July17 , 2024

Piasecki Aircraft and Columbia Helicopters Partner to Deliver Upgraded Heavy-Lift Tandem Rotorcraft


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Joint Program to Upgrade Columbia Model 107-II Helicopters to New and Enhanced Model-107-III Configuration; Coatesville Heliplex Selected as Development Site

Piasecki Aircraft and Columbia Helicopters Partner to Deliver Upgraded Heavy-Lift Tandem Rotorcraft
Piasecki and Columbia Helicopters Sign Partnership Agreement

From left: David Balevic, Columbia Helicopters; Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey; John Piasecki, Piasecki Aircraft

Piasecki Aircraft Corporation (PiAC), a global leader in advanced Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft development, and Columbia Helicopters (CHI), the world’s premier tandem rotor helicopter OEM, MRO, and operator, today announced a strategic collaboration to deliver upgraded heavy-lift helicopters worldwide.

The collaboration will upgrade existing Model 107-II helicopters to a new, more fuel-efficient, powerful and robust Columbia Model CHI-107-III configuration. This partnership supports customers in essential services such as emergency response, aerial firefighting, forestry, infrastructure, and defense. The military variant of the Model 107-II is the CH-46E Sea Knight (Phrog), which served with the U.S. Marine Corps and Navy, as well as allies in Sweden and Japan.

Modifications and testing will take place at Piasecki’s 219,000-square-foot heliplex facility in Coatesville, Pennsylvania – acquired in 2023 from Lockheed Martin Sikorsky after the S-76 and S-92 helicopter production lines at the site were closed and hundreds of jobs were lost. Piasecki’s acquisition of the facility was championed by Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, Representative Chrissy Houlahan (PA-6), Governor Josh Shapiro, and the Chester County Economic Development Council to create new jobs that leverage the unique aerospace skills in the region.

“For generations, Pennsylvanians have served their country and supported their families by manufacturing military helicopters at this Coatesville facility. I fought to support Piasecki’s helicopter remanufacturing because nobody is more up to the task of maintaining our Nation’s military aircrafts than the workers here in Southeastern Pennsylvania,” said Senator Casey in a separate announcement. “This is a new chapter for Coatesville and I’ll keep fighting to make sure these jobs are here to stay.”

"Piasecki, with its state-of-the-art manufacturing and robust tech workforce, is a driving force of revitalization in Coatesville," said Representative Houlahan in a separate announcement. "Now, with the announcement of the production of CH-46 helicopters and additional jobs being created, our region will continue to lead the way in domestic aviation manufacturing. I look forward to seeing Piasecki grow and will continue to do everything I can to support that."

The Heliplex will also serve as CHI's new field site, expanding opportunities on the East Coast. The partnership covers the development of comprehensive product support plans for the Columbia Model CHI-107-III – including establishing an FAA Part 145 Repair Station at the facility.

"We are thrilled to partner with Columbia Helicopters, a company that shares our heritage with the tandem helicopter, and our commitment to innovation and excellence in the rotorcraft industry," said John Piasecki, CEO of Piasecki Aircraft. “This collaboration represents a significant step forward in the evolution of tandem rotor helicopters and promises to deliver enhanced capabilities to a wide range of military and civil applications. We look forward to working together to advance the future of this vertical lift technology and generate hundreds of jobs for our communities."

"The new Columbia Model 107-III will transform the heavy-lift helicopter market, providing unrivaled performance and versatility for our customers," said David Balevic, CEO of Columbia Helicopters. “We are dedicated to pushing the boundaries of what is possible, and together with our partners at Piasecki, will deliver enhanced heavy-lift aircraft that save lives, protect nations, and build industries for decades to come.”

About Piasecki Aircraft Corporation (PiAC)

Piasecki is an award-winning developer of vertical lift aircraft. It specializes in the design, fabrication, and flight testing of experimental rotorcraft and unmanned air vehicles and has developed and flown more than 25 advanced VTOL and UAV aircraft to date. Customers include the U.S. Air Force Research Lab and AFWERX; the U.S. Army Futures Command Aviation and Missile Center and Medical R&D Command; NAVAIR; DARPA; and SOCOM; as well as leading OEMs such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing. Piasecki is a recipient of numerous awards including the Presidential National Medal of Technology, Smithsonian Air & Space Achievement Award, and the prestigious Tibbitts Award for small business innovation from the U.S. Department of Defense. PiAC has been a proud member of the Vertical Flight Society for more than 50 years. For more information, please visit piasecki.com.

About Columbia Helicopters (CHI)

Columbia Helicopters is the global leader in heavy-lift helicopter operations and a trusted expert in maintenance, repair, and overhaul services. Backed by over 65 years of experience, Columbia operates internationally, often conducting operations in remote, austere conditions, providing safe and reliable aircraft and qualified personnel that meet demanding global transport requirements. Columbia leverages its position as the OEM and FAA Type Certificate holder for both the Model 234 Chinook and 107-II helicopters to provide responsive modifications, lifecycle support, and MRO services trusted worldwide by a diverse customer base. For more information, please visit www.colheli.com.

Contact Information:
Esme Roberts
[email protected]

Aaron Endré
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Original Source: Piasecki Aircraft and Columbia Helicopters Partner to Deliver Upgraded Heavy-Lift Tandem Rotorcraft