The Sikorsky S-76 Spirit is a twin-engine medium utility helicopter that
can accommodate a basic crew of two and up to 13 passengers. The S-76
helicopter is mainly used for cargo and passenger transport to oil
platforms, in V.I.P. version and emergency. In 1975, Sikorsky Aircraft
Corporation started with the development of the Sikorsky S76 medium lift
helicopter for the offshore/ oil support sector, based on the military
S70 Black Hawk program. The first prototype S-76A, powered by two
Allison 250C30S turbo shafts, flew on 13 March 1977. Deliveries of the
production model started in 1979 after FAA certification was awarded in
November 1978. 284 Sikorsky S-76A helicopters were manufactured, a large
number were modified to S-76A+. The Sikorsky S-76B with the Pratt &
Whitney Canada PT6B engines was flown first on 22 June 1984. Deliveries
started in 1987 and the final S-76B was delivered in December 1997, with
101 S-76Bs built. In June 1989, the Model S-76C, fitted with Turboméca
Arriel 1S1 engines, was announced. The Sikorsky S-76C flew first on 18
May 1990 and FAA certification was achieved in April 1991. The Sikorsky
S-76C++ helicopter was the version in production until 2011. Its main
feature is the Arriel engine, which gives excellent single-engine
performance as well as good range. In 2011, with aircraft number 882,
the last S-76C++ closed out that production progam. The latest
development of the Sikorsky S-76 helicopter is the S-76D. The S-76D
helicopter features all-composite main rotor blades, Pratt & Whitney
PW210S engines and Thales TopDeck avionics. FAA approved Type
Certification for the S-76D helicopter on 12 October 2012. Sikorsky
delivered the first S-76D aircraft to Bristow Group, Inc. for offshore
oil worker transport in December 2013. Until 2014, Keystone / Sikorsky
built over 910 S-76 helicopters in various models. The Sikorsky S-76D
helicopter is the version currently in production. The ICAO Aircraft Type Designator for the S-76B helicopters is S76.
On 6 November 2015, Lockheed Martin completed for $9 billion the acquisition of Sikorsky Aircraft,
replacing United Technologies as Sikorsky Aircraft’s parent company.
KLM Helikopters' Sikorsky S-76B PH-NZS and PH-NZV were seen at Groningen Airport Eelde in the Netherlands on
11 November 1989. The 1986-built Sikorsky S-76B Eagle s/n 760325 was registered PH-NZS in the Netherlands by KLM Helikopters BV on 18 December 1986.
The aircraft was mainly operated on offshore flights, first out of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, later out of Den Helder-de Kooy.
On 12 October 1993, name and ownership changed into KLM ERA Helicopters BV. S-76B PH-NZS was operated from 26 January 1996 till 24 February 1998 as
G-UKLS by KLM ERA Helicopters (UK) Ltd. In 1998, KLM ERA Helicopters was integrated into Schreiner Northsea
Helicopters BV and S-76B PH-NZS was registered with this new owner on 3 July 1998. In 2005, Schreiner Northsea
Helicopters was integrated into CHC Helicopters and the PH-NZS is operated by
CHC Helicopters Netherlands since. Sikorsky PH-NZS
was registered to CHC Helicopters Netherlands BV, Den Helder, on 24 April 2006. The helicopter was stationed at Den Helder-De Kooy
until 25 October 2012. That day, Sikorsky S-76B PH-NZS; PH-NZW and PH-NZZ left Den Helder by road to Zeebrugge in Belgium. From Zeebrugge harbour,
the helicopters were shipped to Boundary Bay, Canada. On 12 May 2014, registration PH-NZS was cancelled as the CofA was over a year expired.