"We are very pleased to achieve this latest milestone in the Presidential helicopter competition," said Sikorsky President Steve Finger. "Our aircraft performed beautifully throughout the demonstration flights, demonstrating decisively that it is the best helicopter in the race. In fact, during the 22.1 flight hours, not a single component needed replacement.".
The twelve demonstration flights took place over a ten-day period beginning in mid-February, according to the company. The helicopter's perfect reliability and mission-readiness throughout the evaluation period allowed the flights to be completed well ahead of schedule. Navy officials had allocated a full three weeks for the demonstration flights, but instead wrapped up the last mission a week ahead of schedule.
"We would expect nothing less from the H-92 demonstrator," Finger said. "The design heritage of this aircraft is the Collier-Award-winning Sikorsky S-92, an aircraft that will set new standards for safety, performance, reliability and low operating cost."
As evidenced by the aircraft unveiled today, the investment in demonstration of capability dramatically reduces the risk of accomplishing the objectives of the Presidential Program.
Sikorsky has increased the H-92 cabin size, extending it by nearly five feet through an internal reconfiguration of aircraft components. This has allowed Sikorsky to add a rear air stair door to the H-92 and incorporate additional storage space on the aircraft. "The H-92 is considerably larger and more spacious than the last generation of VIP helicopters, and is nearly two feet longer than competing helicopters," Finger said.
The H-92 demonstrator has been enhanced by an extensive set of Office in the Sky systems, including multiple communications downlinks, satellite data link, in-flight video conferencing capability, and wireless encrypted internet access from every seat.
Finger also elaborated, for the first time publicly, on other unique features and systems that Sikorsky and its all-American teammates incorporated onto the H-92 demonstrator helicopter.
"We know a lot about what it takes to please demanding VIP customers," Finger said. "In our demonstrator helicopter, strategically-placed vibration sensors provide continuous data to a suite of active force generators. These sensors and force generators work as a system to counter the vibration of the rotors, and give everyone on board a smooth ride."
Soundproofing enhancements incorporated into the H-92 demonstrator cabin provide passengers a remarkably quiet ride, improved beyond even that of the S-92. "The cabin of the H-92 is quieter than any helicopter we have measured, and rivals a very quiet executive jet," Finger said.
The H-92 demonstrator also provides several cockpit systems that indicate what the all-American team can provide should it be selected for Presidential service. These features include a fully integrated Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System, Terminal Collision Avoidance System, weather radar, lightning sensor, and even a closed circuit television system that enables pilots to see underneath the aircraft to ease the job of making pinpoint precision landings.
Finger noted that all the enhancements on the H-92 demonstrator aircraft are in addition to the Collier-Award winning safety that is designed into the basic airframe. The Sikorsky S-92, from which the VH-92 is adapted, was certified in 2002 to the most modern and most demanding safety standards ever published by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Joining Sikorsky on the all-American VH-92 team are six companies that already provide products, systems, or training for a Presidential mission. These team members include: FlightSafety International (simulation systems and training); L-3 Communications Integrated Systems (mission communications systems and interior furnishings); Northrop Grumman (aircraft survivability systems); Rockwell Collins (major cockpit systems); and Vought Aircraft Industries (integrated aerostructures). General Electric Aircraft Engines will supply the propulsion for the VH-92.
"The H-92 demonstrator clearly allowed us to put our best foot forward with the customer," Finger said. "We are delighted, but not surprised, that the aircraft performed flawlessly throughout its demanding trials."
Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of advanced helicopters for commercial, industrial and military uses. Sikorsky helicopters occupy a prominent position in the intermediate to heavy range of 5,300 kg. to 33,000 kg. gross weight. They are flown by all five branches of the United States armed forces, along with military services and commercial operators in more than 40 nations. Sikorsky is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corporation (NYSE:UTX), of Hartford, Conn., which provides a broad range of high-technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.