The milestone follows two other highlights for the S-76 helicopter in 2008: the 30th anniversary of the first delivery and the 700th aircraft delivery. The program is on track to mark another major event later this year: first flight of the next production model, the S76-D™ helicopter.
“Outstanding safety, quality, reliability and mission flexibility are the hallmarks of the S-76 helicopter program,” said Marc Poland, Vice President, Commercial Programs. “We had expected this aircraft fleet to reach the 5 million flight-hour mark during the third quarter of this year, so reaching this milestone now offers more validation of this fine aircraft.”
An intermediate class, twin-engine commercial aircraft, the S-76 helicopter originally was intended for the offshore and executive transportation segments. The S-76 helicopter program was announced in February 1975 as the first strictly commercial production program in Sikorsky's history. It was certified by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration in 1978, and the first production aircraft was delivered in February 1979.
Today, more than 200 operators in 37 countries are flying S-76 helicopters, serving many missions that include offshore oil crew transport, civil defense , emergency medical service, search and rescue, and corporate and VIP travel including heads of state.
The latest and most advanced model, the S-76D helicopter, will offer significant increase in useful load and extended range performance versus the S-76C+™ and S-76C++™ aircraft currently fielded. In addition, the S-76D helicopter model will feature all-composite, flaw-tolerant main rotor blades; an advanced Thales avionics system and autopilot; dual speed rotor with active vibration control; and Pratt & Whitney 210S engines. The S-76D helicopter is scheduled to enter production with certification in 2009, followed by customer deliveries in 2010.
Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture, and service. The company’s long commitment to safety and innovation is reflected in its mission statement: "We pioneer flight solutions that bring people home everywhere … every time™." United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., provides a broad range of high-technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.