Several filings with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by Bell Helicopter Textron in late December provide strong hints of new product announcements likely to come next month at Helicopter Association International’s Heli-Expo convention in Dallas. According to the filings, Bell is requesting trademarks for “525SMT,” “Magellan” and “407GT.”
Sikorsky has settled a $20 million lawsuit brought by Cougar Helicopters and its insurers following the fatal crash of an S-92A off St. John’s, Canada, in March 2009. The helicopter crashed 11 minutes after losing main gearbox oil pressure. Cougar is still suing Transport Canada for improperly certifying the S-92A.
Sikorsky’s ongoing total S-92 product improvement program emphasizes the offshore oil and gas mission, focusing on areas of availability, capability and safety, according to Spencer Elani, Sikorsky’s S-92 program manager.
In the North Sea, worker unions and the oil and gas industry lobbies have not expressed concerns about the safety of the Sikorsky S-92. Oil & Gas UK declined to comment.
Although Sikorsky is developing a new main gearbox to solve the problems that have plagued the S-92 over the course of its service life, the new transmission will not be able to run for 30 minutes after a total loss of lubrication.
Sikorsky is developing a next-generation main gearbox (MGB) with enhanced lubrication capabilities with built-in redundancy systems such as chip detectors and oil scavenge systems, according to Spencer Elani, Sikorsky’s S-92 program manager. “We are continuing to make a lot of improvements to the current gearbox, and to automate some of the features,” Elani said.
Dublin, Ireland-based Milestone Aviation Group and CHC Helicopter have agreed on the sale-leaseback of five medium twins–two Sikorsky S-92s and three Eurocopter AS332L2 Super Pumas.
CHC Helicopter and aircraft leasing firm Milestone Aviation Group announced an $80 million contract today for sale-leaseback of five heavy helicopters for transporting offshore oil and gas workers in the UK, Denmark and Falklands. The deal includes the sale-leaseback of two Sikorsky S-92s and three Eurocopter AS332L2s.
Offshore operator Bristow’s Sikorsky S-92s have started flying in the North Sea with a second-generation traffic alert collision avoidance system (Tcas2). The first of seven medium twins to be equipped entered service in August, following EASA approval. The company had been studying S-92 Tcas2 since 2008, when it started operating the in-house-developed system on a Eurocopter Super Puma.
Boeing and Sikorsky are gaining new export business worth over $2 billion for Chinook and Black Hawk helicopters, respectively.