March 24, 2014
The Irish Coast Guard turned to the people of Ireland when it came to choosing names for the S-92® helicopters that recently joined the fleet. The agency held a naming contest and asked residents to come up with names fitting the helicopter’s mission, Search and Rescue. The winners have been selected and will be honored this week.
The winning names are in Irish Gaelic, recognized as the first official language of the Republic of Ireland. Declan Geoghegan, Manager of SAR Operations, provided a translation.
The Coast Guard sponsored the naming contest to help bring attention to its “Safety on the Water” campaign. “ We had a number of deaths from drowning last summer, “ Geoghegan said. “This contest gave us the chance to remind people who and where to call in the event of an emergency on the water.”
The Irish Coast Guard has completed integration of five S-92s into its fleet. The helicopters are being leased as part of a package, which includes operations crews, from CHC Helicopter. The new aircraft replace the Coast Guard’s previous SAR helicopter, a Sikorsky S-61™, which had given 20 years of unbroken service.
The S-92 is the helicopter’s industry standard. It leads the way by being the most compliant with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and European airworthiness safety standards and meeting or exceeding oil and gas industry requirements. These helicopters perform search and rescue (SAR) missions, head of state missions, as well as a variety of transportation missions for offshore oil and gas crews, utility and airline passengers.
In 2013, the Irish Coast Guard responded to 2,627 incidents involving fishing craft, leisure vessels, and mountaineers. It also performed 253 aeromedical missions and 159 offshore medical evacuations.
The new helicopters allow the Coast Guard to expand its role in providing emergency lifts for Irish health services (HSE), including transporting patients for organ transplants to London.
The new S-92’s are based in Dublin, Waterford, Shannon and Sligo. Winners of the naming contest will visit the base closest to their home and take a short flight in the helicopter they helped name.