China’s AVIC Completes First S-76 Airframe
The Changhe subsidiary of China’s Aviation Industry Corp. (AVIC) completed its first Sikorsky S-76C++ airframe yesterday at its plant near Shanghai. It will now be shipped to Sikorsky’s Coatesville, Pa. facility for completion. Changhe will manufacture additional S-76 airframes in 2010. AVIC and Sikorsky signed an agreement in 2006 that led to the production of S-76 airframes and components for several other Sikorsky aircraft, including the tail pylons for the S-92 and airframe components and assemblies for the 300CBi. Aero Vodochody in the Czech Republic also manufactures the S-76 airframe, including those for the S-76D, currently undergoing certification flight testing at Sikorsky’s West Palm Beach, Fla. facility. A third test S-76D is expected to fly by year-end and Sikorsky predicts certification in mid- to late 2010, with customer deliveries beginning in 2011. Sikorsky earlier this month announced that Falcon Aviation would be the S-76D launch customer. The S-76D program was first announced in 2005 and certification was originally anticipated this year.