Piasecki Aircraft’s new helicopter partnership, remanufacturing project create more jobs

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Piasecki Aircraft Corp. continues to thrive in Pennsylvania, where the award-winning developer of vertical lift aircraft is expanding operations and adding more jobs.  

The company, a global leader in advanced Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft development, on Wednesday announced a new partnership with Columbia Helicopters to deliver upgraded heavy-lift helicopters worldwide.

“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 Piasecki Aircraft CEO John Piasecki. 

The new collaboration, he said, represents a major 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,” Piasecki said.

Piasecki Aircraft also this week received four CH-46 helicopters at its Coatesville, Pa., manufacturing facility that represent a new line of work at the plant — resetting helicopters — as well as the potential for hundreds of new jobs in Chester County.

The company’s remanufacturing project is expected to create as many as 200 new jobs maintaining, servicing, and supporting the modernization of the fleet, according to a recent statement.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) and U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) on Monday applauded the arrival of the Boeing Vertol CH-46 Sea Knights, which are American medium-lift, tandem-rotor transport helicopters powered by twin turboshaft engines.

“For generations, Pennsylvanians have served their country and supported their families by manufacturing military helicopters at this Coatesville facility,” said Sen. Casey. “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.

“This is a new chapter for Coatesville and I’ll keep fighting to make sure these jobs are here to stay,” he added.

Specifically, the anticipated new jobs will include engineering, manufacturing, flight test, delivery, maintenance, and support to convert civilian Model 107-II and excess military CH-46 helicopters into Model 107-III helicopters for, respectively, commercial customers and partnered and allied nations, according to the lawmakers.

Piasecki Aircraft last year acquired the former Lockheed Martin Sikorsky Heliplex facility in Coatesville and is turning the 219,000-square-foot facility into an advanced R&D center for next-generation Vertical Take Off and Landing aircraft and Unmanned Aerial Systems.

“Piasecki, with its state-of-the-art manufacturing and robust tech workforce, is a driving force of revitalization in Coatesville,” said Rep. Houlahan. “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.”

The company also plans on building and testing a forthcoming PA-890 helicopter at the heliplex that would be the world’s first zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell rotorcraft.