5-Sep-2012 Source: HeliHub.com
Long time AW109 specialist Castle Air has taken a big step with the acquisition of three Sikorsky S76A++ helicopters.Â Bought from Australia, where they were operated by Jayrow, the three are currently en route to Castle Air’s base at Liskeard in Cornwall.
In recent years, Castle Air have built up a specialisation in AgustaWestland AW109s, and a quick review of the UK fleet by HeliHub.com finds at least twenty currently operating in the UK which the company has imported pre-owned from around the world – many from within Europe but others from further afield including the Philippines.Â The purchase of the S76s marks a departure from this, and Castle Air’s Ross Bunyard told HeliHub.com that one potential market for them is currently AW109 owners who want something bigger at a reasonable price.Â The only AgustaWestland options would be an AW169 (not yet available) or AW139 (big jump in capital cost).
All three S76A++ are currently fitted out for offshore work with three rows of four seats, but unusually they are all quite low hour airframes with 5541, 8831 and 14721 hours seen as unusually low for airframes of between 28 and 33 years old.Â Bunyard told us they would consider adding any of the three to their lease fleet, which currently numbers eight Bell 206 JetRangers and five AW109s.
The three airframes involved and their Australian registrations are VH-JYA (Sikorsky serial 760163), VH-JYC (760234) and VH-XHJ (760042)
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com