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'Enstrom is back'

Surack Enterprises announces purchase of helicopter corporation

Chuck Surack, founder of Surack Enterprises, announced that he has purchased Enstrom Helicopter Corp., located in Menominee, Michigan.

Chuck Surack told AOPA he is working to hire as many Enstrom staff back as possible to work at the Michigan factory (seen here during a 2014 visit) that abruptly shut down in January. Photo by Chris Rose.

Surack, known for founding Sweetwater Sound, an online retailer of musical instruments and professional audio equipment, announced in a press release he purchased Enstrom to rebuild the brand “into one of the leading American-made helicopter manufacturer[s] as it once was.”

Surack is the second buyer to step forward since Enstrom declared bankruptcy and shut its doors in January. MidTex Aviation joined Enstrom in a surprise appearance at Helicopter Association International’s Heli-Expo in March, announcing the two companies had reached an agreement for MidTex to purchase all of Enstrom’s assets.

“Earlier this year, it looked as if MidTex Aviation would step in and buy Enstrom, but when they had unexpected problems securing the funding, Chuck was able to step in and save the company,” said Matt Francour, president and CEO of Enstrom, in the more recent press release, adding that the new deal “was able to proceed quickly.”

Surack purchased an Enstrom 480B before obtaining his pilot certificate, and plans to add Enstrom to a portfolio that includes fixed-wing and helicopter charter companies, according to the press release in which the new owner said he is "excited to have purchased this outstanding company that manufactures helicopters here in the United States and employs workers right here in the Midwest."

In a follow-up email, Surack said he plans to keep the Michigan factory operating at its current location, and to put as many members of the staff back to work as possible.

“They make a great product and there are great people involved. They make a very reliable and safe helicopter, Surack wrote. “We will stay in Menominee ... There are lots of great employees here and this is home for Enstrom. We are rehiring as many of the staff as we can get back.”

Enstrom will join Surack Enterprises’ portfolio of aviation-related businesses, which includes Sweet Aviation and Sweet Helicopters, both of which offer aircraft charters, training, and rental. Sweet Helicopters is currently the “official helicopter services provider of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.” Surack also owns aviation insurance broker Aviation Specialty Insurance.

“The immediate goal,” according to the press release, “will be to continue supporting pilots who already own an Enstrom helicopter by providing parts and support. The company is excited to start building helicopters again and is planning to improve and update the Enstrom helicopter fleet.”

“Enstrom is back,” Surack said. “We plan to be building helicopters by the end of the year.”

Niki Britton

eMedia Content Producer
eMedia Content Producer Niki Britton joined AOPA in 2021. She is a private pilot who enjoys flying her 1969 Cessna 182 and taking aerial photographs.
Topics: Financial

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