image Week of February 24, 1999

Sikorsky Helibus Moving Through Flight Tests

While a flying S-92 HELIBUS prototype was not at the HAI show in Dallas, TX this last week, the company's cabin mockup was. Sikorsky exhibit invited attendees to personally witness the expanse of the medium-lift helicopter's cabin in the comfort of the company's exhibit at the Dallas Convention Center.

Meanwhile, flight testing continues at Sikorsky's Dvelopment Flight Center in West Palm Beach, FL. The second S-92 prototype has already accomplished several notable milestones including all initial hover work, sideward flight to 35 knots, forward flight envelope expansion to maximum level speed (Vh).

"The aircraft is performing better than we forecast and exceeding projections," said Charles Isabelle, Sikorsky's Vice President for the S-92 program, in a release issued at the HIA show. First flight of the aircraft was just conducted on December 23rd of last year.

The 19-seat S-92 is being developed by Sikorsky on the basis of the US Army Blackhawk and US Navy Seahawk helicopters. Partnering with Sikorsky is an international team including Brazil's Embraer, Spain's Gamesa, Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, China's Jingdezhen Helicopter Group/CATIC and Taiwan's Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC).

The new Sikorsky helicopter is out of the gates quicker than its reported competition, the Eurocopter Super Puma III. Aircraft number three is expected to join the fleet before the end of next month.

First customers deliveries are expected in the 4th quarter of 2001. Although no sales have been logged yet, Sikorsky estimates 20 year sales of 250 of the HELIBUS aircraft in commercial and utility configuration, and over twice that number going into government service. The medium-life helo is priced at $12.5 million.

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