The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has completed its certification of the S-70M Black Hawk helicopter — a new type designation — by issuing Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company a restricted category special airworthiness certificate. FAA certification and the establishment of a pilot type rating, are expected to broaden the market for the military-designed helicopter by allowing civil and commercial operators in the United States to purchase new Black Hawk aircraft direct from the factory.
California public utility San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) took delivery of the first S-70M restricted category aircraft on November 18, at the Sikorsky Training Academy in Stuart, Florida. SDG&E will modify the aircraft to the Firehawk® configuration at United Rotorcraft, a division of Air Methods in Colorado. By 2023, the aircraft will be ready to drop water onto wild land fires with high-accuracy from its 3,785-litre (1,000-gallon) external tank.