The first customer delivery of the Sikorsky S-76D medium-twin helicopter is “imminent,” the Stratford, Conn.-based aircraft manufacturer said. According to a Sikorsky executive, the first example will be handed over this month to an offshore operator in the Gulf of Mexico. The first executive S-76D is scheduled for delivery in January to a customer in Europe. The OEM expects EASA certification toward the end of the year.
Recent testing of the helicopter’s protection against high-intensity radiated fields was performed for EASA certification. Asked about the 12 months that have elapsed since the FAA awarded what was described as baseline certification in October 2012, the executive noted that the baseline approval was intended just “to get the aircraft to the market,” despite the absence of any deliveries to customers thus far. The S-76D has been restricted to two-pilot VFR operations at limited altitude for the past year.
Early next year, says Sikorsky, tests will be performed for Performance Class 1 takeoffs (the equivalent of the U.S. Category A) from a ground-level heliport–an important performance feature for executive applications. Sikorsky said it holds firm orders for about 80 copies of its newest civil helicopter.