Sikorsky awards CHC crew for heroic acts

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In addition to developing its S-92 helicopter line, Lockheed Martin company Sikorsky has announced recognised the heroic efforts of a CHC Helicopter crew’s successful search and rescue mission conducted with an S-92 helicopter.

The CHC crew, based in Statfjord, Norway saved two sailors in the midst of a storm in late November by navigating an S-92 aircraft through winds of up to 80 mph – Sikorsky President Dan Schultz presented the team with a Winged-S Rescue Award in a ceremony at the 2019 Helicopter Association International Heli-Expo.

"We are honoured to recognize CHC today for this achievement and for fulfilling our Founder Igor Sikorsky's vision of the helicopter as a life-saving machine," said Schultz. "This team demonstrated a commitment to saving lives, no matter the danger to themselves. We are proud to recognise aircrews who continue to reflect Sikorsky's mission to bring people home safely everywhere, every time."

In addition, Sikorsky’s development of the S-92 line will re-designate the S-92A+ as fielded helicopters and the S-92B as the newly-produced aircraft. The two aircraft will share an almost identical configuration, and their instatement represents the introduction of new technology that focuses on reliability, increased capability and reduced operating costs.

Technological improvements include the introduction of phase one MATRIX technology that will bring advanced computing power to the platform. This will, in turn, enable the adoption of Rig Approach 2.0 – landing technology – and Sikorsky’s new technology SuperSearch – enabling object location that is 30 per cent faster. Both aircraft will also include SAR AFCS, the Phase IV main gearbox and a newly designed interior.

Lockheed Martin also notes that General Electric's CT7-8A6 engine, capable of producing more power in higher altitudes and hotter temperatures, will also be available as an option for both the S-92A+ and S-92B products

Sikorksy also plans to launch an hourly aftermarket support programme that will be available concurrent with deliveries and reflects targeted economic improvement of the two new models.

Though Sikorsky has invested much to produce these capabilities, it will let market interest determine the pace of remaining research and development spending. Current plans have initial availability set for 2022 and have an S-92B helicopter price target below historical S-92 prices. The S-92A+ kit is being designed to allow common fleet benefit at an economical targeted price.

Gretchen Haskins, CEO of HeliOffshore, also commented on the development: "We think safety is a good investment, and so we welcome Sikorsky's investment in this significant new technology, which will drive greater reliability, resilience and operational capability."

Operators are always appreciative of innovative solutions when it comes to upgrading their fleets, enabling them to effectively and efficiently carry out a range of work using the latest technology whilst ensuring safety and reliability – a critically important aspect, as was highlighted by the recent mission by the CHC crew members. It’s great to see Sikorsky investing in the advancement of its S-92 range – an aircraft widely employed within the industry – and prioritising industry accessibility over profit.

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