i have had 5 piston enstroms and 2 turbines all have been a joy to have and relativly inexpensive to opperate

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Old 4th Apr 2003, 02:24
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I thought that Dean Kaman (the guy that invented the "Segway" personal transportation gizmo) owned Enstrom
That's Dean Kamen, not Kaman.
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Old 4th Apr 2003, 02:30
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no he sold it to a unknown swiss man afaik
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Old 7th Apr 2003, 03:45
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Lightbulb Crop Spraying in an Enstrom

For several reasons use of helicopters by South African aerial applicators fell out of fashion some years ago. However, the discovery of some Enstrom airframes and spray gear in a dusty Ghanaian hangar may lead to a revival of rotary wing crop spraying

Those in aviation who are plugged in to African politics will know that every so often a leadership change presents new opportunities. This applies to rotary wing aircraft as much as fixed wing and it's amazing what can appear from the dusty shadows of an old hangar.

When Flight Lieutenant Gerry Rawlings came to power in a military Coup in 1981 local government was obliged to mark time until the new administration found its feet. The changes also had a similar effect on aid programs, many of which languished until eventually cancelled. Before the Coup, the country was in turmoil anyway and one casualty was a crop spraying operation allegedly financed by one of many Non-government-organisations involved in Ghanaian development. The program was to use Two Enstrom F28Cs delivered to Kotoka International Airport, Accra, in the late seventies.

Concerned that political upheaval in Ghana would lead to two of their helicopters being maintained in a haphazard fashion, Enstrom kept track of their whereabouts. The company contacted South Africa's distributor, Wonderboom-based Salelease and asked their CEO, Keith Smith, to take a look at them. Keith subsequently flew to Accra in 1989 and indeed found the two helicopters at the back of a hangar, one of which had crashed and was in pieces. Alongside them were two complete sets of spray gear, specially manufactured for the F28C.

Successfully negotiating their purchase, Keith packed the two complete airframes into a container and liberated them to South Africa. One of the two 1977 model Enstroms, ZS-RJT, is still flying in private ownership today. The spray gear was stored in Keith's hangar and was recently dusted off and attached to F28C ZS-HMC, an Enstrom Keith originally sold new in 1981.

The use of helicopters for aerial applicators in South Africa is not new. Using turbocharged Bell 47GBs and Hiller UH-12L4s as their preferred delivery vehicles, helicopters were ideally suited to spraying small areas and undulating terrain. Initially, rotary wing sprayers proved somewhat more expensive than their fixed wing counterparts. Aerial spraying was carried out using dedicated but inexpensive Piper Pawnees, Cessna Ag-Wagons and various other aircraft. Over the years there has been a trend towards larger farms and consequently bigger aircraft. As airframes grew, so too did the need for more power, leading to the almost universal adoption of turbine engines. Predictably, costs skyrocketed to a point today where a new crop duster is several times the cost of a sixties or seventies-manufactured piston helicopter.

A high attrition rate and parts scarcity has rendered 30-year old Hillers and Bells obsolete resulting in a scarcity of suitably-powered helicopters and Keith has decided to fill the niche market that still remains. Amongst traditional helicopter users have been Cape wineries, banana farms and sugar farms. The South African Police makes extensive use of rotary wing sprayers in the battle to destroy dagga plantations. Main rotor downwash tends to allow spray particles to form a swirl, which wineries like as it gives a measure of coverage to the underside of its grape bushes. Banana and cane sugar farms are often located in hilly areas, especially along Natal's south coast where helicopters are the only method of spraying plantations.

Helicopters have a number of other advantages apart from accuracy. Fluids can be placed immediately adjacent to the field so there is virtually no ferry time for reloading. Speeds are more easily controlled over upward and downward slopes and penetration is often better as a consequence of the helicopter's slower speed - about 60mph for most applications. Some operators also maintain that the swathe is more even as there is no propwash to dissipate the spray released under the fuselage.

