S-76D takes to the air for the first time

 - March 2, 2009, 6:36 AM

Sikorsky’s S-76D made its first flight February 7 at the company’s West Palm Beach. Fla. test facility. The helicopter performed taxi, hover and hover turns and achieved a top forward speed of 40 knots during the 30-minute flight. The flight came three years after Sikorsky began development of the latest S-76 variant. The S-76D will feature upgraded Thales TopDeck avionics, all-composite main rotor blades with optional ice protection, and new Pratt & Whitney Canada PW210S turboshafts. Sikorsky plans to certify the aircraft and begin deliveries next year. The aircraft will be produced at its Keystone facility in Pennsylvania. Sikorsky says it has “delivery position agreements” for 100 of the aircraft to date.