22-Jan-2013 Source: HeliHub.com
In early February 2012, HeliHub.com broke the news that the “Gap SAR” contract had been split between Bristow running the two northerly bases at Sumburgh and Stornoway, while CHC would continue with the two southerly bases at Portland and Lee-on-Solent. Not only were we first to announce this, but it took a further five days before Bristow were able to publicly confirm the information – and indeed the UK Government themselves issuing a statement.
Bristow takes over the SAR provision at Sumbugh and Stornorway from July 2013 using four Sikorsky S-92 helicopters, two at each base. The contract is expected to run for four years, until a longer term decision for such services is taken. We expect the announcement of the latter this Spring.
The first of the four Sikorsky S92s arrived at Aberdeen Airport around 2pm today after a ferry flight from Prestwick. Serial 920166 and registered G-MCGA (presumably reflecting the involvement of the Maritime and CoastGuard Agency). We expect the other three will be 920167, 920169 and 920171, and these will no doubt be confirmed as they are delivered in the weeks ahead.
Photos here are from Malcolm Calder, who retains the copyright on each and has given express permission for HeliHub.com to use these images to support this article.
As Bristow takes over the SAR provision from CHC this summer, the existing four S92s will transition over to Ireland, where CHC extended their SAR contract – including upgrading from elderly S-61s to S-92s.
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com