Sikorsky Aircraft

Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation
Industry Aviation
Founded 1925
Founder Igor Sikorsky
Headquarters Stratford, Connecticut, United States
Key people
Dan Schultz (President)[1]
Number of employees
15,975[2] (2014)
Parent Lockheed Martin
Subsidiaries Schweizer Aircraft (closed 2012)
PZL Mielec

The Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation is an American aircraft manufacturer based in Stratford, Connecticut. It was established by Igor Sikorsky in 1925 and was among the first companies to manufacture helicopters for civilian and military use.

Previously owned by United Technologies Corporation (UTC), in November 2015 Sikorsky was sold to Lockheed Martin.


Sikorsky was founded in 1925 by aircraft engineer Igor Sikorsky, an immigrant to America who was born in Kiev.[3] The company, named "Sikorsky Manufacturing Company", began aircraft production in Roosevelt, New York, that year. In 1929 the company moved to Stratford, Connecticut. It became a part of United Aircraft and Transport Corporation (now United Technologies Corporation) in July of that year.[4]

Advertisement for Sikorsky S-42 Clipper flying boat from 1937

In the United States, Igor Sikorsky originally concentrated on the development of multi-engined landplanes and then amphibious aircraft. In the late 1930s, sales declined and United Aircraft merged his division with Vought Aircraft.[4] He took this opportunity to begin work on developing a practical helicopter. After first flying the VS-300 he developed the Sikorsky R-4, the first stable, single-rotor, fully controllable helicopter to enter large full-scale production in 1942, upon which the majority of subsequent helicopters were based (though Sikorsky did not invent the helicopter itself).

Sikorsky Aircraft remains one of the leading helicopter manufacturers, producing such well-known models as the UH-60 Black Hawk and SH-60 Seahawk, as well as experimental types like the Sikorsky S-72 X-Wing. It is a leading defense contractor. Sikorsky has supplied the Presidential helicopter since 1957. Sikorsky's VH-3 and VH-60 currently perform this role.

The company acquired Helicopter Support Inc. (HSI) in 1998. HSI handles non-U.S. government after-market support for parts and repair for the Sikorsky product lines.[5]

United Technologies Corporation (UTC) acquired Schweizer Aircraft Corp. in 2004,[6] which now operates as a subsidiary of Sikorsky. The product lines of the two firms are complementary, and have little overlap, as Sikorsky primarily concentrates on medium and large helicopters, while Schweizer produces small helicopters, UAVs, gliders, and light planes. The Schweizer deal was signed on August 26, 2004, exactly one week after the death of Paul Schweizer, the company's founder and majority owner. In late 2005, Sikorsky completed the purchase of Keystone Helicopter Corporation, located in Coatesville, Pennsylvania. Keystone had been maintaining and completing Sikorsky S-76 and S-92 helicopters prior to the sale.

In 2007, Sikorsky opened the Hawk Works,[7] a Rapid Prototyping and Military Derivatives Completion Center (RPMDCC) located west of the Elmira-Corning Regional Airport in Big Flats, New York. That same year Sikorsky purchased the PZL Mielec plant in Poland. The plant is assembling the S-70i for international customers.[8][9]

In February 2009, Sikorsky Global Helicopters was created as a business unit of Sikorsky Aircraft to focus on the construction and marketing of commercial helicopters.[10] The business unit combines the main civil helicopters that were produced by Sikorsky Aircraft and the helicopter business of Schweizer Aircraft that Sikorsky has acquired in 2004.[10] It is based at Coatesville, Pennsylvania.[10]

In 2011, Sikorsky laid off 400 workers at the Hawk Works plant, and later in 2012 the remaining 570 workers and closed all Sikorsky facilities in Chemung County; moving the military completion work to their West Palm Beach, Florida facility.[11] The commercial products had already been moved to their Coatesville, Pennsylvania facility.

Sikorsky's main plant and administrative offices are located in Stratford, Connecticut. Other Sikorsky facilities are in Trumbull, Shelton, and Bridgeport, Connecticut; Fort Worth, Texas; West Palm Beach, Florida; and Huntsville, and Troy, Alabama. Other Sikorsky-owned subsidiaries are in Coatesville, Pennsylvania; and Grand Prairie, Texas; among others around the world.

