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Search and Rescue S-92 Helicopter Marks Anniversary of Introduction to U.K. SAR Market

2nd December 2008 - 13:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


In its first year of use by the United Kingdom Maritime and Coastguard Agency and under the operation of CHC Helicopter Corp., Sikorsky Aircraft's Search-and-Rescue (SAR)-configured S-92(R) helicopter logged 279 rescues and is operating at availability levels of more than 98 percent. Sikorsky is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX).

CHC operates the SAR S-92 helicopters from two bases covering territory in the North Atlantic and the North Sea. In Stornoway, Western Isles, Scotland, the fleet has conducted 174 rescue missions, while missions flown out of Sumburgh, Shetland Isles, Scotland, have totaled 102 to date. Aircraft technical availability at Stornoway has been 98.35 percent; availability at Sumburgh, 100 percent, said Ian McLuskie, UK SAR Business Unit Leader, CHC Search and Rescue.

"The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has seen a 20 percent increase in rescue missions at its bases, which is attributed to the increase in speed and capability that the S-92 helicopter offers," said McLuskie. "The aircraft's fully coupled automatic flight control system has been invaluable, and the large cabin and tail ramp also have been of great benefit, particularly when airlifting rescue teams."

Sikorsky initially developed the S-92 helicopter for over-water search and rescue in demanding and challenging environments such as the North Sea and North Atlantic, where the MCA is in service.

"Sikorsky has a successful history of search and rescue. The CHC-operated MCA missions are adding to that legacy," said Marc Poland, Sikorsky Vice President, Commercial Programs. "The S-92 helicopter fleet today has logged more than 120,000 flight hours and in doing so, has shown itself to be a safe, extremely reliable and cost-efficient platform."

The SAR aircraft have conducted rescues from mountains, cliffs, and vessels, rescued divers in difficulty, and extracted complete crews from stricken vessels. One such incident in February this year led to the rescue of 14 fishermen from the vessel Spinningdale, which had run aground at St. Kilda. That rescue, conducted amid gusting 70-knot winds as the vessel sat stranded on rocky, cliff-facing terrain, brought the crew recognition for its bravery and professionalism as it was awarded the Great Scot of the Year Award.

The S-92 is the first helicopter in the world certified to the latest U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and European airworthiness safety standards. The S-92 features a Rotor Ice Protection System (RIPS), which allows the aircraft to operate in known icing conditions. RIPS has been certified by both North American and European aviation authorities and is available on S-92 military variants as well as commercial aircraft. EASA certification was issued in April for an IAFS equipped aircraft, which is currently in commercial operation.

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., USA, is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture and service. The company's mission statement reflects its long commitment to safety and innovation: "We pioneer flight solutions that bring people home everywhere ... every time(TM)." United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., USA, provides a broad range of high technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.


The Shephard News Team


The Shephard News Team

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