FAA Grants Sikorsky S-92 Full Icing Certification

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Just in time for the winter flying season, Sikorsky Aircraft announced this month the FAA has certified the company's S-92 helicopter, when equipped with the new Rotor Ice Protection System (RIPS), for flight in known icing conditions. According to Sikorsky, the S-92 thus becomes the first helicopter directly certified by the FAA to the newest and most stringent standards. The RIPS is an active system that determines the temperature and moisture content of ambient air and applies heat to the main and tail rotor blades to remove any ice buildup. The FAA granted the known-icing certification after the company completed final flight tests in Alaska earlier this month. Those tests also included evaluations by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and by Transport Canada, the Canadian certifying agency. Sikorsky is seeking S-92 RIPS certification from both agencies. "One of the S-92's key features is its all-year, all-weather capability. Certification of RIPS adds to the S-92's reputation as the most modern and efficient aircraft in its class," said Jeffrey Pino, Sikorsky's senior vice president for corporate strategy and commercial programs. Most of the S-92 helicopters delivered to date or ordered include RIPS. Beginning this month, Sikorsky teams will visit customers to update the previously delivered RIPS equipment and activate the system for operation now that it has received certification. Sikorsky also plans to incorporate similar rotor-ice-protection equipment on the new S-76D helicopter, which is slated to enter service in 2008. The Sikorsky S-92 is the first helicopter to be fully certified to the harmonized FAA/JAA Part 29 requirements. It features a stand-up cabin, can seat up to 17 passengers and has a no-reserve range of up to 538 nm.