This Bell 206B3 Jet Ranger was built in 1977 and owned by Sterling Helicopters Ltd, and previously known as G-BXNS.
Sterling Helicopters had a contract with National Grid to survey gas pipelines. They are the UK’s largest onshore pipeline surveillance and system operator of electricity and gas supply. According to National Grid, helicopters help inspections to be carried out much quicker than from the ground. Usually, it would take three linesmen climbing the towers which took one whole day to inspect three pylons, whilst an airbourne observer can inspect six pylons in one hour. With a helicopter, another benefit whilst it is in the hover is the use of a high-definition camera for filming the condition of the pylons, wires and insulators as well as thermal imaging in colder weather to find ‘’hot joints’’ and to inspect electricity substations. Helicopters have proven to be cost effective as there are still many operating today, including Bell 429s for power line inspections whilst Jet Rangers, such as the Bell 206, were used for gas pipelines.
The original paint scheme was Silver, White and Black, until it was resprayed in a bespoke utility design matching the National Grid’s colour scheme, Blue and White. The Jet Ranger has been operating on behalf of National Grid for most of its life operating across the country.
In 2014, Aerospeed Ltd purchased G-BXNS and continued operating for National Grid as well as Private Flying.
Aerospeed then completely refurbished the Jet Ranger from the ground up which was done by HelixAv based on Manston Airport. With fresh new leather interior and exterior paint scheme by Edmondson Aviation (2020). The new Registration Mark is now G-GSMR.
Helix currently restoring another Bell 206 which is available
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