Thu, Jun 18, 2009
Several Milestones Achieved With Prototype
Two more prototypes
are poised to join the S-76D helicopter test program as Sikorsky
Aircraft Corp. continues envelope expansion on the newest version
of the popular S-76 helicopter.
Since the D1 prototype's first flight on Feb. 7, 2009, the program
has achieved additional "firsts," including raising the
landing gear and flying at various speeds, conducting maneuvers,
and flying with different loads, as the program studies the
prototype's performance. The new rotor blades have also flown
to 155 knots on an S-76C (pictured below) flight test
"We are getting ready to transition to a full 'D' aircraft with all
components, so the program is truly reaching a new peak in terms of
testing the boundaries of what this aircraft can do," said Jason
Durno, S-76D Program Manager.
As of May 21st, 2009, the program had achieved 120 knots of
forward flight and 25-degree bank turns. The testing has also
verified the performance and vibration characteristics of the new
main rotor blades.
"We're exceeding our performance predictions," said Mark Miller,
Sikorsky Vice President of Research & Engineering. "With the
next two prototypes joining the program, we will be able to
accelerate our flight testing to move us closer to completion of
the first production aircraft."
Aero Vodochody in the Czech Republic is currently building the
first production aircraft. It is expected to be delivered to
Sikorsky later this year.
Among the S-76D helicopter'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 210S 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+™ and S-76C++™ aircraft
The S-76D helicopter is scheduled to enter production with
certification, and customer deliveries in 2010. Sikorsky has
approximately 100 delivery position agreements on the aircraft.
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