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Pathfinder partners Piasecki with Metro Aviation
Piasecki is to gain Metro's expertise in the technological advances of improving safe helicopter operations for its Pathfinder programme, helping it to understand the viewpoint of a completion, repair and overhaul facility.
John Piasecki and Mike Stanberry shake hands on their agreement to partner on the Pathfinder programme.

Shreveport, Louisiana-headquartered air medical operator and completion centre Metro Aviation and Philadelphia UAV and rotorcraft developer Piasecki Aircraft have signed a memorandum of understanding to work together to further develop Piasecki's upcoming PA-890 Pathfinder electric helicopter with its revolutionary hydrogen fuel cell electric propulsion system.

The Pathfinder will be a seven passenger, compound helicopter with a range of 200nm. The hydrogen electric system, developed by Piasecki with its partner HyPoint, has a projected energy density that is five times that of today's lithium batteries. It will provide carbon-free vertical flight suitable to a wide range of applications, particularly emergency medical services. In addition to the fuel cell, the Pathfinder will feature a unique Piasecki-patented compound configuration, featuring an articulating wing and swivelling tail rotor, to maximise the helicopter's efficiency in cruise flight, offering quantifiable reductions in noise and vibration. The result will be a helicopter ideally suited for various mission profiles including EMS, law enforcement, corporate, airline and cargo carriage, with direct operating costs 40-60 per cent lower than today's gas turbine-powered helicopters and all with no carbon emissions.

Piasecki CEO John Piasecki says: “Piasecki Aircraft is thrilled to be working with Metro Aviation to bring the voice of the customer to our design as it matures. Metro offers us huge breadth and expertise in the technological advances of improving safe helicopter operations. It has also helped us understand the viewpoint of a very successful completion, repair and overhaul facility, as well as one of the world's most advanced helicopter flight training centres. The background and depth Metro offers us during Pathfinder development, in all facets of the helicopter community, will be invaluable to us and our customers.”

Metro CEO Mike Stanberry adds: “Piasecki Aircraft's legacy of innovation speaks for itself, and we are excited to work with it as it develops and commercialises this exciting new technology. The Pathfinder is a transformative and credible step forward for vertical lift aviation. We look forward to a long term partnership with Piasecki, sharing our expertise in helicopter completions, flight operations, maintenance, training and support to help make the Pathfinder a truly transformational product for our industry and customers. Metro has always been a leader in bringing new technology and innovation to the industry. This step to bring affordable, carbon-free, quieter technology to the world of helicopters is timely and exciting. We're glad to be a part of it.”

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