“With aircraft number 822, the last S-76C++ helicopter closes out that production program and we are looking forward to introducing the newest version in the series, the S-76D, when we deliver the first aircraft to the launch customer next year,” said Tim Fox, Senior Program Manager for the S-76® helicopter program. “The helicopter market is beginning to show optimism again. The S-76 C++ aircraft weathered that storm and the S-76D helicopter will carry forward a legacy of durability and safety to a new generation of customers.”
Final assembly of the S-76D helicopter began in December 2010 at Sikorsky Global Helicopters’ manufacturing facility in Coatesville, Pa. Aero Vodochody in the Czech Republic, which has produced more than 300 S-76 airframes for Sikorsky, is manufacturing the S-76D fuselages.
Sikorsky Global Helicopters will install Pratt & Whitney Canada PW210S engines, blades, and gearboxes during final assembly, followed by acceptance flight tests and customer completions.
Since its inception in 1979, the S-76 helicopter program has introduced six variations including the S-76C++, introducing improvements during that time that included more powerful engines and an inlet barrier filter to provide improved engine protection and smoother airflow.
“The S-76 helicopter continues to be the premier executive aircraft around the world. The fleet has logged 5.8 million flight hours, and Sikorsky is committed to remaining at the forefront of aircraft safety as the S-76D steps up to write the next chapter in the history of this successful program,” said Ed Beyer, Vice President of Sikorsky Global Helicopters.
In November 2010, the S-76D helicopter program entered into certification flight status at the Sikorsky Development Flight Center in West Palm Beach, Fla. This is the final phase of the test program that provides critical data for FAA sea-level certification, expected by Q4 2011. Two prototype aircraft are in flight status, with a third preparing to enter the flight test program. All three prototypes were manufactured at the Sikorsky Global Helicopters facility.
The new generation S-76D helicopter will perform an array of civil missions including executive transport, offshore oil, emergency medical services, and a multi-mission role.
Among the S-76D helicopter’s features are all-composite, flaw-tolerant main rotor blades; an advanced THALES integrated avionics system and autopilot; optimized rotor system for quiet operation; active vibration control; powerful Pratt & Whitney Canada PW210S engines; and an optional Rotor Ice Protection System (RIPS) for all-weather capability.
Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., USA, is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture, and service. United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., USA, provides a broad range of high technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.
Please visit www.utcaero.com for Sikorsky and United Technologies news at the Paris Air Show 2011.
View related photo: S-76D helicopter