The Delaware Valley surrounding Philadelphia is known as

“The Birthplace of Rotary-Wing Aviation in the U.S.

… and it continues to make history today!

Delaware Valley Map

The Delaware Valley as a whole has more early aviation and rotary wing heritage than perhaps any other area in the world. In addition, it continues to lead in rotorcraft development and production in the United States today. No other region can match its helicopter industry presence. The American Helicopter Museum & Education Museum – about 20 miles outside of Philadelphia County – was specifically created to recognize and preserve the Birthplace of Rotary-Wing Flight in the United States.

Area Companies
Frank Piasecki was the second American to build a successful helicopter, the PV-2. His creativity led to a long line of tandem rotor helicopters, that eventually led to Boeing Helicopters.

The Boeing CH-46 Sea Stallion and CH-47 Chinook still flying today, and the latest models of the Chinook still in production at Boeing. In addition, the high-speed, long range Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotor fuselage and empennage are assembled at Boeing’s Ridley Park plant outside Philadelphia. Piasecki Aircraft Company, in Essington, PA also pushes the limits of speed, with its X-49A "SpeedHawk" Vectored Thrust Ducted Propeller (VTDP) Compound Helicopter, and other concepts.
Keystone Helicopter Corporation in Malvern, PA was founded in 1953 by Peter Wright, a pioneer of today’s modern helicopter industry. Now a subsidiary of Sikorsky Global Helicopters, Keystone has one of the largest and most complete maintenance and overhaul facilities for helicopters in the U.S. and is a factory-authorized service center for Bell, Eurocopter, MD Helicopter, Rolls Royce, Pratt & Whitney, and Sikorsky products.

Sikorsky Global Helicopters in Coatesville was created as a business unit of Sikorsky Aircraft to focus on the construction and marketing of commercial helicopters. The business unit combines the main civil helicopters that were produced by Sikorsky Aircraft and the helicopter business of Schweizer Aircraft that Sikorsky acquired in 2004. Sikorsky Global Helicopters continues to expand its facilities in the region in response to market growth.

In addition, AgustaWestland, which started operations in Philadelphia in 1980, recently expanded in the Northeast section of Philadelphia to become AgustaWestland’s third main helicopter final assembly location and continues to be the main product support center for customers throughout the Americas. AgustaWestland Philadelphia builds AW119, AW109, and AW139 helicopters and provides associated flight and maintenance training.

Area Universities

Drexel University, 3141 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

University of Pennsylvania, 3451 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Temple University, 1801 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122

Villanova University, 800 E. Lancaster Avenue, Villanova, PA 19085

Widener University, One University Place, Chester, PA 19013

Last Updated: January 22, 2010