World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Bristow Helicopters


Bristow Helicopters

Bristow Helicopters
Founded 1953
Fleet size 490
Parent company The Bristow Group
Headquarters Aberdeen
Revenue IncreaseUS$1.67B (FY 2014)[1]
Operating income IncreaseUS$177M (FY 2014)[1]
Net income IncreaseUS$187M (FY 2014)[1]
Total assets IncreaseUS$3.54(FY 2014)[2]
Total equity IncreaseUS$1.77B (FY 2014)[2]

Bristow Helicopters is a British helicopter airline originally based at Aberdeen Airport, Scotland, part of the Bristow Group (NYSE: BRS, S&P 600 component) based in Houston, Texas, USA.

Bristow Helicopters Ltd holds a United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority Type A Operating Licence, it is permitted to carry passengers, cargo and mail on aircraft with 20 seats or more.[3]


The company was formed in June 1953 when Alan Bristow changed the name of his company from Air Whaling Limited.

Bristow Helicopters was one of the early suppliers of offshore helicopter services in the United Kingdom, it is also a supplier of Search and Rescue services and of military helicopter pilot training support in the UK. Bristow is a JAA-approved Type Rating Training Organization and Flight Training Organization, holding CAA approvals numbered UK/TRTO - 34 and UK/FTO - 84. Bristow offers courses in JAA-Approved Type Rating, JAA-Approved Instrument Rating, JAA-Approved TRI/TRE, and the AS332 simulator.

Westland Wessex 60 helicopter of Bristows in 1970
Hiller UH-12C used by Bristow to train Army Air Corps pilots.

From 1965 onwards it operated the Westland Wessex 60 ten-seat helicopter in support of North Sea Oil industry off-shore installations.

During the late 1960s, Bristow operated a fleet of Hiller UH-12 training helicopters based at AAC Middle Wallop which were used to train flight crews for the UK Army Air Corps.

In 1985 it was acquired by British and Commonwealth Holdings plc.[4]

In 1996 Bristow Helicopters was purchased by Offshore Logistics, an American offshore helicopter operator, and was structured as a reverse takeover. The group now operates and maintains a global fleet of over 400 aircraft. In 2006 Offshore Logistics re-branded itself as 'The Bristow Group'.

The Bristow Group expanded their portfolio in April 2007 with the purchase of Helicopter Adventures, a Florida based flight school, Helicopter Adventures was subsequently renamed 'Bristow Academy'.[5] The deal also provided the Bristow Group with the world's largest civilian fleet of Schweizer aircraft.[6]

The Bristow safety vision, Target Zero[7] was announced in Feb 2007.[8] It aims to achieve Zero Accidents, Zero Harm to People and Zero Harm to the Environment. It goes beyond Safety Management Systems to involve Safety Culture & Safety Leadership.[9][10]


Bristow primarily operates in two segments: Helicopter Services and Production Management Services with Helicopter Services conducted through two regions and six business units.

Eastern Hemisphere

Bristow Eastern Hemisphere provides helicopter transportation services to the oil and gas industry in Europe, Africa, Asia and South East Asia, including Australia. Its regional headquarters are located in Redhill, Surrey, England. It operates predominantly medium and large helicopters throughout its Eastern Hemisphere operations. Bristow Eastern Hemisphere Regional Headquarters are located at the Redhill Aerodrome in Redhill Surrey England.

Bristow Africa Operations

Bristow Africa Operations operates Pan African Airlines Nigeria Limited and Bristow Helicopters (Nigeria) Limited with both based at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria,

Bristow European Operations

Bristow European Operations is based at Aberdeen Airport in Dyce near Aberdeen in Scotland.

Bristow International Operations

Bristow International Operations Regional Headquarters, for other international operations, is also based at Redhill Aerodrome.

Bristow Southeast Asia Operations

Bristow Helicopters Australia Super Puma

Bristow Southeast Asia Operations consists of Bristow Helicopters Australia Pty Ltd., formerly Mayne Helicopters then Mayne-Bristow Helicopters, based in Redcliffe, Western Australia. Also operates Whirl-Wide Helicopters in New Zealand and Pacific Helicopters in Papua New Guinea.

Western Hemisphere

Bristow Western Hemisphere provides helicopter transportation, production management, maintenance and other support services to the oil and gas industry throughout North and South America, including the Caribbean. Bristow Western Hemisphere Regional Headquarters are located in Houston, Texas.

