Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, today recognized the heroic efforts of a CHC Helicopter crew with a Sikorsky Rescue Award, highlighting a successful search and rescue mission conducted with an S-92® helicopter. Sikorsky President Dan Schultz presented the Winged-S Rescue Award in a ceremony at the 2019 Helicopter Association International Heli-Expo.
The CHC crew, based in Statfjord, Norway, saved two sailors in the midst of a storm in late November by navigating an S-92 aircraft through winds of up to 80 miles per hour. The sailors had sent out a mayday call after their boat got caught in waves more than 30 feet high.
"Since the sailing boat was adrift and laying perpendicular to the waves, it was impossible to pick up the survivors straight from their sailing boat," said Patrick Gerritsen, CHC Norway's SAR chief pilot and senior officer. "The mast of the sailing boat was sweeping dangerously, while the boat was being rocked sideways by the waves."
The crew instructed the sailors to jump overboard to be winched to safety while keeping contact with the vessel. Within 20 minutes of their arrival, both survivors had been pulled aboard the S-92 helicopter and were receiving treatment. The boat sunk shortly after the rescue, but due to the quick work of the CHC crew and the search and rescue capabilities of the S-92 aircraft, both individuals were unharmed.
"We are honored to recognize CHC today for this achievement and for fulfilling our founder Igor Sikorsky's vision of the helicopter as a life-saving machine," said Sikorsky President Dan Schultz. "This team demonstrated a commitment to saving lives, no matter the danger to themselves. We are proud to recognize aircrews who continue to reflect Sikorsky's mission to bring people home safely everywhere, every time."
"On behalf of all of us at CHC, I want to thank Sikorsky for helping us honor the crew responsible for this rescue," said Karl Fessenden, president and CEO of CHC. "These brave men gladly risk their lives to save others and count on having a reliable rotorcraft behind them every time they enter harm's way. The S-92 remains a key staple of our global search and rescue fleet and plays a major role in taking care of our crews and passengers throughout the world."
CHC currently operates eight S-92s configured for SAR operations worldwide.
Beginning in 1950, the Winged-S Rescue Award Program honors those who perform rescues flying a Sikorsky helicopter. Through this award, Sikorsky acknowledges the humanitarian efforts of pilots and crewmembers who put themselves in harm's way to save others, fulfilling Igor Sikorsky's vision of the helicopter.
As of 2018, the Sikorsky S-92 has flown nearly 1.5 million total flight hours, predominantly for operators serving the worldwide offshore oil and gas industry and for civil search and rescue operations. Twelve nations have selected the S-92 helicopter for their head of state missions. In May 2014, Sikorsky was selected to build the next U.S. Presidential Helicopter Fleet, the world's most advanced executive transport helicopter, using the S-92 platform.