Enstrom Helicopter Corporation has hosted mechanics from Zambia for a week of training on how to maintain the Enstrom 480B helicopters they will soon be taking delivery of.
Zambia’s defence ministry in February signed a contract for two turbine-powered Enstrom 480B helicopters for training pilots and personnel, and these will be delivered in the near future pending aircraft completion.
Speaking about the mechanic training, Dennis Martin, Enstrom’s Vice President of Sales & Marketing, said the Zambians took their studies seriously, studying every night. Enstrom regularly offers maintenance courses throughout the year at its factory in Menominee, Michigan.
Mechanics who join Enstrom’s training courses will learn all the subtle nuances of an Enstrom helicopter and quickly familiarize themselves with all the inner workings. Participants can practice what they learn with hands-on display models and special tooling, Enstrom said in a press release on 6 November.
The Zambia Air Force’s new helicopters will be based in Lusaka, and used for training and utility missions – a training package is included in the deal. The helicopters will be equipped with cargo hooks and hard points for cameras, as well as Garmin avionics and glass panels. One helicopter will be supplied with a full glass cockpit and one with a hybrid glass and analogue panel to provide training with a flight deck similar to the gauge-equipped Mi-17s used as the mainstay of the fleet.
Enstrom believes the 480B will be a lot more efficient than some of the other light helicopters the Zambia Air Force is using”
South Africa’s Safomar Aviation Group coordinated and assisted Enstrom in the sale to Zambia, including logistics, specifications, and configuration of the Helicopters. Safomar operates a large regional maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility as well as a flight school, and both maintains and operates Enstrom helicopters throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Safomar has, for example, assisted in the sale of three Enstrom 480B helicopters to Botswana’s police service – the last of these was delivered in early 2021.