The Sikorsky Helicopter company is mostly known for their military choppers, but they have a number of civil helicopters in their range as well. Lockheed Martin acquired Sikorsky in November 2015 for a total sum of $9.0 billion.
Igor Sikorsky founded the Sikorsky Aero Engineering Corporation near Roosevelt Field in New York on May 23, 1923. The company’s name was later changed to Sikorsky Manufacturing Company in 1925. Four years later, in 1929, the company was moved to Stratford, CT. In July of 1929, Sikorsky Manufacturing Company was made a part of Aircraft and Transport Corporation. This company is now known as United Technologies Corporation.
While Igor Sikorsky was originally focused on the development and creation of multi-engined landplanes, as well as amphibious aircraft, a drop in sales in the 1930s changed the focus. This followed the merger with Vought Aircraft, after which Sikorsky began working on the R&D of a practical helicopter.
After Sikorsky flew the VS-300, he later developed the first stable one-rotor helicopter, the Sikorsky R-4. This entered full-scale production later, in 1942. This is the helicopter that most other Sikorsky helicopters are based on.
In 1998, the company acquired Helicopter Support Inc. This company is in charge of parts and repair for Sikorsky helicopters.
Schweizer Aircraft Cop was acquired in 2004 and now operates as a Sikorsky subsidiary. The two product lines don’t overlap much, as Sikorsky concentrates on the production of medium or large helicopters, and Schweizer works on smaller aircraft.
In 2005, Sikorsky purchased Keystone Helicopter Corporation, which had been maintaining and completing S-76 and S-92 helicopters.
Things were going well in 2007 when Sikorsky opened Hawk Works, a completion center for military derivatives. They also purchased the Polish PXL Mielec plant to assemble the S-70i in the same year.
Sikorsky Global Helicopters was created in early 2009 as a business unit of the company to focus on commercial aircraft.
However, in 2011, the company laid off 400 employees at the Hawk Works plant and 570 more in 2012. They also closed multiple facilities, moving commercial products to PA.
It was in 2015 that the UTC declared Sikorsky to be less profitable than some of their other subsidiaries, and analyzed a spin off in place of a sale. However, on July 20, 2015, Lockheed Martin agreed to purchase Sikorsky for $9.0 billion. The final approval for the sale was in November 2015, and the sale was completed on November 6.
The American Helicopter Society International offered a prize of $10,000 in 1908 to the first company or person to manage a human-powered helicopter flight that met certain requirements. The prize was soon increased to $25,000. Sikorsky Aircraft pledged, in 2010, to increase the prize to $250,000. Canadian engineers completed a flight in August 2012 that won the prize in 2013.
Only June 11, 2019, it was announced that the US Navy had awarded Sikorsky a $542 million contact to manufacture six VH-92A helicopters. These helicopters are set to replace the VH-60N and VH-3D helicopters that are a part of the White House fleet.
Two of these helicopters are already in testing, and it is believed that the Marines will eventually order a total of 23. These are to be maintained and operated by the squadron HMX-1, which manages all White House aircraft.
In 2018, the widow of an Army specialist who was killed when a Black Hawk helicopter crashed in 2017 sued Sikorsky. She made a wrongful death and product liability lawsuit that was filed in state court, seeking monetary damages. The helicopter had crashed in Leonardtown, MD on a golf course while on a training mission.
Another well-known crash occurred when a Super Stallion helicopter was performing a routine air test. This helicopter was set to join the White House fleet, but instead crashed and then burst into flames, with all four crew members on board being killed instantly. All men killed were Sikorsky employees, and the cause of the crash is believed to be due to a faulty rotor or rotary assembly.
Sikorsky Helicopter FAQ
Where Is Sikorsky Located?
The headquarters of Sikorsky are in Stratford, Connecticut, US.
What Else Does Sikorsky Manufacture?
In addition to manufacturing helicopters, Sikorsky also manufactured the XBLR-3, a bomber aircraft, the SXX, a naval flying-boat, and the Cypher, a doughnut-shaped UAV.
How Many Employees Does Sikorsky Have?
As of 2014, there were 15,975 people employed at Sikorsky.