Helicopter traffic around the Statfjord and Gullfaks offshore oil fields in Norway was seriously disturbed on December 11 by the incursion of the Russian carrier/cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov, along with two Udaloy-class cruisers. About 14 helicopters carrying oil workers had to scrub their flights because of Sukhoi Su-33 activity in the air. Sikorsky S-92 pilots with Norsk Helikopter and CHC could see the fighters operating below them.
After a government-appointed arbitrator stopped discussions on May 9, mechanics at Norwegian offshore operator Norsk Helikopter went on strike, curtailing most
of the company’s operations. Disagreement over pay increases and other contract items led to the labor walkout.
The prodigal sons of the North Sea oil-support community, brothers Stephen and Peter Bond, have returned to the fray more than eight weeks early. The first operational flights by Bond Offshore Helicopters (BOH) took off last month. Managing director Geoff Williams said there are several reasons behind the move, but it was always their intention to start flying in advance of the contracted date of August 1.
A 16-month, $16 million (including options) contract to service new Statoil Snøehvit production platforms in the Barents Sea has been awarded to Norsk Helikopter.
Services will begin in October, with Norsk providing one de-iced Super Puma to carry passengers and a SAR-equipped Super Puma Mk 2 on 24-hour offshore search-and-rescue standby. Both helicopters will be based at Hammerfest, in northern Norway.
Bristow Helicopters has ordered two Eurocopter EC 225s, with a scheduled service entry of spring next year. The order for this latest addition to the Super Puma family is valued at approximately E32 million ($40.3 million), and Bristow has options on an additional two aircraft.
After a year in which only 29 EC 225 Super Pumas were sold, industry leader Eurocopter announced yesterday two separate deals for the helicopter, totaling 19 aircraft in all with an option for an additional eight. CHC Helicopter Corp. of Vancouver, British Columbia, ordered 16, while the Bristow Group of Houston bought three and took options for eight more.
One of the helicopters gracing Eurocopter’s static display here at the Paris Air Show is a bright red-and-yellow EC 135 belonging to Norsk Luftambulanse (Norwegian Air Ambulance). The air medical helicopter is the company’s eighth EC 135. It also operates three BO 105 CBS helicopters and has an EC 145 on order, with delivery expected in October.
Offshore Logistics, the world’s largest provider of helicopter transportation services to the oil and gas industry, yesterday ordered 35 new S-76 helicopters. The contract, one of the largest helicopter orders in Stratford, Connecticut-based Sikorsky’s history, is in addition to a previously announced purchase of 12 new S-76s in 2003. The new order includes options for a further 24 S-76 aircraft.
Pilots of a Sikorsky S-92A from Norway’s Norsk Helikopter put out a Mayday call one day near the end of March, after being warned of a major drop in main rotor gearbox oil pressure while approaching an oil platform. The pilots made an emergency landing on the Veslefrikk B and none of the 19 people on board was hurt.
North Sea operator Helikopter Service has imposed torque and speed limits on its two new Sikorsky S-92s, but Keith Mullett, managing director of Canadian parent company CHC’s European operations, is downplaying the news. A company notice to pilots issued in May requires them, when flying near maximum gross weight, to restrict torque to as little as 65 percent and speed to 125 knots (26 knots short of the max recommended cruise speed).