All three authorities flew the S-92 with its Rotor Ice Protection System (RIPS) in Alaska in the fall of 2005. Since the first certifications in 2005, S-92 aircraft in the United States and Canada have flown flawlessly in known icing conditions. The automatic modes of the S-92 RIPS operation reduce pilot workload in these conditions providing for an even higher degree of operational capability. With the EASA approval, S-92 aircraft in Europe will now begin the same kinds of operation, helping to provide reliable passenger transportation in diverse weather conditions.
The RIPS determines the temperature and moisture content of the surrounding environment and applies heat to the main and tail rotor blades to remove any ice buildup. Most S-92 helicopters delivered to date or ordered include RIPS. Development of the S-92 RIPS began in 1997 and included three years of aircraft testing. That testing began with ice accretion tests in the Eglin Air Force Base McKinley Climatic Hangar in Florida and dry air tests of simulated ice on the tail surfaces in 2003. In 2004 Sikorsky conducted flight testing behind a CH-47D helicopter with special equipment that creates an ice cloud in the trailing air. The tests ended with flights in natural icing conditions in 2004 and 2005 at sites from the northeastern United States, through Canada to Alaska.
Sikorsky also plans to incorporate similar rotor ice protection equipment on the new S-76DTM helicopter. Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacturing and service. United Technologies Corporation, based in Hartford, Conn., provides a broad range of high-technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.