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Aircraft Review : Sikorsky S-92 by DMO Flight Design Routes : EGPH (Edinburgh) to EGPD (Aberdeen) - EGQL (RAF Leuchars) to USS Nimitz (aircraft carrier) S-92 The Sikorsky S-92 is a four-bladed twin-engine medium-lift helicopter built by Sikorsky Aircraft for the civil and military helicopter market. The S-92 was developed from the Sikorsky S-70 helicopter and has similar parts such as flight control and rotor systems. Mark Sluiters Sikorsky Aircraft first displayed a S-92 mockup of the planned helicopter in 1992. The S-92 was to be offered for sale beginning in 1993, but due to a decline in the international market for helicopters, this was delayed. In 1995 Sikorsky formed Team S-92 with international partners and launched the helicopter program at the Paris Airshow that year. Sikorsky then developed the S-92 to compete with civil aircraft such as the Aerospatiale/Eurocopter Super Puma. The helicopter uses a new airframe with dynamic components based on the S-70/H-60 components. The S-92 took its maiden flight on December 23, 1998 at the Sikorsky Development Flight Center, West Palm Beach, Florida. The S-92 is multi-purpose helicopter powered by twin GE CT7-8A turboshaft engines and has an aluminum airframe and some composite components. The four-bladed fully articulated composite main rotor blade is wider and has a longer radius than the Sikorsky S-70. The tapered blade tip sweeps back and angles downward to reduce noise and increase lift. Most of the rotor system components aside from the blades are titanium. Tethered hover flight has recorded 31,000 lb of lift generated, both in and out of ground effect. The S-92 also features an active vibration control system with vibration sensors and structurally mounted force generators. The system provides for comfortable flight and acoustic levels below certification requirements. This system also prolongs airframe life by reducing fatigue loads on the aircraft. Sikorsky entered the VH-92 variant of the S-92 into the VXX competition for U.S. Presidential helicopter Marine One, but lost to the VH-71 Kestrel. However, the competition was restarted in 2010 due to ballooning VH-71 development costs, allowing Sikorsky to return to the melee with the VH-92 in April 2010. By mid-2013, all other aircraft makers are understood to have dropped out of the contest, leaving only Sikorsky. The S-92A is the civilian variant and is available in a number of versions. The civil transport version has an airliner-type interior which seats 19 passengers. The utility transport version has 22 side-facing seats with a full cabin width rear ramp. The 733 ft³ interior cabin area can also be configured to accommodate up to three airline-style LD3 cargo containers. Additional stowage space is available in the 140 ft³ area located in the aft ramp compartment. During development it was referred to as the S-92C Helibus. Performance - Maximum speed: 165 knots (190 mph, 306 km/h) : Cruise speed: 151 kn, 174 mph (280 km/h) : Range: 539 nmi (999 km) : Service ceiling: 14,000 ft (4,270 m) : Disc loading: 9.8 lb/ft² (48 kg/m²) : Power/mass: 0.23 hp/lb (0.38 W/kg) Sikorsky S-92 by DMO v1.3 There are five different variants with the S-92 package from DMO Flight Design: The Standard S-92 - CH-148 (Cyclone) - S-92 SAR (Search and Rescue) - S-92 VIP - VH-92 (Marine One) These variants are a lot of different aircraft and mostly some come with other slight variations and cover a wide range of roles. It is important to note at this point to update to version v1.3 as it is a significant version compared to the earlier versions. The focus here is mostly on the X-Plane10 lighting effects, were as the v1.2 upgrade was focused more on the (badly needed) flight model... so that means a lot of ground to cover. The S-92 is a big aircraft and an exciting aircraft, so we will start with the base version... S-92 The S-92 is classed as an "Medium" sized aircraft, but for a helicopter it is quite large. It is very modern as well, as aircraft only from the last decade and not from the 70's or earlier. The original DMO S-92 release was in August 2012, but the updates (although a very large gap between v1.2 and v1.3) have been in keeping the aircraft very much on trend and current. in the v1.3 there is the updated livery object textures to DDS (advanced image compression) format to help with your frame-rate without the loss of texture quality, also the textures have been updated with minor improvements to the specularity and bump (roughness) of certain areas, and the S-92 feels and looks far better for that from the first release version. As a standard of quality the S-92 is excellent. It is highly detailed and looks very good sitting there out on the ramp. Rotor head and tail rotor assemblies are first rate. intricate and fully animated, you won't fault them in detail. This is painstaking work that in most cases you won't give a second glance to, but