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In a major milestone for the Sikorsky S-76D helicopter, Thai Aviation Services (TAS) has surpassed 10,000 flight hours with its S-76D fleet.
TAS currently operates five D models in support of oil-and-gas customers in the Gulf of Thailand, having taken delivery of the aircraft in late 2016 and early 2017. The company also operates two Sikorsky S-92 helicopters, and an older S-76C++.
The latest version in the S-76 series, the S-76D features Pratt & Whitney Canada PW210S engines, new main rotor blades, and a Thales TopDeck avionics suite and autopilot, among other upgrades.
“When comparing to the earlier version, the D model obviously has a lot more new functions and technology on the aircraft. The engine has more power, which provides less exposure time in the environment and the area we are operating the aircraft,” TAS managing director Suwanawat Koeworakul told Vertical by email.
Koeworakul acknowledged that the transition to the S-76D has not been without its challenges. However, he said that detailed planning by TAS, along with support from Sikorsky and Pratt & Whitney Canada, helped minimize disruptions to the company’s operations.
In a press release announcing the milestone, Audrey Brady, Sikorsky’s vice president of Commercial Systems & Services, stated, “We genuinely value the trust and confidence Thai Aviation Services has demonstrated in Sikorsky products over the past three decades. Sikorsky is extremely proud to provide TAS with safe, reliable aircraft to support such a high operational tempo with first-rate availability.”
As a privately owned air operator certificate holder registered in Thailand, TAS has supported offshore oil-and-gas operations in the region for 30 years, using Sikorsky helicopters exclusively. Earlier this year, Sikorsky authorized TAS as the first Sikorsky Customer Support Center in Thailand, making it the seventh such support center in the Asia-Pacific region and one of 23 worldwide.
In addition to the flight hour milestone, TAS is also forecasting that the flight of its 100,000th S-76D revenue passenger will occur later this fall.
According to Sikorsky, the offshore oil transportation mission accounts for around 65 percent of the more than 7.25 million hours flown by the global S-76 fleet. Since 1977, Sikorsky has delivered more than 875 S-76 helicopters of various models to customers around the world.