Maybe we should start a thread...."This week's crash of a Jetranger in the Gulf of Mexico". This is becoming an all together too frequent event....combine these accidents with EMS JetRanger night flight during inclement weather crashes and we could have a very busy thread. I guess the other topic that would tie into this would be Bell 407 crashes in the Gulf....Lord knows there have been a bunch of those too.
Am I becoming cynical here?
This article appeared after the ERA S-76 Crash.....
Helicopter Crash in Gulf of Mexico a Tragic Reminder of
Long Delays in Improving Safety
Death of 10 Underscores Need for New Technologies to Protect Pilots and Passengers
Washington, D.C. – Tuesday’s tragic helicopter crash spotlights the dangerous conditions in which helicopter pilots work and also the long-overdue necessity to give these workers the advanced technologies they desperately need, according to Edward Wytkind, president of the AFL-CIO’s Transportation Trades Department (TTD), which represents 35 AFL-CIO transportation unions.
"Our hearts go out to the victims of this crash and their families," Wytkind said.
Even though offshore oil and natural gas exploration now extends up to 200 miles into the Gulf of Mexico, the helicopter pilots who provide service to these offshore oil rigs lose radio contact and critical weather information when they go beyond 50 miles from shore. This poses grave dangers to the passengers and crew of the approximately 7,500 helicopter flights which occur daily in the Gulf. Additionally, Coast Guard rescue capabilities in the Gulf remain limited.
"We must not tolerate such deadly working conditions. How many more tragic deaths must we grieve before we do something to protect helicopter pilots and their passengers?," Wytkind asked.
The TTD’s Executive Committee unanimously approved a policy statement March 7 demanding government action to improve the safety of Gulf helicopter operations, citing a widespread acknowledgment by government and industry that a problem exists. Yet little progress has been made in establishing better communications and surveillance and implementing weather observation equipment. For example, last year Congress failed to appropriate funds for new radio technologies and weather information.
"Helicopter pilots in the Gulf of Mexico have some of the most dangerous jobs in all of transportation. They work under tremendous pressure and fly in some of the world’s most challenging conditions,"said Butch Grafton, president of the Professional Helicopter Pilots Association, a council of the TTD- affiliated Office of Professional Employees International Union. "It’s long past time that we stop ignoring the needs of these courageous workers