Florida-based kit helicopter maker Vertical Aviation Technologies (VAT) is seeking a strategic partner to produce an updated, certified version of the Sikorsky S-52. VAT has manufactured an experimental kit version derived from that aircraft under the name Hummingbird since 1991 after acquiring the engineering data, flight-test data, and drawings from Sikorsky in 1987. It now plans to enter the commercial market.
The new, certified version will be known as the Hummingbird S-52L, which VAT said “has been redesigned with modifications, new technology, new materials, and processes, notably in terms of safety and performance.” VAT recently acquired the type certificate for the S-52 from Sikorsky and plans to amend it with the new modifications and technology.
According to VAT president Brad Clark, the company has already conducted extensive pre-certification testing of the updated design. “We are seeking a strategic partner who shares our vision and can provide the needed capital,” said Clark.
The S-52L will be built to FAA Part 27 standards and feature seating for four, a six-cylinder fuel-injected IO-540 Lycoming engine, and a three-blade main rotor. The company noted that a modified S-52 was the first helicopter to fly solely on battery power in 1982 and is also an ideal candidate for turbine propulsion. Sikorsky designed the original model in 1945 and it saw a limited production run of 93 units between 1947 and 1953.