Sikorsky Aircraft’s S-92 has been cleared to use helidecks in the United Kingdom originally designed for the lighter S-61N.
The U.K. Civil Aviation Authority’s Health and Safety Executive and Safety Regulation Group accepted Sikorsky-sponsored analysis that the S-92, though heavier at a max gross weight of 26,500 lb (12,020 kg) for an internal load (vs. 20,500 lb, or 9,300 kg, for the S-61N), could operate safely from the same helidecks. There are 103 helidecks in the U.K. sector of the North Sea that may be affected by the clearance. S-61Ns are widely used for offshore support and search and rescue in the North Sea, and the S-92 has a growing presence there.
In related news, CHC Helicopter Corp. is acquiring four more new S-92s for its offshore and gas support operations, despite its recent complaints about the availability rates of and spares support for that type. The helicopters will be based in Denmark, Finland and Newfoundland. CHC operates 250 aircraft in 30 countries.