Following Bankruptcy, Enstrom Helicopter Corporation is Resurrected

After closing its doors in January, the company will be reborn under an Indiana-based entrepreneur.

[Courtesy: Enstrom Helicopter Corporation]

After declaring Chapter 7 bankruptcy in January and closing its doors after nearly 65 years in business, Enstrom Helicopter Corporation has been purchased. 

Chuck Surack

Chuck Surack, the founder of Indiana-based Surack Enterprises, has purchased Enstrom to rebuild the Enstrom brand, or as Surack Enterprises describes it, "one of the leading American-made helicopter manufacturers as it once was."

Surack’s capital for the purchase is derived from his Sweetwater Sound business, the largest online retailer of musical instruments and professional audio equipment. Since its inception, Surack has grown Sweetwater into a $1.5 billion business.

"I am excited to have purchased this outstanding company that manufactures helicopters here in the United States and employs workers right here in the Midwest," Surack said in a statement.

Enstrom's president and CEO, Matt Francour, also welcomed the deal, especially after other financing fell through.

"Earlier this year, it looked as if MidTex Aviation would step in and buy Enstrom, but they had unexpected problems securing the funding,” Francour said in a statement. “Chuck was able to step in and save the company, which ended a lot of sleepless nights here for us in Michigan." 

Surack's affinity for the brand began in 2008, when he became a helicopter pilot, though he purchased a brand new Enstrom 480B before earning his pilot's certificate.

Enstrom will now become a part of Surack Enterprises’ aviation portfolio that already includes Sweet Aviation, a company providing charter flights, flight training, and fixed-wing rental. There's also Sweet Helicopters, the rotorcraft component of Sweet Aviation, which is the official helicopter services provider for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Finally, there is Aviation Specialty Insurance, which specializes in insurance for things like drones and light aircraft, as well as flight schools and corporations.

Surack's priority will be supporting owner-pilots who need Enstrom helicopter parts, while the company will look to begin building more helicopters and bringing updated versions to the market.

Michael Wildes holds a master’s degree in Logistics & Supply Chain Management, and a bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Science, both from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Previously, he worked at the university’s flight department as a Flight Check Airman, Assistant Training Manager, and Quality Assurance Mentor. He holds MEI, CFI & CFII ratings. Follow Michael on Twitter @Captainwildes.

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