In a deal that Eurocopter is hailing as the first order "for a wind farm maintenance helicopter in the UK," Bond Air Services has purchased an EC135 for maintenance work at the Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm. Currently under construction, the Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm will consist of 140 Siemens 3.6MW wind turbines in the North Sea. They are being built around two sand banks known as Inner Gabbard and The Galloper; about 20 miles off the East Anglia coast.
Due to be completed by 2011, the ocean-based Greater Gabbard wind farm is expected to be the largest of its kind in the world. When complete, its wind turbines will generate an average of 1,750 GWh of clean electricity annually. That is enough to supply the domestic demand of 415,000 homes.
Bond Air Services’ EC135 is expected to enter service at the Greater Gabbard wind farm by the end of 2009. Its job will be to ferry personnel and components to the site; landing them on top of the turbines at sea. The largest EC135 operator in the UK, Bond is already skilled in aerial work; including electrical line inspections and underslung load carriage. The Greater Gabbard work will require personnel and components to be winched down to the turbines because there is not enough room for a landing platform.