Sikorsky's S-92A reaches two major milestones this year. In January, the fleet surpassed 500,000 flight hours, many offshore oil operators having flown S-92s an average of 90-110h per month. The second milestone is 200th delivery, due in the second quarter.
In 2000, Flightglobal was given an exclusive flight test of the S-92, then Sikorsky Global Helicopters' latest helicopter. I flew the No 3 prototype when total flying hours had only passed 300h of a 1,400h programme. Now the highest-time aircraft has more than 13,000h, with many topping 10,000h. It seemed time to revisit the multimission type.
There are over 160 S-92s operating in 25 countries, mostly offshore. Sikorsky is expecting operating hours to total 150,000 this year. The latest markets are Ireland and Korea for search and rescue, and Alaska and Thailand for offshore. In 2000 the estimated range with fuel reserves in the demanding environment of the UK's North Sea was 400nm (740km). This is now 472nm, sea level standard, with 30min reserve fuel. Average fuel flow is 1,270lb/h (576kph).