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Ehmke Manufacturing has been honored with an IFAI 2010 Award of Excellence

Ch-46 HMX-1 Presidential Support Helicopter - VIP Interior

Ehmke Manufacturing Co engineered, manufactured and installed the protective thermal acoustical blankets used on the HMX-1 CH-46 presidential support helicopters. This project was designed and manufactured in Philadelphia, Pa., and installed at Willow Grove Naval Air Station, Willow Grove, Pa., and Quantico, Va.

The blankets are constructed of a three-layer configuration that includes an 18 oz sq yd vinyl coated nylon facing material, 1.5in Fiberglas® batting media and a Aeronel FR lightweight backing scrim. The MLI is mounted on a machined aluminum sheet that is fitted to the internal airframe of the helicopter. Trimming such as hook and loop fastener tape, nylon tapes and webbings, netting and mounting hardware is added to the blanket to ensure a perfect fit free of pleats, fullness or wrinkles.

The project also included Department of Defense Contract Management, on-site aircraft prep and installation and quality procedures set forth by AS9100B guidelines.

The USMC customer wanted to upgrade the interiors using the latest available technology in materials and workmanship. The interior materials and design needed to be functional, easy to maintain, affordable and aesthetically pleasing. In addition, the customer wanted a VIP Kit of custom cushions, skirts and flooring to utilize when transporting foreign heads of state, U.S. elected officials and special guests. Specialized aircraft seating padding was used to construct the VIP seat cushions, ranging in size from 24in by 24in to 24in by 61in. The seat cushions attach to the decorative skirt that covers the webbing bench seat. Fire-resistant industrial carpeting with the unit’s insignia was added to complete the package.

Coupled with the product specifications and subjective criteria of the project, the client requested that the supplier hold two international quality certifications—ISO 9001 and AS9100—along with U.S. Department of Labor certification relative to the eligibility of the employees chosen to work on the project.

The most challenging aspect lay not only in the integration of highly durable, technical fabrics for the end product, but also in the contract management, oversight and quality certifications needed to successfully complete the interiors. For example, the product challenges involved using materials that met the fire-retardancy, environmental and sustainability standards set by the USMC without violating the weight requirement of the finished product.

This project shows the advantage an industrial textile end-product manufacturer has in successfully completing this type of project. Because Ehmke Manufacturing provided a turnkey solution to the customer, its team had the ability to react quickly to the design quirks found in each helicopter.