A Global Helicopter Journey: the Story of Göran Edgren, founder of Ex-Change Parts

In the helicopter industry Göran Edgren is a journeyman whose story unfolds with both entrepreneurship, bravery, and fellowship. He pioneered in the infancy of helicopters and in Mr Edgren’s world of aviation challenges were faced head-on and outstanding achievements propelled his company. Today Mr Edgren still plays a role in Ex-Change Parts as a highly respected advisor.

Pre-Ex-Change Parts: The Beginnings (Sterners)

It all began in the Swedish town of Leksand, where the entrepreneurial Sterner family establish an airline at Orsa Tallhed Airport. The new airline was soon to be known as Siljans Flyg, with bases, hangars, and aircraft scattered across Sweden. Working with these pioneers in 1964 was Göran Edgren, whose journey intertwined with the evolving of the helicopter industry.

Getting into the Helicopter industry – but Not Safely

Mr Edgren was born in the province of Medelpad in northern Sweden. He began his professional career as an automotive technician in Sundsvall for three years, until he was called to perform his Swedish mandatory military service. There he became one of 10 young men appointed for flight mechanics service, educated outside Uppsala in the summer of 1956. Mr Edgren finished his service at the top of his class in the autumn 1957 and soon got a tenure as a flight mechanic at SAAB’s helicopter division in Norrköping.

Helicopter Services: Taking Flight

The United Nations, then lead by the Swedish diplomat Secretary-General Dag Hammarsköld, were looking for military personnel and mechanics to serve in Kongo in 1960. Mr Edgren applied and SAAB allowed him temporary leave for this enticing assignment in Africa. In the conflict-ridden Congo, Mr Edgren gained valuable technical experiences but also ducked bullets, got captured by Kongolese Gendarmerie and later liberated by Tunisian Brigade – all events that underscored the determination that defined his career.

Back In Sweden from Africa, in the midst of his helicopter odyssey, Mr Edgren co-founded the Swedish helicopter company Helikoptertjänst that provided a range of services, from power line inspections and spraying forests in Sweden and beyond, to rescue operations and helicopter transportation of bison in Greenland. Mr Edgren’s escapades knew very few bounds.

1999 and the Birth of Ex-Change Parts

As Mr Edgren’s journey unfolded, fate intervened in the form of a partnership with Reidar Andersen, a Norwegian entrepreneur, and an expert at helicopters. Together they founded Ex-Change Parts, a venture that transcended EU borders and boundaries. With a shared vision and a penchant for innovation, Mr Edgren and Mr Andersen bought a sizable lot of pre-owned helicopters, helicopter parts and tools for € 2 million from a large player in the French aviation industry. Three large heavy-duty trucks transported the disassembled helicopter parts and tools to Dala Airport in Borlänge, Sweden. This was the start of today´s Ex-Change Parts – a company with a € 30 million turnover, 4000 sqm warehouse plus two hangars and three offices – still residing at Dala Airport.

We asked Göran Edgren some questions:

How important is your staff to you?
– They are the foundation of the company. Loyal. People who have contributed to building the company. Together with my staff I have managed to build a successful company while retaining personnel with specialized skills and cohesion; many have been with us since the early years. A few of them recently retired after around 25 years of service.

What distinguishes Ex-Change Parts’ offerings to customers?
– We have very carefully listened to customer concerns: Operators in Australia, USA, and Japan are all asking the similar questions. We have heard and understood their needs.

What has been the most unexpected landing outside your company´s hangars?
– The rock band U2 suddenly landed here in a plane on a bitterly cold day in December 1982. The band members stepped out into the snow wearing low shoes and hopped into a helicopter bound for Sälen. U2 was here to film the MTV video for their song “New Year’s Day,” which kick-started an international career that made them one of the world’s best-selling musical artists.

Have you owned helicopters with any special history?
– Six helicopters used in rescue work during the Estonia shipwreck disaster. They are an enormous spare parts inventory that has been a significant asset in our growth.

How do you view Ex-Change Parts future role in the international helicopter industry?
– We will deliver with high reliability anywhere in the world within 48 hours. We  offer security, delivery, and quality. Then, now, and in the future!

The Future: a Legacy of Innovation

As we reflect on Mr Edgren’s remarkable journey, one thing is clear: his legacy transcends the confines of time and space. In a world where the sky is the limit, his journey reminds us that with perseverance and passion, anything is possible.

Today Ex-Change Parts is owned and managed by Göran Edgren´s daughter and son, Louise and Erik Edgren.

For more information, please contact:

Louise Edgren

Sales Account Manager Stockholm +46 708 700 051 Show email

Erik Edgren

Business Development Manager Stockholm +46 730 888 724 Show email

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