The FAA has approved the type certificate for Sikorsky’s long-anticipated S-76D, opening the floodgates to a nearly half-billion-dollar order backlog from customers who have waited patiently through three years of program delays.
The FAA signed the S-76D type certificate on Oct. 12, capping an intensive flight test program that originally called for certification of the helicopter in late 2009. With technical issues resolved and regulatory hurdles met, Sikorsky now plans to begin deliveries of its newest model later this quarter.
“Our customers are excited to begin receiving the S-76D into their fleets,” said Carey Bond, president of Sikorsky Global Helicopters. “We are equally excited to deliver a new product that represents three and a half decades of continuous product improvement, to offer them a helicopter with improved efficiency, power and best-in-class noise signature.”
The S-76D helicopter is the latest in the line of popular twin-engine helicopters from Sikorsky, more than 800 of which have been built since the model entered service in 1979. Originally announced at the 2005 Heli-Expo show, the S-76D features all-composite main rotor blades, Pratt & Whitney PW210S engines and Thales TopDeck avionics.