China’s Aviation Industry Corporation’s (Avic) Changhe subsidiary has completed its first Sikorsky S-76C++ airframe at its plant near Shanghai. It will now be shipped to Sikorsky’s Coatesville, Pa. facility for completion. Changhe will manufacture more S-76 airframes this year. Avic and Sikorsky signed an agreement in 2006 that led to the production of S-76 airframes and components for several other Sikorsky aircraft, including the tail pylons for the S-92 and airframe components and assemblies for the 300CBi.
Aero Vodochody in the Czech Republic also manufactures the S-76 airframe, including those for the S-76D, currently undergoing certification flight testing at Sikorsky’s West Palm Beach, Fla. site. The third test aircraft was recently added to that program and Sikorsky is predicting certification after the middle of this year, with customer deliveries beginning next year. Sikorsky recently announced that Falcon Aviation would be the S-76D launch customer. The S-76D program was announced in 2005 and certification was originally pegged for last year.