Bristow recently introduced the EC155B1, a new derivative of the Dauphin. Smaller helicopters, with less range than some of the larger types, are better suited to the southern North Sea where there are shorter distances to the offshore installations. The company has three EC155B1s based at Norwich.
A new entrant to the North Sea is the Sikorsky S-92A. This example belongs to CHC and is pictured about to touch down on the Forties Delta production platform. Business is booming for the oil companies largely due to the high price of 'black gold', which in turn means the helicopter companies that support these operations are also kept busy.
CHC is the second biggest operator at Aberdeen flying over 117,000 people last year. One of the company's AS332L2s is pictured returning to Aberdeen with offshore workers while a bmi regional ERJ-145 holds for departure. Air traffic controllers at Aberdeen have the challenging task of co-ordinating the slower-moving helicopters with a large number of fixed-wing aircraft.
A Flightline BAe 146 operating for the Integrated Aviation Consortium touches down at Aberdeen. This is a grouping of oil companies which has contracted three of these aircraft to ferry their workers from Aberdeen to Scatsa in the Shetland Islands, where they are flown by helicopter to offshore installations.
Oil workers board a Bond Offshore Helicopters' AS332L2 en route for two weeks work on an installation in the North Sea. They are required to wear a survival suit and lifejacket on each flight.
In addition to crew change flights, Bond won a contract from BP to provide two provide AS332L2 for search and rescue. These helicopters are specially equipped for their role and to date have rescued 56 people One AS332L2 is kept at Sumburgh while the other is based offshore on the BP Miller platform.
Bristow Helicopters has been a long-term user of the Super Puma (or Tiger as the company calls them, and is continuing this tradition with the introduction of the latest variant - the EC225LP. The latter helicopter is faster and can carry 19 passengers much further than the earlier models.
A Bond Offshore Helicopters' AS332L2 makes its final approach to the Miller platform This company is the latest entrant to the North Sea market having started operations in 2004. It currently operates seven AS332L2s, though it also has two EC225LPs on order as well as three options.
CHC has recently introduced the AW139, two of which are based at North Denes in Norfolk. This helicopter is wearing the latest version of the company's livery, which can be compared with the above photo of an AS332L2.