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SAR Heritage

Bristow SAR History in the UK

Bristow Helicopters has a proud history of providing world-class search and rescue (SAR) services in the UK, beginning in 1971 with Whirlwind helicopters at RAF Manston in Kent. In 1983, Bristow Helicopters established the first civilian SAR bases at Stornoway, Sumburgh, Lee-on-Solent and Portland, on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, operating S-61 helicopters. Bristow operated this contract until 2007.

In the summer of 2013, Bristow Helicopters began delivery of the UK Gap SAR contract for Northern Scotland on behalf of Her Majesty’s Coastguard with Sikorsky S-92 aircraft from bases at Sumburgh and Stornoway.

The Department for Transport then awarded Bristow the UK SAR contract that began in April 2015. Bristow now operates the 10 coastguard helicopter bases around the UK on behalf of Her Majesty’s Coastguard to respond to all SAR incidents for the whole of the UK.

Proud of Long British Heritage

Bristow Helicopters is proud to have been awarded the contract to operate the civilian search and rescue (SAR) helicopter service for the UK on behalf of Her Majesty's Coastguard. The contract represents a continuation of Bristow’s British heritage of providing first-class SAR services in the UK. It is a great success for Bristow Helicopters and a huge endorsement of the company’s reputation for excellence in SAR.