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The collaboration will support the upgrade of existing tandem Model 107-II helicopters (the civilian variant of the CH-46E Sea Knight) to the more powerful and fuel-efficient CHI-107-III configuration.

The partnership benefits Columbia’s customers, most of whom use this aircraft type for essential services such as emergency response, aerial firefighting, forestry, infrastructure and defense.

Columbia provides full OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) support for the Model 107-II and also holds commercial type and production certifications for the aircraft.

The company said the partnership will include “development of comprehensive product support plans for the Columbia Model CHI-107-III.”

Modifications and testing are being done at Piasecki’s Heliplex facility in Coatesville, Pennsylvania. The facility was previously owned by Lockheed Martin Sikorsky but was sold last year after the company closed its production lines there for the S-76 and S-92 helicopters.

The site will also serve as a new operations site for Columbia, expanding capabilities on the East Coast of the U.S. As part of the agreement, the partners will also establish a Part 145 repair station at the facility.

Columbia Helicopters was already the subject of AirMed&Rescue’s March 2024 provider profile.