Bond taps Super Pumas for North Sea SAR operations
Bond Offshore Helicopters will use two Super Pumas for dedicated 24-hour search and rescue (SAR) in support of BP’s North Sea exploration in UK waters. The Eurocopter Super Puma AS 332L Mk IIs are part of an integrated “Jigsaw” concept that employs regional support vessels, autonomous fast rescue craft, platform radar and personal locator beacons in place of the traditional standby vessel support.
The helicopters will cover the central and northern North Sea west of Shetland and provide 24-hour SAR as part of a $180 million, 10-year contract with BP. One helicopter will be based on a North Sea platform while the other will be positioned in the Shetland Islands.
Bond took delivery of the Super Pumas last year. They are equipped with four-axis autohover, dual hoists, a FLIR camera, zoom camera, Nitesun searchlight, 700-watt external public address system and medevac provisions. The company operates five other Super Pumas used primarily for oil platform crew change transport. One of these is SAR-capable and based in Aberdeen as a backup for Jigsaw.
Separately, Bond announced that it had received level-3 JAA certification for its EC 135 flight training device (FTD). Bond introduced the first JAA-certified EC 135 FTD last year. Bond operates the UK’s largest fleet of EC 135T2 helicopters.
The FTD exactly replicates the single-pilot EC 135 IFR CPDS glass cockpit and can be used for single-pilot and multi-crew training. The digital wide-view display uses a database derived from aerial photographs and detailed offshore graphics. Bond is currently working on FTD upgrades, including NVIS and additional graphics.
Bond, which operates worldwide, holds long-term contracts worth $650 million and employs 130 people.