Ozark possibly becoming US Navy’s next-gen training helicopter assembly location

Local News

Ozark, Ala. (WDHN) — The City of Ozark is giving its support to Bell Helicopter as it competes against overseas manufacturers in a training helicopter competition.

According to a press release from Gov. Kay Ivey, should Bell’s 407GXi helicopter be selected for the U.S. Navy’s helicopter training program, the company plans to assemble the aircraft in Ozark. 

“To be built in the United States of America, and part of it right here in Ozark, Alabama, as far as I’m concerned, there couldn’t be any better place to pick,’ Ozark mayor Bob Bunting said.

The contract would not only present growth opportunities for Ozark as a whole, but also job opportunities for students studying at the Alabama Aviation College.

“Growth builds growth and hopefully more students for us,” Alabama Aviation College Director Stan Smith said. “We can supply the need. The more they hire, the more the word gets out that (if) you come here to the Alabama Aviation College, you get a good paying job.”

That is why some current students are hoping for Bell’s contract to be approved and are already applying for future Bell jobs.

“I think it’s a win-win,” aviation student Jimmie Hooper said. “Being able to make an income and actually go to school and support your career.”

Ozark and Bell have been in a partnership since 2005. Bell submitted its proposal on April 2.

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