Lockheed Martin has announced the first flight of a VH-92A configured test aircraft in support of the US Marine Corps VH-92A Presidential Helicopter Replacement Program.
The company say that the flight signals the start of the 250 hour flight test program, which will take place at Lockheed Martin facilities in New York.
The aircraft achieved its first flight, and later that same day completed a second flight at Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford, Connecticut. Total flight time for the two sorties was one hour and included hover control checks, low speed flight, and a pass of the airfield.
Spencer Elani, director VH-92A program at Sikorsky said:
“This first flight of the VH-92A configured test aircraft is an important milestone for the program.
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 flight test program proceeds, this test aircraft (Engineering Development Model 1, or 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 later this year.
Lockheed Martin said in a press release we received earlier in the week:
“The VH-92A aircraft is based on Sikorsky’s successful and FAA-certified S-92A commercial aircraft, which recently surpassed one million flight hours.
The S-92A aircraft, assembled in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, is being modified to include integration of government-defined missions systems and an executive interior.”
US Marine Corps Col. Robert Pridgen, program manager for the Naval Air System Command’s Presidential Helicopter’s Program Office said:
“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.”
The VH-92A will enter service in 2020 and will transport the president and vice president of the United States and other officials.