Keystone Helicopter Breaks Ground on Next Phase of Huge Rotorcraft Depot: the Keystone ``Heliplex''

Left to right: Bob Ferrucci, Doug Doratt, Steve Townes, Doug Howe, and Dave Ford. (Photo: Business Wire)

COATESVILLE, Pa.--()--July 8, 2005--Keystone Helicopter: "Digging in for Long-Term Growth"

-- Company's latest investment in growth is an airport-based 173,000 square foot multi-building technical center which will be one of the largest and most technically advanced commercial rotorcraft depots in the country

-- Long range site plans allow for eventual expansion to over 315,000 square feet, with multi-year capital budgets aimed at enhancing technical overhaul and servicing capacities for helicopters, engines, avionics, components

Keystone Helicopter, an industry leader in helicopter services for 51 years, broke ground this week on the next phase of what will be one of the largest, most sophisticated independent maintenance, repair, modification and technology development centers dedicated exclusively to rotorcraft in the country. This helicopter depot reflects the unprecedented growth Keystone Helicopter has enjoyed over the last several years and will be so advanced and outfitted with such state of the art technical capability it has already become known within the industry as the Keystone "Heliplex."

The company's senior management, several local elected officials, as well as representatives from the Chester County Business Development Commission were on site to celebrate and take part in the ground breaking ceremony.

"The Heliplex's construction was necessitated by our robust growth over the last four years," stated Robert Ferrucci, Vice President-Engineering of Keystone's parent holding company, Keystone Ranger Holdings ("Ranger"). Ferrucci has been the primary Project Officer for the Keystone Heliplex since its inception, and he further noted: "We designed the facility from the customer's perspective, investing heavily in new shop capabilities, and making sure the layouts would be more conducive to efficient, timely work flows. Our ISO-9000 initiatives and Kaizen innovations have helped along the way. New engine test cells, modernized shops, and improved IT systems will all serve our customers' needs better. And we have room on this new site to grow in place literally for decades to come. Our location in the heart of the Northeastern USA business corridor bodes well for continued expansion and market share."

David Ford, President of Keystone Helicopter said, "We've increased annual sales from $38.7 Million in 2000 to an unprecedented tripling to nearly $125 Million for 2005; more than doubled employment to over 600 people, and expanded our fleet from 25 to 36 helicopters. We have outfitted "green" completions on more than 70 new turbine helicopters for customers such as Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation and Agusta Aerospace; by the way, that's more than any other independent rotorcraft completion center in the world!"

Keystone Helicopter Corporation is an FAA and European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) licensed rotorcraft repair station that has grown in 5 decades to be one of the strongest technical franchises in the helicopter services industry. 75% of Keystone's revenues are derived from its many repair, engineering, and technical services activities. They perform highly complex maintenance and other work on behalf of such manufacturers as Agusta Aerospace, Bell Helicopter, Eurocopter, Honeywell, Rolls Royce engines, Sikorsky Aircraft, and Turbomeca engines. Keystone's Engine Services Division handles sophisticated turbine engine overhauls.

KeyTech, the company's engineering division with 42 engineers (including six FAA licensed Designated Engineering Representatives) is one of only 34 FAA certified Designated Alteration Stations (DAS) world wide, in any segment of the aerospace industry, and is an important differentiator for Keystone in the rotorcraft field.

The Flight Division is one of the largest air medical transport operators in the NE United States, with over 150 highly experienced pilots and mechanics in the field, at 28 operating sites where the company acts as the turn-key flight department for many major hospitals.

"We are customer focused with a commitment to quality and safety that is displayed in action not words," said Steve Townes, CEO of Keystone Helicopter and founder of Ranger Aerospace. "This rotorcraft enterprise is on the move, destined for so much more in the future. These new facilities give us a real competitive edge, allowing the company to truly take off." Keystone alone, excluding other Ranger operations, does over 550,000 man-hours per year of varied technical services for hundreds of helicopters.

Other achievements over the last several years that were pointed out during the Shovel Ceremony were:

-- 5 Decades of heritage--one of the oldest commercial helicopter companies in the world.

-- Keystone's flight team flies over 15000 life saving flight hours per year, transporting more than 20,000 patients.

-- The total Ranger-owned organization provides well over 750,000 man-hours per year of technical services/engineering/touch labor

-- Multi year winner of the FAA's Diamond Award, their highest award for Training and Safety

-- Member of Helicopter Association International's (HAI) prestigious Platinum Safety Program

-- Numerous safety awards from the National Business Aircraft Association and the HAI.

-- The company practices the latest techniques in "Lean Manufacturing" production management and program controls

-- They hold two ISO 9000 Certifications

About Keystone Helicopter and Its Affiliates

Keystone Helicopter is one of the largest and oldest helicopter services companies in the United States. Founded in 1953, the firm operates a large technical services depot and completion center near Philadelphia. It also operates a large fleet of turbine helicopters in numerous locations across several eastern states, primarily in the air medical mission. Keystone Helicopter is owned by Keystone Ranger Holdings, Inc., a Philadelphia-area private equity investment organization that specializes in aviation-related ventures. Keystone Ranger also owns Composite Technology, Inc. (CTI) with operations in Texas, Canada, Brazil, England, and Singapore. Institutional investment groups with Keystone Ranger include Meridian Venture Partners, Brown Brothers Harriman, Argosy Investment Partners, Spring Capital and Merion Capital. Private shareholders include Ranger Aerospace LLC, the Wright Family, and all officers in senior management. Additional information is available online at:,, and at

About Ranger

Ranger Aerospace LLC is a privately held investment and management holding company with private equity institutions, venture capital companies and management as shareholders. Keystone Ranger Holdings is the rotorcraft services consolidation vehicle created by Ranger in 2001. Ranger's previous consolidation venture was the successful airfield services company Aircraft Service Intl Group ("ASIG") which now has over 8000 employees. Ranger and its co-investors add value to acquired companies via seasoned veterans experienced in aviation services, aerospace programs, engineering, finance, corporate development, MIS, marketing and strategic planning, Total Quality Management, mergers and acquisitions, post-merger integration and turnarounds. Additional information is available online at

Forward Looking Statements: The Company from time to time may discuss forward-looking information. Except for factual historical information, all forward looking statements are estimates by the Company's management and are subject to various risks and uncertainties that are beyond the Company's control and may cause actual results to differ materially from management's expectations.

Guests at Keystone Helicopter's Silver Shovel ceremony for the new Heliplex:

-- Doug Doratt - Sadsbury Township Vice Chairman Board of Supervisors

-- Gary Smith - President/CEO, Chester County Economic Development Council

-- Tim Connor - Dir of Business Development, Chester County Economic Development Council

-- Doug Howe - Doug Howe, D. Howe & Sons Construction, Inc


Keystone Helicopter Corporation
Rick Hinkle, 610-883-4475


Keystone Helicopter Corporation
Rick Hinkle, 610-883-4475