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Piasecki sets up shop in former Sikorsky factory
Thursday, 8 June 2023
The company will transform the 219,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility into an advanced R&D centre for next-generation VTOL aircraft, Unmanned Aerial Systems and related enabling technologies.

Piasecki Aircraft Corporation (PiAC) has acquired the former Lockheed Martin Sikorsky Heliplex facility in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, which previously served as a production and delivery centre 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 centre for next-generation VTOL aircraft, Unmanned Aerial Systems and related enabling technologies. The company's forthcoming PA-890 helicopter, expected to be 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 centre, will open its doors to employees in the autumn and is expected to host 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," says 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."

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.

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 and 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. PiAC says it is building on this legacy with a 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.

The PA-890 eVTOL aircraft is the first zero-emission hydrogen-powered compound helicopter. The slowed-rotor winged helicopter is intended for use in a variety of missions including Emergency Medical Services (EMS), delivery of high-value On-Demand Logistics (ODL), On-Demand Mobility (ODM) personnel air transport, and many other commercial applications. In addition to zero carbon emissions, the PA-890 eVTOL enables up to a 50% reduction in direct operating cost and reduced noise compared with today's fossil fuel turbine helicopters. PiAC is collaborating with ZeroAvia, a leader in hydrogen-powered fixed wing aviation, to develop and implement its revolutionary High Temperature Proton Exchange Membrane (HTPEM) hydrogen fuel cell technology for PA-890 and other VTOL applications. Investment from the U.S. Air Force in the ground testing of a 660kW HTPEM hydrogen fuel cell propulsion system is accelerating the development, certification, and production fielding of the PA-890 to address the needs of the military as well as the $40 billion commercial light helicopter market.

The company's Aerial Reconfigurable Embedded System (ARES) is a modular multi-mission tilt duct VTOL vehicle that can be operated unmanned (UAS) or with an optional manned flight module. ARES is designed with a small landing footprint to enable shipboard and expeditionary operations as well as provide embedded multi-mission C4I, ISR, combat, and logistics support to small distributed combat forces operating over extended distances and in complex terrain. Rapidly-reconfigurable Mission Payload Modules deliver mission flexibility that significantly reduces overall logistics footprint and cost. The ARES Demonstration Vehicle was developed in partnership with Lockheed Martin with funding from DARPA. With follow-on funding from the U.S. Air Force and Army, PiAC and Honeywell are developing and integrating a triplex fly-by-wire flight control system to initiate ARES flight testing by the end of this year.

Piasecki's third major current technology is Adaptive Digital Automated Pilotage Technology (ADAPT), a flight control software package designed to achieve improvements in safety/survivability, performance and affordability for U.S. military and commercial aircraft. ADAPT exploits the inherent redundancy of control effectors present in advanced VTOL platforms and modified legacy fleet rotorcraft to automatically allocate control commands between effectors to respond to aircraft damage or to optimize the control configuration of the aircraft for increased performance, maneuverability, reduced vibration or fatigue loads, or for a weighted combination of these attributes.

Contact details from our directory:
Piasecki Aircraft Corp. Airframer
Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company Airframer
ZeroAvia, Inc Airborne Electrical Power Supplies, Electric Engines, Electric Power Controllers, Fuel Cells, Testing Services
DARPA Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Airframer, Research/Consulting Services, Technical/Eng/Scientific Studies
Honeywell Aerospace Air Conditioning Equipment, Air Conditioning Equipment, Air Data Computers, Air Purification Systems, Airborne Communication Systems, Airspeed Indicators, Angle of Attack Indicators, Attitude and Heading Reference Systems, Automatic Direction Finders, Automatic Flight Control Systems, Autopilots, Auxiliary Power Units, Avionics Management Systems, Bleed Air Systems, Cabin Management Systems, Cabin Pressure Control Systems, Cargo Systems, Cockpit Control Systems, Cockpit Printers, Cockpit Video Displays, Collision Avoidance Systems/TCAS, Cooling Systems, Distance Measuring Equipment, Electric Power Controllers, Electromagnetic Test Services, Electronic Flight Instrument Systems, Emergency Locator Transmitters, Engine Parts, Enhanced Vision Systems (EVS), Environmental Testing Services, Fibre Optic Gyroscopes, Flight Management Systems, Flight Recorders, Fly-by-Wire Systems, Fuel Tanks & Systems, Glide Slope Receivers, GPS, Heading Indicators, Horizontal Situation Indicator, IFF Interrogators, Inertial Components & Systems, Inflight Entertainment, LCD Displays, Magnetometers, Moving Maps, Multi-Mode Receivers (MMR), Onboard Intercom Systems, Pneumatic Systems Equipment, Proximity Sensors, Radar Transponders, Radar/Radio Altimeters, Radio Communications Equipment, Starter Generators, Terrain Awareness and Warning Systems, Testing Services, Transceivers, VOR (Omnirange) Receivers, WAAS Equipment, Weapons Countermeasures, Weather Mapping Radar
Related aircraft programs:
Skunk Works ARES
Sikorsky S-92 Superhawk
Sikorsky S-76
Piasecki PA-890
Boeing CH-47 Chinook
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