Boeing Rotorcraft Systems
Company typePublic
IndustryRotorcraft aviation
Founded1960; 64 years ago (1960) as Boeing Vertol
United States
Area served
Boeing Vertol CH-47 Chinook

Boeing Rotorcraft Systems (formerly Boeing Helicopters and before that Boeing Vertol) is the former name of an American aircraft manufacturer, now known as Vertical Lift division of Boeing Defense, Space & Security.

The headquarters and main rotorcraft factory is in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. Production of Apache attack helicopters in Mesa, Arizona, formerly part of Rotorcraft Systems, is now under the Global Strike Division of Boeing Military Aircraft.



Boeing Helicopters was created as Boeing Vertol when the Vertol Aircraft Corporation (formerly Piasecki Helicopter) company of Morton, Pennsylvania was acquired by Boeing in 1960; the Vertol name was an abbreviation for Vertical Take Off and Landing. Other names by which the division sometimes referred to itself in correspondence over the years were "Boeing Aircraft Company, Vertol Division" and "Boeing Philadelphia". The company was responsible for the design and production of the CH-46 Sea Knight and the CH-47 Chinook. The name became Boeing Helicopters in 1987, and the current name was adopted in 2002.[1]

When Boeing merged with McDonnell Douglas in 1997, the former Hughes Helicopters operations in Mesa, Arizona were placed under Boeing Helicopters. A year and a half later Boeing sold the civilian line of helicopters to MD Helicopter Holdings Inc., an indirect subsidiary of the Dutch company, RDM Holding Inc.

By December 2006 Columbia Helicopters of Aurora, Oregon had purchased the Type certificate of the Boeing Vertol 107-II and Boeing Model 234 Commercial Chinook from Boeing.[2][3] The Columbia Helicopters is seeking FAA issuance of a Production Certificate to produce parts with eventual issuance of a PC to produce aircraft.

Mass transit

For much of the 1970s, Boeing Vertol entered the railroad rolling stock market in an attempt to keep government-funded contracts in the wake of the Vietnam War. During this period, Boeing Vertol manufactured the Morgantown Personal Rapid Transit system for West Virginia University, the 2400 series Chicago 'L' cars for the Chicago Transit Authority, and the US Standard Light Rail Vehicle (marketed as the Boeing LRV). It was the last vehicle, an attempt at a standardized light rail vehicle promoted by the federal Urban Mass Transportation Administration, that led to the company's ending rail production due to myriad problems. This cost Boeing and the vehicle's two buyers, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and San Francisco Municipal Railway millions and led to premature retirement of the vehicles.[4][5][better source needed]

While the company's subway cars performed better, they did not continue in the railcar business, as competitors may have underbid on a key contract[citation needed] and the post-Vietnam War military build-up provided far more lucrative military contracts.

Boeing Vertol products

Boeing Model 360
Boeing Vertol's US Standard Light Rail Vehicle on MBTA's C Branch. Boston, 1987.
A Boeing Vertol US Standard Light Rail Vehicle from San Francisco is preserved at the Oregon Electric Railway Museum.



See also

Comparable major helicopter manufacturers:



  1. ^ Holmes, Doug (July 2005). "'Rocky Road', Philadelphia site is no one-hit wonder". Boeing Frontiers. Boeing. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  2. ^ "Type Certificate Data Sheet No. 1H16" (PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. 2007-01-17. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2020-02-19. Retrieved 2007-02-08.
  3. ^ "Type Certificate Data Sheet No. H9EA" (PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. 2007-01-17. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 5, 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-08.
  4. ^ TRANSIT RAIL: Potential Rail Car Cost-Saving Strategies Exist, Report to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, U.S. Senate (GAO-10-730 Transit Rail), June 2010, United States Government Accountability Office, Page 24, retrieved August 11, 2023
  5. ^ Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) Before/After Cost Effectiveness Study, (FTA-TX-26-7005.2010.01), March 2011, Lea & Elliot, Inc., for Federal Transit Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation Page 8, (citing Sullivan, Kathleen: "Muni knew about trolley lemons in '70s," September 14, 1998, San Francisco Examiner), retrieved August 11, 2023

Further reading