HELICOPTER manufacturer Sikorsky has grounded all its S92s for safety inspections following an incident in which a chopper lost control during an emergency landing offshore at the end of December.
Inspections of the tail rotors of all 60 S92 helicopters operating in the North Sea are now being carried out.
The maintenance programme is expected to take several days to complete – leading to widespread disruptions in offshore traffic.
In Shetland, both Sumburgh and Scatsta airports are affected. The Shetland Coastguard helicopter, based at Sumburgh, is also grounded.
Les Linklater, executive director of Step Change in Safety, said: “This morning (Tuesday) Sikorsky released an Alert Service Bulletin (ASB 92-64-001) for the S92 requiring a onetime visual inspection of the tail rotor pitch change shaft and bearing assembly on the world wide S92 fleet prior to the next flight.
“The decision made by Sikorsky is a precautionary measure to ensure continued safe flight operations and we are aware that helicopter operators are working to assess the impact of this requirement, while investigating all opportunities to limit the effects on the flying program.
“Currently the duration of the inspections is expected to take up to 11 man hours, which means this will cause some short term delays.
“We are in close communication with trades unions, helicopter operators and the Civil Aviation Authority.”
On 28 December, a S92 helicopter responded unexpectantly as it attempted to touch down on the West Franklin platform. Its wheels gauged the helipad. Reportedly damaging the undercarriage of the chopper. No one was injured.
Become a supporter of Shetland News
Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.
Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has over 300 supporters who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.
Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -
- Bring you the headlines as they happen;
- Stay editorially independent;
- Give a voice to the community;
- Grow site traffic further;
- Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.
If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or by monthly subscription.
Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.Support Shetland News