For Sikorsky, 2013 was a mixed bag, according to company president Mick Maurer, who gave his company’s year-end summary presentation yesterday at Heli-Expo. While the company reached a record backlog of more than $15 billion, it also recorded an 8-percent drop in sales, to $6.3 billion, the decrease driven largely by a drop-off in U.S. government orders on both the OEM side and the aftermarket segment last year.
Sikorsky Aircraft highlighted its past achievements, and their influence on the company’s current direction, in introducing its theme of “Technology Meets Tradition” at Heli-Expo 2014 on Tuesday.
The joint venture between Tata Advanced Systems and Sikorsky has delivered its first fully indigenous S-92 cabin. The Indian operation is now not only assembling cabins but also producing more than 5,000 associated precision components. At the Hyderabad factory, the capacity has reached four S-92 cabins per month and the 50th was produced in October.
PHI flew the first operational automated “rig approach” to a platform in the Gulf of Mexico in a Sikorsky S-92 on November 14. Sikorsky and PHI developed the system to reduce pilot workload and the FAA approved its functionality earlier this year. The system is expected to be offered on the Sikorsky S-76D as well.
The first customer delivery of the Sikorsky S-76D medium-twin helicopter is “imminent,” the Stratford, Conn.-based aircraft manufacturer said. According to a Sikorsky executive, the first example will be handed over this month to an offshore operator in the Gulf of Mexico. The first executive S-76D is scheduled for delivery in January to a customer in Europe. The OEM expects EASA certification toward the end of the year.
Sikorsky Aircraft is developing a set of hardware and software capabilities to support autonomous flight of unmanned or optionally piloted vertical-lift aircraft. Executives said the goal is to deliver an order of magnitude improvement in the safety and reliability of unmanned aircraft, which experience losses at a rate of once every 1,000 flight hours.
Mitsubishi has contracted with Sikorsky to acquire 11 S-76Ds for search-and-rescue operations by the Japan Coast Guard. Meanwhile, in China, Citic Offshore Helicopter has ordered two S-92s for offshore oil transportation. Sikorsky plans to deliver the new S-92s in December next year and March 2015. In another Chinese deal, Sikorsky and Zhuhai Helicopter announced a contract for four Sikorsky S-92s to be used for offshore missions.
Sikorsky Aerospace Services (SAS), the aftermarket business of Sikorsky Aircraft, now has parts warehouse in Brazil to support commercial operators of the S-76 and S-92 in that country. Powerpack, Sikorsky’s long-standing Brazilian representative, will manage inventory operations through the country’s special customs system known as Depósito Especial.
Spectrum Aeromed is displaying one of its medical interiors in a Lloyd Helicopters Sikorsky S-76 with Spectrum’s 2200 “short box” life support system at the Lloyd exhibit (Static No. C35). In addition, the Lloyd machine is equipped with a 1461 Med Wall, SLA locks and a 1203 stretcher. “The S-76 install from Lloyd Helicopters is only one of many configurations and customizable options we offer,” said Spectrum v-p Ricky Reno.
In a ceremony at the Sikorsky exhibit yesterday, the company celebrated its 90th anniversary in homage to its founder and aviation pioneer Igor Sikorsky. The crowd of some 300 at Booth No. C5028 listened to Sikorsky’s story in his own words, words that still resonate in the industry and that included the admonishment, “In aviation, use the word ‘impossible’ with the greatest care.” Sikorsky president Mick Maurer concluded the ceremony by offering his own view of the future, saying the obligation of Sikorsky over the next 90 years is to continue to push the boundaries.
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