Search and Rescue

The iconic yet aging yellow RAF and Royal Navy search and rescue (SAR) Sea King helicopters are gradually being phased out. Their retirement marks 70 years of support from the two forces.

The contract is moving into the private sector for the first time where the Bristow Group will fully role it out in 2017 and it will see the introduction of a fleet of new aircraft.

Comprising new Sikorsky S-92s and AgustaWestland 189s the 22 new aircraft will operate from 10 locations around the UK.

All bases will operate 24 hours a day and ensuring an aircraft is ready is key to Bristow delivering the level of service it is contracted to.

The S92 and AW189 are substantially sized aircraft and getting to serviceable areas such as the main rotor and tail sections to maintain them can only be safely done using bespoke access platforms.

The design team at Planet Platforms had to factor in a number of features to provide the Bristow maintenance engineers with the optimum work platform. Manufactured from an aluminium structure with aluminium decking the stands provide complete access to the port and starboard sides and additionally the tail section of both aircraft.

The fitting of lights, air and electrics bring some specific benefits. Firstly they illuminate the working area but more importantly greatly reduce the need for trailing cables that present potential trip hazards.

Aluminium Helicopter Docking Stands.

The air and electrical take-off points at ground and platform level were strategically placed on the side and tail stands in areas where the engineers spent the largest amount of time.

The handrails on the side stands are telescopic and were specifically designed this way to aid the manual daily rotation of the main blades. The handrails are simply and quickly lowered preventing them clashing with the rotors as they spin.

Accompanied with profiled decking that follow the contours of each aircraft type these aircraft stands highlight Bristow’s commitment to maintaining this vital service.