AHS Recognizes P&W Canada as a Vertical Flight Heritage Site

Alexandria, Virginia, May 27, 2014 -- The Pratt & Whitney Canada plant in Longueuil, Québec was honored as a Vertical Flight Heritage Site by AHS International on Thursday, May 22. An official ceremony was held to unveil the commemorative plaque, near where the iconic PT6 helicopter engine was developed and is still produced today a half-century later. The site's selection had been previously announced.

The Vertical Flight Heritage Sites program is intended to recognize and help preserve locations with the most noteworthy and significant contributions made in both the theory and practice of helicopter and other VTOL aircraft technology. An outgrowth of vertical flight historical sites recognized under the AIAA Historic Aerospace Sites Program, the Longueuil site is only the second location to be recognized solely by AHS International. 

Since 1946, Pratt & Whitney Canada has played an important role in the development of the helicopter industry, first in Canada and later the world. A member of the United Technologies family, P&WC became the Canadian sales and service agent for Sikorsky helicopters after World War II, and conducted some of the first helicopter demonstration flights to Canadian government, military and industry leaders, resulting in the first helicopter sale to the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1946. P&WC played a hands-on role in developing the market for Sikorsky military and civilian helicopters in Canada, and in the late 1950s, in its newly built R&D and manufacturing facility in Longueuil, commenced development of its own gas turbine engines to meet the needs of both the helicopter and fixed-wing aviation. The result of these efforts was the 500-shp PT6, an iconic design renowned for its reliability and still in production today, more than 50 years after it was developed. Over the years, variants of the design, spanning the 500-to-3000-shp classes, have been chosen to power more than 33 different helicopters and tiltrotors from UAVs to light twins to heavy-lift transports.

PWC Heritage Site (PWC Photo)

Photo from left: John Garrison, President & CEO, Bell Helicopter and AHS Board Chairman; Mike Hirschberg, Executive Director, AHS; Maria Della Posta, Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing, P&WC; and John Saabas, President, P&WC.

Remarks by Mike Hirschberg


Vertical Flight Heritage Site

On and near this site, Pratt & Whitney Canada has made tremendous contributions to the advancement of vertical flight. In 1946, the company became one of Canada’s helicopter pioneers when it obtained the Canadian sales and service rights for helicopters made by Sikorsky and later established one of Canada’s first heliports and the country’s first helicopter overhaul facility. In 1957, the company began developing its PT6 turboshaft engine which has become one of the most prolific powerplants in the vertical flight industry. Together, the PT6T Twin-Pac®, the PT6B and the PT6C, the PW200 and the PW210 have accumulated over 50 million flight hours.

Site patrimonial du vol vertical

Sur ce site et tout près d’ici, Pratt & Whitney Canada a contribué à l’évolution du vol vertical. En 1946, l'entreprise est devenue l'une des pionnière canadienne du marché des hélicoptères lorsqu’elle a obtenu les droits de vente et de service des hélicoptères de Sikorsky. Elle a plus tard établi l’un des premiers héliports du Canada et le premier centre de révision pour hélicoptères du pays. En 1957, l’entreprise a commencé à développer son turbomoteur PT6, qui est devenu l’un des groupes propulseurs parmi les plus prisés pour les vols verticaux. Ensemble, les moteurs PT6T Twin-Pac®, PT6B et PT6C, ainsi que PW200 et PW210 ont cumulé plus de 50 millions d’heures de vol.


A handout for the ceremony is available as a pdf download