In parallel with global business jet sales, pilot training activity is, for the most part, stable and growing somewhat, particularly in new markets. At the same time, flight-training providers are reporting unprecedented growth in the civil helicopter sector, with much of this being driven by a surge in demand for rotorcraft support in the booming offshore oil and gas industries, plus the deployment of new-generation helicopter simulator technology.
The FAA approved an automated rig approach for offshore operators on the Sikorsky S-92, offering new functionality for the medium-twin helicopter. The system is said to “reduce cockpit workload by 60 percent” and allow safer operations under challenging weather and operating conditions. Sikorsky has been developing the “rig approach” system since 2007 in cooperation with operator PHI.
The U.S. Navy restarted the VXX Presidential Helicopter Replacement Program by issuing a final request for proposals on May 3. The next day, Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1) officially welcomed a new type into the presidential fleet–the MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor–which will be used in a support role to carry White House staff and reporters following the President.
UK-based Bristow Helicopters, an affiliate of the Texas-based Bristow Group, today announced a 10-year contract with the UK’s Department for Transport for search-and-rescue (SAR) services for all of the country. The $2.5 billion agreement has a phased-in transition period beginning in April 2015 and continuing until July 2017.
Under the contract, Bristow will provide 11 Sikorsky S-92s and 11 AgustaWestland AW189 medium-twin helicopters across 10 UK bases. Each SAR base will operate either two S-92s or two AW189s. In addition, there will be two training aircraft.
Heli-One announced the receipt of an estimated $25 million extended support contract from Brazil’s Omni Taxi Aereo at Heli-Expo ’13. Under the agreement, Heli-One will provide power-by-the-hour support for Omni’s Sikorsky S-61s and S-76s, as well as two additional S-76C++ helicopters. Omni’s fleet, which is used to support Brazil’s offshore oil industry, also includes Sikorsky S-92s, Eurocopter EC225s and AgustaWestland AW139s. Company president Larry Alexandre said Heli-One is “honored to be part of this ongoing partnership with Omni.” The new contract also extends Heli-One’s support of the Omni fleet to 2018.
Two years after its purchase of CHC Helicopter’s pilot training operation, flight and maintenance training provider CAE said that the model of partnerships between operators and training companies is gaining momentum in the industry. “We’re seeing more interest in a CHC-type level of partnership,” said Rob Lewis, CAE’s recently named v-p and general manager for business aviation, helicopter and maintenance training. “We are in the middle of training outsourcing discussions with three of the large helicopter operators around the world right now.”
The Avincis group, known under its Bond, Inaer, Australian Helicopters and Norsk Helikopterservice brands, has taken delivery of the first of the 16 new Sikorsky S-92s it ordered in December 2011, the largest single purchase of the type. Norsk accepted the first medium twin and will operate it, along with the second one, for Bond customers in the UK North Sea sector. Milestone Aviation Group is financing the first four S-92s.
Avincis Group has taken delivery of the first of its record order of 16 new Sikorsky S-92s. The order, placed in December 2011, is the largest single purchase of S-92s ever made, according to the UK-based operator. The Avincis fleet is expected to provide offshore oil and gas worker transportation and serve in a search-and-rescue role.
Global helicopter lessor Milestone Aviation Group of Dublin, Ireland, placed orders for up to 74 helicopters from Eurocopter and Sikorsky worth more than $1.75 billion today at Heli-Expo 2013, which opened this morning in Las Vegas. These additional helicopters will double the assets at Milestone.
Leasing company Milestone Aviation continued its buying binge here at Heli-Expo yesterday, announcing firm orders for 30 new Sikorsky S-92A and S-76D helicopters and options for 24 more. Both Milestone and Sikorsky declined to place a total value on the order and options. Deliveries run from now through 2017.