Sikorsky announced that the FAA has cleared the S-92 to take off and land in crosswinds up to 35 knots, versus the previous 20-knot limitation, and to carry additional payload based on calculated surplus engine power and specific flight conditions.
The Miami branch of the United States Customs and Border Protection (CPB) Office of Air and Marine has taken delivery of two AgustaWestland AW139s. The helicopters are equipped with multi-payload electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensors, laser designator combined with EO/IR and multimode weather radar and communication systems. Systems integration was performed by L-3 Communications in Waco, Texas.
Sikorsky Aircraft has successfully ground tested fly-by-wire (FBW) technology that will debut on 28 H-92s slated for delivery in 2009 to Canadian military forces. The H-92 is the military variant of the S-92. Sikorsky partnered with BAE Systems to develop the FBW system.
Eurocopter will make its EC 145 available with certified night-vision goggle (NVG) capability in Europe, Canada and the U.S. The NVG configuration will be available for new helicopters and as a retrofit for those already in service. Eurocopter said it plans to extend NVG capability to the EC 135 next and to other models “on customer request.”
Sikorsky is confident its upgraded medium twin, the S-76D, will make its first flight in the fourth quarter of next year, said Bruce McKinney, v-p for Europe. Sikorsky engineers are building the all-composite blades for the main rotor. Pratt & Whitney Canada has been running three PW210S development engines. Wind-tunnel tests have been performed to check engine inlet icing.
The launch customers of the Kamov Ka-226 helicopter–the Moscow city government and fossil-fuel company RAO Gazprom–have begun pilot training and operational trials using semi-experimental machines. Their goal is to qualify crews before production helicopters enter service this month or next.
Eurocopter’s EC 135 helicopter continues to find a welcome among emergency operators. At the Farnborough Air Show, the manufacturer reported orders for better than one EC 135 helicopter per week on average as operators bought the light twin-engine helicopter in record numbers. Last month alone, operators bought 14 EC 135s, and total deliveries to date exceed 340.
Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) continues to consider a possible new turboprop design that could provide a sufficient advance on the PT6, which through its myriad variants offers 700 to 2,000 shp. However, for the moment at least, the manufacturer sees no immediate prospect of moving on from the ubiquitous powerplant to a new-generation engine in the same power range.
France and Germany’s militaries signed an accord to study future helicopter capabilities that could be available by 2020. The countries are interested in developing a transport helicopter larger than the NH90 medium twin.
Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control has just completed the demonstration of a new piloting aid known as Pathfinder.