Sikorsky S-92 test pilots John Dixon, company flight operations director, and Bob Spaulding, S-92 chief pilot, performed two full power-off landings last month, passing an important milestone on the medium-lift, twin-engine helicopter’s road to certification. Both landings were performed at slightly above the model’s max gross weight of 26,250 lb.
A Eurocopter AS 332 Super Puma, operated by Bristow in offshore oil transport in the North Sea, on April 9 became the first helicopter to be fitted with a second-generation Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS II). The operator worked closely with equipment manufacturer Rockwell Collins to install the safety system aboard the 21-seat aircraft, with the assistance of Shell Aircraft.
Bristow Helicopters has taken delivery of all six Sikorsky S-92s it had on order. The 26,500-pound-mtow twins will fly to offshore oil and gas installations from Scatsta Airport in Shetland. The £70 million ($140 million) investment includes the helicopters, training, tools and equipment. The S-92 fleet will support the integrated aviation consortium, the partners of which are Shell, BP, CNR, BP and Petrofac.
British International has ambitions to introduce scheduled services in the UK within the next 10 years using the proposed Bell/Agusta BA619 tiltrotor airliner. The company’s managing director, David Hayler, told AIN “The future regional airliner is the tiltrotor,” and his 10-year vision sees use of a 19-seat stretched development of the BA609, soon to begin flight trials.
It’s been a busy month for Sikorsky’s S-92 development team as the project moves toward approval by year-end. The big twin scored its first public-use sale from the Irish Air Corps, good news that was nevertheless scarred by controversy, specifically Eurocopter’s initiation of legal proceedings against both Sikorsky and the Irish government alleging improper practices on the part of both.
The successful helicopter airline is the rotorcraft world’s equivalent of the lost continent of Atlantis. There are legends of its having once existed but as the years stretch into the distance, the chances of its ever having been real seem to fade away. You can almost count on one hand the number of scheduled helicopter operations putting black ink into their books and have fingers left over.
When it comes to selling helicopters for one of the leading helo makers, it’s difficult to find a job that Jeff Pino hasn’t done. In his 17 years with Bell, he was vice president of sales and marketing, executive director for Europe, director for Latin America and regional manager for South America.
Keystone Helicopter of West Chester, Pa., signed a five-year nonexclusive contract with Sikorsky Aircraft to provide executive completions for the new S-92 medium-twin helicopter. The work will include custom design, certification and installation, as well as exterior painting. The first S-92 to get the Keystone VIP configuration is scheduled for completion in December, next year for delivery to a large Northeast corporate customer.
Three teams bidding to take over the provision of UK search-and-rescue helicopter (SAR-H) services beginning in 2012 submitted their responses to the initial invitation to tender at the end of January and are embarking on a further round of dialogue before the program moves to the next selection stage.
PHI has already logged 23,000 hours on its fleet of nine Sikorsky S-92s, and on Monday at Heli-Expo it signed an options contract for six more of the model to be delivered in 2009 and 2010, as well as six copies of the S-76C++ to support deepwater oil industry missions in the Gulf of Mexico.