Bristow Helicopters has moved to the next phase of the UK SAR contract, with operations starting today from Caernarfon and Lydd.
Caernarfon sees two Sikorsky S92s – G-MCGJ and G-MCGK – and a new hangar built by Balfour Beatty added to the privatised SAR service today. The base is in the north of Wales, and just 20 miles from RAF Valley from where Sea King (licence-built S61s) were previously flown for SAR work by the B Flight of the Royal Air Force’s 22 Squadron
Lydd, in the south east corner of the UK in the county of Kent, has only become known as an SAR base relatively recently. Bristow’s original plans called for a dedicated base at Manston, but this airfield closed May 2014 and an alternative needed to be found. Lydd hosts a pair of leased AgustaWestland AW139s – G-CIJW and G-CIJX – and will in due course transition to the larger AW189. Almost a month back, AV Group announced that their Danzer modular buildings were being used by Bristow at Lydd.
The addition of these helicopters brings Bristow’s active SAR helicopters in the UK to 12, with 10 Sikorsky S92s and the AW139s at Lydd. Currently, two S92s are operated out of Inverness, which is earmarked as an AW189 base, and there is still one more S92 base to be opened at Newquay.
The next base to go live with Bristow Helicopters under the UK SAR contract will be at St Athan in South Wales on 1st October of this year.
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com
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