PINEY FLATS, TN -- Dart Helicopter Services subsidiary partner, Apical Industries Inc., has received FAA approval of its Improved Cargo Door Mounted Liferaft Kit for Sikorsky model S-76A/B/C helicopters. Apical Industries and Sikorsky have worked together to provide additional safety features for the Cargo Door Mounted Liferaft Kit for the S-76.
The S-76 Cargo Door Mounted Liferaft Kit includes two replacement carbon fiber cargo doors with integrated 10-man reversible liferafts, replacement hinges that connect to existing hardpoints, and a complete inflation system. The liferafts preserve access to the cargo compartment by being mounted to the interior of the door. After an emergency water landing, the kit is designed specifically to allow occupants to safely exit from the aircraft and enter one or both of the liferafts that are deployed upon landing. With a 121-pound net weight increase, the Apical Cargo Door Mounted Liferaft Kit is lighter than other systems in the marketplace, while still meeting all applicable TSO-C70a requirements.
Additional safety features include an electrical inflation system that now uses logic tied into rotor speed to preclude inadvertent airborne activation. The new design also includes a preflight test mode which illuminates a light on the instrument panel to verify continuity within the system. An internally mounted inflation handle has been added, which is accessible by both the passengers and the RH pilot. A supplemental external handle kit is available giving the operator the option to install another back-up manual handle in the tail boom which is accessible from outside the aircraft. Passengers do not need to worry about entering the water to board the liferafts due to drifting. A telescoping hook device has been added in a position that is accessible by both passengers and crew. This will allow the raft to be pulled back to the aircraft in the event that the raft has drifted from the fuselage after inflation.