The first flight of Sikorsky’s second S–76D has been completed in Florida. The aircraft is the latest upgrade of the popular S-76 helicopter.
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 deputy program manager.
What’s different about it? Among its 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; the 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 compared to the S-76C.
Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. is based in Stratford, Conn.