Sikorsky Reveals S-76C+ 'Quiet Zone' Gearbox

Oct. 15, 2004 - LAS VEGAS, Nev. Oct. 12, 2004 - Sikorsky's new "Quiet Zone" gearbox for the S-76C+ helicopter has made its operational debut and drawn rave reviews from corporate passengers. The new gearbox provides a significant noise reduction in the aircraft's cabin and cockpit, opening a new dimension in business comfort.

Attendees at this year's National Business Aircraft Association (NBAA) show will be able to hear the difference for themselves at Sikorsky's booth, thanks to an acoustic demonstrator that compares the interior noise of a current production S-76C+ with that of an S-76C+ with Quiet Zone features.

Earlier this year, a corporate customer began operating one of its S-76C+ helicopters with the Quiet Zone transmission in the main gearbox. The company's chief rotary-wing pilot wrote Sikorsky President Steve Finger that "our passengers love it because it offers a significantly quieter cabin, and we intend to install the Quiet Zone transmission in our other new S-76C+."

Company executives have commented how easy it is to converse and conduct business in the cabin, the chief pilot wrote: "They mention that it is not necessary to lean toward the person speaking in order to hear clearly."

The Quiet Zone is a continuous improvement program initiated by Sikorsky to reduce interior noise levels of the S-76 helicopter. State-of-the-art technology was incorporated into the gearbox and transmission to achieve a current interior noise level nearly five percent quieter than its nearest competitor in the corporate/VIP category.

"This improvement to interior noise levels will further enhance the S-76's position as the first choice of helicopter transport with Fortune 100 companies," said Jeff Pino, Sikorsky senior vice president - Marketing & Commercial Programs. "We are dedicated to providing our corporate/VIP customers with the most comfortable and safest aircraft in class available today."

All S-76 corporate/VIP deliveries in 2005 will include the Quiet Zone gearbox. A retrofit program for earlier model aircraft is in development.

Sales of Sikorsky's innovative S-76 have reached a 20-year high as VIP customers and offshore oil operators continue to populate their fleets with the high-performance helicopter. Since December 2002, Sikorsky has received contracts for 64 S-76C+ aircraft, with options for an additional 61 over five years.

The S-76C+ helicopter is recognized as offering the best combination of speed, range, cabin comfort and space, sophisticated all-weather avionics capability, reliability and operating cost. A civil aircraft in the five-metric tons weight class, the S-76C+ features twin turbine engines, a glass cockpit, and a dual digital autopilot.

Superb flight controls, high speed and long range also make the S-76 the best offshore search and rescue helicopter in its class. Maximum speed is 178 miles per hour, and range is up to 500 miles. Sikorsky has delivered more than 550 S-76 aircraft.

The S-76C+ is a venerable fixture in offshore oil, corporate, SAR and EMS activities across the globe. Recent milestones for the S-76 include the S-76C+ receiving The Robb Report's 2003 award for "Best Luxury Helicopter," and an S-76A currently in airline service surpassing the 25,000-hour mark.

An uprated version of the proven S-76 helicopter, the S-76C+ combines the rugged S-76B airframe with the more capable, FADEC-controlled Turbomeca Arriel 2S1 engine. It offers improved single engine and hot-high performance while retaining the efficient, long-range cruise of the earlier models.

Operating in 44 countries by 192 operators, more than 550 Sikorsky S-76 helicopters have accumulated over three million flight hours with an extraordinary safety record, while providing the best combination of operating costs and performance in their weight class.

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