From a piloting point of view, turns are tighter and hence reduce spray time. A helicopter can make a 180 degree turn at the end of its spray run in 9-14 seconds compared to a fixed wing aircraft that can take between 30 and 45 seconds to turn around. Moreover, the turns can be completed at a far lower speed without the risk of stalling - an area fixed wing pilots are at risk.

If Keith is able to fill his niche, he will have placed himself in a unique position. Although a current model Enstrom F28F can be bought new for US$330K plus an additional US$20k for spray gear, older models, like ZS-HMC can be purchased for R1.5 million in a zero-timed condition. Enstrom quote R900 per hour direct operating cost for a new F28F advising an extra 12 percent for older models. The company currently manufacture two models - the 225hp Lycoming engined F28F and similarly-engined 280FX. The last F28C was delivered in 1980.
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Old 11th Apr 2003, 08:28
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Enstrom Ag models

Just to add a few notes to this thread.

In the late 70's, I was Chief Pilot of the Shoreham Airport, UK based firm of Spooner Aviation. A subsidiary - Spooner Ag Services operated three 28C models over a three year period. Indeed we made a publicity film of the type at work which I have to this day.
The ag gear was the Agrinautics 3100 equipment for spray work. For dry application we used the Vicon hopper and belt driven rotary impellor. We carried a 600lb load and whilst I might well have preferred a B47 - the Enstroms never let us down and worked reliably over the period. I regularly achieved a spray rate of over 100 acres an hour even on small UK fields. The big 34 foot diameter three blade rotor system downwash gave a deep crop penetration that the farmers seemed to like. We used the ICI Maneb for potatoes and treated for Septoria and rinkosporium I seemed to recall !! The machine was certified for Ag work at 2600lbs, (250lbs over the standard F28C MGW)

I'll happily chat more if anyone becomes further interested.

Dennis Kenyon.

PS I know we shipped one Enstrom down to Accra in the mid 70's.possibly the one that was found.

ek The
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Old 3rd May 2003, 07:49
  #38 (permalink)  
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Enstrom at Menominee.

The Enstrom saga is indeed a sad one. In 1972 my boss Roy Spooner (indeed a man with flair and an eye for a deal) took me off to Menominee to meet the eminent trial lawyer F Lee Bailey who owned the plant. We signed up an immediate order for twenty-four 28A models at a fixed dollar price.

I was directed to be the sales whizz kid and in spite of the underpowered machine (more correctly overweight) I managed to find buyers for them all in a two year period. So Roy and I promptly went back to the factory and bought twenty-four more !!

These were also sold and I can still recite the serial numbers of them all and their original CAA registrations. Then came the turbo model and the Greg Focella new Shark shape. He also designed the sharper nose layout of the MD 500. This produced another fifty sales from our Shoreham base. In the ten year period from 1972 to 1982 I personally sold 137 in the UK market. But that was before the ubiquitous Robinson hit the scene.

Any secrets for the success ? Hardly, Spoonair used the type on its school as a basic trainer as did CSE and Bill Bailey thereby introducing the type at the buyers entry level.

I used to fly the type at and to airshows, boat shows, car showrooms (alongside what was then the new Camargue) even a shoe fair at Olympia. I did 300 hours in demo rides in one year. The type was featured in the offball magazines on the cover of Mayfair, Building Equipment News, even in Playboy- and it must have worked as the figures showed. The factory was then producing around 80 machines each year and F Lee Bailey was pleased with his investment. He bought the factory long before Victor Kiam got the idea. FLB was a man who listened and reacted by making changes. The product was a good one albeit with some irritating shortcomings. But so is the Ferrari.

Then several things happened. F Lee Bailey sold the plant to the ex Lycoming guys. They kept it for a year or so and sold on to the Bravo Corporation. Then sold again to Dean Kamen.

