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Sikorsky VH-92A Presidential Helicopter Achieves First Flight

Presidential VH-92 rendering courtesy Lockheed Martin

Long awaited first flight of new Presidential Marine One Sikorsky VH-92A variant takes to the skies.

Sikorsky announced in a press release today that the first flight of the VH-92A test aircraft being used for testing as part of the Presidential Helicopter Replacement Program. The flight taking place on July 28th, 2017, signified the start of a test flight program that according to Sikorsky, will involve some 250 hours of flight testing. The testing will take place at Lockheed Martin’s facilities in Oswego, New York.

The aircraft achieved its first and second flight on the same day, with the second flight at Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford, Connecticut. The total flight time for the two was one hour and included hover control checks, low speed flight, and a pass of the airfield.

“This first flight of the VH-92A configured test aircraft is an important milestone for the program,” said Spencer Elani, director VH-92A program at Sikorsky. “Having independently tested the aircraft’s components and subsystems, we are now moving forward to begin full aircraft system qualification via the flight test program.”

As the VH-92A testing proceeds, this aircraft (Engineering Development Model 1 “EDM-1”) will be joined by an additional test aircraft (EDM-2) over the course of the 12 month flight test program. EDM-2 is on track for its first flight in later 2017. The VH-92A is based on the Sikorsky S-92A commercial aircraft, which recently surpassed one million flight hours. The S-92A which is assembled in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, is being modified to include the integration of government defined mission systems and a presidential class executive interior.

“With this successful first flight on the books, we look forward to completion of Sikorsky’s flight test program, operational testing and production of this aircraft to support the Office of the President of the United States,” said U.S. Marine Corps Col. Robert Pridgen, program manager for the Naval Air System Command’s Presidential Helicopter’s Program Office.

The U.S. Navy awarded a $1.24 billion fixed-price incentive Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) contract with production options to Sikorsky on May 7, 2014. The EMD contract will produce a total of six aircraft:  two test aircraft and four production aircraft. The production options for the remaining 17 aircraft will be finalized in 2019.

The VH-92A will enter into service in 2020 to provide transport for the President and Vice President of the United States and other officials under the well known designation of the Presidential helicopter “Marine One”. Sikorsky helicopters have flown every U.S. commander-in-chief since President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

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