In 2015, UTC considered Sikorsky to be less profitable than its other subsidiaries, and analyzed a possible spin-off rather than a tax-heavy sale.[12][13][14]

On July 20, 2015, Lockheed Martin announced an agreement to purchase Sikorsky from UTC for $9.0 billion.[15] Final approval (from the Chinese government) came in November 2015.[16] The sale was completed on November 6, 2015.[17]

Jeffrey Pino, a former President of the company, was killed in a plane crash in February 2016.[18]

AHS Sikorsky Prize

In 1980, the American Helicopter Society offered a prize of US$10,000 for the first human powered helicopter flight (60-second duration, 3-meter height reached, staying within an area of 10 x 10 m) and soon increased prize money to US$25,000. In 2010, Sikorsky Aircraft increased the sum to US$250,000. The Canadian engineers Todd Reichert and Cameron Robertson developed in a team from the University of Toronto first the rotors, than the helicopter. The first flight of AeroVolo Atlas has been achieved in 2012, the 64-s-3.3-m-flight that won the prize on June 13, 2013.[19]


Sikorsky designates nearly all of its models with S-numbers; numbers S-1 through S-20 were designed by Igor Sikorsky in the Russian Empire (see Igor Sikorsky). Later models, especially helicopters, received multiple designations by the military services using them, often depending on purpose (UH, SH, and MH for instance), even if the physical craft had only minor variations in equipment. In some cases, the aircraft were returned to Sikorsky or to another manufacturer and additionally modified, resulting in still further variants on the same basic model number.



Other aircraft

Other products

See also


  1. "Daniel C. Schultz · Lockheed Martin". Retrieved 2016-03-10.
  2. "Sikorsky Aircraft's big impact on region". Connecticut Post. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  3. Archived from the original on July 2, 2009. Retrieved June 5, 2009. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. 1 2 Spenser 1998
  5. (PDF) Archived from the original (PDF) on April 10, 2008. Retrieved March 18, 2008. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. John Pike (2007-10-05). "Sikorsky opens HAWK WORKS™ completion center for military helicopters". Retrieved 2016-03-10.
  7. Archived from the original on June 11, 2010. Retrieved June 29, 2010. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. Archived from the original on January 10, 2011. Retrieved June 29, 2010. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. 1 2 3 Sikorsky Press Release, 23 February 2009
  10. "Sikorsky to close N.Y. plant, cut 570 jobs". Connecticut Post. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  11. "United Technologies To Explore Strategic Alternatives For Its Sikorsky Aircraft Business | News | United Technologies". 2015-11-03. Retrieved 2016-03-10.
  12. "UTC Weighs Sikorsky's Future". 2014-01-27. Retrieved 2016-03-10.
  13. Bruno, Michael (12 March 2015). "Sikorsky Not Profitable Enough For United Technologies". Aviation Week & Space Technology. Archived from the original on 14 March 2015. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  14. "Lockheed Martin to Acquire Sikorsky Aircraft and Conduct Strategic Review of IT and Technical Services Businesses". Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  15. "Lockheed Martin receives final regulatory approval needed to close Sikorsky acquisition| Vertical Magazine - The Pulse of the Helicopter Industry". Retrieved 2016-03-10.
  16. "Lockheed Martin Completes Acquisition of Sikorsky Aircraft · Lockheed Martin". Retrieved 2016-03-10.
  17. "Jeffrey Pino, Former Sikorsky Chief, Killed in Arizona Crash - Hartford Courant". 2006-04-17. Retrieved 2016-03-10.
  18. "AHS Congratulates AeroVelo for Human Powered Helicopter First Flight". AHS International – The Vertical Flight Technical Society. 2012-00-00. Retrieved 2016-11-09. The AeroVelo Atlas human powered helicopter made its first flight on Tuesday August 28, 2012, as part of the AHS Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  19. 1 2 "Sikorsky History - Part 4". Retrieved 2016-03-10.
  20. "American airplanes: Sikorsky". 2009-04-26. Retrieved 2011-04-07.
  21. "Sikorsky S-71 profile for AAH". Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  22. 1 2 Archived from the original on March 29, 2010. Retrieved June 28, 2010. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  23. Archived from the original on March 12, 2010. Retrieved June 28, 2010. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  • Spenser, Jay P. "Sikorsky". Whirlybirds, A History of the U.S. Helicopter Pioneers. University of Washington Press, 1998. ISBN 0-295-97699-3.
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Coordinates: 41°15′0.36″N 73°5′49.74″W / 41.2501000°N 73.0971500°W / 41.2501000; -73.0971500

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