4-May-2011 Source: HeliHub.com
The UK fleet of five Schwiezer 333s has not flown for some time – three have airworthiness expiry dates in 2009, one in 2010 and the last has been de-registered after a post-maintenance accident after the main rotor gearbox had been replaced.
The first four, registered G-TAMA, B, C and D were bought by Total Air Management Services “TAMS” at Sheffield after they won a pipeline survey contract with Transco, part of National Grid, in 2005. A fifth example was bought pre-owned from France as G-TAME, where it had been operating on a US registration. TAMS experienced some issues with the S333, and was noted a number of times leasing in hours on Bell 206 helicopters when there was no availability on their 333 fleet – to the extent they bought a high-time JetRanger from Sterling Helicopters as G-TAMF. [Editor note, this happens to be one of the trio caught up in the legal issue we reported here, having been sold back to Sterling and its registration reverting to G-BXDS]. When TAMS was bought by Longmint Group, the company was effectively merged into another of their subsidiaries, Fast Helicopters, and the Schweizer 333 fleet moved (largely by road) in January 2009 to Fast’s base at Shoreham and they have flown little since. They have also been advertised for sale for some time.
It was at Shoreham yesterday that G-TAMB was noted on a road trailer carrying the titles of Swiss operator Fuchs Helikopter. We assume that Fuchs have bought at least this aircraft and are seeking confirmation from them as to whether others have been purchased too.