22nd February 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

New coastguard helicopter saftey checks ordered by manufacturer

0 comments, , by , in News
One of the coastguard rescue helicopters transferring a patient to hospital on Saturday. Click on image to enlarge.

One of the coastguard rescue helicopters transferring a patient to hospital on Saturday. Click on image to enlarge.

Coastguard search and rescue S-92 helicopters will continue to fly over Shetland despite renewed concerns about safety, again over gearboxes.

Canadian manufacturer Sikorsky has ordered urgent inspections on the gearbox feet after cracks were discovered in some aircraft.

Earlier this year the entire S-92 fleet was grounded after a crash off Newfoundland in which 17 people died. Investigations suggested that a failed gearbox mounting stud was responsible.

The Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) has two S-92s stationed at Sumburgh – with another two based at Stornoway – for rescue operations.

However a coastguard spokesman said there was no reason for the aircraft to be grounded this time around. He said regular inspections were being made after every 10 flying hours.

“It won’t have any impact on us because there is a daily inspection regime. There are regular maintenance checks all the time by engineers,” he said.

The coastguard agency will continue to take advice from Sikorsky, and will be open to any measures to improve safety and reliability.

S-92s are also flown by Bristow Helicopters, which operates a fleet of six S-92s from Scatsta Airport to transfer oil workers to offshore installations.

A spokeswoman said: “Bristow is complying fully with the enhanced inspection regime required by Sikorsky during the manufacturer’s investigation of cracks reported in some S-92 gearbox feet.

“This inspection has been developed by Sikorsky and assures continued airworthiness and safety of the aircraft. Safety is always our first priority and inspection of this area is mandated every 10 flying hours, which means daily inspection for Bristow’s fleet of S-92s.

“Bristow is confident that the enhanced inspection regime will detect any defect in its earliest stages and in that event we will replace the gearbox prior to returning the aircraft to service.”

The coastguard first used S-92s in December 2007 when it took delivery of two of the aircraft to replace the venerable S61, which had been a hallmark of Shetland’s search and rescue service for many years.

Tags:

About Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor has worked as a reporter since 1995, and has been at The Shetland Times since 2007, covering a wide variety of news topics. Before then he reported for other newspapers in the Highlands, where he was raised, and in Fife, where he began his career with DC Thomson. He also has experience in broadcast journalism with Grampian Television. He has lived in Shetland since 2002, where he harbours an unhealthy interest in old cars and motorbikes.

View other stories by »

Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to editorial@shetlandtimes.co.uk for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

Win a £20 Voucher Complete our survey today
10 Winners will be drawn at random from completed entries
No thanks Take survey No thanks