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Helicopter

HAMILTON – As sheriff's sales go, this should be a doozy.

Auctioneer Kevin Hill has already gotten calls from Michigan, Minnesota, Wyoming and “a guy I think was from Georgia,” Hill said. “He had a real deep Southern drawl.”

A helicopter shell, Huey rotor blades and much, much more – all seized from a bankrupt helicopter parts business in Corvallis – will go on auction March 19 near Hamilton.

“It’s being done by an auctioneer because it would be sheerly overwhelming if I did it like I normally do,” said Carla Larson, who as civil clerk is in charge of such things for the Ravalli County Sheriff’s Department. “We’d be there for days.”

Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of items, including a forklift, three helicopter trailers and a vast array of shop tools and office equipment were seized in January and loaded into four semi-trailers and two large storage units.

It took two days in late February to unload it all at the sale site, the former Garlick Helicopter service center at 132 Skalkaho Highway, just off Highway 93.

Most sheriff's sales of seized properties take place on site, but that didn’t fly this time, Larson said. The owners of the bankrupt business – Select Aviation Services, doing business in Corvallis as Rotorcraft Development Corp. – didn’t own the buildings they were in.

“It was hard to find a place” to hold the sale, Larson said. “We were looking at the fairgrounds and the events center there, but that wasn’t big enough.”

The old Garlick Helicopters facility offered adequate space and security. It and all the moving expenses were covered by Klinkenborg Aerial Spraying and Seeding of Iowa, the plaintiff in a case in which Select Aviation was found guilty of selling substandard helicopter parts.

The settlement of $450,000 plus accruing interest forced Select Aviation/Rotorcraft and its president, Gary Fox of South Africa, to file for bankruptcy.

Rotorcraft was a Federal Aviation Administration repair station that fixed and overhauled Bell light and medium helicopters.

Mark Stinson, who owned Rotorcraft for two years after buying it from Ron Garlick in 2007, said on his LinkedIn profile that he managed “the largest UH-1 type certificate portfolio in the world.”

“It’ll be one of the bigger auctions that we’ll do,” said Hill, who has offices in Corvallis and Trout Creek and has been in the auction business since 1983.

“The thing I think is interesting about this is it’s a lot of unique stuff that most people won’t ever get to see at auction, and there’s a lot of items that would be of interest to the general public. And they get to see how a sheriff sale works.”

The sale will start at 10 a.m. on March 19, a Thursday, and last throughout the day.

Among the bigger helicopter items is the shell of a Bell OH-58A, with a data plate that Hill said makes it especially coveted. There’ll be 11 rotor head assemblies up for grabs, 13 tail shaft assemblies, a horizontal stabilizer, hydraulic copter moving wheels, six tail bones, Bell helicopter blades, and other parts and hardware specific to helicopters.

“We have probably 10 pallets of helicopter panels, probably a thousand pounds of aluminum and brass rivets,” Hill said. “There’s some new, some used parts, but I think we have about everything to build a helicopter except a turbine motor.”

More people may be drawn by other auction items, according to Olson. There’ll be Shop-Vacs and table saws, presses, shears and air riveters, and a long list of other shop tools and equipment that’s still being compiled.

Two fifth-wheeler helicopter trailers, a 35-foot bumper pull trailer, a forklift and jib, and a 1984 F350 service truck are also on the block.

“We have something for everybody,” Larson said.

The working list can be found at www.kevinhillauctions.com.

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Mineral County, veterans issues

Outlying communities, transportation, history and general assignment reporter at the Missoulian