Six new EC225s acquired to modernise the Bristow Helicopters fleet have clocked up 10,000 flying hours in two years. "The distance they have flown so far is 1.7 million miles, the equivalent of flying to the moon seven times or almost 70 round-the-world trips," says John Cloggie, Bristow's director of European operations.
The EC225s are the successor to the AS 332L Super Puma and are being deployed across the North Sea. Bristow European Operations, based in Aberdeen, began EC225 operations in September 2005.
Cloggie says: "One of the most notable early flights was to an installation in the Dragon field, off Swansea, in South Wales, which carried 19 passengers and back without refuelling."
Within the first 18 months the aircraft chalked up 5,000 hours ferrying workers to and from oil and gas platforms. But, in the six months since May 2007, Bristow's fleet of
six EC225s have raced ahead to 10,000 flight hours. Cloggie says the EC225s can travel consistently with a full fuel and payload of 19 passengers and baggage.
"The record is a credit to the engineering team maintaining availability and to the flight operations team," he adds. "Bristow has a highly-trained and committed workforce across all disciplines from engineers and pilots to ramp and apron staff along with those in our passenger terminal."
Cloggie says the reliability of the full 19-seat payload is "very significant" for Bristow customers. "Bristow is delighted to have achieved this milestone so quickly and looks forward to flying our customers for the next 10,000 hours."
Bristow in Aberdeen has 21 aircraft currently operating in the North Sea - six EC225s, 14 AS 332L Tigers, one Sikorsky S-92 and a further five S 92s to enter the fleet. It says: "There are a number of 225s on order and a number of options to buy further aircraft for the global fleet. In addition there are further S-92 orders and options for the global fleet."
Bristow is continuing its investment in the company's new global training division with the purchase of Frasca International simulators for the EC225 and S-92. "These will be among the first of their type to be deployed anywhere in the world and represent a capital investment of about #5-6 million," says Patrick Corr, Bristow's senior vp Global Training. "The implications of this investment are much wider than simply offering state-of-the-art training for our existing pilots. It also represents a unique resource that will be a central part of our flight training program and will enable us to attract future generations of pilots."