Erickson Incorporated’s U.S.-based maintenance repair and overhaul (MRO) keeps operators flying for various helicopter models.
Helicopter components are not made in bulk. Small run helicopter parts are the standard. The main rotor blade, for example, is made with composite materials at Erickson, Inc. in Medford, Oregon. Each blade consumes full-time hours for 25 people, with 504 layers of composite material over two months. The blades are layered, one layer at a time, in the blade shop. Blade creation is one function of Erickson’s MRO facility in Oregon.
Other functions of MRO include machining new or replacement parts for S-64 Air Crane® Helicopter, Bell 214 and 214ST, H-53, as well as supporting other OEMs with manufacturing to their specifications.
“Our MRO provides a necessary service to the S-64 and 214 community. Many companies are small businesses, and they operate to put food on the table for their families. If Erickson can manufacture a part or repair their aircraft, it is a huge service for them. It’s also great for Erickson, it is a good portion of our revenue, and it keeps people working. It’s also exciting to walk through the shops and see what the company does.”
Kevin Haataja, Component MRO Manager
Over time, all vehicles need repair, and helicopters are no exception. After time, a helicopter might need a full overhaul, but it will need routine maintenance and the manufacture of new parts until that time (depending on the daily use and routine maintenance that each aircraft receives).
Also, when a new helicopter is manufactured, as with the S-64F+ Air Crane® helicopter (the new updated version of the S-64F Air Crane Helicopter), it will be developed and manufactured in-house. This model is due for release around 2025/26.
Here are specific MRO functions at Erickson:
- Machine Part Manufacturing
- Sheet Metal Manufacturing and Repair
- Hydraulic Tube Bending
- Electronics Manufacturing and Repair
- Pylon Shop
- Assembly & Complex Assembly
- Blade Manufacturing, Overhaul, and Repair
- Aircraft maintenance
- S-64 Air Crane® aircraft builds
- Component Repair Overhaul (CRO) including Engines, Rotor Head, Gear Box, Fuel Control, Hydraulics, Paint, Plating
Erickson sells new aircraft and offers maintenance agreements to customers, who are the owners and operators of the aircraft.
Erickson supports both customers and competitors equally.
Erickson has forged relationships with key OEMs in support of legacy platforms, which include:
- Bell Helicopters
- Sikorsky Aircraft
- Airbus Helicopters
- Pratt & Whitney
- And more…
Therefore, when a part is needed, Erickson can manufacture and install it for the customer to continue to fly their missions.
Erickson’s MRO facilities are in two locations in Oregon.
MRO roles include jobs like:
- Aircraft mechanics
- Blade technicians
- Sheet metal technicians
- Electrical technicians
- Manufacturing engineers
- Production planners
- Tool crib attendants
- Crew chiefs
- Aircraft welders
- Aircraft assemblers
- Collateral duty inspectors
- QA and inspection
To learn more about MRO opportunities, check out our open positions.
“We do some amazing things; we are not your standard manufacturing group. We are artisan people; we build one-offs and, with the parts (some obsolete for some time), develop new processes and methods. The aircraft of today are better than what Sikorsky built originally. I have the best crew you can get.”
Rick Clark, Aircraft Manufacturing MRO Manager
Erickson’s MRO locations are:
- Central Point, OR
- Medford, OR
- Italy, European Aircrane, SIMA
Introduction to key MRO functions at Erickson, Inc.
Since acquiring the type certificate for the S-64 Air Crane® Helicopter from Sikorsky in 1992, Erickson has been in the business of repairing the main rotor blades, made of metal, on the aircraft.
Around 2010, the company determined that continuing with metal blade repair and production was not a sustainable solution.
Although the blade shop still maintains metal blades, they created a Composite Main Rotor Blade (CMRB) that added to existing aircraft, including the Bell 214s, and will also be added to all new models of the S-64F+ Air Crane® helicopter, which is currently in production.
Erickson is a turnkey solution for your most challenging projects.
Our machine shop, located in Central Point, Oregon, includes various services for CNC programming, machining, grinding, and assembly.
Most businesses can’t produce complicated parts and assemblies and will outsource these to Erickson. The machine shop supports the manufacturing of components for direct sales to OEM customers, Sikorsky, Bell, and several 214 operators.
Our core competency is cold-start and complex machining. We have the knowledge and experience to support your projects from start to finish.
Learn more about the machinery in the Machine Shop.
Safety and certifications
- ISO 9001:2015
- Critical Flight Safety Item Supplier
- TIER 1 Supplier
- PART 21 Manufacturer
Quality Assurance and Inspections
Erickson participates in FAA auditing. The Part 145 Repair Station facilities, maintenance, and component repair and overhaul processes are audited by the Flight Standards District Offices (FSDO) branch of the FAA on average 3-4 times yearly, and annually by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
Our Part 21 Manufacturing facilities fall under the oversight of the Manufacturing & Inspection District Offices (MIDO) branch of the FAA and are audited quarterly for product/process compliance. A full quality system audit is conducted by MIDO every 2 years. Both certification platforms are also commercially certificated to global AS9100 standards and are audited annually. Any discoveries from these external audits are indeed taken as opportunities for improvement. Any such findings are prioritized and managed through our Corrective Actions Review Board activities to determine root cause & corrective actions. This is to not only address the specific non-compliance, but also to assess and determine whether systemic conditions are occurring, and if long-term preventative actions are necessary to assure the sustainability of any process improvements that are implemented.
- All employees are responsible for maintaining quality aviation operations and workplaces
- The senior leadership team ensures that necessary resources are free for monitoring for compliance
- External evaluations are opportunities for improvement
- The quality management system allows for process and product improvements
- Leadership at all levels develops and maintains a highly skilled workforce
- Erickson’s management improves employee knowledge of environmental, health, and safety requirements
- The company is committed to providing best-in-class, competitively priced, and on-time products, and services to our customers
Component Repair and Overhaul (CRO)
The CRO department repairs and overhauls helicopter components and engines. The CRO department also has an Engine Test Cell which provides performance checks after maintenance of an engine and checks the operating condition of each section, and adjustment of each part before loading to the aircraft. It is a trial run of the engine.
Specialized services include:
- Certified welders
- Balanced parts
- Non-destructive testing
- Ultrasound and eddy current inspections
- Delamination inspection
- Supports the blade shop
Sheet metal, avionics, electrical, welding, assembly
This department operates out of a massive hangar in Central Point, Oregon.
There are 52 employees in the department. Manufacturing, engineering, and production teams are hard at work with a manufacturing and maintenance center, welding, electrical, machine shop, assembly, and repair facility for airframe parts.
Rick Clark, the manager, said, “We are a flexible group; the mechanics can switch between hangar maintenance and go to other work centers. That way, we don’t have to staff so many facilities at once.”
Employees are trained in multiple areas and can switch between roles in a versatile manner.
S-64 Air Crane® Aircraft Builds
New aircraft manufacturing is also out of Central Point, Oregon. These highly skilled employees can construct every part of the new aircraft. The newest model S-64F+ Air Crane helicopter is coming soon.
Learn more about this newly upgraded platform.