WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. --- Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation has successfully completed the first flight of its S-76D helicopter, the latest version of the S-76 helicopter, maneuvering the prototype aircraft through taxi, hover, hover turns, and forward flight to 40 knots in a test flight that lasted approximately 30 minutes. Sikorsky is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp.
Sikorsky Chief Test Pilot Greg Barnes and Pilot Mike Hardy conducted the test flight at Sikorsky's Florida facility on Feb. 7. The milestone culminated more than three years of design, development and testing of the first prototype aircraft.
"The next generation of the S-76 helicopter begins today," said Jason Durno, Program Manager. "The S-76D helicopter brings Sikorsky's popular S-76 aircraft to the next level in performance. It is through the dedication of this program team that the 'D' will open the door to new applications for this aircraft model."
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 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 currently fielded.
The S-76D helicopter is scheduled to enter production with certification, and customer deliveries in 2010. Sikorsky already has approximately 100 delivery position agreements on the aircraft.
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.
Sikorsky's S-76D Helicopter Achieves First Flight