Tag Archives: Sikorksy

Canadian Cyclones accepted

Canada accepted the first six Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone maritime helicopters on Friday 18 June. The helicopters arrived at Shearwater airbase just outside Halifax. In the end, 28 Cyclones replace the CH-124 Sea King helicopters that fulfilled Canadian SAR duties for five decades.

Replacement of the trusty Sea King has been a headache for years in Canada. The AgustaWestland EH101 was meant to replace the old helo, but that contract was cancelled after a change of government. It resulted in a new contract for Sikorsky for 28 CH-148 Cyclones.

The new chopper is however not without problems. The Cyclone proved underpowered at first and unable of running its gearbox for 30 minutes without oil, a requirement set by Canada. The order was almost cancelled, but subsequent trials have set Canada at ease. Sikorsky and the Canadian Armed Forces conducted sea trials with the CH-148 Cyclone on HMCS Halifax between December 2014 and May 2015. The Cyclone conducted 67 sorties, including 322 landings and takeoffs from the frigate.

Before the end of the year, two more Cyclones will be delivered and the first two Sea Kings retired. The year 2018 should see the final end for the Sea King.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top): A CH-148 Cyclone (Image © RCAF/Sikorsky)


Big capacity problems for US Navy Green Giants

Roughly a year after a MH-53 Sea Dragon crashed off the east coast of the United States, the US Navy is still suffering of big capacity problems with its Sikorsky MH-53 Sea Dragon and CH-53 Sea Stallion fleet. Less than half of these “Super Jolly Green Giants” – as they were known in the 1970s when the US Air Force operated olive green painted versions – are operational. The rest remains grounded.

Official numbers were confirmed this week by the US Navy, which had all its CH-53/MH-53 crews undergo inspection trainings. Moreover all choppers, the biggest in US service, need to undergo rewiring which turned out to be a time-costly operation.

On Friday 24 April 2015 sixty-eight of the 177 Super Stallions and Sea Dragons are back in the air, with inspections done on a 118 choppers. It might take another year before the majority of the heavy-lift rotary wing is back into service.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: A US Navy MH-53 lands in Hoboken, New Jersey on 3 November 2012 (Image © Cpl. Bryan Nygaard / US Marine Corps)

Sikorsky puts extra weight onto the 53Kilo

Official presentation of the first CH-53K in USMC livery on 5 May 2014, at the Sikorsky plant in Connecticut  (Image © Sikorsky)
Official presentation of the first CH-53K in USMC livery on 5 May 2014, at the Sikorsky plant in Connecticut (Image © Sikorsky)

LATEST UPDATE 6 MAY 2014 | It is far from flying, but looking more and more like a real helicopter. Sikorsky has started to begin full system testing of its newest version of the CH-53 Sea Stallion: the CH-53K King Stallion. It will be the heaviest helicopter ever produced by the company and – once in service – the biggest for the American armed forces.

At its plant in Stratford, Connecticut, the manufacturer has no fitted all seven main rotor blades and four tail rotor blades to the Ground Test Vehicle (GTV). Powered “Light-Off” with rotor blades spinning follows a “Bare Head” (without blades) test phase of the GTV aircraft’s systems powered by its three GE 7,500 horsepower engines. It is the beginning of a two-year test program of the rotor blades, transmission, engines, and all subsystems while the GTV is anchored to the ground.

GE Aviation’s all-new T408 engine plays a key role in the increased capability of the CH-53K helicopter. Compared to the CH-53E aircraft’s T64 turboshaft powerplant, the three new engines provide 57 percent more power for approximately 20 percent lower specific fuel consumption. To convert the extra engine power into torque and shaft horsepower within a similarly-sized main gearbox, Sikorsky developed a new transmission that efficiently transfers the engine power to the CH-53K helicopter’s main rotors.

Flight test program
The CH-53K will also go through a three-year flight test program. In the end, the Super Stallion should be able to lift 88,000 pounds (39,916 kg) of cargo max. with an external load. The first ever flight of the four test choppers to be produced is expected in the end of 2014. The four flight test machines will make about 500 flight hours, while other tests continue on the GTV.

The US Marine Corps plans to purchase at least 120 of the CH-53Ks, to equip ten squadrons including one training and one reserve. The first machine in USMC livery war revealed on 5 May 2014, together with the new official name for the K-model: the King Stallion as successor to the Super Stallion (E-model) that followed the Sea Stallion. What’s next? A fellow aviation enthousiast already proposed via Twitter to name the next version the Emperor Stallion.

Source: Sikorsky

The CH-53K GTV runs first tests with all rotor blades attached (Image © Sikorsky)
The CH-53K GTV runs first tests with all rotor blades attached (Image © Sikorsky)

Sikorsky starts testing CH-53K with caution

Bare head testing of the CH-53K Super Stallion (Image © Sikorsky)
Bare head testing of the CH-53K Super Stallion (Image © Sikorsky)

Already known to be a heavy-lift helicopter, the newest CH-53 puts literly an extra Kilo to its name. Manufacturer Sikorsky started flight testing the CH-53K Super Stallion, the company announced on 10 February 2014.

The first engine power-up and rotor-spin of the prototype CH-53K – the Ground Test Vehicle (GTV) – took place on 24 January 2014 at the West Palm Beach facility in Florida, but it was not until this week the test was made public.

Now anchored to the ground at its remote outdoor test site, the 44,000-pound GTV aircraft is outfitted at more than 1,300 points with sensors that will measure and verify the ability to operate safely under its own power. The GTV will undergo ground testing for approximately two years with both Sikorsky and US Marine Corps test pilots at the controls.

Once the so-called Bare Head testing is completed, Sikorsky will mount seven main rotor blades and four tail rotor blades onto the GTV. During this second test phase, Sikorsky will conduct extensive aircraft system checks leading to a formal Pre-Flight Acceptance Test required to clear the first flight aircraft for flight testing.

Four additional test aircraft are being prepared for flight test, commencing in late 2014. During the three-year flight test program, Sikorsky will continue to evaluate the GTV for long-term endurance of the engines and dynamic components, survivability, and maintenance practices.

The 88,000 pound (39,916 kg) CH-53K is being developed for the US Marine Corps. It is supposed to be able to carry three times the external load of the current CH-53E, with the Kilo version transporting 27,000 pounds over a mission radius of 110 nautical miles under so-called high-hot ambient conditions.

About 200 CH-53Ks are expected to enter service with the Marines, with Initial Operational Capability expected by 2019.

Source: Sikorsky

Bare head testing of the CH-53K Super Stallion (Image © Sikorsky)
Bare head testing of the CH-53K Super Stallion (Image © Sikorsky)