At the end of last month, Trinidad’s National Helicopter Service Limited (NHSL) celebrated the delivery of its first Sikorsky S-76D. According to Joshey Mabahir, the company’s general manager, the helicopter was among of the first to be delivered by the Stratford, Conn.-based airframer (Booth No. 2822) and possibly the first of the type to enter revenue service.
The newest addition to Sikorsky’s medium-twin engine rotorcraft line, the S-76D–which first flew as a prototype in 2009 and received FAA certification for offshore oil operations last October–offers a faster cruise speed and more efficient fuel burn than the previous models, thanks to its 1,077-shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PW210S engines. Other improvements for the 12-passenger helicopter include flaw-tolerant all-composite main rotor blades and a Thales TopDeck flight deck. The NHSL S-76D, which was leased from Milestone Aviation, will be based at the company’s facility at Camden Airfield in Couva, Trinidad and Tobago, and will be devoted primarily to the use of multinational oil and gas producer Repsol.
NHSL, formerly the air division (helicopter unit) of the Ministry of National Security, is a joint venture between the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and The National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago. It was formed in 1989 to provide offshore helicopter services to the oil/gas sector and other commercial entities as well as serve the government, particularly in emergency or disaster situations. The company is no stranger to the S-76 line, having operated the legacy S76A, and it still maintains three S76A++ models, and three S76C++ models. It expects to receive another pair of S-76Ds this summer, which will replace the more than-25-year-old S-76A++ models.