Cougar’s helicopter OK’d for flights

Moira Baird
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S-92 returned to St. John’s Monday night without incident

A Cougar Sikorsky S-92 helicopter gets set to take off from the company's headquarters at St. John's International Airport.

Suncor Energy says an offshore helicopter that experienced “higher than normal” vibration during an aborted Monday morning flight  checked out as OK and ready to fly again.

It arrived in St. John’s about 10:30 p.m. the same day — following an assessment by Cougar Helicopters’ flight engineers who were flown to the rig.

No mechanical problem was found with the helicopter.

“The diagnostics that Cougar ran showed there were no anomalies in the aircraft,” said Suncor spokeswoman Nancy Wicks.

“They found that the aircraft was serviceable and they cleared it for flight.”

Wicks said “non-equipment reasons,” such as a change in wind direction or aircraft speed, could affect the vibration level in the helicopter.

“In these circumstances, the pilots do what they think is right with the safety of the passengers in mind and they landed as a precautionary measure.

“It’s a good outcome. They were just being cautious.”

Wicks said no passengers were aboard the helicopter when it returned to the Cougar heliport Monday evening.

Weather will determine when the offshore workers can return ashore. On Tuesday afternoon, flights to the oilfields were cancelled, according to Cougar’s website.

On Monday, helicopter pilots aborted a flight shortly after taking off at 9:25 a.m. from the drill rig Henry Goodrich.

The Sikorsky S-92 helicopter landed safely on the rig’s helideck.

Seventeen passengers and two pilots were on the flight. There were no injuries.

Cougar flew a pair of flight engineers to the rig that evening to assess the aircraft and analyze computer data from it. That helicopter couldn’t land at the rig because the other S-92 was still on the helideck.

Three search and rescue technicians were also sent along to lower the engineers to the rig by hoist.

The Henry Goodrich is drilling an exploration well for Suncor northeast of the Hibernia oilfield.

The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board started posting notices about helicopter incidents on its website Monday.

They can be found online at:

Organizations: Suncor Energy, Hibernia, Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board

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Recent comments

  • Tommy Toe
    December 25, 2010 - 05:28

    It seems to me that some people just want Cougar out of the off shore oil business completly. The pilots made a good call and from what I read Cougar has been more than open in its communication with the public. Go figure.

  • Oil worker
    December 24, 2010 - 00:10

    Why doesnt Cougar have competition? Why doesn't Cougar do more on scheduling especialy at times of backed up schedules? Why didn't the chopper that flew empty to Henry Goodrich to pickup the passengers that it couldn't take back the night before not schedule to be there for daylight? Why did this chopper leave late, it had no one to check in? I have been working offshore around the world and have never seen the transport back and forth rigs so bad.

  • Jerry
    December 22, 2010 - 15:45

    They made a night flight back. Did Wells not ban that until the SAR service improved?

    • Freemanoates
      December 22, 2010 - 21:04

      Night flying is banned until the choppers are equipped with auto hover functionality. Night flying is permitted when there are no passengers on board. You still have two pilots, which makes no sense to me.

  • Craig Warren
    December 22, 2010 - 09:27

    Good job boys! It only took 17 lives to step up the precautionary measures. You should be so proud!

    • adam
      December 22, 2010 - 15:12

      i think that cougar should loose there contract . Dont trust them one bit!!!!!!!!!!

    • freemanoates
      December 22, 2010 - 21:12

      Sikorsky is at fault for the chopper incident, not Cougar. However, as an offshore worker, I believe their practices can sometimes be inappropriate. They should have an open door policy on questions and concerns on safety and the passengers wellbeing. I have found this not the case. I know of a specific case where a passenger was questioning the use of old suits when available HTS-1 suits were available in his size. He was met by his OIM offshore due to a complaint from Cougar.