Offshore

Helicopter Offshore operations

PRESS RELEASE – Rome, 16 December 2020

  • The delivery grows the number of AW139s operated by WIKING Helikopter Service GmbH in Germany, supporting the energy industry, to four aircraft
  • The operator’s standardisation and modernisation programme based on the AW139 is helping to meet the evolving requirements of its customers 
  • Nearly 1,200 AW139s ordered by more than 280 customers in over 70 nations worldwide, nearly 1,100 delivered and 2.9 million flight hours logged in operations to date 

Leonardo announced today that WIKING Helikopter Service GmbH has taken delivery of a new AW139 7-tonne intermediate twin engine helicopter from Leonardo’s Vergiate facility, further expanding an existing fleet of three aircraft.

The helicopter will be used to carry out offshore transport missions supporting energy industry operations in Northern Europe.

WIKING has been an offshore transport specialist in the North and Baltic Sea areas for over 45 years. It has three bases in Germany and two in the UK. The Company also performs sea pilot transfer, a windmill engineer hoisting service, and emergency medical service operations with its fleet of seven helicopters of various types. 

“Our fleet standardisation and modernisation programme launched a few years ago is helping to meet the evolving requirements of our customers and the growth of our AW139 fleet is providing a valuable support for this goal. Our decision to leverage the unrivalled mission capabilities, operational efficiency and reliability in its category of the popular AW139 are testament to our commitment to delivering the best level of safety, quality, and service across the region,” said Ernst Nassl, CEO Wiking Helikopter Service GmbH.

The AW139 has proven extremely popular in the region for offshore, search and rescue, passenger transport and law enforcement duties. The type set new standards in terms of flight and mission technology, cabin space and comfort, performance, safety and reliability as well as introducing advanced support, maintenance and training services. The AW139 is even exceeding the evolving energy market’s stringent requirements with unique features including a 60+ minutes run dry capable main gear box and full or limited ice protection system as an option to fly in known icing conditions for true all-weather operations. Nearly 1,200 AW139s have been ordered by more than 280 customers in over 70 nations to date for any kind of mission. The global fleet of nearly 1,100 units has amassed over 2.9 million flight hours to date.

PRESS RELAESE – 23 September 2020

LCI, a leading helicopter lessor and the aviation division of the Libra Group, and Sumitomo Mitsui Finance and Leasing Company, Limited (SMFL) have agreed to establish and operate a joint venture helicopter leasing business.

The vehicle has launched with the initial acquisition of 19 next generation helicopters with a value of US$230 million. SMFL and LCI are co-investors in the partnership, with LCI also acting as manager.

The young, modern helicopters acquired by the joint venture will be used by operators across the globe on a range of missions including Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Search and Rescue (SAR), and transportation to offshore wind farms. With a strong lessee profile, long average lease tenor and full power by the hour maintenance coverage, the portfolio offers a robust profile for the investors.

Jaspal Jandu, Chief Financial Officer of LCI, says: “LCI is delighted to be launching this new leasing vehicle with SMFL. Our joint venture with this renowned partner highlights the opportunities available in the helicopter leasing marketplace, and demonstrates how these aircraft have now become a proven and attractive asset class.”

Shinichiro Watanabe, Managing Executive Officer of SMFL, says: “LCI’s experience, expertise and reputation makes them a natural business partner for SMFL, and we look forward to working with them and combining our respective financial strengths to jointly and professionally manage a successful and dynamic venture.”

George Logothetis, Chairman and Chief Executive of the Libra Group, added: “We are very pleased and proud that LCI has formed a joint venture with such a highly respected organisation. This partnership promises sustained and exciting growth for LCI’s rotary wing business, which has already proved highly resilient during the global pandemic.”

The new joint venture will enable SMFL and LCI to further expand the range and volume of their helicopter investments by leveraging their proven track record, knowledge and experience derived from SMFL’s aircraft and engine leasing companies, and LCI’s years of value creation in aviation helicopter and fixed wing leasing.

LCI’s fleet comprises approximately US$1 billion of assets in service, on order and under management, focused on the latest technology medium and super medium helicopters manufactured by leading helicopter OEMs including Leonardo, Airbus and Sikorsky.

These are in operation across four continents in multiple sectors including emergency medical services, offshore wind, search and rescue, maritime pilot transfer and oil-and-gas transportation. 

PRESS RELEASE – Marignane, 25 September 2020

Omni Taxi Aereo, Brazil’s leading oil and gas transport company and part of OMNI Helicopters International group (OHI), becomes the first operator to introduce the H175 in Brazil.

