Columbia and Piasecki team up to upgrade 107 helicopter

The updgraded Model II Columbia Helicopter will be designated Model III

This Columbia Model II is pictured near Ketchikan, Alaska. (Photocredit: Columbia Helicopters).

Heavy-lift, tandem rotary specialist Columbia Helicopters is teaming up with Piasecki Aircraft to upgrade its Model 107-II aircraft.

The new partnership will deliver more fuel-efficient, powerful and robust Columbia Model CHI-107-III aircraft, according to the manufacturer. The upgraded helicopters (designated Model III) will be deployed on emergency response missions – including aerial firefighting, forestry and infrastructure support – in addition to defence roles.

Modifications and testing will take place at Piasecki’s 219,000sqft Heliplex facility in Coatesville, Pennsylvania. (This was acquired last year from Lockheed Martin Sikorsky after the S-76 and S-92 helicopter production lines at the site were closed).

The Heliplex facility will also become Columbia’s new field site, expanding opportunities on the US East Coast. The partnership also covers the development of product support plans for the Columbia Model CHI-107-III – including establishing an FAA Part 145 Repair Station at the facility.

The new Columbia Model 107-II will transform the heavy-lift helicopter market, providing unrivalled performance and versatility, claimed David Balevic, CEO, Columbia Helicopters. “We are dedicated to pushing the boundaries of what is possible, and together with our partners at Piasecki, will deliver enhanced heavy-lift aircraft that save lives, protect nations, and build industries for decades to come,” he said.

John Piasecki, CEO, Piasecki Aircraft said the partnership represents a significant step 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,” he added.

Meanwhile, earlier this year, Piasecki was awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract by the US Department of Energy Department of Energy (DoE).


David Balevic joined Columbia Helicopters earlier this year.