Sikorsky about to close and demolish the Schweizer Aircraft facility


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Jun 25, 2009
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Sikorsky to move commercial helicopter lines from Big Flats to Pennsylvania
Many workers to be transferred to Schweizer facility; number of jobs lost unclear

By G. Jeffrey Aaron
Published: May 11, 2011, 12:35 pm

Sikorsky Aircraft, the corporate parent of Schweizer Aircraft in Big Flats, announced Thursday that it intends to move the production of Schweizer's commercial helicopter lines to a Sikorsky facility in Pennsylvania.
The Connecticut-based aircraft manufacturer also plans to transfer a "vast majority" of the 400 jobs at the Schweizer facility to the Black Hawk helicopter finishing site on Kahler Road.
Sikorsky will then demolish the Schweizer facility, which it says has become too expensive to maintain.
"This is going to be a carefully phased transition, and it's important that we do it in a way that won't interfere with our obligation to the customers," spokesman Paul Jackson said from the Sikorsky corporate offices in Stratford, Conn.
"We're still planning all of this out and it won't be completed until next year."
Sikorsky is divided into three main companies -- a military systems division, a commercial helicopter division and an aftermarket segment for maintenance and service work.
The transition, Jackson said, includes relocating the manufacturing of Schweizer's light utility helicopters to Sikorsky's Global Helicopters facility in Coatesville, Pa.
"We need to align the commercial helicopter activities in Pennsylvania with Sikorsky Global and align the military work with the military systems facility in Big Flats, which will be 100 percent focused on military work," Jackson said.
Schweizer's Fire Scout program, which designs and manufactures unmanned surveillance helicopters for the U.S. military, will be shifted to the Kahler Road facility, which is being renamed Sikorsky's International Military Completions Center of Excellence.
Union officials said Schweizer's reconnaissance airplane production will likely remain in Big Flats for the immediate future. "To remain a world leader in helicopters, we are evaluating restructuring plans to support our strategic vision to grow, become more global and sharpen our business unit focus on specific customer segments," Michael Ambrose,
Sikorsky's vice president of International Military Programs, said in a statement.

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