Sikorsky Aircraft’s newest commercial rotorcraft, the S-76Dâ„¢ helicopter, continues to progress steadily toward FAA certification this year, having performed more than 225 test flights and meeting performance, reliability and pilot workload expectations, the company announced today at the Heli-Expo industry show inÂ Orlando. Â Sikorsky is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX).
The two test aircraft have completed 325 flight hours in addition to 179 hours of ground test and evaluation, and familiarization flights have been conducted with regulatory authorities in Canada,Â EuropeÂ and the U.S.
The S-76D helicopter is the next-generation entry in Sikorsky’s long and successful S-76Â® helicopter line. It is designed to perform an array of civil missions including executive transport, offshore oil, emergency medical services, and a multi-mission role. Â Final assembly has commenced at the Sikorsky Global Helicopters’ facility inÂ Coatesville, Pa.Â Â InÂ November 2009, Sikorsky announced that Falcon Aviation Services, based inÂ Abu Dhabi, had become the launch customer by contracting to purchase two S-76D helicopters, with options to purchase two more.
The S-76D helicopter features all-composite, flaw-tolerant main rotor blades; an advanced THALES integrated avionics system and autopilot; dual rotor speed for quiet mode operation with active vibration control; powerful Pratt &Â Whitney CanadaÂ PW210S engines; a quiet mode; and an optional Rotor Ice Protection System (RIPS) for all-weather capability.
A third S-76D prototype will join the test program this summer at Sikorsky’s facilities inÂ West Palm Beach, Fla., and is currently on exhibit at the Sikorsky Booth, No. 2737 in South Hall A. Â The test program already has demonstrated that compared with the current S-76C++â„¢ helicopter, the S-76D model has significantly increased hover performance in hot environments and a reduced external noise signature that is anticipated to be the quietest of any helicopter with maximum gross weight above 4,000 Kg., based on current flight test data and on the margins at which other aircraft meet FAA and international helicopter noise certification limits.
Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based inÂ Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture, and service. United Technologies Corp., based inÂ Hartford, Conn., provides a broad range of high technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.
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