The AgustaWestland AW101 won Norway’s competition for a new search-and-rescue (SAR) helicopter. The win could be worth more than €1 billion if Norway buys 16 aircraft as planned and exercises options for another six. The AW101s will replace Sea Kings provided by Westland in the 1970s.
Search and rescue
Heli-One, the maintenance subsidiary of operator CHC, has won a contract to modify two second-hand Eurocopter AS332L1 Super Pumas for all-weather search-and-rescue operations in the Arctic region. Norway-based Lufttransport AS will operate them from Svalbard, midway between mainland Norway and the North Pole, starting next spring. There, at 78 degrees north, one of the main challenges is around-the-clock darkness in winter, the two companies emphasized.
Helicopter leasing firm Milestone Aviation Group announced yesterday at HeliTech a multi-year framework agreement to purchase an unspecified, but “significant,” number of AgustaWestland AW139s, AW169s and AW189s.
These aircraft will enter service worldwide in support of Milestone’s lessees serving offshore oil and gas transportation services, aeromedical transport, search-and-rescue operations, para-public and other utility missions.
Heli-One was awarded a contract yesterday to upgrade and modify two Eurocopter AS332L1s that will enable Lufttransport to perform all-weather search-and-rescue (AWSAR) missions in the Arctic. Next year Lufttransport will become responsible for operating the most northerly AWSAR operation in the world (at 78 degrees north) from a base in Svalbard, Norway. The two AS332L1s are undergoing an “essential modification program” to be able to operate in the “most dangerous and challenging areas on earth,” the companies said.
Bell Helicopter signed an agreement with Avincis Group for the sale of up to 20 helicopters today at Helitech International 2013 in London. The deal includes a mix of 429s, 412s and 412EPIs, largely for use in search-and-rescue operations. Avincis Group provides aerial services for mission-critical operations, such as medical emergency, civil protection, search-and-rescue, coastal and urban surveillance, firefighting and energy support services.
Mitsubishi has contracted with Sikorsky to acquire 11 S-76Ds for search-and-rescue operations by the Japan Coast Guard. Meanwhile, in China, Citic Offshore Helicopter has ordered two S-92s for offshore oil transportation. Sikorsky plans to deliver the new S-92s in December next year and March 2015. In another Chinese deal, Sikorsky and Zhuhai Helicopter announced a contract for four Sikorsky S-92s to be used for offshore missions.
A rescue officer fell from a Bell HH-1H on July 22 during a search-and-rescue operation at 9.50 p.m. near Mount Charleston, Nev. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department was operating the helicopter under Part 91 and was in the process of hoisting a stranded hiker off the side of a mountain at the time of the accident. Night VFR conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The rescue officer died in the accident; the hiker was rescued safely.
Maritime security is an increasingly important requirement for most nations with a coastline. The need to protect and secure trade routes has grown in recent years, as has security for offshore oil and gas installations. Fishery patrol, pollution control and search-and-rescue (SAR) remain as important as ever. However, while many nations need to either acquire a maritime surveillance capability or increase an existing one, they may not be able to afford the high price of traditional maritime patrollers.
On March 26 this year the UK’s Department for Transport announced that Bristow Helicopters (part of the U.S.-based Bristow Group) had won the contract to provide a search and rescue helicopter service for the whole of the UK. The 10-year, £1.6 billion contract will officially begin implementation in April 2015, and will be fully in place by 2017, managed by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).
Two Bond Offshore Helicopters search-and-rescue crewmen, winch operators Paul Walters and Andrew Cowx, have been awarded the 2012 Billy Deacon SAR Memorial Trophy, in recognition of their role in a dramatic North Sea rescue last December. Their Eurocopter AS332L2 Super Puma was first to reach the rig standby vessel Vos Sailor, which had lost power in darkness and poor sea conditions. Despite an injured foot, Cowx volunteered to remain on the deck of the stricken vessel for an hour. There, he managed the rescue of three remaining members of the ship’s crew.