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Sikorsky S-58ET
Sikorsky S-61N
Westland Sea King
Marine 89+69 Royal Navy ZF115
PH-NZA Sikorsky S-61N Mk.II c/n 61257 - KLM ERA Helicopters - Den Helder Airport in Holland - 6 July 1995 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.

The 1964-built Sikorsky S-61N s/n 61.257 was tested as N6952R. On 30 June 1964, the helicopters was registered N92866 with Sikorsky, and the helicopter was leased to New York Airways, that operated the Sikorsky during the 1964/1965 New York World's Fair held at Flushing Meadows Park in the Borough of Queens, New York. On 29 December 1967, the Sikorsky S-61N was registered PH-NZA in the Netherlands with KLM Noordzee Helicopters NV. On 6 September 1977, the PH-NZA was registered with KLM Helikopters BV. The PH-NZA was mainly used on offshore flights first out of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and the municipal heliport in Den Helder. In 1981, 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, and KLM Helikopters moved to Den Helder Airport. On 18 April 1986, ownership of the PH-NZA changed to KLM NV. 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. On 12 October 1993, the PH-NZA was registered with KLM ERA Helicopters BV as operator and KLM NV as owner. On 30 January 1998, Schreiner Luchtvaart Groep BV bought the 51% shares of KLM in KLM/ERA Helicopters BV. On 11 January 1998, Rowan Companies Inc., announced that it had terminated its 49% interest in KLM ERA Helicopters and sold to Schreiner Luchtvaart Groep. As payment for their shares in KLM ERA Helicopters BV, Rowan Companies Inc. received a distribution of assets consisting of cash, two Sikorsky S-61N helicopters, including the PH-NZA, spare engines and parts. The equipment would be utilized by the Company's subsidiary, Era Aviation. As a result of this transaction, the PH-NZA was registered to Rowan Drilling Aviation (Netherlands) BV, on 11 February 1998. The same day, registration PH-NZA was cancelled and on 19 February 1998, the helicopter was temporary registered N562EH in the USA. On 7 April 1998, the helicopter was registered as N563EH with ERA Aviation Inc., Anchorage, AK. On 19 May 2005, the registered owner changed to ERA Helicopters LLC, Lake Charles, LA. On 2 June 2011, registration N562EH was cancelled as exported to Canada. On 28 June 2011, Sikorsky S-61N c/n 61257 was registered C-FIRX in Canada with Coulson Aircrane Ltd, Port Alberni, BC, as owner and Coulson Flying Tankers as operator. On 6 July 1995, Sikorsky S-61N PH-NZA was seen at Den Helder-De Kooy in service with KLM ERA Helicopters.

page last updated: 12-12-2017
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands

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