Second Sikorsky prototype achieves first flight
March 22, 2010, West Palm Beach, FL - Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. has successfully completed the first flight of its second S-76D helicopter. The prototype aircraft successfully completed its initial test card during a flight on March 19 that lasted approximately 30 minutes. The S-76D helicopter is the latest version of the S-76 helicopter.
By Carey Fredericks
Sikorsky Chief Test Pilot Greg Barnes and Pilot Tom Davis conducted the test flight at Sikorsky’s Development Flight Center in Florida. The milestone brings the second of three prototypes into the test program.
“The first flight of D2 is extremely important to the S-76D helicopter program as it allows us to begin testing the engines for certification credit. The team will run D2 through a series of rigorous tests to validate the performance of the new PW210S engines. Having two aircraft in flight test also provides the team more flexibility, and is critical to achieving our overall FAA certification of the S-76D helicopter,” said Jesse Bavaro, S-76D Helicopter Deputy Program Manager.
Among the S-76D helicopter’s features are all-composite, flaw-tolerant main rotor blades; an advanced Thales avionics system and autopilot; dual rotor speed for quiet mode operation with active vibration control; powerful Pratt & Whitney 210S engines; a quiet mode; and an optional Rotor Ice Protection System (RIPS) for all-weather capability. The S-76D helicopter also will offer an increase in useful load and extended range performance versus the S-76C+ and S-76C++ aircraft currently fielded.