New Delhi. Sitting tight in a multi-point seat harness, participating in the in-cabin talks in decibels high enough to match the roaring of the engine, soaring in the skies over Delhi, piloted by an all-women cockpit, made the ride in Sikorsky S-92 “Legacy One” helicopter not only joyful but also memorable. A once in a life time opportunity to be a part of “Legacy of Heroes” (LOH) demonstration helicopter on its worldwide tour, in its Indian sojourn. Flying across Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and New Delhi the tour concluded in Mumbai, after which, the aircraft was shipped back to the US.
The LOH helicopter was customized by employees at Sikorsky Global Helicopters’ main facility in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. It is a utility-configured S-92 aircraft bearing a unique gray and black paint scheme with a silhouette of first responders depicted on each side. The aircraft is fitted with side-facing seats, a triple littler kit, search-andrescue Automatic Flight Control System and night-sun capabilities. At maximum of about 15,000 ft, the S-92 has a range of 890 km on a single tank-load of fuel.
Stacy Sheard, Pilot for the S-92 Legacy of Heroes tour, said, “Since its earliest helicopters, Sikorsky has routinely been the first to arrive on the scene of natural disasters and other emergency, life-threatening situations. The Legacy of Heroes demo tour gives us the opportunity to share the success stories of the extraordinary people who use Sikorsky helicopters and to introduce the aircraft capabilities and product solutions to those who may be unfamiliar with them.”
Melissa Mathiasen, Sikorsky Test Pilot and Chief Pilot for the S-92 Legacy of Heroes tour, added, “The LOH crew and the entire Sikorsky workforce is proud to stand behind this aircraft as its flying ambassador to the world. It reinforces our company’s mission statement, ‘We pioneer flight solutions that bring people home everywhere, every time.’ That message of heroism has resonated at each of the tour stopovers across the world.”
The duo steered the chopper over the Delhi skies after getting a signal from the ATC, post a waiting period of twenty minutes. Surprisingly it did not take off vertically as the ATC in Delhi does not differentiate between a fixed wing and a rotary wing. It was fun to be in a chopper which taxied on the runway and took off like an aircraft.
Jared Owens, a crew member formerly a US defence officerstressed, “this is one of the most stable choppers in terms of vibrations, so it makes it far easier for use in situations where one has to pull the wounded up without being forced to land. This has been proved in battle situations and sea-rescue operations.”
The Legacy of Heroes campaign was conceived to commemorate its founder, Kiev-born US immigrant Igor Sikorsky’s ideals that the primary role of a helicopter is to save lives. So it recognises and pays tribute to all those brave hearts that have piloted choppers and saved lives during a humanitarian emergency. While Hollywood and our very own Bollywood continues to generate flashy and seductive new heroes, the helicopter major aims that the Legacy of Heroes World Tour recognizes the real heroes – ones whose stories tell themselves. Brave children felicitated on the Republic Day were taken for a ride on the chopper prior to the Sikorsky Legacy of Heroes Awards held in Delhi to felicitate brave veterans and children. Three children aged 19, 14 and 13 years old were felicitated for their exceptional display of courage in saving lives.
“The worldwide fleet of 152 S-92 helicopters has accumulated more than 400,000 flight hours since deliveries began in 2004. The S-92 helicopter remains the only aircraft to have been certified to FAA/EASA part 29 rigorous airworthiness standards without exception or waiver,” stated Qwens.
The S-92 Legacy of Heroes tour to India has a special significance, as cabins for the S-92 helicopter are manufactured in Hyderabad. With India serving as a global manufacturing base for this aircraft, it is a homecoming for the helicopter,” said Air Vice Marshal (Retired) Arvind Walia, Executive Vice President, India & South Asia, Sikorsky.
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