Merger shows aviation industry on road to recovery

By John Nolan, October 25, 2010 Springfield News-Sun

PIQUA — Tailwind Technologies Inc.’s purchase of an engine accessories manufacturer to complement Hartzell Propeller Inc. could get a boost, now that the piston-powered aircraft industry is starting to recover from a three-year slump.

Tailwind Technologies on Sept. 30 completed the purchase of what was then known as Kelly Aerospace Energy Systems LLC, of Montgomery, Ala., for an undisclosed sum. Tailwind, the Piqua-based parent of Hartzell Propeller, has renamed Kelly Aerospace as Hartzell Engine Technologies and structured it as a sister company to Hartzell Propeller.

It is part of a trend in the aviation industry that allows component suppliers to expand their business by offering a broader menu of parts and services to aircraft manufacturers, industry analyst Brian Foley said.

The piston-powered aircraft industry is showing signs of beginning at least a modest recovery after a severe worldwide slump that saw deliveries of planes for general aviation fall by 65 percent from 2007, as the recession took hold. Industry billings for general aviation airplanes have increased for two consecutive quarters, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.

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