The 480B was selected in a competitive bidding process that included aircraft from 7 different major manufacturers. In October Enstrom hosted a delegation of officials from the Royal Thai Army led by Major General Pittaya Krachangwong, who came to Menominee to inspect Enstrom’s manufacturing facilities and fly the different models of Enstrom helicopters.
“We couldn’t be more excited to be working with the Royal Thai Army,” said Jerry Mullins, Enstrom’s President and CEO. “The 480B turbine helicopter was originally designed for military instruction, and although it has had great success in the commercial market, it’s nice to see it being recognized as a great training ship as well. The Royal Thai Army’s visit has given them the confidence to go forward with Enstrom, now and in the future.”
Along with General Pittaya, three other experienced Royal Thai Army pilots flew the Enstrom 480B and piston powered F28F. “The said it was almost too easy to fly,” commented David Blake of Blake & DeJong Ltd., Enstrom’s Managing Representative in Asia. “None of them have ever flown the 480B before, but they were able to take the controls and immediately felt comfortable enough to fly a number of maneuvers. This will be a great training helicopter for the Royal Thai Army.”
Beyond just training, the Royal Thai Army intends to use their new 480Bs for a number of missions. “Avionics-wise, these new 480B’s are going to be some of more advanced aircraft in the Royal Thai Army’s inventory,” said Enstrom’s Director of Sales & Marketing, Tracy Biegler. “When we explained to the Royal Thai Army firsthand some of the features and capabilities of the EFIS system and the tactical radios, it really opened their eyes. These aircraft will have the ability to do a lot more than just training, such as search and rescue, surveillance, and disaster relief. The Royal Thai Army is definitely going to utilize the flexibility built into the 480B design.”
Enstrom is represented in Asia by Blake & DeJong Ltd., and in Thailand by M-Landarch Inc.
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