HUNTSVILLE, AL – WestWind Technologies Inc. (WestWind) broke ground today on its new Huntsville Aircraft Modification & Integration Center at the Huntsville International Airport. Mayor Tommy Battle of Huntsville and Mayor Paul Finley of Madison joined airport officials, Redstone Arsenal military representatives, and more than 100 business leaders at the milestone event.
To meet the growing demands of the aviation market at Redstone Arsenal and nationwide, WestWind’s new 65,000 square foot hangar will offer enhanced services for aircraft services as well as extended runway capacity by virtue of its location at Huntsville International Airport. The project also marks the first time the Huntsville-Madison County Airport Authority and a local small business have come together to build such a facility.
With Redstone Arsenal as the center of aviation for the U.S. Army, WestWind has designed this hangar to accommodate every type of helicopter in the Army’s inventory as well as a large number of fixed-wing aircraft with sizes up to the Air Force C-130s. Comprehensive aviation capabilities will include integration of new technologies into existing aircraft platforms with full engineering, electronics integration, and structural modification capabilities.
The center will also offer full MRO capabilities for a broad spectrum of military and commercial aircraft. With the added benefit of extensive on-site manufacturing capabilities, WestWind will be able to provide a one-stop, seamless operation from disassembly, integration, repair, reassembly, test flight, and return to service.
Initial employment for the center will be approximately 60 personnel in 2009, and the number is expected to grow rapidly in 2010 and beyond. WestWind currently operates engineering and manufacturing facilities adjacent to Huntsville Airport for production of aircraft parts and modification kits as well as flight simulators for Army helicopters. With the addition of the new aircraft center, the company anticipates additional expansions of manufacturing operations will be needed as well.
"WestWind is extremely proud to bring this new facility to the aviation industry and to the region," says WestWind Chief Operating Officer Roger Messick. "The aircraft center will be highly beneficial for the aviation industry across the board and will allow WestWind to move aviation services for our military and commercial customers to the next level."
"WestWind Technologies has built a reputation as an industry innovator in providing aviation-related services to the defense sector," says Jeff Sikes, Chairman of the Huntsville International Airport Board of Directors. "We first welcomed WestWind to our Jetplex Industrial Park in 2000 and most recently with the production of its CH-47F Transportable Flight Proficiency Simulator facility in 2007. Today, we are excited to welcome the company’s expansion with the construction of a hangar for aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul. WestWind brings with it a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the support of a variety of military and commercial aviation customers, and we look forward to a long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationship."
The facility is expected to be complete in August 2009.