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Enstrom Helicopters 2022

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Enstrom Helicopters 2022

Old 19th Jan 2022, 22:43
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Enstrom Helicopters 2022

I saw this posted on Enstrom Helicopters FB group page and not sure what to make of it if it’s even true.




I hope it is not going to happen.

cheers
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Old 20th Jan 2022, 01:19
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As Madeline Kahn said (in "Blazing Saddles") it's twoo, it's twoo!
Menominee’s Enstrom Helicopter closing, filing for bankruptcy (uppermichiganssource.com)
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Old 20th Jan 2022, 01:50
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Its Never happy to see that, a good safe product, some good jobs, and probably good value for many customers.

It makes you wonder what has lead to that, lack of capital, lack of inovation, or lack of new products?
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Old 20th Jan 2022, 02:04
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if you have an Enstron parts machine, its time to raise your price.
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Old 20th Jan 2022, 08:31
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Surprised they lasted this long. There couldn’t be a less “cool” aircraft to own, Robbie killed their market and it was a standing joke that they spent more time in maintenance than the air.
Next one hanging on by its fingernails is MD.
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Old 21st Jan 2022, 12:50
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That's a shame. My experience of Enstrom products has been very good - the current EN480B is an excellent entry-level turbine and trainer, with lots of qualities that I would rate above the R66 and B505.
The problem is that, in today's world, it has been run as a small company - almost a cottage industry - and the product was worthy of much better and more dynamic management progression.
Hopefully, 'Chapter 7' makes it more attractive for potential purchasers to acquire the business, and any new parentage takes Rudi Enstrom's clever innovation onwards and upwards.
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Old 21st Jan 2022, 17:02
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Originally Posted by Bell_ringer View Post
Surprised they lasted this long. There couldn’t be a less “cool” aircraft to own, Robbie killed their market and it was a standing joke that they spent more time in maintenance than the air.
Next one hanging on by its fingernails is MD.
Do you mean both piston and turbine engined Enstroms? Have to agree with FLY7 that, in my limited experience, the 480B is both pretty cool and very safe - unlike some others that (as discussed ad nauseam) tend to kill more pilots than markets.
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Old 21st Jan 2022, 18:26
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Pilots kill helicopters. Helicopters don't kill pilots (except in very rare instances).

Enstrom has produced 1,300 helicopters in it's entire history. Robinson over 12,000. Say what you want about Robinson, but they must be doing something right. While I would like nothing more than to be flying around in an AS350B3, or a 407GXi, I am extraordinarily pleased with the performance, comfort and economics of the R44. There is an Enstrom 28F that is kept in the same hangar as my R44. The Enstrom is always in maintenance, rarely flies, and obtaining MX is an ordeal compared to the plethora of Robinson MX shops. Putting three in it is another kind of ordeal, four is, of course, not possible.

While there is much to like about the Enstrom rotorhead and control system, that is probably the only good thing about it. Swinging those three blades around is asking a lot for a small Lycoming. Even with the complexity of turbocharging, performance suffers dramatically at max. gross weight compared to the R22. We see some of that same issue in the Cabri G2, but of course the Cabri employs much more modern technology and is only a little less powerful than the R22. In either case, how can the Enstrom design compete?

Poor design and management also kill helicopters. The company was always a hobby time affair, passing through the hands of so many owners, none of whom were ever successful in motivating a marketable design. Dean Kamen came close with the 480, but a cabin perfect for low cost training became a bizarre aberration in an attempt to sell it commercially when the military didn't want it. Perhaps he was too distracted by his other failure, the Segway, which was occurring at the same time, to really take the 480 where it needed to be. Again, market share tells a story. 250 480's total since 2000. 1000 R66 since 2007. And 505 production is banging right along at 200+ since 2015, perhaps it will ultimately overtake the R66. I don't have the data, but it is easy to suspect that 480B production fell into the low single digits per year when the R66 was released. With both the R66 and 505 available the 480 was and is as doomed as the 28 and 280.

Perhaps the company will change hands again and the new owners will be more visionary. But the new vision would have to be very compelling in some way given Robinson and Bell's lock on the low end market.

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Old 21st Jan 2022, 19:03
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All I know is that when I flew a 280 a couple years ago, the collective felt like trying to lift a 50 lbs dumbell.

As with the Cabri and Schweizer though,... Why would I pay more money to fly what is is essentially just another two-seat piston, when I can simply fly an R22 instead?
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Old 21st Jan 2022, 19:11
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Originally Posted by Robbiee View Post
All I know is that when I flew a 280 a couple years ago, the collective felt like trying to lift a 50 lbs dumbell.
Not bad considering it was trying to lift a 200lbs dumbell
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Old 21st Jan 2022, 19:14
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Originally Posted by Bell_ringer View Post
Not bad considering it was trying to lift a 200lbs dumbell
Ok I'll give you that one.
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Old 21st Jan 2022, 20:21
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I wonder what a certain Dennis Kenyon would have to say about this?
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Old 21st Jan 2022, 23:43
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Originally Posted by Robbiee View Post
All I know is that when I flew a 280 a couple years ago, the collective felt like trying to lift a 50 lbs dumbell.

