1977 Sikorsky S-76A
The Sikorsky S-76 is an American medium-size commercial utility helicopter, manufactured by the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation. The S-76 features twin turboshaft engines, four-bladed main and tail rotors and retractable landing gear. The development of the S-76 began in the mid-1970s as the S-74, with the design goal of providing a medium helicopter for corporate transportation and the oil drilling industry; the S-74 was later redesignated the S-76 in honor of the U.S. Bicentennial. The prototype first flew on March 13, 1977.
The first production variant was the S-76A. In 1982, this model set class records for range, climb, speed and ceiling. Several airlines operate the S-76A on scheduled services including Helijet Airways of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The S-76 Mk II was introduced in 1982 and the S-76B in 1987, with its top speed of 155 kn (287 km/h) at sea level. Over 500 S-76s had been delivered by early 2001. The S-76C+ was produced until December 2005. This version incorporates active noise suppression, vibration dampers and a composite main rotor. On January 3, 2006, the S-76 C++ replaced earlier versions in production. There were 92 orders for this model as of January 2006.
Development of the follow-on S-76D was subject to four years of delays due to technical problems in expanding the flight envelope. The prototype made its first flight on February 7, 2009, and type certification was initially expected in 2011, with deliveries forecast for the end of that year. Performance is substantially improved with the added power, but initial certification retains the same 11,700 lb (5,307 kg) gross weight and maximum 155 kn (287 km/h) cruise speed as earlier models.
In 2016 United Aero Group donated a Sikorsky S-76A to the Connecticut Air & Space Center. The company acquired the early ‘A” model aircraft and a sister ship from Lider Air Taxi in Brazil and recently completed collection of a wide range of still airworthy parts from the helicopters. United Aero Group is donating a complete airframe, original avionics, wiring, and other components to the museum.