CANADIAN CERTIFICATION for an expanded gross weight version of the S-92 helicopter was announced by Sikorsky on April 24, 2018.
The option is available on new-build S-92s and increases the helicopter’s maximum take off weight (MTOW) from 26,500 pounds (12,020kg) to 27,700 pounds (12,564kg).
The expanded gross weight capability had previously been certified by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 2015 and the company said that it expects to receive European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification of the capabilities later in 2018.
Dana Fiatarone, Sikorsky’s Vice President of the company’s Commercial Systems and Services Division said: “We are proud to bring this expanded capability to more customers and increase their performance value. Particularly in this time of increased S-92 utilisation, enhancing our customers’ missions with additional payload is in direct response to our customers’ feedback and a clear indication that the S-92 helicopter is the most capable aircraft for offshore oil worker transportation.”
US-based Era Group Incorporated was the first customer for the gross weight expanded (GWE) S-92 and placed the variant into service on offshore operations in the Gulf of Mexico in October 2015. It has since purchased three more to bring the number to four GWE helicopters out of a fleet total of nine Sikorsky helicopters.
Chris Bradshaw, President and CEO of Era Group Inc. said: “Our customers are greatly benefitting from the extra payload offered by this S-92 helicopter. The safety, reliability and performance of the S-92 make it an optimal platform for those we serve.”
In addition to the option for new-build S-92s, Sikorsky has developed a modification for helicopters already in operation in the field, which also increases the MTOW to 27,700 pounds (12,564kg). The company said: “This approval enables operators in many countries to incorporate the modifications to conduct longrange missions with increased passenger or cargo loads.”
In March 2018, Sikorsky said that the total S-92 monthly flight hours had reached almost 16,000 hours, with the energy sector alone accounting for almost 14,000 hours. By early May, 2018, total S-92 flight time was in excess of 1.25 million fleet flight hours.