The aircraft has arrived in Brazil, where it will perform cargo load and passenger transport missions for the country’s key oil and gas industry.

“The H175 offers the right mix of comfort, performance and cost-effectiveness and I am very pleased with the introduction of this aircraft in Omni’s fleet”, said Roberto Coimbra, CEO of Omni Taxi Aereo. “With a range that enables Omni to reach 100 percent of Brazil’s offshore installations and high technology equipment on board it is a very promising aircraft to serve the Brazilian oil and gas market”.

OMNI’s current fleet includes Airbus H135, H155 and H225 helicopters, which are largely dedicated to transporting passengers and cargo to offshore platforms and ships, while also providing emergency medical services for the oil and gas industry.

“OMNI has been a true partner for over a decade and I am honoured by their renewed confidence in Airbus’ helicopters”, said Regis Magnac, Vice President Oil and Gas at Airbus Helicopters’. “With currently 40 aircraft in service having accumulated more than 85,000 flight hours, the H175 has set new standards for offshore operations across the world and I thank OMNI for introducing the aircraft to the important Brazilian oil and gas market.”

Developed to answer oil and gas industry needs, the H175 provides outstanding performance, unmatched cost efficiency and the ability to comfortably transport 16 passengers up to 160NM. The H175 is equipped with Helionix, Airbus Helicopters’ integrated suite of advanced avionics and 4-axis autopilot, which offers enhanced situational awareness and improved operational safety by helping to reduce pilot workload. The aircraft also provides fully automatic oil platform approaches, thanks to the Rig’N Fly mode.

  • Honeywell Primus Epic Phase 8 software and EGPWS with offshore modes obtain EASA Certification
  • Latest standard delivers increased mission capabilities, enhanced situational awareness and reduce crew workload for safety beyond standards in all weather conditions with the introduction of synthetic vision, enhanced 2D Map, increased Navigation, wireless flight plan data loading and advanced collision avoidance for all commercial and government missions
  • The AW139 is the unmatched leader in its class with continued growth capability and outstanding market success and operational track record.

PRESS RELEASE – Rome, 17 July 2020

Leonardo announced today further enhancements for the AW139 intermediate twin engine market leader with the recently obtained EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) certifications for the Honeywell Primus Epic integrated avionics Phase 8 software and the EGPWS (Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System) optional kit with offshore modes.

The Phase 8 software release marks the introduction of an advanced Synthetic Vision System (SVS) specifically tailored for helicopter applications, improved 2D maps and wireless data loading delivering even greater all-weather capabilities and mission effectiveness for all commercial and government missions.

This latest standard increases crew situational awareness and reduces workload for operations at night or in marginal weather. The advanced Synthetic Vision System assists with navigation and landing approaches when operating within challenging terrain, oil rigs, and other demanding scenarios, which is accomplished via 3D presentation of the external scenario, including surrounding terrain, obstacles, runways and helipads within the background of the Primary Flight Display. A user-friendly 2D Interactive Navigation (INAV) feature showing the helicopter position and flight plan on a map into the MultiFunctional Display (MFD) delivers unparalleled navigation system alignment and precision with the actual flight path taking into account environmental factors. Phase 8 has also wireless connectivity embedded, providing high speed data access for flight plans transfer and maintenance data gathering from the aircraft. Additionally, Custom Approach functionality provides the capability to design, set and fly an automated approach to any user-defined location, including oil rig helidecks.

The introduction of the new EGPWS version -036, which is also available for Phase 7, perfectly complements the latest software release and enhanced navigation capabilities for safer offshore operations. This more sophisticated HTAWS (Helicopter Terrain Awareness and Warning System) introduces recommendations of CAA CAP 1519 for optimal use in offshore environments, and gives pilots more time margin and earlier notifications for warning of a potential collision. This will prove to be a key enabler for recognizing and responding to unsafe conditions.

Orders for nearly 1200 units in over 70 countries have been placed by more than 280 commercial, paramilitary, and military customers worldwide and over 1050 helicopters are in service with more than 2.8

million flight hours logged in operations to date. With more than 1000 kits certified to date and continued capability growth, the AW139 remains unmatched in its’ category as the world’s most important helicopter programme in the last 15 years. The AW139 has a proven track record of outstanding mission accomplishment in the harshest conditions.

D-HHPJ – DATA SHEET update

Thanks to Andreas HOFFMANN for these new images of the Leonardo AW169 D-HHPJ operated by Heli Service International Gmbh (now wearing company titles) … performing off-shore activity out of Emden Airport, May 2020.

