2-Jun-2023 Source: Piasecki
Piasecki Aircraft Corporation (PiAC), a pioneer in advanced rotorcraft technology, announced that it has acquired the former Lockheed Martin Sikorsky Heliplex facility in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, which previously served as a production and delivery center for Sikorsky’s S-76 and S-92 helicopters.
The company will transform the 219,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility into an advanced R&D center for next-generation Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft, Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), and related enabling technologies. Notably, the company’s forthcoming PA-890 helicopter, the world’s first zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell rotorcraft, will be built and tested there. The facility — which includes engineering development, aircraft assembly, paint and finishing facilities, and a well-equipped production flight test and delivery center — will open its doors to employees in the fall and is expected to attract about 400 workers by 2028.
“This world-class facility will serve as a strong foundation for future growth and will enable us to expand our R&D and production capabilities as we deliver transformational vertical lift technologies to the defense and commercial markets,” said John Piasecki, CEO of PiAC. “We chose to expand our development capabilities in the Delaware Valley because of its deep roots within the helicopter industry, its highly-talented workforce, and its robust supplier network. PiAC is committed to creating local jobs by fostering cutting-edge innovation and we’re excited to support a community that has long prided itself on delivering aviation excellence.”
“Chester County is home to some of the most talented manufacturing and tech workforces in the country,” said U.S. Representative Chrissy Houlahan from Pennsylvania’s 6th congressional district. “Piasecki’s expansion into Coatesville is further testament to what many of us have known for years – Chester County is a great place to grow your business. It’s incredibly exciting to see a company like Piasecki, a long-time aviation industry innovator, continue their commitment to developing new technologies like the PA-890 hydrogen fuel cell-powered helicopter right here in PA’s sixth district. These advancements have the potential to transform vertical lift flight and help eliminate carbon emissions. Piasecki’s Coatesville expansion will revitalize the manufacturing facilities which were formerly home to Lockheed Martin/Sikorsky Heliplex. I’m proud to support their vision and will continue to support innovations such as hydrogen fuel cell development through my work in Congress.”
Piasecki’s acquisition and expansion into the Heliplex facility was enabled by the strong support from Pennsylvania Governors Tom Wolf and Josh Shapiro; Chester County Commissioners; the Chester County Economic Development Council; Senator Robert Casey; and Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan.
80 years of innovation — now pioneering the next generation of vertical flight
“2023 marks 80 years of PiAC innovation in vertical flight, a legacy that began in 1943 with the PV-2, the second successful helicopter to fly in America, now on display at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum. Shortly after, PiAC developed the world’s first tandem rotor helicopter — a revolutionary design that has been instrumental in countless life-saving missions around the globe since WWII — and which lives on in Boeing’s CH-47 Chinook helicopters,” said Piasecki. “PiAC is building on this legacy with a truly groundbreaking vertical lift technology portfolio, including advanced digital flight control and flight automation technology, hydrogen fuel cell and hybrid propulsion systems, morphing aerostructures, and more. We work closely with partners in government, academia, and industry to advance these technologies and develop platform and system-level air vehicle integrations as well as conduct flight tests.”
Major PiAC R&D programs currently being executed: