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PH-NZD Sikorsky S-61N MkII c/n 61489 - CHC Helicopters Netherlands - Den Helder Airport in Holland - 19 September 2009 Den Helder-de Kooy (EHKD)

The Sikorsky S-61N is a twin-engine medium utility helicopter with a sealed hull for amphibious operations that can accommodate a basic crew of two and up to 26 passengers. The Sikorsky S-61N is based on the military Sikorsky SH-3A/S61B Sea King series originally developed in the late 1950s for all-weather operations. The Sikorsky S-61B prototype flew on 11 March 1959 and the type entered service with the U.S. Navy as the SH-3A Sea King in 1962. The Sikorsky S-61N and its non-amphibious configurated variant Sikorsky S-61L are based on and essentially a commercial equivalent of the military S-61B incorporating a number of changes, including a longer fuselage. The Sikorsky S-61L was flown for the first time on 6 December 1960 and received its FAA Type Approval on 2 November 1961. The S-61L entered production the same year. The Sikorsky S-61N with sealed hull and stabilising SH-3's floats flew first on 7 August 1962. The S-61N version is optimized for overwater operations, particularly oil rig support. The initial production S-61s were fitted with two 1250shp General Electric CT58-110-1 turboshafts. Both the S-61L and S-61N were subsequently updated to Mk II standard with more powerful CT58-140 engines giving better hot and high performance and other improvements and detail refinements. Production of the commercial Sikorsky S-61s ended in 1979.

On 24 November 1971, Sikorsky S-61N s/n 61489 was registered PH-NZD with KLM Noordzee Helicopters NV. On 13 December 1973, the registered owner name changed to KLM Noordzee Helicopters BV and on 16 September 1977, to KLM Helikopters BV. The PH-NZD was mainly operated on offshore flights, first out of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and the municipal heliport in Den Helder, until 1981, when the municipal heliport in Den Helder was closed and replaced by the new built Den Helder Airport, next to the military Naval Air Station De Kooy. On 18 April 1986, ownership of the Sikorsky changed to KLM NV, with KLM Helikopters BV as operator. In 1991, Rowan Companies Inc., owner of ERA Aviation Inc., bought 49% shares of KLM Helikopters BV and the company was renamed KLM ERA Helicopters BV. As a result the PH-NZD was registered with KLM ERA Helicopters BV as operator on 12 October 1993. In 1994, the PH-NZD participated as part of the United Nations peacekeeping force as UN191 in Croatia until the aircraft was damaged and had to be replaced by Sikorsky S-61N PH-NZR by mid 1994. In 1997, Schreiner Luchtvaart Groep BV bought the 51% shares of KLM in KLM/ERA Helicopters BV. On 30 January 1998, Schreiner Luchtvaart Groep BV bought also the 49% interest of Rowan Companies Inc. in KLM ERA Helicopters BV. As a result of this acquisition, KLM/ERA Helicopters BV, became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Schreiner Aviation Group BV and was renamed in Schreiner Northsea Helicopters BV. On 11 February 1998, the registered ownership of Sikorsky PH-NZD changed to KLM ERA Helicopters BV and on 13 July 1998 the PH-NZD was registered with Schreiner Northsea Helicopters BV. Between 28 April 1999 and 26 April 2001, the S-61N was leased by Irish Helicopters Ltd. and registered EI-CTK. On 27 April 2001, the helicopter reverted to its Dutch registration, PH-NZD. On 2 August 2002, Capital Aviation Services, Hoofddorp, was registered as owner of the PH-NZD and Schreiner Northsea Helicopters BV, Den Helder, as operator. In February 2004, CHC Helicopter Corporation (CHC) acquired 100% of the shares of the Schreiner Aviation Group B.V. As a result of this acquisition, Schreiner Northsea Helicopters BV became part of CHC Europe and was renamed CHC Helicopters Netherlands BV. On 24 April 2006, Capital Aviation Services was registered as owner and Schreiner Northsea Helicopters BV as operator of the PH-NZD. On 31 December 2010, Sikorsky S-61N Mk.II PH-NZD made it’s final offshore flight out of Den Helder as the last Dutch Sikorsky 61N operated by CHC Helicopters. During nearly forty years the helicopter had accumulated almost 33.000 hours and 77.000 landings. The Sikorsky S-61N was be replaced by two Sikorsky 76's in Januari 2011. On 14 February 2011, the S-61N Mk.II departed Den Helder Airport by road on its way as to Vancouver in Canada, and on 18 February 2011, registration PH-NZD was cancelled. On 27 April 2011, Carson Helicopters Inc.,Grants Pass, OR, reserved registration N445HD for the Sikorsky S-61N Mk.II c/n 61489 but the registration was ntu. On 19 October 2011, the 1971-built helicopter was registered N489WC in the USA with US Department Of State, Patrick AFB, Florida. On 12 January 2016, the N489WC was registered with Robinson Air Crane Inc., Miami, Florida. On 19 September 2009, Sikorsky S-61N MkII PH-NZD was seen in service with CHC Helicopters Netherlands at Den Helder Airport / Maritiem Vliegkamp De Kooy, during the Heldair Show Maritiem 2009.

page last updated: 04-05-2017
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands

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