14-Apr-2011 Source: HeliHub.com
British International have sold two of their Sikorsky S61N helicopters to Vector Aerospace.Â The pair are currently at Southampton Docks awaiting shipment across the Atlantic, destination British Columbia for work at Vector’s Vancouver International Airport base.Â Both airframes need extensive work to get them airworthy, one having not flown for 10 years.
The particular airframes are:-
G-AYOY – serial 61476, built 1970 – last airworthiness certificate expired April 2008, and CAA records show it had 34,737 hours on the airframe at the end of 2005.Â This S61 was delivered new to British Airways Helicopters, and apart from a 12 month lease to British Caledonian Helicopters in 1984-5, remained with them to the point that CHC took over in 2000.Â When British International was formed in 2002 (in reality resurrecting part of the original company), they bought it and put it to use for some years on their military support contract in the Falkland Islands, returning from there to the UK in 2007.Â It has been stored at British International’s maintenance base at Plymouth since 2007.
G-BHOG – serial 61825, built 1980 – this aircraft had 19,783 hours on the airframe at the end of 1996 having been flown by Bristow Helicopters on the North Sea from new.Â From 1997, the S61 operated on lease in Brazil as PT-YEK, where it operated in standard Bristow colours but with Aeroleo titles.Â On return to the UK in 2002, it initially carried both registrations, with the Brazilian one just taped over (see here).Â Having been stored for some years in bare metal, it appears that there was once an intention to rebuild it, but that was later abandoned.Â It has been stored at British International’s maintenance base at Plymouth since 2006.
It is believed that there is an onward contract by Vector Aerospace to sell the pair to Carson Helicopters, who will then place them in Afghanistan.
This sale leaves British International with six Sikorsky S61s, two of which continue to operate the military contract in the Falkland Islands referred to above. Â Â They also use S61s to operate the world’s longest running helicopter passenger service (started in 1964) between its heliport in Penzance and the Isles of Scilly.Â The service carries in excess of 130,000 passengers a year with up to 40 flights a day during the peak season.