A passion for rotorcraft and a degree in Mechanical Engineering, with a specialisation in Helicopter Engineering, led Monika Stachurska to work at PZL-Świdnik, a Polish helicopter OEM acquired by Leonardo in 2010.
Over 60 years of experience, with more than 7,400 helicopters produced in over 40 countries, approximately 2,600 employees and 1,000 Polish enterprises with which it cooperates: these are the figures of PZL-Świdnik, one of the leading centres of excellence for the production of rotary-wing aircraft, which has made Poland one of the Group’s five domestic markets.
Monika Stachurska’s career began in the department that designs helicopter rotor blades, where she was soon involved with coordinating international research projects, a starting point that led to her current role as Technology & Innovation Program Coordinator of the Engineering & Innovation department at PZL-Świdnik.
“My role,” she explains, “is to develop a synergy between the company and the territory (with the scientific community, research centres, universities and small and medium-sized enterprises) so as to identify market trends and explore emerging technologies that could be of interest for our products and in line with the company's vision and objectives, spread a culture of innovation and support inter-departmental coordination of research and development projects.”
Analytical and organisational abilities, decision-making capability, attention to detail, focus on quality, and an inclination to work collaboratively within international and multidisciplinary teams are skills that have enabled Monika to collaborate on projects and contracts for key local stakeholders such as the Polish Ministry of Defence and the aeronautics industry.
Monika and her team are currently working on the experimental phase of an innovative visual navigation system, one of Leonardo’s 12 research and innovation projects – under the EUREKA programme – funded by the European Union (Horizon Europe) and aimed at digitalizing Europe’s skies. “At PZL-Świdnik, flight testing is under way on an innovative visual navigation system under the EUREKA programme. This system could permit helicopters to acquire additional autonomous functions, enabling a significant increase in on-board autonomy and/or a considerable reduction in pilot workload, while simultaneously improving the human-machine interface.”
A new chapter in helicopter history is being written as part of the Industry 4.0 revolution, in step with the latest innovations in technology, safety and sustainability. This is just one of many projects that demonstrate how the helicopter market is rapidly evolving and how, as Monika explains, “We at Leonardo are shaping it through our commitment, our culture of technology and innovation, and our never-ending curiosity.”