NTX Magazine Volume 2 - Page 40

Industry Spotlight Aviation Bell Helicopter in Fort Worth World Center of Aviation Helicopter industry leaders take advantage of North Texas’ thriving aviation industry T he aerospace and defense industry has been a cornerstone for the North Texas economy for decades. Within this thriving industry, North Texas is home to two of the largest helicopter manufacturers in the world – American Eurocopter and Bell Helicopter. Headquartered less than 10 miles from each other, American Eurocopter and Bell Helicopter have managed to utilize the North Texas region as a home to compete globally. “Being located here in North Texas, in the midst of this vibrant regional economic powerhouse and aviation and aerospace industry hub has had many benefits for our company,” said Marc Paganini, president and 38 NTX Magazine CEO of American Eurocopter. “The proximity to DFW Airport and global airline and cargo service makes it much easier to ship needed parts to customers quickly and directly from our distribution center located at DFW Airport,” Paganini said. Historically, the aircraft manufacturing industry in North Texas is rooted deeply in the weapons production buildup required for the U.S. and its allies during World War II. The Defense Department oversaw the location of two major aircraft plants in the area, the Consolidated-Convair “bomber” plant in Fort Worth, now operated by Lockheed Martin, and the North American Aviation plant at Dallas Naval Air Station, which was later used by Chance Vought Aircraft Co. and its successors, now a part of the Triumph Group. The Korean War and the Cold War continued that trend, sprouting military air bases all over the North Texas landscape, bringing in lots of people with aviation knowledge and skills, whom would later be put to use in private industry. The North Texas region currently offers several top-notch education and training programs, such as Tarrant County College’s Aviation Maintenance Technology program, which is approved by the Federal Aviation Administration. In 2012, Composite Technology, a Sikorsky company based at DFW Airport, www.ntc-dfw.org