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Columbia Helicopters will work on Moroccan helicopters

Photo Credit: SUBMITTED PHOTO - 
Columbia Helicopters recently announced it had received a contract worth approximately $6 million to provide maintenance services on three CH-47D Chinook helicopters for the Moroccan Air Force.

In order to prepare for this maintenance operation, Columbia Helicopters has opened a new military maintenance facility at the company’s headquarters near Aurora. While the company has conducted maintenance on military helicopters and components in the past, this new facility is expected to generate significant additional military work for the company in the future.

“We are excited about this project,” said Scott Ellis, director of business development for Columbia Helicopters. “This contract brings three large helicopters to our facility, where we’ll clean, inspect and repair them. At the end of the process, we’re going to hand Morocco’s Air Force three aircraft that are completely re-conditioned and in excellent shape.”

Issued through the Department of Defense Foreign Military Sales (FMS) office, the contract involves “resetting” and painting the three aircraft at Columbia Helicopters’ Military Maintenance facility.

Morocco acquired the surplus U.S. Army aircraft through an FMS program and Columbia Helicopters’ maintenance work will ensure the flight readiness of the aircraft when they are accepted by the Moroccan government.

Resetting an aircraft is a post-desert operations cleaning and inspection and repair that also includes a 400-hour aircraft phase maintenance inspection. During the seven-month project, Columbia’s crews will also transform the olive-drab paint scheme into a more appropriate desert camouflage pattern. Near the end of the project, company personnel will deliver, reassemble and flight test the aircraft in Morocco.

“This project is very similar to a project we completed for the Australian government last year,” added Ellis. “In that instance, our maintenance crews began the reset process while their helicopters were still in Afghanistan, then delivered and completed the project in Australia. We’re just as capable of conducting maintenance services overseas, but we’re looking forward to expanding our services here in Oregon.”



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