The first four flying versions of the U.S. Marine Corps’ next generation CH-53K helicopter were advancing through assembly at Sikorsky Aircraft’s West Palm Beach, Florida, facility earlier this year. “We’re well beyond the paper side of the aircraft. We’re building this thing,” Marine Col. Robert Pridgen, H-53 program manager, told reporters at the Navy League conference in April.
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.
Sikorsky Aircraft’s new S-76D helicopter received certification from Mexico’s civil aviation authority, the Direccion General de Aeronautica Civil (DGAC), this week. The FAA gave its blessing for the S-76D in October, and the helicopter continues its envelope expansion as the first models move through final modifications for customer deliveries this year.
Sikorsky Aerospace Services (SAS), the aftermarket business of Sikorsky Aircraft, now has parts warehouse in Brazil to support commercial operators of the S-76 and S-92 in that country. Powerpack, Sikorsky’s long-standing Brazilian representative, will manage inventory operations through the country’s special customs system known as Depósito Especial.
The Colombian Army formally inducted into its fleet five new Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk helicopters. Colombia is the first South American country to acquire the S-70i variant, which is assembled at Sikorsky’s PZL Mielec facility in Poland.
Sikorsky said the helicopters were custom-equipped in the U.S. for the special forces of the Colombian army’s air assault division. They join a national fleet of 96 UH-60L Black Hawks operated by the Colombian National Police, army and air force. Colombia operates the world’s fourth-largest Black Hawk fleet.
American Helicopter Society International (AHS International, Booth No. N6304) is marking its 70th anniversary here at Heli-Expo. With 6,100 members from 44 countries, AHS International is dedicated to finding technical solutions for vertical lift, including solving the challenge of human-powered vertical flight. AHS International is offering a $250,000 prize, funded by Sikorsky Aircraft (founded by one of the organization’s charter members, Igor Sikorsky) to the designer(s) of a helicopter that can hover for at least one minute at least 9.84 feet over a 32.8-foot-sided square.
Buoyed by several years of steady growth and a healthy $6.8 billion in sales recorded in 2012, Sikorsky is on the right track and gaining momentum, president Mick Maurer said yesterday.
With a multi-year, multi-service Black Hawk and Seahawk contract in hand valued at $89.5 billion and an S-76D backlog valued at around $700 million, the Stratford, Conn. manufacturer is anticipating a bright 2013.
The Coanda effect, which is central to the performance of the MD Helicopters Notar (no tail rotor) and the tail-boom strakes on many other helicopters, inspired 16-year-old Ethan Chu’s design for a helicopter that won him the Igor Sikorsky Youth Innovator Award in the second annual Helicopter 2050 Challenge (http://www.helicopter2050.com).
“I was fascinated with the Coanda effect,” Chu said, “and I decided to use it to make my helicopter design more efficient.”
Upgrading the panelware on its H-60 and S-70i helicopter platforms, Sikorsky Aircraft (Booth No. C5028) has selected a trio of L-3 Aviation Products (Booth No. C5901) as standard equipment: the GH-3001 electronic standby instrument system (ESIS), Stormscope WX-500 lightning detection system and PS-855 emergency power supply (EPS).
Boeing and Sikorsky Aircraft signed a teaming agreement to submit a joint proposal for the U.S. Army’s Joint Multi-Role (JMR) technology demonstration (TD), phase one. The effort aims to develop the Army’s next-generation medium helicopter. The two companies said they are prepared to “build and fly one or more” medium-sized demonstrator aircraft in 2017, the program’s first-flight milestone.