August 21, 2014
Columbia Helicopters opens military helicopter maintenance center
Columbia Helicopters, a member of the American Helicopter Services And Aerial Firefighting Association (AHSAFA), has opened a new facility which will be totally focused on the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of military helicopters. The 16,000 ft² building, located at the company’s headquarters and maintenance complex at Aurora (Oregon) State Airport, will be capable of handling up to three maintenance lines of CH 47 Chinook helicopters simultaneously. The twin-rotor, CH 47 is a popular military workhorse, used by the US Army and military organizations worldwide. Columbia Helicopters is a specialist in CH 47 maintenance. Operational since August 1, the building, which houses the new Military Maintenance Facility, was built in 1996 to maintain the company’s ground support equipment. According to Paul Leach, Columbia Helicopters’ Director, Military Maintenance, the planning began last year to repurpose the structure in anticipation of growing contract maintenance business from international CH 47 operators, through the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. As an example, a complete interior and exterior refurbishment, airframe and engine overhaul for three Royal Moroccan Air Force CH 47-Ds is currently in progress at the facility, under a $6m contract.