West Richland company to start building helicopter blades - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

West Richland company to start building helicopter blades

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WEST RICHLAND, WA - Hertelendy Research Associates designs and ultimately builds main and tail rotor blades for all kinds of helicopters, but recently they've decided to take on a new project.

The original equipment manufacturers of the Bell-47 series of helicopters contacted the company because there's a real challenge getting the necessary parts to keep these aircraft flying.

These helicopters were used primarily during the Korean War. The company hopes to ultimately revitalize the aircraft by making more of its parts available.

"The aircraft has survived as long as it has because there's been no aircraft produced that can really as effectively do the job that it does," said Nick Hertelendy, owner of Hertelendy Research Associates.

Hertelendy says there are currently about 3,000 of these helicopters operational worldwide and locally we have operators in Pendleton as well as Dayton.

The company has finished building the first set of prototypes, building just one part of a blade can take up 80 hours. The company's next project involves producing main rotor blades for the family of Bell 206 helicopters, whose earlier versions were used during the Vietnam War.