Sikorsky has completed testing of the S-92 twin-turbine medium helicopter in a climatic chamber at Elgin AFB, Florida. The indoor tests were a precursor to cold-weather flight tests scheduled for the winter of 2001-2 in Alaska and Canada.


The third prototype S-92 was suspended in the massive main chamber of the US Air Force's McKinley Climatic Laboratory at Elgin for the three-week test series, which included 20 hours of rotor-turning engine runs to exercise the majority of systems in extreme hot and cold temperatures. The tests covered a temperature range from -40C to +50C. Before each run, the helicopter was soaked at the required temperature for at least 12 hours to simulate an overnight stop. The General Electric CT7-8 engines started first time in all conditions. The S-92 also completed a fuel icing test for US certification.

The first customer for the commercial version of the helicopter is Canadian offshore firm Cougar Helicopters, which has placed deposits for up to five, with delivery from 2002. Vancouver-based Helijet, Copter Action of Finland and Norway's Aircontactgruppen have also signed agreements which could lead to orders.

Source: Flight International