Started Life As Sikorsky's First Solely-Commercial Project
The worldwide Sikorksy S-76 helicopter fleet has topped the five
million flight hour milestone, the helicopter manufacturer
announced this week.
The milestone follows two other highlights for the S-76
helicopter in 2008: the 30th anniversary of the first delivery and
the 700th aircraft delivery. The program is on track to mark
another major event later this year: first flight of the next
production model, the S76-D helicopter.
"Outstanding safety, quality, reliability and mission
flexibility are the hallmarks of the S-76 helicopter program," said
Marc Poland, Vice President, Commercial Programs. "We had expected
this aircraft fleet to reach the 5 million flight-hour mark during
the third quarter of this year, so reaching this milestone now
offers more validation of this fine aircraft."
An intermediate class, twin-engine commercial aircraft, the S-76
helicopter originally was intended for the offshore and executive
transportation segments. The S-76 helicopter program was announced
in February 1975 as the first strictly commercial production
program in Sikorsky's history. It was certified by the US Federal
Aviation Administration in 1978, and the first production aircraft
was delivered in February 1979.
Today, more than 200 operators in 37 countries are flying S-76
helicopters, serving many missions that include offshore oil crew
transport, civil defense , emergency medical service, search and
rescue, and corporate and VIP travel including heads of state.
Sikorsky says the latest and most advanced S-76 model, the S-76D
helicopter, will offer significant increase in useful load and
extended range performance versus the S-76C+ and S-76C++ aircraft
currently offer3ed. In addition, the S-76D helicopter model will
feature all-composite, flaw-tolerant main rotor blades; an advanced
Thales avionics system and autopilot; dual speed rotor with active
vibration control; and Pratt & Whitney 210S engines.
The S-76D is scheduled to enter production with certification in
2009, followed by customer deliveries in 2010.