As with the Cabri and Schweizer though,... Why would I pay more money to fly what is is essentially just another two-seat piston, when I can simply fly an R22 instead?
Each to his own, of course but would you apply the same logic to, for example, choosing a car? I’m not sure that cheapness and market share are generally the way we judge ‘best to drive/fly/own’.
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Old 22nd Jan 2022, 03:41
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Originally Posted by nomorehelosforme View Post
I wonder what a certain Dennis Kenyon would have to say about this?
I was thinking the same thing ... (probably doing loops in the grave)

Hopefully a young ... (Dennis Kenyon type person) ... can take over Enstrom support ... similar to Scotts-Bell-47 .... but on a smaller scale.

.
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Old 22nd Jan 2022, 04:51
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Originally Posted by aa777888 View Post
Perhaps the company will change hands again and the new owners will be more visionary. But the new vision would have to be very compelling in some way given Robinson and Bell's lock on the low end market.
Intresting points you mentioned in your post, it ilustrates the reason this is such a distressed asset.
I would assume that the Enstom PISTON F-28F & 280FX and the TURBINE 480B are not part of that vision you are calling for.
1st: because indeed more modern tech is needed; (aka: composite, modern avionics as part of the design, and yes engine modernization). I am not talking all the way to Hills helicopters but more like a Cabri.
2nd: because they tried to design sucessfull off-child so many times in the course the ownership transitions, 280 Shark, 280L Hawk ... its not working.
3rd: look at the people who acquired the schweizer type certificate "Schweizer RSG" well it does not feel like a blockbuster operation.

Assume that you had the few millions to acquire the Enstrom organization, I would have to sit and think quite a bit to figure out the new business course.
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Old 22nd Jan 2022, 10:21
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Originally Posted by Arnie Madsen View Post
I was thinking the same thing ... (probably doing loops in the grave)
Hopefully a young ... (Dennis Kenyon type person) ... can take over Enstrom support ... similar to Scotts-Bell-47 .... but on a smaller scale.
.
You're right. Dennis was a motivated advocate of the Enstrom products, and his enthusiasm lead to a lot of sales in the '70s, '80s, '90s....

Latterly, whilst I'm sure Enstrom employed some well meaning, dedicated personnel, it appeared more like a small family business than a forward pressing brand. Still think that the 480B is the 'diamond in the rough,' with the most potential, as a safe, easy, turbine trainer (for which it was designed), or private owner use.

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Old 22nd Jan 2022, 11:53
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Reading that letter I'm horrified at the treatment of their staff. Has the FBI been told a mass murder is planned?
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Old 22nd Jan 2022, 15:21
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Originally Posted by Agile View Post
Intresting points you mentioned in your post, it ilustrates the reason this is such a distressed asset.
I would assume that the Enstom PISTON F-28F & 280FX and the TURBINE 480B are not part of that vision you are calling for.
1st: because indeed more modern tech is needed; (aka: composite, modern avionics as part of the design, and yes engine modernization). I am not talking all the way to Hills helicopters but more like a Cabri.
...
Assume that you had the few millions to acquire the Enstrom organization, I would have to sit and think quite a bit to figure out the new business course.
Enstrom has already embraced modern tech inside the cockpit. The put the G1000 avionics suite into the 480B back in 2014, effectively before Bell did it with the 505. And while I've never personally sat in a late model Enstrom, I've read that the quality of the interior fit and finish is quite high, nothing like the older machines.

Nevertheless, it would take a clean sheet of paper to make them competitive. Dump the pistons, concentrate on a successor to the 480B. Lose the grease gun and nitrogen bottle, add some real luggage space and 4 conventional seating positions, and add hydraulics. Keep the rotorhead and blade system, obviously, since that's the crown jewel of their engineering portfolio. Add a pilot operable blade fold kit so it can fit in the same space as the competition. Keep the flat floor of the 505, the high level of standard interior finish of the R66, and the superior full fuel payload and range of the R66. Avoid anything inelegant like the 505 tail weights.
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Old 22nd Jan 2022, 18:38
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Would such a helicopter require a new type certification?
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Old 22nd Jan 2022, 18:54
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Originally Posted by Hot and Hi View Post
Would such a helicopter require a new type certification?
Can't see how it would not. It would be a pretty big change from the existing 480B.
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