it is nice to know it is there. The huge tail-rotor is the bigger than most on a standard large GA aircraft... It is very powerful as well, so remember that when flying this machine. Inside the cabin is very well fitted out, there are four different configurations as we will see as we go through the variants. On the standard S-92 it is the 18 seat (1+2) arrangement of which I call the "Oil-Workers Special" Entering the dark cockpit the detailing is again first rate. It looks like a plain dark grey, but there are some nice mottled textures close up. And switch gear, buttons and levers are fully workable and active. Helicopters are some of the most detailed aircraft in X-Plane and the competition is quite fierce, for the DMO S-92 to be amongst one of the best ones is a statement in itself. The biggest percentage% of switches are on the Overhead Panel (OHP) so it helps to have to set your views to one of this large panel. One small annoyance is that you you have to re-set your views for each of the five variants... It takes time to do this over and over. (I tried a copy&paste, but it didn't work?). To help you with the procedures there is a handy checklist situated down by the pilot's (Right-seat) pedals. The list is simple and you can easily get the aircraft powered up and ready for flight quite quickly. It is important to note that the DMO S-92 does not use plug-ins (SASL) to run the aircraft, It is fully X-Plane native. This is noticeable in a few areas. One area in particular is the throttles. The throttles and the engines are all FADEC (Full authority digital engine (or electronics) control) commanded, and that is a small problem when interacting with the standard X-Plane (Plane-Maker) settings. To get around the issue DMO has inserted a "Governor" (Not on the real S-92) to simulate the FADEC systems. It works extremely well, as when starting the engines (a simple procedure) the throttles will adjust to their correct position and then to idle. You can turn the "Gov" off if you want to, but you won't get off the ground. I would personally like to have full control of the power settings, It would make the aircraft more interesting when flying in certain conditions. The switch gear is easily arranged with power and the important aircraft systems in the centre of the OHP and the lighting and the auxiliary switches (pitot and heating elements) down each side. A small note on the RIPS (Blade De-ICE) switches in that they operate in the opposite position to every other switch. You have five display screens positioned across the main instrument panel, Two for each of the pilots (one for the main flying instruments and one for the aircraft's systems) and also one in the centre mostly for using the MAP/NAV/Weather function. There are a lot of buttons around the displays but most don't work, the ones that do are mostly MAP selections with range - and +, or other small X-Plane functions. High centre is the backup ALT, SPEED and Artifical Horizon instuments and the engine fire buttons. Important is the engine REV range display on the systems screen. It needs to be in the green range to get the aircraft airborne, but watch it does not go too far into the red while cruising as it will start to cause you systems problems. The pedestal centre panel between the pilots has your Radio functions, a standard X-Plane FMC, undercarriage lights and lever. The Autopilot (AP) switches are situated here as well, and only two in FD (Flight Director) and AP Select. (we will come back to the Autopilot in flight). The AP panel is situated just above the pedestal centre panel. EGPH (Edinburgh) to EGPD (Aberdeen) First route we are flying with the S-72 today is to take a group of Oil-workers that have just arrived at Edinburgh Airport out to the Bristow base at Aberdeen. It was important to note the version upgrades to this aircraft because they are quite different in the aspects of the way you fly the aircraft. The release version was very jiggly to fly smoothly, I was I admit in my infancy at flying helicopters at that point in time, but still re-flying the early version again even now you can feel it is quite different, you are working very hard to control the machine with the thrusts of the main rotor and the tail-rotor pulling you around. landing are usually skids and a lot of smoke and bounces. To a complete rotor-pro this can be overcome. v1.1 however was a complete disaster. I don't know if it was the reworking of 64bit that caused the confusion, but the aircraft was impossible to fly. Power set even in full down of the collective would mean the aircraft would spin in circles on the ramp or runway, in flight it was impossible to control... I binned it!... and I just hated it as the S-92 was simply impossible to fly. (It was fixed in v1.2). So what would v1.3 be like? A dream really... I did set my "Joystick&Equipment" settings to 25% right across the board (to null all that torgue a little more). And the