Bristow (formerly Air Logistics)

In January 2010, Bristow announced the retirement of the Air Logistics name and Gulf of Mexico operations would operate under the name Bristow. Bristow provides helicopter services, maintenance and other support services to the oil and gas industry. It operates more than 170 single and twin-turbine helicopters in the United States. These receive support, materials and operational assistance from its regional headquarters and primary maintenance facility in New Iberia, Louisiana.

Bristow Alaska (formerly Air Logistics of Alaska)

Bristow Alaska is headquartered in Fairbanks, Alaska with additional facilities at the Deadhorse Airport at Prudhoe Bay (North Slope), the Valdez Airport (Prince William Sound), and in Anchorage (Cook Inlet). Bristow Alaska establishes temporary remote project bases anywhere within Alaska in support of customer field programs. It mainly provides helicopter transportation services to the Alaska oil and gas and related support industries. It also provides flight services to state and federal firefighting efforts, survey, minerals, remote construction and O&M work, and for the capture andtagging of animals for wildlife agencies. Its largest customer is the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company in support of the day-to-day operation of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System.[11]


Bristow International operates in Central and South America, these include: Mexico, Colombia, Trinidad & Tobago and Brazil. It has an equity partner in Heliservicio Campeche in Mexico and Aeroleo Taxi Aerea Ltda in Brazil.

Southern Caribbean

Bristow Caribbean Ltd in Trinidad is managed locally with oversight from the Bristow International headquarters in New Iberia, Louisiana.

Joint ventures

In addition to its wholly owned international operations, Bristow Group maintains service agreements and equity interests in helicopter operators in Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Mexico, Norway and Russia (Sakhalin) and the United Kingdom. This allows Bristow to extend its range of services into new and developing oil and gas markets and helps provide a lower cost structure in some operating areas. Partners include:

Norsk Helikopter-scheme


The Search and Rescue Training Unit at RAF Valley is a detachment of the Defence Helicopter Flying School at Shawbury, from which its aircraft are distinguished by their flotation bags, rescue winches and cable cutters above the cockpit roof. The aircraft are maintained to EASA standards but are military registered allowing them to operate outside civilian flight restrictions.

All the Defence Helicopter Flying School Helicopters and Synthetic Training Equipment are owned by FB Heliservices, a consortium of Bristow Helicopters and FR Aviation, who provide 40% of the instructional staff, all the ground school and simulator staff, carry out all maintenance and provide support services.

Search and Rescue

Sikorsky S-61N operating for HM Coastguard
Bristow Helicopter (G-JSAR) at De Kooy Airfield. G-JSAR was a Search and Rescue helicopter.

Bristow helicopters operated Sikorsky S-61N helicopters on behalf of Her Majesty's Coastguard, the United Kingdom's Coast Guard, until July 2007 after which there was a 12-month transitional period whilst CHC Helicopter took over the contract replacing the S-61N with new helicopters.

Bristow operated four dedicated Search and Rescue (SAR) sites in the UK, on behalf of the Coast Guard Service. The units were located at Portland (EGDP) and Lee-on-Solent (EGHF) on the south coast of England, at Stornoway (EGPO) in the Outer Hebrides, and at Sumburgh (EGPB) in the Shetland Isles.

Northern North Sea services operated from Aberdeen (EGPD), Scatsta (EGPM) and Stavanger (ENZV).

Southern North Sea services operate from Norwich (EGSH), Humberside (EGNJ) and Redhill (EGKR).

Now Bristow S61N's are responsible to carry out SAR tasks, operating from Den Helder Airport on behalf of the oil and gas industry.

On 26 March 2013 Bristow were awarded a 10-year contract to operate the search and rescue operations in the United Kingdom, currently provided by the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy.[12]


Bristow operates a large fleet of 490 helicopters and aircraft, includes unconsolidated affiliates and joint venture partners.[13]


  • 5N-ABQ, a Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer Srs1, crashed on 4 April 1967 in Nigeria during a single engine approach.
  • G-ASWI North Sea ditching - On 13 August 1981 a Westland Wessex 60 helicopter lost power to the main rotor gearbox, going out of control during the ensuing autorotation. The flight was carrying 11 gas workers from the Leman gas field to Bacton, Norfolk. All people on board were lost.[14][15]
  • G-BJJR a Bell 212 that crashed with the loss of two crew on approach to the Cecil Provine in 1984.
  • On 4 July 1983, Bristow Helicopters AS332L Super Puma (G-TIGD) crashed on landing at Aberdeen. During the approach to Aberdeen from the North Hutton platform, a loud bang was heard, followed by severe vibration. A PAN call was made to ATC by the crew. Shortly before landing control was lost and the helicopter struck the runway heavily on its side. 10 of 16 passengers received serious injuries. A tail boom panel had become detached in flight and damaged all five tail rotor blades. The resulting imbalance to the tail rotor assembly led to the separation of this unit and subsequent loss of control.
  • VR-BIG Aerospatiale SA-330J Puma 5 December 1991 in Mermaid Sound, Dampier, Western Australia, after a pick-up from departing LNG tanker in night VFR conditions, entered vortex ring state and ditched. Stayed afloat for over 2 hrs.
  • G-TIGH on 14 March 1992 at 1950 a Bristow's Tiger (Super Puma) ferrying passengers from the Cormorant Alpha to the flotel Safe Supporter, lost altitude and crashed. Of the two crew and 14 passengers on board, one crew member and ten passengers were lost.
  • G-TIGK on Bristow Flight 56C between Aberdeen and oil rigs in the North Sea. On 19 January 1995 the AS 332L Super Puma helicopter was struck by lightning. The flight was carrying 16 oil workers from Aberdeen to an oil platform at the Brae oilfield. All people on board survived.
  • G-BJVX North Sea Crash - G-BJVX, a commercial Sikorsky S-76A helicopter operated by Norwich-based Bristow Helicopters, crashed in the evening of 16 July 2002 in the southern North Sea while it was making a ten-minute flight between the gas production platform Clipper and the drilling rig Global Santa Fe Monarch, after which it was to return to Norwich Airport. The 22-year old helicopter was flying at an altitude of about 320 ft (98 m) when workers on the Global Santa Fe Monarch heard "a loud bang". No witnesses were actually watching the aircraft at the time, but some saw it dive steeply into the sea. A witness also reported seeing the helicopter's rotor head with rotor blades attached falling into the sea after the body of the helicopter had impacted. The accident caused the death of all those on board (two crew members and nine Shell workers as passengers). The body of the eleventh man has never been recovered.
  • G-JSAR Eurocopter Super Puma SAR - ditched in the North Sea on 22 November 2006. G-JSAR was operated from Den Helder Airport in the Netherlands on behalf of oil companies. All on board survived uninjured.[16]

See also

  • Whirlwind (novel) - A novel by James Clavell, first published in 1986, which closely inspired by the true struggle of Bristow Helicopters to escape the revolutionary forces and get their employees and equipment out of the unstable, deteriorating situation in Iran. Much of the story mirrors these and other contemporary events.
  • Bristow Norway - (formerly Norsk Helikopter) is a Norwegian helicopter company that transports crew to oil installations in the North Sea.
  • Petroleum Helicopters International


  1. ^ a b c BRISTOW GROUP (BRS) annual SEC income statement filing via Wikinvest.
  2. ^ a b BRISTOW GROUP (BRS) annual SEC balance sheet filing via Wikinvest.
  3. ^ UK CAA - Operating Licence Holders
  4. ^ British & Commonwealth acquires remaining interest in Bristow Helicopter Group
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ BURMAN, RICHARD & EVANS, ANDY (2008) Target Zero: A Culture of Safety, Defence Aviation Safety Centre Journal 2008, p22-27.
  10. ^ EVANS, ANDY & PARKER, JOHN (2008) Beyond Safety Management Systems, AeroSafety World, May p12-17
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Bristow Group to take over UK search and rescue from RAF". BBC News. 26 March 2013. Retrieved 30 March 2013. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ Report No: 4/1983. Report on the accident to Westland Wessex 60, G-ASWI, 12 miles ENE of Bacton, Norfolk on 13 August 1981
  15. ^ 4/1983 Westland Wessex 60, G-ASWI Appendices
  16. ^

External links

Bristow sites:

  • Bristow Group
  • Bristow Search and Rescue
  • Bristow page at Helicopter History site
  • lider Aviação

Other sites:

  • Alan Bristow-Daily Telegraph obituaries
  • Lotsa pics at

Further reading

  • Bristow, A., and Malone, P. (2009). Alan Bristow Helicopter Pioneer: The Autobiography. Barnsley, UK: Pen & Sword Books.  
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.