Enstrom Rescued From Bankruptcy By MidTex Aviation

Credit: Guy Norris/AWST

DALLAS—A Texas-based company has rescued Enstrom Helicopter Corporation from bankruptcy and plans to reopen the helicopter company’s factory in Menominee, Michigan, in late April.

MidTex Aviation received formal approval for the acquisition on March 8, says Michael Dixon, MidTex’s aviation manager. Speaking at the Helicopter Association International Heli-Expo convention in Dallas, Texas, Dixon says the revamped company will trade as Enstrom Aerospace Industries and will resume production of the turbine 480B and the piston F-28F and 280FX.

“It’s not only going to be supporting our current fleet worldwide—all of our private customers or military and government customers—but we’re also going to be expanding the business into original equipment manufacturer parts production and engineering support,” Dixon says. “We will also be moving into new markets as the aircraft industry evolves; we’re looking into [electric vertical-take-off-and-landing aircraft], military programs and electrification. We’ll get into a lot of very exciting projects, both in house and with partnerships,” he adds.

Although Dixon declines to comment on specific project or partnership plans, he says: “We hope to have the doors back open around April 22. As much as I’d love to expedite that, the courts and attorneys and we need to go through whatever processes are remaining there.” 

Dixon does confirm, however, that work will also include resumption of the company’s two-seat trainer project, the TH180.

Enstrom, which was acquired by Chinese firm Chongqing General Aviation Industry Group (CGAG) in 2012, declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy in January and announced it was closing after 64 years in business. The company’s final delivery of a pair of 280FX for the Peruvian Air Force was completed in December 2021. Production of spares and technical support ceased in January.

Dixon declines to comment on why Enstrom declared bankruptcy; the company previously said pandemic-related supply chain and other financial difficulties had forced it to shutter. The move came despite significant investment from CGAG, which included $8 million for factory upgrades and expansion.

MidTex, which Dixon says was interested in acquiring Enstrom even before it entered Chapter 7, plans to immediately boost marketing activities as it readies for a production restart. “We are going after those markets harder than Enstrom has done in a very, very long time,” Dixon says. “You’ll see a lot of exciting things coming out of marketing and sales in the next few months. We have a lot of incentivizing performance and sales as well as support networks. We want to bolster up all of those things and making sure our advocacy groups in the world are well supported.”

Guy Norris

Guy is a Senior Editor for Aviation Week, covering technology and propulsion. He is based in Colorado Springs.


1 Comment
Good news! Taking an American company back from the ChiComs is always welcome!