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Fri, Sep 15, 2023

Enstrom Helicopter Corporation to Join Oconto Elks Fly-In

Brand Awareness Amongst Elks in the Badger State

Enstrom Helicopter Corporation will celebrate Oconto, Wisconsin’s high-flying heritage at the Oconto County Elks Fly-In on Saturday, 16 September at the J. Douglas Bake Municipal Airport (OCQ).

Enstrom vice-president of sales and marketing Dennis Martin will fly into Oconto in on of his company’s eminently popular and 480B helicopters. The machine will join nearly three-dozen additional aircraft and upwards of two-hundred classic automobiles.

Flyovers will take place throughout the event.

Enstrom’s management, by way of the Oconto County Elks Fly-In, seeks to bolster brand awareness in the Northeast Wisconsin area. Mr. Martin will be joined by Enstrom president Todd Tetzlaff; together, the pair will serve as ambassadors of the Enstrom brand, interacting with and answering the questions of event attendees.

Mr. Tetzlaff stated: “We’re in the midst of a massive recruitment campaign with immediate openings for skilled engineers, managers, and mechanics. As a company, we’re excited to share the Enstrom story and attract new talent so we can expand our production capacity. We’ll have hiring signs, but our biggest attractor may prove to be the 480B helicopter itself.”

Fly-in guests may look forward, also, to an array of family-friendly activities and experiences, including radio-controlled electric planes, a recreated World War II-era military encampment, bungee-bouncing, face painting, and more. Local craft vendors will be out selling their wares, and a wide-variety of food and drinks will be available for purchase.

Oconto is located approximately halfway between Menominee, Michigan and Green Bay, Wisconsin. The address of the J. Douglas Blake Municipal Airport is 2883 Airport Road, Oconto, WI, 54153. The Fly-In will take place between 09:00 and 16:00 CDT. Event admission is $5 pre-sale for adults or $7 at the gate. Children 12-and-under enjoy free admission.

Founded in 1959 by mining engineer Rudolph "Rudy" Enstrom and rescued from bankruptcy in 2022 by Sweetwater Music founder Chuck Surack, Enstrom Helicopter Corporation is an American designer and manufacturer of piston and turbine-engine helicopters. The company is based at Michigan’s Menominee–Marinette Twin County Airport (MNM).

Notwithstanding his surname’s enduring synonymousness with the marque, Rudy Enstrom knew little of helicopter design. His young company, in point of fact, was sustained to an extensive degree by outside aerospace experts and generous investors. By the time Enstrom’s first helicopter, the venerable F-28, was in production, Rudy had been ousted in person—if not in name—from the company he founded.

Between 1965 and 2011, Enstrom built over 1,100 helicopters in both piston and turbine iterations. Throughout those decades, the company offered three models: the F-28, the more aerodynamic 280, and the turbine-powered 480—each with its own variants.

In January 2022 Enstrom declared bankruptcy due to what the company’s management described as “several financial difficulties.” Technical support for Enstrom customers ceased, and the Menominee factory was shuttered. At the time of its closure the company employed only thirty workers.

In May 2022 Surack Enterprises purchased Enstrom.

Years prior to adding Enstrom to his portfolio, Chuck Surack had learned to fly helicopters in an Enstrom 280. Impressed with the machine and the company by which it had been built, Surack purchased a 480.

Of Enstrom as a whole, Surack remarked: “When the company became available, I knew how good the employees were … it’s the safest helicopter in the world. If you look at the safety record it’s really, really safe, and I just knew there was an opportunity to improve the company and restore it, and take it on to the next level.”

FMI: www.enstromhelicopter.com

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