Aire-Tech Rotorcraft Services will lease north hangar for a shop where workers will refurbish Sikorsky light helicopters

An FAA certified helicopter repair station will be leasing the north hangar at Penn Yan-Yates County Airport, and after making renovations to the building, the first job will be work on 10 Mexican-owned aircraft.

The first group of light service helicopters that will be serviced here previously belonged to the PGR (Procuraduria General de la Republica), the Mexican equivalent of the FBI, according to David Healey, general manager of  Aire-Tech Rotorcraft Services. The helicopters will be reconfigured and refurbished for use by the Mexican Navy. Previously used in the Mexican anti-drug effort, their primary use will be in surveillance and training.

Healey says a contractor will begin renovations at the hangar as soon as the lease agreement is finalized. Those renovations should take 25 to 30 days to establish what Healey calls “a very professional atmosphere.”

The company operates a facility at the Elmira-Corning Airport now, according to Healey, who says the Yates County Airport was an attractive alternative because of fewer air traffic restrictions than at that commercial airport.

Yates County Legislators approved the lease agreement Dec. 30, pending approval by County Attorney Scott Falvey. The company will pay $900 per month in addition to covering the cost of renovations.

District II Legislator Leland Sackett of Milo, who serves on the Airport Council, says the hangar is now leased by customers who don’t really need the space, and it’s occupied by a Sheriff’s Department boat, which will be relocated.

The helicopters — none of which are military tactical aircraft — are all products of Sikorsky-Schweizer which previously operated near the Elmira-Corning Airport. Healey, who was previously the director of customer service for Sikorsky, says contracts for work have come from other Sikorsky customers in China and the Dominican Republic.

The helicopters that will be refurbished here are all “light” helicopters that weigh about 1600 lbs. empty, he says.

There is a chance the local shop will also work on the structural components of Northrup Grummin unmanned aircraft.

All employees of Aire-Tech are former employees of Sikorsky or Schweizer, says Healey.