AIN Blog: The S-92 is on a Tour To Honor Heroes

 - February 11, 2012, 1:30 AM
Sikorsky S-92 Legacy of Heroes tour
(Left to right) Chad Phillips, John Bainbridge, Joel Vigue, Adam Gosser, Jamie Wittmeyer at the Singapore stop of the Sikorsky S-92 Legacy of Heroes Tour (photo by Matt Thurber).

A crew of talented pilots and maintenance technicians is having an amazing adventure, flying a new Sikorsky S-92 all over the world to showcase the helicopter’s search-and-rescue capabilities. The trip is called the Legacy of Heroes Tour, and the mission is “to celebrate everyday heroes and touch the lives of the people they serve and protect.” Of course, if Sikorsky persuades a government organization or private operator to buy an S-92 or two, all the better.

But meanwhile the crew is having a great time showing off the S-92. Production test pilots Joel Vigue and Jamie Wittmeyer, crew chief Chad Phillips, quality assurance representative John Bainbridge, avionics expert Adam Gosser and aircraft manager Jean Schryver have been traveling with the S-92, keeping it healthy and demonstrating how it can add to the more than two million people already saved in Sikorsky helicopters since 1945. You can read their account of their adventures on the Legacy Tour website.

This particular S-92 is equipped with ambulance litters as well as fold-up yet still crashworthy seats. The rear of the cabin folds down into a ramp for easy loading. The neatest feature is a controller for the hoist operator, who can “fly” the S-92 from the cabin, up to 15 knots sideways or fore and aft while the helicopter is held in position by the automatic flight control system, hovering over a rescue spot. The pilot also has a control to bump the radar altitude up or down one foot at a time for ultra-precise movement during a rescue.

Sikorsky has invited visitors who come to see the Legacy of Heroes S-92 to sign their names to the airframe, which is painted in gray that nicely sets off the black ink in the Sharpie pen used to write the signatures. If you happen to catch the Heroes S-92 (it’s at the Singapore Airshow static display the week of February 13), ask for the Sharpie and make your mark on an incredible aircraft. And say hello to Adam, John, Chad, Jean, Jamie and Joel.

Next stops on the nine-month tour are six cities in India: Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, Mumbai then New Delhi. 

Comments

Thomas Foolery's picture

It is highly ironic to see Sikorsky mounting such a world tour in the wake of the repeated failure of the S-92 main gearbox. The company notably failed to correct this problem after one such incident involving a S-92A that went down off the coast of Australia on July 2, 2008. Less than a year later, another S-92A crashed off the east coast of Canada, this time resulting in the loss of life of 17 passengers & crew, again due to a gearbox failure. The operator (Cougar Helicopters) subsequently sued Sikorsky for negligence and fraudulent misrepresentation of the S-92A's capabilities. Sikorsky quietly settled the matter out of court this past fall. (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sikorsky_S-92#Accidents_and_notable_incidents and : http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/story/2011/11/25/nl-...)

Perhaps also not surprising is the fact that the maritime helicopter variant of the S-92 that is currently under development for the Royal Canadian Navy (CH-148 Cyclone) is now years over due (originally to be delivered in 208) and hundreds of millions of dollars over budget, with Sikorsky categorically refusing to publicly stipulate when it will actually deliver the helicopter to the RCN. Canada has reportedly refused to even take delivery of an interim CH-148 due to its ongoing mechanical issues. In the meantime, the Canadians are having to pay $168-million to keep their old Sea Kings in the air between 2008 and 2014.

All in all, it's not a very impressive record for a company that seeks to promote itself through "a Sikorsky S-92 Legacy of Heroes Tour".

Thomas Foolery's picture

Also noteworthy is this observation from another blog:

"UK researchers recently tested the vibration levels on several helicopters and they found that the Sikorsky S-92A aircraft exceeded EU Directive 2002/44/EC on limits to human exposure to mechanical vibration [ see https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk / dspace-jspui/handle/2134/8737].

The significance of this report is that the S-92A is the civilian variant of the Sikorsky H-92 Cyclone and will likely also deliver a comparable high level of vibration to its future aircrew. In about 10 years or so, the H-92 will likely result in a whole new generation of helicopter vets with spinal disc degeneration disabilities.

Thomas Foolery's picture

Also notable is this observation from another blog:

"UK researchers recently tested the vibration levels on several helicopters and they found that the Sikorsky S-92A aircraft exceeded EU Directive 2002/44/EC on limits to human exposure to mechanical vibration:
https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-jspui/handle/2134/8737

The significance of this report is that the S-92A is the civilian variant of the Sikorsky H-92 Cyclone and will likely also deliver a comparable high level of vibration to its future aircrew.

In about 10 years or so, the H-92 will likely deliver a whole new generation of helicopter vets with spinal disc degeneration disabilities."

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