Sends VH-92 On Tour
Sikorsky Aircraft Tuesday launched
the VH-92 All-American Tour to showcase its award-winning aircraft
and the US-based team of aerospace companies it has partnered with
to produce the next presidential helicopter.
A crowd of more than 225 employees, members of Connecticut's
congressional delegation and guests gathered at the company's
Stratford, Conn. headquarters for the kick-off ceremony. The event
was held in the hangar where Sikorsky's VH-92 presidential
demonstrator aircraft was on display.
"The President deserves the safest, most advanced helicopter in
the world built under the most secure environment possible," said
Sikorsky President Steve Finger. "That helicopter is the Sikorsky
VH-92; engineered, manufactured and assembled in America. It flies
faster, farther, quieter, carries more and costs less to operate
than the competition."
In the coming months, the Sikorsky VH-92 presidential
demonstrator will embark on a multi-state tour to its partners'
facilities and other stops for employee rallies, flight
demonstrations and press events.
In January 2004 Sikorsky announced the formation of the
All-American VH-92 Team to respond the Navy's Request for Proposal
for the VXX competition, the designation for the procurement of
Joining Sikorsky are six companies that already provide
products, systems, or training for a presidential mission:
FlightSafety International in New York (simulation and training
equipment); L-3 Communications Integrated Systems in Greenville
(TX). (mission communications equipment and aircraft interior
furnishings); Northrop Grumman in Rolling Meadows, Ill. and San
Jose (CA). (aircraft survivability equipment); Rockwell Collins in
Cedar Rapids, Iowa (major cockpit systems); Vought Aircraft
Industries in Dallas (integrated aerostructures); and General
Electric Aircraft Engines in Lynn (MA).
Sikorsky has built and maintained the presidential helicopter
fleet since 1957 and has a Department of Defense compliant security
infrastructure in place. The VH-92 will be made in America.
Sikorsky's competitor is offering an Anglo-Italian helicopter for
the presidential mission.
"The security of the President cannot be compromised," Finger
said. "Sikorsky uniquely understands the security needs of the
Presidential fleet. We have the team and processes in place to meet
this critical requirement. In fact, the VH-92 All-American Team was
created to ensure that the data, design, manufacture, assembly and
support of the Presidential helicopter will always be under US
The VH-92 is a derivative of the Sikorsky S-92, the first and
only helicopter in the world certified to the FAA's latest and most
stringent safety standards as well as the latest safety standards
of the European Aviation Safety Agency/Joint Aviation Authorities.
The S-92 also meets US military crashworthiness standards.
"Sikorsky has invested hundreds of millions of dollars of its
own money in this product. The VH-92 incorporates safety and
survivability improvements learned in millions of hours of Sikorsky
BLACK HAWK helicopter experience," Finger said.
In 2002 the S-92 won Collier Trophy for the "greatest
achievement in aerospace" by the National Aeronautic Association,
only the second helicopter ever so honored. The competitor's
helicopter was originally designed in the 1980s and does not meet
the latest FAA or European safety standards.
The VXX contract will provide research and development funds to
improve the technologies and capabilities for the selected
aircraft. "The VXX decision will be a significant factor in the
future of the American helicopter industry. It raises the issue of
whether American investment is to be rewarded or whether American
tax dollars will be used to bring foreign competition up to the
standards already certified by Sikorsky," Finger said.
The VH-92 demonstrator's cabin is equipped with leather chairs,
couches, wood paneling, and carpeting. Special soundproofing and
vibration control equipment provide a smooth, quiet ride that
rivals an executive jet. Strategically-placed vibration sensors
provide continuous data to a suite of active force generators.
These sensors and force generators work as a system to counter the
vibration of the rotors.
The VH-92 demonstrator has also been enhanced by an extensive
set of Office in the Sky systems, including multiple communications
downlinks, satellite data link, in-flight video conferencing
capability, and wireless encrypted internet access from every