The FAA Sea State 6 certification was achieved on May 30, followed by certification by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Certification by Transport Canada is expected soon.
The S-92 helicopter has an optional Emergency Flotation System (EFS) that consists of three primary floats. The three-float system has now been certified for ditching in conditions up to and including Sea State 5. An additional option provides two additional floats. The five-float flotation system is now certified for ditching in conditions up to and including Sea State 6.
“Many of our operators, particularly those in the North Sea and Canadian waters, require certification higher than Sea State 4 because of the winter conditions they face,” said Peter Barner, lead landing gear designer for the S-92 helicopter. “Now, despite very severe weather conditions, even more critical offshore oil missions and search-and-rescue operations can be performed with great confidence.”
Dan Hunter, Director, Sikorsky Commercial Programs, said: “The S-92 helicopter is the aircraft of choice for many customers who operate in the most demanding environments and conditions for critical missions, and we are committed to responding to our customers’ needs. The S-92 helicopter meets or exceeds the safety requirements set by the industry and we will continue to strive to make the aircraft as safe as possible for our operators.”
As a dedicated search and rescue platform, the S-92 aircraft is equipped with advanced systems and hardware, including an automated flight control system that enables the pilot to fly pre-programmed search patterns and perform delicate hover maneuvers; a wireless intercom allowing a rescue swimmer to communicate with the crew; radio transceivers to communicate with ships, police and other emergency rescue services; a weather radar; a forward looking infrared sensor; and a digital video system to record rescues. The aircraft also comes with a dual rescue hoist, single or dual 220-gallon internal auxiliary fuel tanks, three litters, and a rescue searchlight.
Sikorsky has delivered 158 S-92 aircraft to operators worldwide since 2004. Of those aircraft, 25 are engaged in SAR operations. The the global aircraft fleet has accumulated more than 420,000 flight hours. Aircraft availability stands at 96 percent.
Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., USA, is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture, and service. United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., USA, provides a broad range of high technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.