S-92(R) Helicopter Operated by U.K. Search and Rescue Reaches 500-Mission Milestone

September 22, 2009

DUXFORD, England, Sept. 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — The Search and Rescue (SAR) S-92((R) )helicopter fleet operating in the United Kingdom has exceeded the operational milestone of 500 missions. The S-92 helicopter is manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX).

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As of mid-August 2009, the four S-92 SAR aircraft operating in the U.K. had executed a total of 510 missions – 331 from the base at Stornoway in the Western Isles and 179 from Sumburgh in Shetland – since being introduced in 2007. Aircraft technical availability at both bases has been 98 percent, said Ian McLuskie, UK SAR Manager, CHC Search and Rescue.

“It is great to see the aircraft and their dedicated crews reach the 500-mission mark. The tasks they have performed cover the spectrum of search and rescue duties and are often completed in very hostile conditions. The S-92 helicopters, their crews and the technical support services, have repeatedly proven their ability to meet the diverse challenges of modern-day SAR work,” McLuskie said.

Sikorsky initially developed the S-92 helicopter for over-water search and rescue in demanding and challenging environments such as the North Sea and North Atlantic, where the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is in service. The MCA contract began in 2007.

“The search and rescue activities taking place in the U.K. are a testament to the reliability and performance of the S-92 helicopter,” said Marc Poland, Vice President, Sikorsky Global Helicopters. “Sikorsky is proud to see the CHC-operated MCA missions continue to add to that legacy.”

Last year, during the early months of SAR S-92 helicopter service in the U.K., a crew rescued 14 fishermen from the vessel Spinningdale, which had run aground at St. Kilda. The rescue was conducted amid gusting 70-knot winds as the vessel sat stranded on rocky, cliff-facing terrain. The helicopter crew later was recognized with the Great Scot of the Year Award for its bravery and professionalism, and the winchman Phil Warrington recently received the Billy Deacon SAR Memorial Trophy from His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh for his outstanding bravery on this mission.

The S-92 aircraft is the first helicopter in the world certified to the latest U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and European airworthiness safety standards. The S-92 helicopter features a Rotor Ice Protection System (RIPS), which allows the aircraft to operate in known icing conditions. RIPS has been certified by both North American and European aviation authorities and is available on S-92 helicopter military variants as well as commercial aircraft. EASA certification was issued in April for an Initial Approach Fixes (IAFS)-equipped aircraft, which is currently in commercial operation.

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., USA, is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture and service. United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., USA, provides a broad range of high technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.

SOURCE Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.

Source: newswire

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