United Technologies (UTC) announced this month that Mick Maurer has been appointed president of its Sikorsky Aircraft subsidiary, effective July 1. Maurer, who will succeed Jeff Pino, joined Sikorsky in 2000 and most recently served as president of the military systems unit. Pino, who will retire effective July 1, will then serve as a consultant to Sikorsky.
Pino has been Sikorsky’s president since 2006, and during his tenure the helicopter manufacturer has doubled its production rate, according to Louis Chênevert, UTC chairman and CEO. While at the helm of Sikorsky, Pino notably supported the X2 semi-compound helicopter project. The technology demonstrator made history in September 2010 with a non-official speed record of 250 knots. Before joining Sikorsky in 2002, Pino spent 17 years with Bell Helicopter.
Significant among the challenges Pino faced were delays affecting the S-76D medium twin program. When it was launched in 2006 certification was pegged for 2008. In the most recent program update, this milestone was expected to happen by this month–four years later than originally planned. A major upgrade of the 35-year-old airframe, the S-76D features a dual-speed main rotor with a quiet mode, a digital four-axis autopilot and Thales TopDeck avionics. The Pratt & Whitney Canada PW210S turboshafts give the helicopter 14 percent more takeoff power.
Another challenge has been with the airworthiness of the S-92’s main gearbox. A failure after a loss of oil was determined to be the cause of the 2009 fatal crash of a Cougar-operated S-92 off Newfoundland. Since then, Sikorsky has struggled to find solutions. Debate continues between Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB) and the FAA, as the two agencies disagree on whether a modified or redesigned S-92 gearbox should be able to run for 30 minutes after a loss of lubrication. The TSB has consistently sought this capability. Meanwhile, the FAA is asserting that such a retrofit is not necessary on the S-92. Safety statistics of Category A helicopters are good enough, the U.S. agency believes.
In another market segment, light business jets, Pino was instrumental in the acquisition of Sikorsky’s minority share in Eclipse Aviation, a deal that was finalized in February last year. Pino owns an Eclipse 500 and has been a vocal proponent of Eclipse’s plans to restart production of the very light jet. An Eclipse spokesman told AIN that there are no current plans for Pino to join Eclipse following his retirement from Sikorsky. More recently, Eclipse announced last month that Sikorsky’s PZL-Mielec subsidiary in Poland will build major sections of the relaunched airplane, the Eclipse 550.