Oil Spill Response Ltd. (OSRL) flew its two Boeing 727 jet aircraft south of the Isle of Wight as part of an exercise which will prepare the aircraft and its crew to deal with an oil spill at the other end of the world (photo: OSRL)
There’s every reason to feel proud about the aircraft flying over the “poet’s corner” of the Isle of Wight, Needles Headland and Tennyson Down in mid September.
Oil Spill Response Ltd. (OSRL) flew its two Boeing 727 jet aircraft south of the Isle of Wight as part of an exercise which will prepare the aircraft and its crew to deal with an oil spill at the other end of the world. The aircraft will be spraying water to simulate a response to a real incident. OSRL stresses that this is an exercise and not a real incident response.
And the reason for local and indeed national pride comes from the fact that both OSRL and the aerospace capability which has repurposed the Boeing aircraft for aerial dispersant work are British, with OSRL, based in Southampton, the world leader in providing emergency response capability for the global oil and gas industry.
OSRL is the largest international industry-funded cooperative, which has the capability to respond to oil spills wherever they may occur in the world. Over the past two years it has worked with British aero engineering firm T2 Aviation, part of the 2Excel Aviation group, to modify and deliver two former FedEx Boeing 727-252F (RE) aircraft which will be central to OSRL’s new aerial dispersant fleet.
Previously OSRL used the four-engine turboprop L-382 Hercules, an aircraft well-known to many as a troop, medevac, and cargo transport aircraft. Following the Macondo oil spill in 2010, a joint industry project was established to secure a suitable replacement for the OSRL Hercules when the need for a faster, more capable aircraft was identified.
T2 Aviation won the tender to source, design, modify, certify and operate a wholly new capability for OSRL. The Boeing 727-252 (RE) was eventually chosen. A purpose-built freight aircraft, it offered the operational stability and long-range capabilities sought by OSRL. Built by Boeing in 1984, T2 Aviation acquired the last two Boeing 727-252 (RE) planes in what was an original production of 14 freight aircraft.
Fitted with internal tanks, pumps and a spray boom to deliver dispersant liquid, the two specially adapted Boeing 727-252 (RE) aircraft are truly a first-of-a-kind capability for the oil and gas industry.
The 727-252 (RE) model proved to be an ideal aircraft for OSRL, offering greater stability, adaptability and an almost unrivalled power to weight ratio. “Our main requirement was to acquire an asset that could travel further and faster than our L-382 Hercules,” says Rob James, OSRL’s Regional Director EMEA.
So, there is every reason to feel proud – and not in the least alarmed – if you spotted OSRL’s Boeing 727s mid month.