Erickson Air-Crane's growing resources added to its revenue in the third quarter but its bottom line slipped.

Erickson Air-Crane's growing resources added to its revenue in the third quarter but its bottom line slipped.

The expanding helicopter company reported Thursday a 58-percent jump in revenue for the three months ending Sept. 30. However, its earnings dipped 17.6 percent to $14.5 million, or $1.05 per share, from $17.6 million, or $1.80 per share, a year earlier.

"While we're not pleased with the growing pains of the past quarter, they don't detract from our competitive position or strategic path," Chief Executive Officer Udo Rieder said in a conference call with investors and analysts.

Erickson's primary manufacturing and maintenance site for its heavy-lift S-64 and CH-54 air cranes is on Willow Springs Road outside Central Point. It also has a shop off Kirtland Road and at the former Medford Air location at the airport.

Rieder said third-quarter revenue was softer than expected, partly because its aircraft worked fewer hours during the North American fire season.

"Despite concentration of media reports on the fires, our flight hours were down compared to the prior year. The location and duration of fires reduced our efforts, and our revenue was about $4 million less than we expected."

Erickson recently signed a three-year, $60 million contract with two one-year options with Australia for six air cranes and up to five additional aircraft for firefighting, and the company renewed a contract with Los Angeles County, good for three years and $14 million.

Rieder said the company is hoping to wrap up a series of South American contract negotiations in coming months.

"The Air Amazonia acquisition (closed in September) has improved our position for all of the negotiations and should bring more customers," Rieder said. "The strongest demand we're seeing now is South America, including the half-dozen contracts where we are in discussions ... all in the oil and gas area. Many of them are in Peru, but it also includes Ecuador and Brazil."

The acquisition of Evergreen International Aviation in May has been a mixed blessing, with Erickson paying $2 million in penalties because parts weren't available to complete contracts.

After U.S. troops pull out of Afghanistan, Rieder said, "We won't have any problem backfilling those aircraft into other venues."

Erickson also landed a $37 million logistics contract with the Navy to assist the 5th and 7th Fleets in the Pacific.

"We had strong execution during the fire season in the U.S. and Europe," Rieder said. "In a short time, by integrating Evergreen and Amazonia, we expanded the scope and scale of our business."

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or Follow him on Twitter @GregMTBusiness, and read his blog at Edge.