PHI flew the first operational automated “rig approach” to a platform in the Gulf of Mexico in a Sikorsky S-92 on November 14. Sikorsky and PHI developed the system to reduce pilot workload and the FAA approved its functionality earlier this year. The system is expected to be offered on the Sikorsky S-76D as well.
The first customer delivery of the Sikorsky S-76D was imminent as this was being written last month, with the first example to be handed over to an offshore operator in the Gulf of Mexico. EASA certification is expected toward the end of the year.
Sikorsky Aerospace Services selected Wappingers Falls, N.Y.-based Associated Aircraft Group (AAG) as its first customer service center for the S-76. AAG will provide comprehensive maintenance management, inspections and spare parts procurement for customers operating the new Sikorsky S-76D.
Sikorsky Aircraft and China’s Changhe Aircraft Industries have signed an agreement for Changhe to produce cabins for the S-76D. Changhe, which had previously provided cabins for the predecessor S-76C++, will now serve as a second source for S-76D cabins, as Czech-based Aero Vodochody also supplies cabins. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2016.
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.
The new Sikorsky S-76D medium twin recently performed high-altitude takeoff and landing tests at Colorado’s Lake County Airport, the helicopter manufacturer announced last week. The trials, which took place at almost 10,000 feet msl, were part of a so-called envelope-expansion program.
Bristow is retrofitting a fleet of 44 Sikorsky S-76C++s and Sikorsky S-92As with Rockwell Collins’s traffic alert and collision avoidance (Tcas II) system. Installations are in progress. A new-generation system, the TTR-4100, will be fitted to 20 of the helicopters. It adds traffic computer capability and enables automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) in.
A helicopter air ambulance belonging to Ontario’s provincially funded service, Ornge, crashed shortly after takeoff May 31, killing its four-man crew of two pilots and two flight paramedics. The 1980 Sikorsky S-76A took off from rural Moosonee along St. James Bay at 12:10 a.m. en route to the remote First Nation village of Attawapiskat for a patient pick-up. It crashed almost immediately after takeoff into a densely wooded area less than 3,000 feet off the airport and burned.
The Sikorsky S-76D medium-twin helicopter is continuing its envelope expansion and is approaching the first customer delivery. The initial certification received in October was just a baseline, suitable for most operators and most conditions, Sikorsky director of commercial programs Dan Hunter told AIN.
Although business has been tough for UK helicopter charter companies in recent times, Capital Air Services is in the process of increasing its managed fleet with the addition of two Sikorsky S-76++ helicopters. This will bring the S-76 fleet to three, to operate alongside a Eurocopter EC155 and a pair of EC135s.
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