U.S. and European civil aviation authorities have issued new airworthiness directives (ADs) for the inspection and possible repair or replacement of the Sikorsky S-92A’s main gearbox. The updated ADs build on 2009 directives and mandate action on a new gearbox design that was supposed to solve the problem, at least temporarily.
Final assembly of the first production Sikorsky S-76D medium twin has begun in Coatesville, Pa., the helicopter manufacturer announced this week. Czech-based Aero Vodochody delivered the helicopter’s fuselage on November 19–a one-month delay, according to a schedule released in June. The fully assembled fuselage arrived with all electric and cockpit systems having passed acceptance tests, Sikorsky said.
Two years ago a speedboat opened fire on a Bell 412 as it departed an oil platform. A mechanic found a bullet hole in a main rotor blade after the helicopter returned to base. The passengers and crew had no idea they had been hit.
It was just another day in Nigeria.
PZL-Mielec has flown the second Sikorsky S-70i “international” helicopter. It is the first to fly in Poland, where two more units are in final assembly. The Polish company previously shipped major subassemblies for the first S-70i to the U.S., where initial flight tests were completed at Sikorsky’s West Palm Beach, Fla. facility last month.
The 117-strong fleet of Sikorsky S-92s has surpassed 250,000 flight hours. The medium twin entered service in 2004 and offshore operations have accounted for 90 percent of the air time since. The U.S. manufacturer claims mission reliability stands at 94 percent, while the fleet leader has logged 9,000 hours with Bristow. Eight offshore oil and gas transport companies fly 75 of the in-service S-92s.
Canada’s Transportation Safety Board has completed its draft report of the March 2009 fatal crash of a Cougar Helicopters Sikorsky S-92A off Newfoundland that killed 17. The final report likely will be released next year.
Starting next month, Canada’s government will take delivery of six interim CH-148 Cyclone multi-mission, ship-based helicopters ahead of 2012 deliveries of the finished version. The interim version will have partially compliant mission system software and slightly lower performance specs than the finished version. The fly-by-wire CH-148 derives from the civil S-92 medium twin.
On the eve of a Canadian Government report on the fatal March 2009 crash off Newfoundland that killed 17 of 18 aboard a Sikorsky S-92A, operator Cougar Helicopters and its insurers filed a $26.6 million suit against the OEM.
Sikorsky will start certification testing on the S-434 light turbine single in January, thus postponing the target certification date to December next year.