Sikorsky, Bristow announced new SAR delivery
Sept. 11, 2014, Coatesville, Penn. - Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. and Bristow Group Inc. have announced the acceptance of an S-92 helicopter by Bristow Helicopters Ltd. The helicopter, configured for search and rescue service, was accepted during a ceremony at the Sikorsky facility in Coatesville, Pa.
By Carey Fredericks
In March 2013, Bristow Helicopters Ltd. was awarded the contract to provide search and rescue helicopter service in the United Kingdom. The contract begins in April 2015 and runs until 2026. Bristow Helicopters Ltd.’s U.K. SAR (search and rescue) fleet of 22 aircraft will include 11 Sikorsky S-92 helicopters that are fitted with state-of-the-art technology.
Under the U.K. SAR contract, Bristow will operate from 10 bases across the U.K., strategically located near areas of high SAR incident rates. These include Inverness, Manston, Prestwick, Caernarfon, Humberside, Newquay, St Athan, Lee-on-Solent, Sumburgh and Stornoway.
“We are very excited to receive the first aircraft from Sikorsky for our U.K. search and rescue fleet,” said Jonathan Baliff, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bristow Group Inc. “With more than 60 S-92 helicopters already in our inventory, we have come to know and appreciate the aircraft’s mission capabilities.”
“At Sikorsky, we stand behind our mission statement: ’We pioneer flight solutions that bring people home everywhere…every time,’” said Carey Bond, President, Sikorsky Commercial Systems & Services. “Bristow has a long history of search and rescue, and we are proud to support their efforts in the United Kingdom to bring people home. Sikorsky would also like to thank the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and Bristow as the operator for their choice of the S-92 helicopter for this very critical mission.”
Sikorsky and Bristow have done business for more than 40 years. The Bristow fleet currently features more than 160 Sikorsky aircraft of various types.
Bristow Helicopters Ltd. has a long history of providing SAR services in the U.K., dating back to 1971, when Whirlwind helicopters were replaced by Bristow S-55 helicopters at RAF Manston, in Kent, and continuing with the operation of S-61 helicopters working at four SAR bases, Stornoway, Sumburgh, Lee-on-Solent and Portland, until 2007. In 2012 the company was awarded the U.K. Gap SAR contract for Northern Scotland and, working in partnership with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, currently operates four SAR helicopters from Sumburgh and Stornoway.
In total Bristow Helicopters Ltd. has flown more than 44,000 SAR operational hours in the U.K. and conducted over 15,000 SAR missions, during which more than 7,000 people have been rescued by the company’s crews and helicopters.
Bristow has led the industry in introducing new aircraft types and technology to the civil market. The SAR equipment it has developed has become the industry standard, resulting in Bristow Helicopters Ltd. being recognized with the Queen’s Award for Innovation for its technical developments.
This month also marks the 10-year anniversary of the initial delivery of the S-92 helicopter. The S-92 helicopter meets or exceeds oil and gas industry requirements. These helicopters perform search and rescue missions, head of state missions, as well as a variety of transportation missions for offshore oil and gas crews, utility and airline passengers. The U.S. Navy recently selected Sikorsky to build a fleet of Marine One helicopters, based on the FAA-certified S-92 aircraft, to transport the Office of the President beginning late in 2020. The S-92 fleet has accumulated more than 700,000 flight hours including 21,000 in SAR operations.