23-Feb-2010 Source: Sikorsky
The second prototype aircraft in the S-76Dâ„¢ helicopter program has entered the test flight program, with a third soon to follow, as the program that is producing the next generation model of the popular S-76Â® helicopter nears completion of its first fuselage for a production aircraft. Sikorsky is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp.
Kuwait International Aircraft Leasing (KIAL) and Falcon Aviation Services (FAS), both located in the Middle East, have signed on to purchase S-76D aircraft. KIAL has purchased one aircraft, to be configured for the Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) mission.Â Â FAS, based in Abu Dhabi, has contracted to purchase two S-76D helicopters, with options to purchase two more. The aircraft will be used for VIP, corporate, helitaxi, and offshore oil and gas support missions.
â€œWith customer deliveries scheduled for 2011, we are seeing acceleration of the S-76D helicopter test program,â€ said Tim Fox, S-76D helicopter program manager. â€œThere are a number of important milestones ahead, including planned certification of the aircraft in early 2011, with the first customer deliveries to follow. We are on an exciting path to the future with this new model; the milestones we achieve this year are leading us to another historic moment for Sikorsky Aircraft.â€
Production of the first S-76D helicopter airframes began at Aero Vodochody (Aero) in the Czech Republic in late 2009. The first fuselage is scheduled to depart Aero in April for delivery to Sikorsky Global Helicopters facility in Coatesville, Penn., where final assembly and completion of the S-76D helicopters will take place.
Sikorsky Global Helicoptersâ€™ Coatesville, Penn., facility will receive S-76D helicopter fuselages at an initial rate of one per month, beginning with the first fuselage due in April. Full S-76D helicopter production rates are expected to be achieved in 2011.
Among the S-76D helicopterâ€™s features are all-composite, flaw-tolerant main rotor blades; an advanced Thales avionics system and autopilot; dual speed rotor with active vibration control; powerful Pratt & Whitney Canada PW210S engines; a quiet mode for enhanced public acceptance; and an optional Rotor Ice Protection System (RIPS) for all-weather capability. The S-76D helicopter also will offer an increase in useful load and extended range performance versus the S-76C+â„¢ and S-76C++â„¢ aircraft currently fielded.
Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture and service. 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.