It’s the second month into the 2016-17 NFL regular season and there’s a little known Pennsylvania connection behind the scenes of the Dallas Cowboys franchise.
The helicopter dolly that will help move Cowboy’s owner Jerry Jones’s new AirBus H-145 Helicopter was built by PBZ LLC and protected with a custom powder coating created by Keystone Koating, both Lititz, PA, companies.
Helicopter Handlers™ designed the Super Handler for the Dallas Cowboys helicopter.
“One of the pilots had previous experience with our Helicopter Handlers™ and recommended them to the chief pilot,” says Howard Hadley, vice president of Main Line Helicopter LLC of Alabama.
The company is owned by his wife, Sherry, who also serves as president.
Since 2005, PBZ has consolidated all facets of the manufacturing – building, powder coating, assembly, and shipping, out of its Lititz location.
The Super Handler is 16 feet wide by 18 feet long and 25 inches high. (Shipping weight is 4,400 pounds with a weight capacity of 15,000 pounds).
“We call it a super dolly,” says Brandon Sauder, PBZ LLC Plant 1 supervisor.
“The dolly the Cowboys purchased is the largest dolly we manufacture.”
Brad Nolt, PBZ LLC Plant 2 supervisor, helped apply the more than 50 feet of 2-inch-wide reflective tape used for detailing the Super Handler.
A Cowboys fan since age 8, Nolt says it was interesting to be a part of the project.
“My whole family is made up of diehard Philadelphia Eagles fans, but not me. When I was 8-years-old, my grandma gave me a Dallas Cowboys trashcan and I’ve been a fan ever since,” Nolt says.
Keystone Koating created the customer color to meet Cowboys specification. It was shipped in two parts after being powder coated.
It will tug the AirBus H-145 inside an aircraft hangar once the helicopter has landed, and will also serve as a landing pad.
The helicopter dollies are considered an industry standard by various law enforcement and government agencies and are overbuilt for maximum safety and ease of movement by minimal staffing, according to the company.
Customers include private owners like Jerry Jones, and well as air medical transports companies, hospitals, law enforcement organizations, the United States Military – primarily the Army Air National Guard – and utility companies.