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Helicopter service takes off in Penn Yan ADVERTISEMENT

Helicopter service takes off in Penn Yan

PENN YAN--Have you noticed more helicopters flying around Penn Yan lately? They are probably the result of the Aire-Tech Rotorcraft Services beginning their work as a repair center based at the Penn Yan Airport this spring.
While Aire-Tech received Yates legislative approval to lease the north hangar last December, there were renovations that needed to be completed before business could begin. General Manager David Healey said the work included putting in a new $20,000 floor system, gutting and rewiring all the offices and putting in a new parts room and clean room for component overhaul. Initially expected to take 30 days to complete, Aire-Tech was not able to begin work until April 15 due to additional renovations they wanted done. Healey estimated the total cost "ended up in the $40,000 range."
"The refurbishing work ran a bit long," Healey said. "We did more than we anticipated."
Now that they are in operation, the company began working on the first of 10 aircraft that are being repaired and refurbished for the Mexican Navy.While none have been completed yet, Aire-Tech had some out on test flights Friday, May 29. Healey siad the initial batch of three Mexican helicopters were contracted for completion in approximately 120 days.
In addition to the Mexico project, Aire-Tech is in "final negotiations" to work on 20 choppers for Canada and potentially some for Peru as well. Healey spoke of a potential job to work on a U.S. Navy unmanned chopper in Penn Yan as well. He stated when working on an unmanned chopper, the classified components relating to the unmanned aspect of the vehicle are removed prior to them working on it and are added back on later.
"These unmanned helicopters are very actively being used in Afghanistan," Healey said.
Healey mentioned several of those who work on these helicopters are ex-Sikorsky-Schweizer employees who had helped build these aircraft in Horseheads, adding many of the aircraft they work on are Sikorsky made. Aire-Tech Rotorcraft Services was previously located at the Elmira-Corning Airport, but moved to Penn Yan because it is a non-tower operated airport that has a better air traffic flow. Healey expressed the space in Penn Yan has worked out very well, adding he intends to be at the site for the long-term.
In addition to Sikorsky aircraft, Aire-Tech works with a variety of different helicopter manufacturers. They are also in negotiations with Eclipse Aerospace to have a service center for light jet work. Healey mentioned the new jet service center would require an all new building, adding Penn Yan may be a considered location for it.
"[Penn Yan] fits me and the company's needs very well," Healey said.

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