S-92 Completes First Full Autorotation

 - May 7, 2008, 5:25 AM

Sikorsky’s S-92 medium-twin program has passed another milestone on its way to certification as prototype number four performed two flawless autorotational landings to touchdown recently at the company’s flight development center in West Palm Beach, Fla. With Sikorsky flight operations director John Dixson and S-92 chief pilot Bob Spaulding at the controls, the full-power-off landings were performed at slightly above the S-92’s mtow of 26,150 lb. “Next comes the FAA type inspection authorization, which we expect shortly, followed by full type certification in December, and then first production deliveries in early 2004,” said S-92 program manager Nick Lappos. Since the first flight in December 1998, the program has amassed more than 1,340 flight-test hours. The three currently operable test aircraft have gathered nearly all the type inspection authorization (TIA) data required by the FAA. Some 1,500 reports comprise the TIA data. Once the data passes FAA review, the agency can issue the TIA and assign pilots to begin certification flight test.