aircraft is now wonderful in my control, the pain became an absolute pleasure. I can now land S-92 on a dime, even with all of the thrust of that big tail-rotor. I'm now addicted to the big Sikorski. The aircraft's balance is easy in takeoff and the power will soon have you running at speed in flight. To activate the Autopilot you press the FD button and then the AP Select. Make sure your heading and height are straight and smooth and then select what functions you want from the AP panel... APCoupled (and a green-light) means you can let go of the controls, and away she will take control. You have to remember that X-Plane's Autopilot systems are not really set up for rotorcraft, so they behave a little differently. You need to adjust the collective or power (slightly) to gain height or descend, or to find that speed sweet spot. Once set the S-92 becomes a long distance cruiser "par-excellence". I like hand flying helicopters, but you do tire very easily if the distance is quite long, here that is no problem. Here you can power along for as long as you want to for as long as you want to, and covering long distances becomes thrilling as you power along through the scenery. However watch the fuel gauges? The twin-GE CT7-8A's turboshaft's gollop's fuel down like a drunken elephant at an open bar. It says a range of just under 1000 kilometers, but I doubt that at full load and a high throttle speed. Turns are smooth, but I wish of a few items for flying. One is the course selection to be working to line up on to a runway angle, the knob is there and so is the pointer on the PFD (Primary Flight Display) but it doesn't work? Also the VOR/NAV 2 to be better in distances and direction to Nav-Aids, you only have here the standard map, with no decent rose with the DME-pointer on the circle. In flying through bad weather you will need both to navigate... and that is the purpose of this aircraft. Transition from the forward flight to the hover (auto-rotation) is seemless and the aircraft is very good in this landing phase, you easily control the speed (and loss of speed) and adjust quickly into the hover and manoeuvre expertly onto the point of touchdown. Yes there is a lot of push from that rear rotor, but you can use it to your advantage and not let it overpower you. EGPD (Aberdeen) to EGPH (Edinburgh) With the return trip to Edinburgh the weather has closed in. Even with the heavy weather and a notch down in my texture settings from "Too Much" gives me plenty more headroom to fly in, so the aircraft is very frame-rate friendly. Inside the cabin lighting is excellent, and very realistic. This is even with HDR switched off, With HDR on in v1.3 the lighting is excellent with individual lighting on all lighting elements. The cabin is far darker, but however more reflective. In the cockpit the lighting is good but not exceptional, It is fully adjustable via the knobs on the OHP, but like the twin-spot lights situated on the rear wall there is no clever spot lighting effects. Personally I like the cabin with the switched HDR off. I love flying around the Scottish Coast, here on the East side if you usually grab the METAR weather in X-Plane you get this low dirty cloud and a strip of clear air below, flying in these conditions is a dream in helicopters. The return trip was full of storm squalls and sheeting rain, It was exciting flying and the views excellent. The wipers work fine but I wish the S-92 had the rain effects on the windows, In these conditions it would give you another level of experience. A short cut with clearance over RAF Leuchars will take you near the River Forth and past the excellent John M D (Forth River Crossings) bridges, a twist to the east and a smooth descent and you are back at EGPH Edinbourgh. Liveries (12) with the Standard S-92: CH-148 (Cyclone) The second variant is the multi-role shipboard helicopter CH-148 being developed by the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation for the Canadian Forces. The CH-148 is equipped with devices to search and locate submarines during ASW, and is equipped with countermeasures to protect itself against missile strikes. The Integrated Mission System is being developed by General Dynamics Canada, as is the Sonobuoy Acoustic Processing System. The radar is a Telephonics APS-143B, the EO System a Flir Systems SAFIRE III, the sonar an L-3 HELRAS, and the ESM a Lockheed Martin AN/ALQ-210. CMC Electronics provides the flight management system, named CMA-2082MH Aircraft Management System. This aircraft come with the second interior design and shared with the SAR (Search and Rescue) variant. Which is a sets of side seating and stretcher positions. There is a console position as well. All aircraft come with a floatation system in case you have to ditch. It is tricky to land on the water with these items inflated and not roll over, but it can be done... after practising the landing about eight times. With v1.3 there is an extra