Final prototype Sikorsky S-92 makes first flight
The fifth and final prototype Sikorsky S-92 medium-twin transport helo, this one incorporating customer-inspired design changes and a new Rockwell Collins glass cockpit, made its first flight October 5 at Sikorsky Aircraft’s flight-test field in Stratford, Conn. Sikorsky test pilots Robert Spaulding and Rick Becker flew the prototype (which, despite being the fifth assembled, is known as “Aircraft 4”) for 1.9 hr through an ambitious series of maneuvers that covered virtually the entire flight envelope of the 25,500-lb mtow helicopter. Aircraft 4 is the last S-92 prototype to be completed. Its Rockwell Collins avionics management system (AMS) provides the display and integrated management of primary flight data, as well as the presentation and management of navigation information. The system also provides a digital map, weather radar, terrain information and engine instrument caution and advisory system processing and display. S-92 prototypes have accumulated more than 760 hr of flight test, with Aircraft 2 logging in excess of 380 hr, Aircraft 3 amassing 221 hr and Aircraft 5, which validated the S-92’s redesigned longer cabin and lower tail, with more than 157 hr on the clock. Aircraft 1, the ground-test vehicle, which has never flown, was used for, among other things, the 200-hr FAA-mandated continuous power endurance ground run to certify the entire drivetrain system, including the main, intermediate and tail gearboxes. The program targets next summer for S-92 certification.