HAI Heli-Expo 2020

The annual HAI Heli-Expo 2020 Event is over …. lots of new Press Releases and new helicopters on display at Anaheim, CA.

Thanks to Oscar BERNARDI & Gianfilippo COLASANTO for their contribution in order to realize this exhaustive Photo Report Page with full coverage of the exposition … 225 images to enjoy.

PRESS RELEASE – PHOENIX, 5 February 2020, Amanda JENSEN

  • 2020 findings show increased deliveries, despite slightly lower purchase plans than in 2019
  • Light single-engine models are most-desired product class
  • Higher purchase rates expected in Europe and Latin America, lower in North America
  • Results show increases in purchase plans for corporate/VIP transport missions and overall aircraft utilization

In its 22nd annual “Turbine-Powered Civil Helicopter Purchase Outlook,” Honeywell (NYSE: HON) forecasts 4,100 new civilian-use helicopters will be delivered from 2020 to 2024, marginally higher than the five-year forecast from 2019. While deliveries are expected to be higher than 2019, purchase plans are lower, but only by less than a percentage point.

“This year, we anticipate higher deliveries due to entry into service of new helicopter platforms,” said Heath Patrick, president, Americas Aftermarket, Honeywell Aerospace. “Despite the slight dip in purchase plans, we see several bright spots, including higher utilization rates. This means operators plan to use their aircraft more frequently over the next 12 months. Honeywell is prepared for this upswing and is committed to providing seamless global customer support, while also maintaining our focus on bringing new, innovative products to the helicopter market.”

Key survey findings this year include:

  • Purchase plans are significantly stronger from the corporate/VIP segment in this year’s survey, but lower from law enforcement and oil and gas operators.
  • A greater proportion of planned new helicopter purchases is for light twin-engine models in this year’s survey compared with 2019. The proportion is lower for light single-engine models. Overall, 56% of planned purchases are for twin-engine models, 8 percentage points higher than last year.
  • When choosing their make and model for a new rotorcraft, the top three factors operators consider are brand experience, aircraft performance and cabin size.
  • In North America, average utilization was higher by about 12% in 2019 compared with 2018.  About 19% of survey respondents said their helicopter fleet utilization is expected to increase over the next 12 months.

Regional Overview

North America: Purchase plans have declined by six percentage points over a year ago, with 12% of respondents saying they would either replace or expand their fleet with a new helicopter over the next five years. North America is home to more than 40% of the world’s helicopter fleet.

  • Nearly half of planned North American purchases were identified as light single-engine models, while roughly 32% of new planned purchases were for intermediate and medium-twin product classes.
  • About 38% of planned purchases will be used for emergency medical services (EMS) purposes, followed by 20% for Law Enforcement and 17% for Corporate/VIP usage.

Europe: Compared with 2019 results, purchase plans are higher in this year’s survey. More than 18% of respondents said they would either replace or expand their fleet with a new helicopter over the next five years. The figure was 15% a year ago.

  • Intermediate and medium twin-engine classes captured roughly 41% of total purchase plans for new helicopters. Meanwhile, 37% of respondents indicated plans to purchase light single-engine helicopters, up 5 percentage points from last year.
  •  About 26% of planned purchases will be used for Utility/Aerial work, followed by 23% for Corporate/VIP and 16% for EMS/Search and Rescue (SAR) usage.

Latin America: Results for 2020 show significantly higher fleet replacement and growth expectations compared with 2019. Purchase plans are well above the global average of 14%, and the region’s purchase plans increased by 20 percentage points from last year.

  • Latin America had the highest rate of new aircraft purchase plans globally, with close to 29% of respondents saying they would either replace or expand their fleet with a new helicopter over the next five years.
  • Purchase plans in Brazil increased to 26%, a jump of 21 percentage points over last year’s survey results.
  • Latin American respondents favored light single-engine models, which represent about 50% of their planned purchases. Light twin-engine models are second with 28% of all planned purchases, an increase of 23 percentage points compared with 2019 survey results.

Middle East and Africa: This region has the lowest new purchase rate globally, with only 5% of respondents’ fleets expected to get a new helicopter replacement or addition. Purchase plans are 10 percentage points lower compared with 2019 survey results.

  • Close to 62% of planned new helicopter purchases are for light twin-engine models.
  • Medium twin-engine models are the second-highest mentioned product class in the survey at 23%, a decline of 46 percentage points compared with 2019 survey results.

