Sikorsky recognized North Slope Borough in March 2017 for its critical role in executing life savings missions and ensuring safety with the S-92 helicopter. Sikorsky President Dan Schultz presented the recognition to North Slope Borough Director April Brower and team members in a private ceremony at the 2017 Helicopter Association International Heli-Expo show.
NSB is located above the Arctic Circle and experiences some of the harshest cold weather conditions in the world, with temperatures as low as -55 degrees Celsius with the wind chill. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, NSB has a total area of 94,796 square miles of which 88,695 are land and 6,101 are water, thus the need for a long-range, all-weather capable aircraft.
North Slope Borough took delivery of it’s first-ever Sikorsky S-92 helicopter in September 2016 and dedicated the final months of the year to training the crews and response teams for familiarization of their new aircraft capabilities. Since then, the NSB search and rescue team has performed nearly a dozen missions, helping both individuals and entire communities in compromising situations, all while facing extreme weather conditions.
One critical mission occurred on January 30, when a storm in Kaktovik, Alaska, 272 miles east of Barrow near the Canadian coast, had a series of storms with sustained winds of 85 mph. These weather conditions caused damage to the water supply by producing a rapid water leak, eliminating 30 days of water in just 24 hours for the population of almost 250 residents. Also, the force of the elements knocked a building off its foundation and onto a fuel storage tank, creating a fuel spill that jeopardized the safety of those in the nearby community. To combat the casualties, the NSB S-92 helicopter was dispatched to the scene, transporting NSB Public Works and Spill Response personnel who successfully repaired the fuel tank, cleaned the spill and restored water supply for the entire community.