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Exhibit opening Sunday explores the founder of Sikorsky Aircraft

The Sacred Heart University Discovery Science Center & Planetarium.
Tracy Deer-Mirek
Sacred Heart University
The Sacred Heart University Discovery Science Center & Planetarium.

A new exhibit opens on Sunday at Sacred Heart University’s Discovery Science Center & Planetarium to honor the founder of Sikorsky Aircraft.

The exhibit, called “Science in Flight,” will honor Igor I. Sikorsky, a pioneer in airplane and helicopter development, to educate visitors to Discovery Science Center & Planetarium on his life and legacy in the Bridgeport area.

“It’s really an excellent piece to spark intergenerational learning,” said Erika Eng, the center’s executive director, in a statement. “Grandparents and their grandchildren can have real conversations around innovation and flight and, of course, Sikorsky’s brilliance.”

Sikorsky was a Russian-American pioneer in both helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.

He founded the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation in 1923, based in Stratford, Connecticut.

Sikorsky is credited with designing the world's first successful multi-motor airplane and the world's first mass-produced helicopter in 1942. He died at his home in Easton in 1972.

The gallery shows a timeline of Sikorsky’s life and accomplishments.

Erika Eng
Discovery Science Center & Planetarium

The ribbon-cutting ceremony of the exhibit — 5 p.m. on Sunday, October 2 — will include the aviator’s son Sergei Sikorsky, members of Sikorsky Aircraft, and the Sikorsky Historical Archives, as well as Sacred Heart University.

“This is what we do. We preserve the legacy of Igor and his company, making it available for generations to learn from,” said Dan Libertino, the president of the Archives.

The exhibit allows visitors to see what it takes to fly an airplane or helicopter first-hand. The Archive created signage and aircraft models for the exhibit, and the Sikorsky engineering team partnered up with the center’s technical staff to create a simulator that shows a 3D-printed aircraft cockpit, pilot controls, and simulated visuals.

Along with the simulator, Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, has donated an aircraft model that's able to lift 35,000 pounds and 300 passengers with their equipment, a replica of the U.S. Marine Corps Heavy Lift Helicopter, and the CH-53K, which was designed to move Marines and their equipment from ship to shore.

Sacred Heart University, which operates the center, is also the licensee of WSHU Public Radio.

Janet is a former news intern at WSHU.