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First Aviation acquisition prompts formation of Rotary Wing Group
Heliblade has become part of the First Aviation family, whose new Rotor Wing Group now brings together three respected MROs to service a worldwide customer base.

MRO business First Aviation Services is to acquire California-based Heliblade. Founded in 2008 by career aviation helicopter professional Pablo Martinez, Heliblade is a maintenance provider for Bell, Airbus and Leonardo main and tail rotors.

Along with the addition of Heliblade to its helicopter MRO capabilities, First Aviation has also formed the First Aviation Rotary Wing Group (RWG), creating a national footprint for rotor blade and dynamic component repair. Heliblade joins First Aviation's two other helicopter rotor blade centres of excellence, Kissimmee, Florida-based Aviation Blade Services and Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based Piedmont Propulsion Systems. Together, the three maintenance facilities cover the most popular models of Sikorsky, Bell, Airbus and Leonardo helicopter main and tail rotor blades and an expanding portfolio of dynamic components.

Aviation Blade Services (ABS) is recognised as the independent leader in Sikorsky S-70/UH-60 Blackhawk rotor blade depot-level repair, with US Army source approval for both the main and tail rotor blade, and provides rotor blade support for classic Sikorsky helicopters such as the S-58, S-61 and S-64. As part of the expansion, ABS will develop capability in the Bell, Airbus and Leonardo product lines and support the expansion of full technical capability on the UH-60/S-70 at Heliblade. Piedmont Propulsion Systems has FAA certification to repair S-76 rotor blades, UH-60 rotor blades and hubs, as well as US Army source approval to overhaul the UH-60 hub.

First Aviation will operate its RWG under the direction of John Brennan, currently ABS general manager and Paul Bolton, chief operating officer of First Aviation Services.

Martinez says: “I'm very pleased that Heliblade will be part of the First Aviation family. It has a multi-decade dedication to the aerospace industry and consistent history of investing in its businesses.”

He will remain part of the company during the transition. All employees of Heliblade have been retained as part of the acquisition.

Bolton says of the combination: “First Aviation's Rotor Wing Group brings together three respected MRO companies with extraordinary rotor blade and dynamic component capability to service our worldwide customer base. We look forward to welcoming Heliblade as part of First Aviation and leveraging each facility's experience, technical capability and engineering resources across all three RWG locations.”

Together, the Rotor Wing Group has over 100,000 sq ft of space dedicated to rotor blade repair and related services.

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