livery in a special S-92 that was taken around the world in late 2011-2012 on a public relations tour to celebrate the legacy of Sikorsky products being used by para-public (police, fire, ems), paramilitary and military crews to save and protect people. It made appearances at numerous air shows and small airports around the world. S-92 SAR (Search and Rescue) Next in comes a call that a sailor has been hurt on an aircraft carrier and there was the need to get him ashore. So here we leave in the SAR (Search and Rescue) aircraft. The weather has worsened and the light is now fading more, so the ride and recovery would have to be quick. On the SAR version you have the extra feature of a spot-light under the left of the aircraft, It can be moved up-down/left-right on the console in the rear cabin, the switch to turn it on is on the OHP on the left. The door is different on thr SAR (and the CH-148) as it slides open as one door cleverly into the right pontoon, all the other variants have a two upper and lower door arrangement. all these doors can only be opened from the inside, opening to two stage door is easy, but you have to stretch out a long way down to close the lower half. Powering along with as much force as I can, I finally see the USS Nimitz on the horizon. The weather is not good but I am easily able to position myself behind the carrier in the brisk wind. How good can you fly the S-92 SAR, well I landed a very good landing on the carrier without to much trouble. On the deck for ten minutes and we are flying again, It is back to almost full throttle at 2000ft and the fast ride home to RAF Leuchars. X-Plane turned on a great failing light and shadows show on the way home, you marvel how good it can be sometimes with the power of the rotors and the speed through the air. Sounds are all excellent on the S-92 right through every range which are made up of custom recordings, featuring real interior and exterior sounds of S-92 Engines, Rotors and the rear APU. Liveries (four) with the SAR Variant: S-92 VIP The fourth and fifth variants of the S-92 are really the same aircraft in two versions, the first is the VIP version. This is an executive version of the aircraft. It has club seating for nine passengers and expensive wood paneling and an enclosed toilet. The ceiling is different with different lighting as well. There are three liveries: Default, Private and Turkish Government. VH-92 (Marine One) The VH-92 uses the VIP version as a base for the S-92 version of "Marine One" (VH-92) This is a very well executed version of a Presidential aircraft. It looks great in the right light and the livery is very well detailed. The interior is crowned with the Presidential logos and a toilet. Conclusions Overwhelmingly the S-92 aircraft is a lot of aircraft for value and quality. Five variants and 22 liveries allows you to do many different multi-roles and missions, or to just simply fly passengers between Islands or airports. I fell in love with the original DMO S-92 and then hated it because it was so hard to fly... But now in this current version 1.3 it is now simply overwhelmingly good. I have spent a considerable amount of time flying the aircraft for this review and guess what... All I want to do now is go and fly it again in another role... It is that good. I would like a few features to enjoy it more. A plug-in GPU would be nice, The Course knob fixed with better VOR/NAV 2 navigation tools and rain on my windows. real throttle control and engine stop (you have to cut the fuel supply?) would make the S-92 perfect. As for value for that price this is a great deal. Anyone that flies helicopters and doesn't own this S-92 by DMO is missing out on a great aircraft. The S-92 series is overwhelmingly good and simply a great aircraft to fly. The S-92 v1.3 update is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : S-92 Sikorsky : Price is US$24.95 The v1.3 update is free to all users that have already purchased the DMO S-92 (check-in at the .OrgStore) Support Thread : DMO Flight Design (S-92 Sikorsky) Review by Stephen Dutton Copyright © 2014 : X-Plane Reviews 6th April 2014 Technical Requirements: Windows ,MAC or Linux X-Plane 10. 32 or 64 bit. X-Plane 9 version v1.2 is still available on demand. Just place the order and send us an email to get it. Current version: 1.3 (last updated March 27th 2014) Review System Specifications: Computer System: - 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i5 iMac 27” - 6 Gb 1067 Mhz DDR3 - ATI Radeon HD 4850 512mb Software: - Mac OS Mavericks 10.9.2 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.22 (final) Addons - Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle Scenery - EGPH Edinburgh by Royaloak - free (EGPH, Edinburgh 2014) - EGPD Aberdeen Dyce by anthony_d (Aberdeen Dyce for XP10 4.1) - EGQL RAF Leuchars by DKM - free (RAF Leuchars) - USS Nimitz by Khamsin - free (khamsin) - Forth River Crossings by John M D (Forth River Crossings)