Sikorsky enters the NBAA convention with the long-awaited S-76D type certification finally achieved. The US Federal Aviation Administration approved the medium-twin helicopter's airworthiness rating on 12 October, four years late.
The latest version of the S-76 series adds the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW210S turboshaft engine, Thales integrated avionics and all-composite and flaw-tolerant main rotor blades.
Sikorsky expects to deliver 10 S-76Ds by the end of the year, then rise quickly to full-rate production in 2013.
The S-76D has been sold in three of its four targeted market segments - offshore support, VIP and search and rescue, says Ed Beyer, vice president of Sikorsky Global Helicopters. The company is close to signing a deal in the fourth segment, emergency management services, he adds.
With S-76C++ production phased out in July, Sikorsky still delivers products in the medium segment with the D-model and heavy-lift segment with the S-92. But the airframer has been assessing options in other segments, as well.
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