United States of America
Primary focus: Other ( 1996 - )
The American Helicopter Museum & Education Center (AHMEC) opened to the public in October 1996 to serve as a "lasting tribute to those men and women who pioneered the development of rotary wing aircraft" and to encourage future generations to become part of the aviation community. Located in West Chester, PA, the museum’s purpose is to collect, preserve, research, publish and exhibit the objects, artifacts and documents relating to the origins and development of rotary-wing aircraft in the United States.
The Delaware Valley is known as the Cradle of Rotary Wing Aviation because of the key milestones that took place there. These include the first rotary wing aircraft flight in America in 1928; the gathering place for the world’s “First Rotating Wing Aviation Meeting” at the Franklin Institute in 1938; where many of America’s rotary wing pioneers lived and worked; and the location where rotary wing aircraft design, development and manufacture continues today at Leonardo, Boeing’s Vertical Lift Division, Piasecki Aircraft and Sikorsky, A Lockheed Martin Company.
One of the few all rotary wing museums in the world, Lee Douglas Pioneer Hall chronicles the efforts of innovators like Frank Piasecki, Arthur M. Young, Harold Frederick Pitcairn, and Mr. W. Wallace Kellett of Kellett Autogiro. Today it continues to record the new and ever expanding role of the U.S. helicopter industry. The collection spans the history of rotary wing aircraft from the earliest rotorcraft, including autogyros, to the latest developments in tiltrotors and emerging configurations. AHMEC is one of only two museums in the world currently displaying a V-22 Osprey. Among the other unique vehicles are a portion of the Aerovelo Atlas Human Powered Helicopter that won the Igor Sikorsky Prize, and a one of a kind Boeing Model 360.
AHMEC has an extensive STEM education program serving students from kindergarten to college. The Girls in Science and Technology (GIST) program has earned accolades for stimulating young women to pursue technical disciplines as a career. The museum also has an extensive research library, the Renzo Pierpaoli Memorial Library, which contains documents, artifacts, films, and memoirs that museum members can use.
For more information, contact Executive Director Allison Titman at 610-436-9600 or visit the website.