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RCP0909_008-017_Hangar Talk 10/16/09 11:18 PM Page 16
HANGAR TALK
New Platform Approach System Offers Enhanced
Safety, Reduced Pilot Workload in Sikorsky S-92
®
land and take off in more weather condi-
tions, maximizing flight availability and
revenue potential.
“Sikorsky developed this feature with
the encouragement of key S-92 helicopter
customers and regulatory agencies look-
ing to leverage precision navigation capa-
bilities found in WAAS (Wide Area
Augmentation System) and other national
infrastructure investments,” said Tom
Rychlik, Program Manager for the S-92
helicopter program. “It fulfills the promise
of precision approach to offshore oil plat-
forms utilizing the latest navigation tech-
nology and helicopter flight control
systems engineering.”
With the current offshore approach pro-
cedure, at least 14 pilot actions are required
to initiate an approach to an oil platform.
The new software reduces that number to
seven, all of which are conducted prior to
departure or during cruise. The system will
be retrofitted to all existing S-92 heli-
copters in operation and can be ordered as
an option on future deliveries.
“At PHI, we have the capacity to fly
well over 1,000 passengers per day in our
S-92 helicopter fleet,” said Pat Attaway,
PHI Operations Manager. “Obviously, we
want the best systems possible to fly our
passengers. We expect the automated ap-
proach system in development by Siko-
rsky to meet that standard.”
Sikorsky is currently flight-testing the
system at its Development Flight Center
in West Palm Beach, Florida, and plans to
have FAA certification by the end of 2009.
The S-92 helicopter is the first heli-
Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. has announced ing a press briefing at Helitech. copter in its class certified by the U.S. Fed-
the introduction of a new functionality of- “Depending on the weather, landing a eral Aviation Administration to the most
fered on the S-92® helicopter to provide helicopter on an oil platform can be chal- rigorous standards. The aircraft also is cer-
offshore oil operators with an automated lenging,” said Ron Doeppner, project pilot tified by the European Aviation Safety
approach that reduces cockpit workload on the S-92 helicopter program. “With the Agency to its stringent safety standards.
and allows safer operations under chal- platform-finding system, the pilot pro- About 100 S-92 helicopters have been pro-
lenging weather and operating conditions. grams the approach into the autopilot and duced to date, and the worldwide operating
Sikorsky Aircraft is a subsidiary of United the aircraft flies the approach. This allows fleet has accumulated more than 169,500
Technologies Corp. the pilots to spend less time concentrating flight hours. The aircraft perform a vari-
The new platform-finding system pro- inside the cockpit and more time looking ety of missions including search and res-
vides a fully coupled and automated ap- outside for visual cues. This feature is es- cue off the U.K. coast, and Head of State
proach capability with a higher safety pecially valuable in night and low visibil- transport for the leaders of several nations.
margin than currently is available with ity conditions, adding an extra element of The S-92 helicopter also has become the
any other offshore approach procedure. operational safety.” helicopter of choice for transporting oil
Sikorsky introduced the new system dur- The system will allow the helicopter to workers to offshore platforms.

16 ROTORCRAFT PROFESSIONAL • September 2009
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