Sikorsky Aircraft reports that fly-by-wire technology for the H-92 version of its S-92 that it is building for the Canadian Maritime Helicopter Program has passed two days of initial ground tests.
The fly-by-wire system, developed in association with BAE Systems, is intended to improve significantly the maneuverability, safety, and effectiveness of the 28 H-92s that Canadian forces are to begin receiving in early 2009. Eliminating the traditional mechanical flight control linkages also saves weight, should reduce maintenance costs, and makes space available inside the aircraft for other components, said Dan Hunter, Sikorsky’s manager for the Canadian program. "The mechanical linkages between the main rotor and tail rotor are gone."
In a related development, the U.S. FAA cleared the S-92 to take off and land in crosswinds up to 35 kt and carry additional payload based on available engine power, the manufacturer reports. The S-92 previously had been limited to 20-kt crosswinds. The payload change allows operators of the aircraft to take advantage of power reserves in its General Electric CT7-8A engines in excess of minimum requirements, the company said. It added that it expects regulators in Canada and Europe to approve the changes within their jurisdictions.
Sikorsky also said it has delivered the first S-92 to a customer in China. The manufacturer said Eastern General Aviation Corp., a subsidiary of China Eastern Airlines Group, recently accepted the aircraft along with two S-76 C++s. The S-92 is to be used for offshore oil operations, Sikorsky said, as part of Eastern General’s plans to expand its business with China National Offshore Oil Corp. and ConocoPhillips China, Inc. What Sikorsky means by "delivered" is unclear. In March, it said it delivered the first dedicated search and rescue S-92 to CHC Helicopter for a SAR contract in the United Kingdom, but that aircraft, slated to go into service July 1, now won’t do so until September.