by Aaryn Lambert

    The Power Of Partnership

    Sikorsky S-92 Helicopter in collaboration with Cougar Helicopters makes a winning combination.

    There’s a familiar sighting in the skies of the beautiful, but rugged, North Atlantic. Cougar Helicopters fleet of aircraft have been providing helicopter support services to the offshore oil and gas industry in this region for the past 20 years.

    Commenced Operations

    Incorporated in 1984 in Nova Scotia, Cougar commenced operations shuttling passengers between the airport and downtown Halifax. A lot has changed since that time! Cougar entered the offshore oil and gas industry in 1990 with a support contract in Gijon, Spain, and later that same year returned home to Nova Scotia to begin flying for the oil industry in
    Atlantic Canada.

    With the signing of the HMDC contract in 1995, operations began off the coast of Newfoundland & Labrador and shortly thereafter, a new purpose-built facility was constructed at the St. John’s Airport. It is from this facility that today Cougar oversees its geographically-diversified fleet of 16 heavy and medium aircraft for the offshore oil and gas industry.

    Cougar’s current fleet is comprised of nine Sikorsky S92 helicopters, six Sikorsky S61s and one Sikorsky S76. Cougar introduced the Sikorsky S92 helicopter to
    its fleet in the summer of 2005. In September 2010,just six years after the S-92® helicopter entered into service globally, Sikorsky Aircraft announced the worldwide fleet had reached a quarter-million flight hours, a record pace for a commercial fleet of Sikorsky helicopters.

    Cougar’s highest time S-92 has accumulated more than 5,000 flight hours since its introduction in 2005. Hank Williams, Cougar Helicopters General Manager, stated “with its ongoing operations and with new markets and opportunities emerging, we anticipate that Cougar’s flight hours will continue at this pace”.

    As a matter of interest, the all-time high air time S-92 aircraft, operated by Bristow Norway AS in the North Sea since January 2005, has flown more than 9,000 flight hours.

    Eight helicopter service companies serving the offshore oil and gas industry worldwide are responsible for 90 percent of those total flight hours — flying 75 of the 117 in-service S-92 aircraft, says Sikorsky, which tracks fleet usage from its Fleet Management Operations Center in Trumbull, Connecticut.

    Globally, these eight service providers of the S-92, fly crews to offshore platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, the North Sea, Greenland, the waters around Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia, Brazil, Australia, Malaysia and China. The Cougar logo proudly flies in five of these regions.

    Sikorsky first helicopter in its class

    Sikorsky Aircraft explains that the S-92 helicopter was the first helicopter in its class certified to the latest FAA/JAA standards. It has become a favorite of the offshore oil and gas industry because of its power, endurance and speed, low noise, a large 19-passenger cabin with large 18.4 inch wide by 21.5 in. high jettisonable windows, a rear ramp that allows easy passenger entry/exit and fast baggage handling, and the ability to carry full loads to platforms in tough environmental conditions at ranges up to 476 nautical miles.

    Other attributes cited include the spacious cockpit with excellent exterior visibility, and modern avionics with sunlight/night-readable displays.

    Outside the offshore oil and gas industry, the S-92 performs search and rescue off the Scotland coast, utility missions in the Middle East, and head of state transport for the leaders of several nations. Sikorsky has kept the S-92 fully modernized with emerging technologies, among them improvements to the rotor deicing system, noise reduction, new capabilities for the Health and Usage Monitoring System (HUMS), and enhanced communications and fault detection systems.

    The Sikorsky Fleet Management Operations Center

    The Sikorsky Fleet Management Operations Center (FMOC) monitors all operational S-92 aircraft in 21 countries. Data analysis enables the FMOC to identify trends, predict material requirements, and recommend cost savings and maintenance reductions — ensuring that every S-92 benefits from the experience of the entire fleet. To date, FMOC data and analysis has identified more than 30 percent direct operating cost savings associated with reliability, supportability and price improvements. Completed projects include extending or eliminating the life limits of many S-92 components, including the main rotor blade, tail rotor blade and the horizontal stabilator. Additional FMOC data was used to move the major 1,250-hour inspection to 1,500 hours.

    Cougar, with the ongoing support of Sikorsky and its FOMC, provides a diverse range of services for its oil and gas customers: Passenger movements, search and rescue (SAR), heli-deck surveys and offshore aerial construction.

    Cougar’s SAR services provide dedicated helicopters and crew for emergency response and medical evacuations. Cougar Helicopters was the first operator, civilian or military, to utilize the S-92 aircraft in this role.

    Cougar Helicopters and Sikorsky Aircraft have a shared commitment to safety and service for the offshore oil and gas industry. Hank Williams told Oil and Gas Magazine “Cougar’s focus is on meeting the needs of its customers with safety being the first and foremost consideration. My commitment to all Cougar’s customers is to strive for continuous improvement in safety and service.”

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