Sikorsky Terminates S-76C++
Sikorsky has announced the end of S-76C++ production, thus firming up S-76D delivery plans for next year. The S-76D medium twin is undergoing flight testing, with the goal of achieving FAA sea-level certification in the fourth quarter of this year. Two prototypes are flying at Sikorsky’s flight center in West Palm Beach, Fla. A third was due to join them early this year but this has not happened yet. At Sikorsky’s Coatesville, Pa., factory, final assembly of the first production S-76D began in December. The S-76D program has hit repeated delays–in 2009, certification was still planned for 2010. The latest iteration of the S-76 features a dual-speed main rotor with a quiet mode, Pratt & Whitney Canada PW210S turboshafts, a digital four-axis autopilot and Thales TopDeck avionics. The last S-76C++ delivered will be number 822. The global fleet of S-76s has logged a total of 5.2 million flight hours since it entered service in 1979.