Sikorsky has selected Keystone Helicopter to undertake completion work on S-76s following the closure of the manufacturer's delivery centre at West Palm Beach, Florida.

The final S-76 to be completed at West Palm Beach was delivered last month to Finnish commercial airline operator Copter Action. There will be a hiatus until deliveries of Keystone-completed aircraft begin in the third quarter, with an S-76 for a US corporate customer.

The Florida delivery centre has been closed as part of an overall restructuring of Sikorsky's commercial helicopter programmes to improve competitiveness. The S-76 will continue to be produced at Sikorsky's plant at Stratford, Connecticut, where aircraft will receive an airworthiness certificate in a standard configuration before delivery to Keystone's facility in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Keystone outfitted six S-76s last year, mainly for emergency medical service operations. The new agreement establishes the company as the preferred completion centre for all S-76s, including aircraft for utility, corporate and multi-mission applications. Key-stone will expand its completion centre, which also outfits Bell, Agusta and Eurocopter aircraft, to accommodate the additional S-76 work. Sikorsky produces the aircraft at a rate of about one a month.

FlightSafety International has no plans to move its S-76 customer training programme from West Palm Beach.

Source: Flight International