The Sikorsky S-76D medium-twin helicopter is progressing toward certification, although this goal has been moved to the right once again. Aircraft certification is now expected in October, at least four months later than the previous estimate.
According to Sikorsky, the three prototypes in flight test continue to “mature…and post excellent performance results.” At the end of last month, they had logged more than 850 flight hours, Sikorsky commercial programs director Dan Hunter told AIN.
During the first quarter, activity has included the collection of data for lightning protection, cold weather performance, clearance into snow and flight control performance. Two more aircraft are expected to join the flight-test program soon.
Hunter said engineers are happy with the low noise in flight–less than 88.5 dB in flyover at the higher 107-percent rotor speed (Nr), the noisiest condition. Acoustics certification testing is expected to be completed this month.
The S-76D features new Pratt & Whitney Canada PW210S turboshafts, a Thales TopDeck flight deck and new composite main and tail rotor blades with an optional anti-icing system.