20-May-2015 Source: HeliHub.com
Yesterday saw the Bristow UK SAR fleet of Sikorsky S92s reach the expected compliment of 11 – filling the plans for two allocated to each of five bases, and a further aircraft as a maintenance spare. The eleventh aircraft G-MCGK was ferried Tuesday afternoon and evening from Southampton Docks via fuel stops at Southampton and Newcastle Airports, finally landing at Aberdeen at 8.40pm.
Prior to the UK SAR contract, Bristow were already flying four of these in the UK under the existing “Gap SAR” arrangements, with a pair at each of Sumburgh and Stornoway. The final 10 year contract was announced in March 2013, and the bases are coming on stream gradually, with the planned roll-out as follows.
Bristow will ultimately operate 11 Sikorsky S92s and 11 AgustaWestland AW189s on the UK SAR contract. Bristow has confirmed to HeliHub.com that “the delays the company has experienced with the introduction of the AW189 has resulted in the need for a contingency plan that involves the temporary use of alternative aircraft at AW189 bases. That contingency plan takes the form of AW139s provided by AgustaWestland and additional Sikorsky S92s as required. In the event that Bristow elects to operate S92s from Prestwick as part of these contingency arrangements, then they too will be registered on the G Register.”
We note that the S92 eleven registrations run G-MCGA to G-MCGK (see below). The AW189 registrations start at G-MCGM, with seven registered to G-MCGT (the UK does not use “Q” in registrations) and four more G-MCGU/V/W/X understood to be reserved, taking the total to 11. That leaves an obvious gap at G-MCGL which would fit the bill for a temporary S92, as implied in the operator’s statement above. Obviously other registrations are available, including those in the standard sequence which started at G-AAAA and is currently issuing around G-CIPA
The 11 Sikorsky S92 aircraft are listed below with registrations and manufacturer’s serial numbers. The first four have been operating under the “Gap SAR” contract since 1st July 2013, while the remaining seven have been gradually delivered into the UK via Southampton Docks from late October 2014 up to yesterday
G-MCGA msn 920166
G-MCGB msn 920167
G-MCGC msn 920169
G-MCGD msn 920171
G-MCGE msn 920214
G-MCGF msn 920222
G-MCGG msn 920225
G-MCGH msn 920234
G-MCGI msn 920235
G-MCGJ msn 920248
G-MCGK msn 920251
AgustaWestland have confirmed to HeliHub.com that “the first two AW189 aircraft have been delivered and the third is currently undergoing acceptance. Five more aircraft are in various stages of final assembly at Yeovil”.
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com