Test Pilot: "The Aircraft Is Spectacular"
Sikorsky Aircraft's first production
S-92 helicopter took to the Connecticut skies on June 14,
accomplishing a successful first flight and ushering in a new era
in civil rotorcraft.
Pilots Ron Doeppner and Andy Evans guided S-92 #6 into a
standard 30-minute hover over Sikorsky's Stratford plant,
performing all routine controllability maneuvers and completing
engine and avionics checks.
"The aircraft is spectacular," said Doeppner. "The engines have
more power margin than anything I've ever flown before, and the
vibrations were incredibly smooth for a first flight."
Aircraft #6 is scheduled for a mid-summer production delivery to
Petroleum Helicopters, Inc., and a total of 12 aircraft will be
delivered this year. Customers include VIP transport as well as
both domestic and international offshore oil operators.
On June 8, Sikorsky's S-92 became the first helicopter in the
world certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency/Joint
Aviation Authorities (EASA/JAA) to the latest and most rigorous
safety standards. The S-92 is the first and remains the only
helicopter in the world certified by the FAA to FAR Part 29
Transport Rotorcraft, Amendment 47, the latest U.S. safety
regulations. The Joint Aviation Requirements (JAR) are the European
counterpart of the USA-based FAR, with similar safety regulations.
On the heels of last week's EASA/JAA certification is Transport
Canada approval, slated for later this summer.
Sikorsky recently established another rotorcraft industry first
when the company standardized its new S-92 and S-76 safety baseline
to include Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning Systems (EGPWS) in all
civil aircraft configurations. EGPWS helps pilots avoid controlled
flight into terrain (CFIT).
"Sikorsky has a fierce commitment to customer value, which
encompasses constant safety oversight and unwavering customer
support." said Jeff Pino, Senior Vice President of Marketing and
Sikorsky is moving full speed ahead with the S-92 performance
expansion envelope. The S-92 was certified for flight in instrument
conditions (IFR) in April, while major advancements toward
certification of the S-92 for flight into known icing conditions
were achieved earlier this year, as the aircraft completed
successful tests behind a CH-47 icing tanker. Favorable weather at
test sites throughout North America produced a broad range of
natural icing temperature and moisture conditions that spanned the
entire certification envelope. The concluding aspects of full icing
certification will occur later this year when regulatory agencies
fly the S-92 for final approval in known icing.
As first deliveries approach, all necessary elements of support
are ready or in final preparation. A multi-million dollar range of
spare part inventory, publications and support eequipment are in
place, and technical manual validation on the first aircraft is
being completed. Sikorsky's Worldwide Customer Service organization
is implementing systems to capture and use data originating on the
first operational aircraft. Combined data from the Health Usage
Monitoring System (HUMS), bearing monitors, maintenance data
computers, and maintenance management systems will electronically
flow to Sikorsky for real-time analysis and action.
Training, conducted by Sikorsky's partner FlightSafety
International, is in full swing. Crews scheduled for operational
missions are already using the FlightSafety S-92 flight simulator
at the West Palm Beach Learning Center, and customers are currently
attending training courses. The simulator is on track for FAA Level
D certification in July.