Bristow Helicopters has led the industry in introducing new aircraft types and technology to the civil market. The company’s engineers have designed and implemented thousands of innovations over the years, many of which have become industry standard and are being utilized for UK SAR services.
Bristow Helicopters was recognized with the prestigious Queens Award for Innovation for the development of the dual-hoist system and worked with aircraft manufacturers, hoist manufacturers and SAR crew to hone the technology.
Bristow’s new search and rescue helicopters are fitted with state-of-the-art technology, some of which has never before been used in commercial search and rescue aircraft.
Night Vision Goggles (NVG)
In terms of civilian operations, Bristow’s S-92 SAR aircraft are the first type in Europe to be certified for NVG and have the first “glass cockpit” to be certified NVG compatible. The technology is essential when responding to night time incidents, particularly during the short winter days when operations can extend into the hours of darkness.
Forward-looking Infrared (FLIR)
Bristow Helicopters SAR aircraft have improved forward-looking infrared (FLIR) and thermal imaging camera technology for more effective searches and high illumination lighting to make winching easier and safer. This is particularly useful when operating in confined spaces or conducting cliff rescues.
The UK SAR S-92s are the first aircraft in Europe to be fitted with Trulink® wireless capabilities for communications between the aircraft and crew, while the wireless intercom system allows winchmen to not only communicate with the aircraft but also to communicate with nearby vessels. A much improved external public address system allows the SAR crew to communicate more effectively with stakeholders on the ground below.