WATCH: New search and rescue helicopter in flight

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This video shows a state-of-the-art Sikorsky S92 helicopter coming into land at Humberside Airport where the new search and rescue (SAR) service was launched yesterday.

As reported by the Gazette, the launch of the civilian UK search and rescue helicopter service was marked at a ceremony held at the new SAR base at Humberside Airport.

Chief Pilot Liz Forsyth at the launch of the new search and rescue service at Humberside Airport.

Chief Pilot Liz Forsyth at the launch of the new search and rescue service at Humberside Airport.

Bristow Helicopters Ltd will operate the service for the UK on behalf of HM Coastguard, taking over from RAF and Royal Navy crews such as 202 Squadron at RAF Boulmer in Northumberland. The company was awarded the 10-year UK contract by the Department for Transport in March 2013 and will deliver the service from ten bases ‘strategically located close to areas of high SAR incident rates’.

These bases will go live in a phased approach from April 1. The first bases to open will be at Humberside – the nearest to north Northumberland along with Glasgow (Prestwick) – and Inverness.

Stationed at Humberside Airport are two Sikorsky S92s, which are the company’s most advanced aircraft in its civil product line, with the necessary speed, capacity and operational range to meet the needs of the SAR service. They are also the first SAR aircraft of its type to be certified for night-vision goggles.

The helicopters will provide SAR many miles out to sea and all the way around the 10,500 miles of UK coast as well as operating extensively inland. They can fly further and faster than those helicopters they replace and the latest technologies – night vision, infrared, thermal imaging and high illumination lighting technology – will be used by the crews.

Two-thirds of each SAR base to operate will comprise of current serving military personnel that have secured employment with Bristow Helicopters, which the firm says will safeguard the current arrangements while also providing the means by which to transfer existing military SAR personnel with important skills and knowledge to the new service.