Transport Canada certification validates the S-92 type design and authorizes its use on aircraft flying under Canadian registry. Both Transport Canada and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) flew a RIPS equipped S-92 in Alaska in October to test the new de-icing system immediately following the FAA flights.
"Icing conditions in Canada are among the most severe in the world. This makes the Transport Canada endorsement particularly meaningful," said Mick Maurer, Sikorsky Vice President of Commercial Programs. "Cougar Helicopters Limited, one of the earliest S-92 customers, was a key participant in the certification effort. Cougar's operations in St. John's, Newfoundland, are influenced much of the year by severe icing. Cougar has special expertise in these types of operations, so much so that their knowledge and experience was sought by the FAA in advance of the S-92 flight tests."
Any S-92 with the RIPS will now be allowed to launch in icy weather that might otherwise delay or cancel flight operations. The system 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.
Canada's 28 new H-92 maritime helicopters being built by Sikorsky, designated the CH148 Cyclone by the Canadian Forces, are naval variants of the S-92. The Cyclone will possess the same ability to fly into known icing conditions as the S-92.
Most of the S-92 helicopters delivered to date or ordered include RIPS. Beginning this month, Sikorsky teams will visit customers to activate the system for operation now that it has received certification. Besides Sikorsky, key suppliers include the Autronics and Penny & Giles divisions of Curtiss-Wright and the Moog Corporation.
Development of the S-92 flight into known icing capability 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 helicopter with special equipment that creates a cloud of ice. The tests concluded with flights in natural icing conditions in 2004 and 2005 at sites in the northeastern United States, Canada and Alaska.
Sikorsky plans to incorporate similar rotor ice protection equipment on the new S-76D helicopter, which is slated to enter service in 2008.
Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacturing and service. United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., provides a broad range of high-technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.