HARTFORD — The Sikorsky S-76, like the one that crashed Sunday and killed NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and several others, have seen use for decades as an executive and medical helicopter.
Sikorsky, now a division of Lockheed-Martin, is based in Stratford, Connecticut. It introduced the first S-76 in 1977. The company’s website says, “Originally built for the rigorous demands of the offshore oil & gas transportation, its capabilities fit naturally into other market segments, such as Executive transport, SAR, Airline and Helicopter Emergency Medical/Air Ambulance Services.”
The current variant of S-76 aircraft (the S-76D) are produced in Coatesville, Pennsylvania. The S-76B line was produced in Florida and introduced in 1987. Over a hundred were produced. CNN reported the helicopter that crashed was built in 1991. All aircraft receive regular inspections for both the engines and air frame.
The company said in a statement,
“We extend our sincerest condolences to all those affected by today’s Sikorsky S-76B accident in Calabasas, California. We have been in contact with the NTSB and stand ready to provide assistance and support to the investigative authorities and our customer. Safety is our top priority; if there are any actionable findings from the investigation, we will inform our S-76 customers.”
The company said nearly 900 S-76 helicopters were delivered worldwide. The company said the aircraft has “more than 7.4 million hours of safe, successful flight.”