Sikorsky S92 helicopters grounded for safety checks after incident

Sikorsky S92 helicopters grounded for safety checks after incident

Almost all North Sea fleet were grounded after operators received an Alert Service Bulletin from manufacturer requiring a one off inspection of all tail rotor systems upon landing

Sikorsky has grounded all S92 helicopters worldwide for safety checks following an incident on a North Sea platform. Operators, including Bristow (which manages the UK SAR contract) were instructed to carry out  centred one off inspection of all tail rotor systems upon landing.

The incident took place last month on the West Franklin Platform: UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) is investigating. In the case which is now under investigation a Sikorsky S92 operated by CHC experienced a technical fault when it was coming in to land. According to the reports, the helicopter It left "significant gouge marks" on the deck of the platform.

"Safety is our top priority, and Sikorsky is working closely with our customer and investigative authorities - a Sikorsky spokeswoman said -We are committed to keeping our customers informed. We will further communicate findings if the investigation reveals any safety or airworthiness issues that affect the S92 helicopter fleet."

The Offshore Helicopter Safety Leadership Group, the organization of operators, unions and industry body, declared that S92 providers were expected to have completed the checks later on Tuesday, Jan 10th.

In the video: Sikorsky S92 over North Sea

SIKORSKY S92 GROUNDED: THE UK SAR

As BBC reports, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said some of its S92s, operated by Bristow in a mixed fleet with AgustaWestland AW189s, had returned to service by Wednesday evening (Jan 11th) with others due to do so shortly.

“This was a highly unusual situation, but we were prepared and we pulled out every stop when we were told about it at 08:00 hrs this morning - Damien Oliver, assistant director with responsibility for aviation at the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said in a report by AirMed and Rescue -. We had provision for crews to fly other aircraft if needed and – of course – we have a huge number of resources available in this country for search and rescue operations in addition to our helicopters  Coastguard Rescue Teams, the [Royal National Lifeboat Institute], Mountain Rescue to name but three. Over the coming months, we will be mixing our fleet of aircraft so that we will always have a contingency option in the event of a fleet grounding.

In the photogallery: Sikorsky S92

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SIKORSKY S92 GROUNDED: THE INCIDENT

As Oil and Gas People reports, in the Jan 10th incident, a CHC Helicopter was described by eye witnesses as 'spinning on the deck' after making an emergency landing due to technical difficulties on the West Franklin platform.

Onboard the CHC-operated Sikorsky (a Lockheed Martin Company) S92 there were nine passengers and two crew members. The helicopters was on duty for shuttle flights from the Elgin Production Utilities Quarters.

According to a a spokesman for CHC Helicopter, the 12,8t S92 helicopter involved in the incident had experienced “unexpected control responses” as it made an emergency landing. An investigation has been launched by the company.

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