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.
Offshore oil and gas helicopter service provider Bristow has secured new contracts for 20 large aircraft that it expects will generate more than $2 billion in revenue. The deals are a combination of new contracts and extensions of current ones in Australia, Brazil and Europe for Sikorsky S-92s and Eurocopter EC225s.
In another safety issue affecting the Sikorsky S-92 helicopter’s main gearbox, on July 18 the FAA released an airworthiness directive (AD) that calls for inspection for cracks. The AD was prompted by the discovery of a crack in the gearbox housing of one S-92, “in the cored passage area adjacent to the scissor bracket mount,” allowing oil to leak. The result could be a loss of oil and subsequent failure of the gearbox, the FAA said.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has approved the Sikorsky S-92 helicopter for sea state 6 conditions, completing the S-92A emergency flotation system sea-state expansion for additional mission capability. The European Aviation Safety Agency has also certified the system and approval by Transport Canada is expected soon.
Eurocopter and helicopter support specialist Heli-One Norway have created Team Nordsar to bid in Norway’s competition for an all-weather search-and-rescue helicopter. The Nordsar version of the EC225 medium twin is touted as being well suited for missions in mountainous and coastal areas, as well as long-range operations in the Barents Sea. Eurocopter already has helicopters flying in SAR roles in the country.