NTX Magazine Volume 2 - Page 42

Industry Spotlight Aviation opened one of the world’s most powerful structures to dynamically balance helicopter rotor blades. The bi-directional whirl tower enables helicopter operators and manufacturers to rebalance rotor blades in the U.S. regardless of the rotorcraft’s country of origin. Innovative Aviation American Eurocopter traces its North Texas roots to 1969, when Vought Helicopters was organized to sell and service Aerospatiale helicopters in the U.S. and North America. The company has changed names a couple of times, due to corporate divestitures and mergers, but over the years gradually achieved a solid foothold in the U.S. commercial helicopter market. Its first big contract came in 1979 when it won a competition to provide a search-and-rescue helicopter, the Dauphin, for the U.S. Coast Guard. Those aircraft are still a mainstay of the Coast Guard’s fleet. They have been upgraded many times over the years and provided with new engines produced by Turbomeca, a French-owned company located next door to American Eurocopter in Grand Prairie with roughly 500 employees. For more than a decade, American Eurocopter has been the leader in sales and deliveries of new civil/commercial helicopters to the U.S. market. Its parent company, Eurocopter, is the world’s leading helicopter manufacturer. American Eurocopter uses its headquarters in Grand Prairie as a major training center for commercial pilots, particularly air medical and law enforcement. The company trains about 1,200 pilots and 900 aircraft maintenance personnel annually. That includes Army and National Guard crews that fly and maintain the UH-72A Lakota aircraft. In June 2012, American Eurocopter held a demonstratio