Lots of factory sales but precious little helicopter production. The UK parts support tailed off. CSE stopped using the type on its school. (at one time they operated six) and more unforgivingly as airframe times increased, the type started to give in service problems. Then Frank produced his innovative R22 which swept the Enstrom aside. At one time I drew up plans to bring the whole factory assembly and production to the UK, complete with the leading factory personnel. The pound/dollar rate was almost par and UK production in sterling would have produced an unbeatable international dollar sales price.

In vain did I write to Bob Tuttle saying what I thought had gone wrong. I pleaded - as did others - for the factory to produce a specialised trainer. Simon Gibson even drew up plans for a lightweight 28T Super Trainer. I wanted to call it the Enstrom Skyline. (after my company) But all fell on deaf ears and the product just died for want of sales.
The 480 might well have put sales back on the map, but with a daft luggage space, no chance of seating five or even four people and a mostly choppy ride, sales were never going to be high. The loyal Enstrom 28/280 owners bought a few, but sadly the patient was dying. I'm sure from what I heard, Steve Daniels may well have been able to put the type back in the market, but it was not to be.

I still feel the Enstrom has a future somewhere, but they need to take the FX and chop around 200lbs off its weight AND/OR fit a Lycoming 540 engine. I once produced an airframe 'plug conversion' for the 280 which would have brought the seating up to five. Something like the one off 280L Hawk that was demonstrated at San Diego in 1981 and which I flew there.

A good sleek and stylish 4 seater helicopter that would have seen off the R44. But that was another good factory project that never got into production.

So on we go. I'm sure yet another buyer will emerge for Rudy Enstrom's great design, For those who still like the type - we can only hope.





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Old 5th May 2003, 06:02
  #39 (permalink)  
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Interesting time line

1979 - R22 launched
1980 - the last year so far that Enstrom made over 15 in 1 year
1982 - end of 280C production
1982 - end of 28A in CSE training fleet (see above)
1984 - Dennis Kenyon buys his first Robinson
1988 - start of 280FX production

I agree, the R22 killed off Enstrom.

I never knew Bailey, but suspect he may not have been the entrepreneuer you make him out to be. Certainly he had a design which sold well for 13 years 1967 to 1980 but he failed to respond or innovate to meet the R22 challenge and the company nosedived there and then. You obviously spotted that in 1984, buying an R22, having already left Shoreham and started at Booker.

Steve Daniels was actually the first guy who showed a flair to turn this round - interestingly Tuttle works for Dean Kamen now!

Finally - your stretched 280 cabin lives on in the dump outside Aces High at North Weald...........
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Old 5th May 2003, 23:48
  #40 (permalink)  
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I'd love to buy a new 280FX, but I'm very reluctant to commit because of the present circumstances at Enstrom.

I even thought briefly about buying the company, but there'd be a lot of problems to overcome for a new buyer. While the basic product line is extremely good, product innovation has seriously lagged at Enstrom.

I basically agree with some of Dennis's suggestions for developing the products.

I think the basic F28 should remain just that, basic. This is the machine to develop into a low cost (and low operating cost) trainer, as well as an entry level machine. Perhaps it needs some loss in weight and possibly a switch back to a normally aspirated engine with fuel injection. A very hard look at several possible configurations would be required to arrive at the proper parameters, for this machine to fill these roles.

The F280 needs to have greater differentiation from the F28. The 280 needs 4 good seats and perhaps the 540 engine with fuel injection (which Dennis suggested). It could probably use new rotor blades with a new airfoil for higher speeds. A new airfoil might require a low pressure boost system, which it would have to carry.

The 480 needs better seating and a 4-blade rotor system with a new airfoil and boost system for better speed.

Enstrom has a great reputation for safety that can be built upon by a new owner. I believe that any possible design innovations would have to be done while maintaining this same high safety standard.

All of this would not only require the cash to buy the company, but a great deal of cash for investment in part inventories, people and systems for dealer and maintenance support, and of course the needed product development.

It would be an uphill struggle.

Last edited by Flight Safety; 6th May 2003 at 01:03.
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