Sikorsky Aircraft yesterday disclosed at the American Helicopter Society International annual technical forum in Grapevine, Texas, plans to build and test a demonstrator for a new class of coaxial helicopters that will have improved vertical flight capabilities and will cruise at 250 knots. The Stratford, Conn.
Helicopter Support has received certification from American Eurocopter to support the AS 350, AS 355, EC 120 and BO 105. A wholly owned subsidiary of Sikorsky, Helicopter Support is based at Tweed New Haven Airport in Connecticut. It provides parts and services.
Sikorsky last month opened a 25,000-sq-ft Design Engineering Center in Fort Worth, Texas. Workers at the center will conduct dynamic systems design and avionics integration. According to Mark Miller, Sikorsky vice president for engineering, work at this facility will initially support the military CH-53K heavy-lift program. The facility will also support Sikorsky’s future growth needs.
L-3 Communications Integrated Systems has won the contract for a head-of-state widebody executive/VIP interior. A spokesman declined to reveal the name of the customer or the aircraft type, but said work has already begun on some of the interior components. The airplane is scheduled to arrive at the company’s Texas State Technical College Airport facilities in Waco early next year.
Dean Borgman, chairman of Sikorsky Aircraft, retired on July 1. Borgman, 62, was appointed chairman last year after serving as the helicopter manufacturer’s president since 1998. Steve Finger, who was named president of the company when Borgman became chairman, will now lead the company.
The S-92 medium-twin helicopter has become the first rotorcraft to be certified by the new European Aviation Safety Agency. Transport Canada certification is expected later this year summer and full icing certification later this year.
Sikorsky Aircraft and Gulf Helicopters of Doha, Qatar, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to explore establishing an aviation center of excellence in the Middle East. The proposed center would provide maintenance support, spares, training and design/development services to Sikorsky, Gulf and other commercial and governmental aircraft owners and operators in the Middle East region.
While the S-76 and S-92 will remain Sikorsky’s bread and butter for some time to come, the company is also launching a new age of vertical lift technology, which it is calling the X2.
Sikorsky announced the X2 program at Heli-Expo 2006, claiming its clean-sheet airframe design and counter-rotating blades would allow the helicopter to reach speeds of 250 knots or more while retaining true helicopter heavy-lift capability.
Avionics manufacturer and integrator Thales and helicopter OEM Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. are discussing plans to incorporate a synthetic-vision system (SVS) into the Thales TopDeck avionics suite in Sikorsky’s new S-76D, but whether it will be available by the aircraft’s expected FAA certification date in 2008 is still up in the air.