Rising energy prices boost sales of helicopters for offshore rigs

Conn. –Rising fuel prices that are a bane to consumers have been a boon to Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. and other manufacturers of helicopters shuttling workers to and from rapidly multiplying offshore drilling rigs. Between 2002 and 2005, commercial helicopter sales rose from about $100 million to $600 million for the Stratford-based subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. About two-thirds of it was driven by a boom in offshore drilling rig construction sparked by skyrocketing oil prices, Sikorsky spokesman Ed Steadham said.