On the eve of a Canadian Government report on the fatal March 2009 crash off Newfoundland that killed 17 of 18 aboard a Sikorsky S-92A, operator Cougar Helicopters and its insurers filed a $26.6 million suit against the OEM.
At 10 p.m. on April 20, seven minutes after the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig exploded, the search-and-rescue alarm went off at the U.S. Coast Guard Air Training Center in Mobile, Ala. Pilot Lt. Andy Greenwood and his crew headed for their HC-144 Ocean Sentry, a CASA CN-235 twin turboprop, for the 115-mile flight. “We were at 4,000 feet when we hit the Gulf, and we could already see the fire,” Greenwood said.
VIH Aviation Group (Booth No. 3728) ordered a pair of Eurocopter EC225s to support its oil and gas offshore activities in Australia. The helicopters will be flown by HNZ Cougar Helicopters, a new joint venture. VIH is the only Canadian-controlled helicopter company to operate the EC225, according to VIH CEO Ken Norie. The EC225 is powered by two Fadec-controlled Turbomeca Makila 2A1 engines.
In Vergiate, Italy, last month, AgustaWestland delivered an AW139 to VIH Cougar Helicopters. The U.S. operator will use the 12-passenger aircraft for offshore transport missions in the Gulf of Mexico. A few days earlier, Eurocopter handed over two EC145s to Helicopteros Marinos, an Argentinean offshore operator that serves the oil and gas industry in the southernmost area of the country.
The latest main gearbox (MGB) problem for the Sikorsky S-92A: foot-mount cracking that could lead to the complete separation of the MGB and subsequent loss of helicopter control.
Examination of wreckage from the March 12 crash of a Cougar Helicopters S-92 prompted manufacturer Sikorsky to recommend the grounding of all S-92 helicopters unless their titanium main gearbox oil bowl mounting studs had already been replaced with steel ones.
Minutes before a Cougar Helicopters Sikorsky S-92 fell into the Atlantic March 12, one of the pilots radioed that the helicopter had “zero” main gearbox (MGB) oil pressure. Two pilots and 16 offshore oil workers were aboard the helicopter when it either crashed or ditched 47 miles East of St. John’s Newfoundland.
Examination of wreckage from the March 12 crash of a Cougar Helicopters S-92 prompted manufacturer Sikorsky to recommend the grounding of all S-92s last Friday unless their titanium main gearbox oil bowl mounting studs had already been replaced with steel ones.
Heli-Expo is normally a venue for major announcements, but in an ironic twist, one of Sikorsky Aircraft’s announcements on Monday was that it will be making an announcement about the S-92–eventually.
VIH Aviation Group was the launch customer for the Sikorsky S-92 in 2003, and yesterday at Heli-Expo the company agreed to buy another four to be operated by its Cougar Helicopters subsidiary, bringing Cougar’s S-92 fleet to 11. Cougar Helicopters is based in St.