AgustaWestland announced the AW149 program in 2006 and the 8.6-ton helicopter made its first flight in 2009. Based on the successful AW139 medium twin, the 149 is a military variant that is 12 feet longer, four feet taller, 5,000 pounds heavier (mtow), has a slightly larger main rotor disk and a pair of more powerful, Fadec-controlled GE CT7-2E1 turboshafts (2,000 shp each) that give the helicopter good high/hot performance and satisfy the 6,000-foot, 95-degree F OGE standard.
Eurocopter anticipates that a solution to the main gearbox problem that has grounded the North Sea fleet of EC225s will be available next month. Offshore operators, especially those in the North Sea, have seen major disruption of their activities, as have the oil and gas companies that depend on helicopter transportation for crew changes on their platforms.
In Greek mythology, when Achilles was a baby, it was foretold that he would die young. To improve his chances of immortality, his mother, Thetis, took Achilles to the River Styx, which was supposed to offer powers of invulnerability, and dipped his body into the water. But Thetis held Achilles by the heel… The rest of the myth is well known. If the mother of the helicopter concept ever dipped it into the River Styx, she probably held it by the main gearbox.
A study commissioned by the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) recommends the resumption of night flights to offshore oil and gas platforms in the region and lays out a plan that incorporates upgraded and specific safety measures.
Sikorsky and Ruili Jingcheng Group (RJG) signed two contracts for the introduction of an S-92 and S-76D, marking Sikorsky’s first S-92 helicopter sale to a private Chinese operator and the first-ever S-76D sale into China. The signing took place today at Airshow China 2012 in Zhuhai. Both aircraft will be configured for airline use.
Offshore operator Bristow “entered into an agreement” yesterday to order 10 Sikorsky S-92 medium-twin helicopters and secured options for another 16. The move emerges as the operator is keeping 16 Eurocopter Super Pumas on the ground, following two controlled ditchings that affected the EC225 type in just six months. Both ditchings were caused by a failure of the main gearbox.
Sikorsky delivered two baseline S-92s to Bond Aviation Group, the first of 16 medium twins to be delivered under “the largest one-time acquisition of S-92s,” the manufacturer said. Sikorsky will now customize the helicopters for offshore oil operations. They will be operated by Norsk Helikopter Service in Norway. Sikorsky says the S-92’s backlog extends “well into 2016” and that the fleet will reach 500,000 hours early next year.
AgustaWestland is teaming with Northrop Grumman on the latest Marine One competition.
Since 2002 the Navy has spent $3.4 billion researching the alternatives for a new fleet of helicopters for Marine Squadron HMX-1 to transport the President and other government VIPs. Now, as it starts the process anew (VXX), AgustaWestland announced that it will again enter the fray with its medium lift three-engine AW101, this time partnered with Northrop Grumman.
Global offshore helicopter service provider Bristow Group is making a $250 million minority interest investment in VIH Aviation unit Cougar Helicopters. Bristow said it expects to complete the transaction by year-end, subject to Canadian regulatory approval. As part of the deal, Bristow will acquire various Cougar operating assets, including eight Sikorsky S-92As and Cougar’s Canadian passenger and maintenance facilities at St. John’s, Labrador, and Halifax. The purchased aircraft and facilities will then be long-term leased back to Cougar.
Milestone Aviation Group announced today that it signed a contract to purchase 19 more Sikorsky S-92s. This order is in addition to three S-92s purchased by the aircraft lessor in February, with the first two helicopters scheduled for delivery later this year. In total, the 22-aircraft order is valued at $682 million.