Aviation Specialties Unlimited (Booth No. 3819) recently completed initial night- vision goggle (NVG) training for Irish Air Corps pilots and associated flight crews. The No. 3 Operations Wing of the Irish Air Corps is the first and only Irish operator using NVGs. It operates EC 135 and AW139 helicopters and performs a variety of missions including naval air support, reconnaissance, medevac, search-and-rescue and command-and-control.
Search and rescue
Cyprus’s Ministry of Justice has ordered two AW139 medium twins for law enforcement and search-and-rescue (SAR) operations. The island nation’s Ministry of Defense had previously ordered three AW139s for SAR and utility-EMS duties, covering the Cyprus flight information region.
Satellite monitoring of 121.5-MHz emergency locator transmitters (ELTs) will end as of February 1. On that date, the International Cospas-Sarsat Organization will monitor only 406-MHz ELTs, which “transmit a much stronger signal, are more accurate, verifiable and traceable to the registered beacon owner,” the FAA said. According to the agency, only about 15 percent of the registered aircraft in the U.S. are currently flying with 406-MHz ELTs.
The FAA Safety Team yesterday issued a notice to remind aircraft operators that satellite monitoring of 121.5-MHz emergency locator transmitters (ELTs) will end as of February 1.
Bell 407, Sedona, Ariz., Oct. 13, 2008–An Arizona Department of Public Safety paramedic was killed during a search-and-rescue operation on Doe Mountain near Sedona. The helicopter crew had flown from Flagstaff Pulliam Airport to help find two stranded hikers. They spotted the hikers on the mountain, notified the Sedona Fire Department, which had initiated the search, and landed on a large boulder near the hikers.
In Portugal, state-owned helicopter operator Empresa de Meios Aéreos (EMA) seems happy with the six Kamov Ka-32 A11BCs it acquired for firefighting and search-and-rescue operations (SAR). The 12-metric-ton Russian design, relatively rare in the Western world, can carry four tons of water. And it is much less expensive than its competitors, according to pilot and media officer João Manuel da Silva dos Santos.
Sikorsky announced this week that it has sold two S-92 helicopters to the International Handling Co. (IHC). The contract includes the option to purchase four additional S-92 helicopters configured for offshore oil missions.
Delivery of the first aircraft is expected to take place in 2010. IHC, an Azerbaijan-based operator, plans to expand its service to the growing offshore oil industry based in Eurasia.
Norsk Helikopter has signed a six-year contract with StatoilHydro and ENI Norge for offshore oil platform helicopter transportation from Hammerfest, Norway, starting next year. The agreement includes two Eurocopter EC 225s, which will perform platform crew change services and 24/7 search-and-rescue in the Barents Sea.
AgustaWestland scored a big win last month with the sale of 12 new search-and-rescue (SAR)-configured EH 101 helicopters to the Portuguese government. In a deal valued at $313 million, Portugal voted to buy a fleet of the Anglo-Italian helicopters to replace its SAR fleet of Eurocopter Pumas. In winning the deal, AgustaWestland beat out an offer from Sikorsky for an equal number of its developing S-92 rotorcraft.
“If you haven’t flown a search-and-rescue (SAR) mission, it is difficult to appreciate just how hard it is to find an aircraft on the ground,” John Desmarais, emergency services plans officer at the national headquarters of the Civil Air Patrol, told AIN.