HEAVY LIFT HELOS
Offshore Oil and SAR form a combined market for big long-range helicopters.
AgustaWestland, Bell, Eurocopter, Kamov, Mil and Sikorsky are currently the strong contenders for heavy-lift missions to carry pax & supplies.
EC225 Super Puma
A favorite for long-range offshore oil support and SAR missions, the all-weather EC225 Super Puma is typically configured for 19 passengers. Based on the AS332L2, the EC225 has an improved 5-bladed rotor system, engine and avionics.
Eurocopter's Baenen says "The EC225 has become a strong performer within the oil and gas industry, with unrivalled performances in long range." In fact more than 900 Super Puma (EC225/ AS332) aircraft are in service around the world and have accumulated more than 4.4 million hrs.
The high time aircraft is approaching 40,000 hrs. The EC225 is the latest development of the AS332 family and is Eurocopter's flagship product. Upgrades from the AS332 include an improved
5-bladed rotor system and upgraded Turbomeca Makila 2A engines (2382 shp/each). Passengers enjoy an improved cabin with windows that are 50 percent larger. The Super Puma can carry 19-pax over 400 nm at 140 ktas. On SAR missions the EC225 has an endurance of 5.5 hrs.
CHC Helicopters, Bristow, Avincis and Era Helicopters are major offshore operators of the Super Puma. Several of the world's military organizations operate the multirole EC725 Super Puma.
Originally designated the AS365 N4—the EC155—increases the cabin space and has added more power to the original Dauphin aircraft. The ultra-quiet cabin provides 30% more passenger space and 130% greater baggage area than its predecessor. Shown is EC155B1.
The EC155 was launched at the 1997 Paris Airshow as a larger, more improved version of the AS365 Dauphin. The current Dauphins come in 2 versions—the shorter AS365 N3+ or the stronger, larger EC155 B1.
In all, more than 1000 Dauphin family aircraft have been delivered since its introduction in 1982.
The multirole Dauphin 2 is widely used by SAR, offshore, EMS, law enforcement and VIP operators. The USCG operates 99 HH/MH65 Dolphin aircraft in the SAR role.
The EC155 B1 has a 5-bladed Spheriflex main rotor system and the famous Fenestrom tail rotor. Powered by 2 Turbomeca Arriel 2C2 engines (935 shp/each) the EC155 has a max cruising speed of 143 ktas with a range of 427 nm. The advanced 4 axis autopilot eases crew workload during demanding operations such as SAR missions.
Bristow and CHC operate a number of AS365/EC155 aircraft in the offshore role, while the USCG is the largest operator of Eurocopter SAR aircraft with their HH65 Dauphins.
Designed to fill the gap between the Dauphin and Super Puma, the 15-seat EC175 is the latest, most advanced design from Eurocopter. Plans are to complete certification of the oil and gas configured aircraft by Q3 2013. SAR and VIP variants will follow in 2015.
The first customer deliveries are scheduled for offshore operations with Bristow Group (launch customer with 12 aircraft), Heli-Union (4), Noordzee Helikopters Vlaanderen (10) and UTair (15).
Powered by 2 P&WC PT6C-67E engines (1775 shp/each), the 5-bladed EC175 has a maximum cruising speed of 151 ktas and a range of 400nm. Advanced avionics are derived from the EC225 and include a 4-axis dual duplex autopilot that provides stability for automatic transitions to hover on ships or on shore.
Other features include a TCAS II system linked to the autopilot—if a collision is imminent, the autopilot flies the evasive maneuver. And, if the pilot looses orientation due to an inadvertent IMC (IIMC) encounter—2 clicks of a button on the cyclic recover the aircraft to a safe attitude.
PHI Helicopter operates a large fleet of S92 aircraft in the Gulf of Mexico supporting several major oil companies. Recently, PHI was granted approval for fully-coupled automated approaches to offshore oil platforms.
During the development of the S92, Sikorsky applied and improved upon the best systems from other products such as the H60/S70 BlackHawk.
Powered by 2-GE CT7-8A engines (2520 shp/each), the S92 has a max speed of 152 ktas and a range of 544 nm. The advanced avionic system features an autopilot with SAR mode that is capable of flying the aircraft to any point in space (to a hover) and recently was certified to conduct automatic approaches to rigs—the goal is to operate down to a 200 ft ceiling and ¼ nm visibility.
Since 2004, Sikorsky has delivered over 170 of their popular S92. The vast majority of these aircraft fly in the offshore configuration carrying 19 pax. Around 25 of these helicopters are engaged in SAR operations.
In 2012, Bond Helicopters ordered 12 aircraft (the largest order to date) for offshore duties. Other major offshore operators include Bristow, CHC, PHI, Brunei Shell and Lider Aviation (Brazil).
Construction Helicopters recently began operating 2 S92 formerly owned by Cougar in a dedicated SAR role—one aircraft is based in the Gulf of Mexico; the other in Alaska.
Safety is a core value at Sikorsky; each aircraft comes standard with a Health and HUMS (Usage Monitoring System), CVR/DFDR, TCAS, EGPWS and other systems to enhance survivability such as crashworthy fuel cells and seats.