Asia Pacific: Overall buying plans are down 6 percentage points compared with 2019. Close to 7% of respondents said they would either replace or expand their fleet with a new helicopter over the next five years.

  • Intermediate/Medium twin-engine and light single-engine helicopters were the most popular classes, capturing 38 percent and 35 percent of all mentions for new helicopters, respectively.
  • Despite limited inputs, new helicopter purchase plans are lower in China, showing that about 14% of the fleet would be replaced or expanded by a new helicopter over the next five years. Purchase plans are down by about 7 percentage points compared with 2019 results.

Methodology

The 2020 outlook presents a snapshot of the helicopter business at a given point in time and reflects the current business and political environment. This year’s data comes from a survey of more than 1,000 chief pilots and flight department managers of companies operating 3,559 turbine and 282 piston helicopters worldwide. The survey excluded large fleet or “mega” operators, which were addressed separately. Input received from large oil and gas support and emergency medical service fleet operators is factored into the overall outlook in addition to the individual flight department responses. The survey detailed the types of aircraft operated and assessed specific plans to replace aircraft or add new helicopters to the fleet.

HAI Heli-Expo 2020

PRESS RELEASE – Anaheim, 29 January 2020

OMNI has selected SKYTRAC’s real-time HUMS and push-to-talk solutions to drive safety and improve operational efficiencies.

ANAHEIM, CA, January 29, 2020 – OMNI Táxi Aéreo has selected SKYTRAC to provide both Real-Time Health and Usage Monitoring System (HUMS) and Satellite Push-to-Talk (PTT) solutions on nine AW139s currently engaged in services contracts with PETROBRAS, the largest multinational Brazilian producer of oil and gas, to become the country’s first AW139s equipped with the industry-leading technology.

“SKYTRAC has an excellent reputation as a leading enterprise data solution provider, and we are looking forward to rolling out upgrades with them in the coming months,” said Roberto Coimbra, CEO at OMNI. “Equipping both Satellite Push-to-Talk and Real-Time HUMS on our AW139s will drive safety and improve operational efficiencies for our customers.”

A vital safety program that can help catch, communicate, and resolve emerging safety issues as they are detected, the onboard system monitors the HUMS parameters in flight and alerts ground crews in real-time when exceedances are captured. The solution also streamlines the transfer of HUMS and flight data monitoring files postflight to ground stations, eliminating the need for technicians to board the aircraft and manually download files.

OMNI will also equip SKYTRAC’s PTT solution, a satellite-based 256-bit encrypted radio system which allows the operations control center to efficiently communicate with the aircraft while in flight. The system can hold up to 15 talkgroups per device with crystal clear sound, opposed to traditional HF radio commonly known for distortion and static, cost-prohibitive equipment, and unruly radio tower agreements.

Utilizing the Iridium network for true pole-to-pole coverage, and the ISAT-200A to enable functionality, PTT-enabled assets can communicate freely with less than half a second audio delay from speech on one end to audio playback at the other. PTT also eliminates the reliance of ground or offshore radio towers, and can be even more important when engaged to support emergency situations, a critical feature for offshore oil & gas operators.

HAI Heli-Expo 2020

PRESS RELEASE – Anaheim – 28 January 2020

Airbus Helicopters and Shell Aircraft have been working closely in order to put the H160 into service for offshore transportation.

Shell seeks opportunity for early introduction to service of the H160. Having worked closely with Airbus over the last year to understand the design and manufacturing philosophy behind the H160, Shell Aircraft believes this innovative helicopter offers a potential step change in safety and operational capability. To benefit from those new capabilities at the earliest opportunity, we are remaining fully engaged with Airbus through its final certification stages and looking for opportunities to achieve an accelerated introduction to offshore service,” said Tony Cramp, VP Aircraft, Shell.

“We are honoured that Shell Aircraft wants to be the first to introduce the H160 into service for offshore transportation,” said Bruno Even, Airbus Helicopters CEO. “The H160 integrates Airbus Helicopters’ latest technological innovations that introduce breakthrough safety features with Helionix’s accrued pilot assistance and automated features as well as flight envelop protection. The aircraft’s compact size will be an added advantage to landing on oil platforms,” he added.

H160 was not just designed with passengers and pilots in mind. Operators will appreciate its competiveness thanks to its increased fuel efficiency and customer-centric simplified maintenance eco-system: equipment accessibility has been facilitated by the helicopter’s optimised architecture, the maintenance plan was thoroughly verified during the Operator Zero campaigns, and it is delivered with intuitive 3D maintenance documentation. The H160 is due to enter into service in 2020.