Erickson Air-Crane gets aerospace certification

CENTRAL POINT — Erickson Air-Crane's move to redefine its place in the aerospace industry has received a big boost.

The heavy-lift helicopter manufacturer and operator announced Thursday it has received AS9100 certification, a worldwide business-management standard with a focus on aerospace and aviation.

The certification allows Erickson to perform new and expanded work for major aerospace suppliers such as Sikorsky, Bell and Agusta.

The new credentials certify that Erickson applies quality systems for work it already performs as well as services that are part of the company's new strategic growth plans, which include design, manufacturing, sales, repair, crew training and operation of heavy-lift helicopters.

The new certification is supplemented by additional requirements established by the aerospace industry to satisfy requirements of the Defense Department, NASA and Federal Aviation Administration.

Erickson went though lengthy audits of all company departments as part of the process. Chief executive Udo Rieder said he was pleased the company completed the typical 12-to-18-month review process in just nine months.

In the 15 months since Rieder took over the company, Erickson has recast itself to reach beyond its traditional logging and firefighting services. The shift proved timely. Logging has suffered in the global recession, and the company laid off dozens of employees in the past year.

In February, Erickson announced it will build a new generation of heavy-lift helicopters and moved its headquarters to Portland to gain greater access to the aerospace market.

"We've worked hard to develop a world-class business-management system," Rieder said

Erickson's new strategic plan includes expanding its maintenance, repair and operations business, increasing its training program and developing new design and manufacturing concepts.

Erickson operates a fleet of 17 S-64 helicopters and has worked in 16 countries since 1971.

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 776-4463 or e-mail

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