AN AVIATION expert has warned against a snap judgment in the wider introduction of the Sikorsky S-92, the American-made helicopter that offshore workers have called for.
Norwegian oil firms brought in the model after workers said they had lost faith in the Super Pumas.
The S-92 is one of two helicopters in use in the North Sea – in addition to the four Super Puma models – along with the smaller AgustaWestland AW139, but it is in smaller numbers.
The S-92 was applauded by federal aviation authorities in the US for its safety, including a “run-dry” feature which allows it to go for 30 minutes after running out of fuel.
However, in March 2009 an S-92 crashed off Newfoundland killing 17 of 18 oil workers and crew onboard.
Quentin Mayberry, an Aberdeen pilot of 14 years and an aviation consultant, said: “It’s too simplistic to suggest S-92 would be a solution. As far as the S-92 goes it looks very nice but has its own problems.”
He added: “Everyone is worried … I’m very sorry for the families of those who lost their lives. Until we know what caused this though, we can’t get rid of Super Pumas, especially when other models have their own drawbacks.”