The second prototype in the Sikorsky S-76D™ helicopter program has entered the test flight program, with a third soon to follow, as the program that is producing the next generation model of the S-76 nears completion of its first fuselage for a production aircraft.
Kuwait International Aircraft Leasing (KIAL) and Falcon Aviation Services (FAS), both located in the Middle East, have signed on to purchase S-76D aircraft. KIAL has purchased one aircraft, to be configured for the Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) mission. FAS, based in Abu Dhabi, has contracted to purchase two S-76D helicopters, with options to purchase two more. The aircraft will be used for VIP, corporate, helitaxi, and offshore oil and gas support missions.
Among the S-76D helicopter’s features are all-composite, flaw-tolerant main rotor blades; an advanced Thales avionics system and autopilot; dual speed rotor with active vibration control; powerful Pratt & Whitney Canada PW210S engines; a quiet mode for enhanced public acceptance; and an optional Rotor Ice Protection System (RIPS) for all-weather capability. The S-76D helicopter will also offer an increase in useful load and extended range performance versus the S-76C+ and S-76C++ aircraft currently fielded.