"Hand in hand for 35 years"

On 13 November 2007, Heli-Support Inc., an American customer of Eurocopter’s for 35 years, held a conference in Marignane for Eurocopter’s employees. Rotor Journal went to meet the company’s president, Kenneth C. Roberts.


© Heli-Support
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© Eurocopter / E.Raz
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What are Heli-Support’s and Roberts Aircraft’s activities?
Kenneth C. Roberts:
On the one hand, we lease helicopters to different clients in the United States, South America and Asia. On the other hand, we are a Eurocopter-approved maintenance, repair and overhaul center for the AS350 and AS355 A-Stars, SA315 Lamas, SA316/SA318 Alouettes and SA330 J Pumas. We are also approved by Turbomeca for the overhaul of the Artouste IIIB and the Arriel 1 series engines. The missions carried out by our fleet (see inset) are very diverse – ranging from EMS missions, operations in the Caribbean, oil and gas exploration worldwide, fire fighting all over the Americas, power line maintenance and aerial tramway construction in Hong Kong. Since early 2007, our Pumas have also been used by the US Navy. Operated by our partner, Presidential Airways, and based on US Navy vessels in the Pacific, they transport loads, such as supplies or tooling, to and from the navy vessels.

For 30 years, your aircraft have come exclusively from Eurocopter. Why?
K. R.: The AS350 series A-Stars are excellent when it comes to working in hot and high conditions and for performing a wide range of applications. Furthermore, they have proven technology and benefit from worldwide maintenance support. As for the Pumas, they still do very good work at low cost. The Alouettes and Lamas continue to be a productive fleet and are renowned for their sterling work in the oil and gas sector and at high altitude. They still fly 5,000 hours a year.

How would you describe your relationship with Eurocopter?
K. R: We have a very long and very good relationship with Eurocopter and American Eurocopter. We deal with your US subsidiary for all matters concerning the A-Star, while those issues concerning older types of helicopter are managed directly with Eurocopter. We are fortunate to have a similar relationship with Turbomeca. We have noticed that Eurocopter has significantly improved its customer support over the last 18 months and we’re delighted about that. It is important to have a good relationship with the manufacturer and to work hand in hand: that’s one of the keys to our success.



_AUTHOR: VANESSA SCHMIDT-CRETON


REVIEW

• 1972: first Alouette III purchased
• 1973: first Lama purchased
• 1986: becomes service center for the Lama and Alouette III
• 1989: awarded repair and overhaul certification
• Current fleet: six SA330 J Pumas, 15 SA316 Alouette IIIs/SA315 Lamas, six AS350 B3 A-Stars
• Workforce: 80 people
• Head office: Fort Collins, Colorado
• Annual turnover: 25 million dollars