STRATFORD, Conn., Oct. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- The S-92® fleet of medium-lift helicopters has surpassed 250,000 flight hours since the first aircraft entered service six years ago, establishing a record pace for a commercial fleet of Sikorsky helicopters. The first production S-92 entered service in September 2004. Transport companies flying work crews to offshore oil and gas platforms account for 90 percent of those airtime hours. Sikorsky is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX).
"Operators have achieved a quarter of a million flight hours at an unprecedented rate," said Carey Bond, president of Sikorsky Global Helicopters. "During the first six months of 2010, the worldwide fleet added 50,000 flight hours, which speaks volumes to the efficiency of our customers' operations, Sikorsky's fleet management specialists, and the S-92 aircraft's design and productivity during high operational tempos in challenging environmental conditions."
Eight offshore oil and gas transport companies fly 75 of the 117 in-service S-92 aircraft, serving platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, the North Sea, and the waters around Newfoundland, Brazil, Australia, Malaysia and China. Current mission availability across the fleet in 21 countries today stands at 94 percent and climbing.
One of the heaviest users, Bristow Norway AS, flies nine S-92 aircraft to North Sea platforms operated by Shell, BP, Statoil, ConocoPhillips and Talisman Energy. In the seven months from January 2010 to July 31, each Bristow S-92 aircraft averaged 124.5 flight hours per month (1120 flight hours for the fleet).
Bristow's highest airtime S-92 helicopter — operational since February, 2005 — has flown 9,000 hours. The company's second highest airtime S-92 aircraft is expected to reach 9,000 hours in the fourth quarter of 2010. Total airtime for the Bristow fleet is 74,000 hours.
The S-92 helicopter has become a favorite of the offshore oil and gas industry because of its power, endurance and speed, low noise and vibration, a large 19-passenger stand-up cabin, a rear ramp that allows easy passenger entry/exit and fast baggage handling, and the ability to carry full loads to destinations up to 476 nautical miles.
Safety attributes include a spacious cockpit with excellent exterior visibility, modern avionics with large NVG-compatible displays, and a crashworthy fuel system separated from the passenger compartment.
Sikorsky monitors operational S-92 aircraft from its Fleet Management Operations Center (FMOC) in Trumbull, Conn. Data analysis enables the FMOC to identify trends, predict material requirements, and recommend cost savings and maintenance reductions — ensuring that every S-92 helicopter benefits from the experience of the entire fleet.
The S-92 helicopter was the first in its class certified to the latest and most stringent FAA/JAA standards, and remains the only aircraft in its class to meet those standards without exception or waiver.
Outside the offshore oil and gas industry, the S-92 helicopter performs search and rescue off the coast of Scotland, utility missions in the Middle East, and VIP and head of state transport for the leaders of several nations. Additionally, Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin have proposed to the U.S. Government a militarized version to transport the president of the United States.
Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture and service. United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., provides a broad range of high technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.
SOURCE Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.