Simple Maths really....when you lose them one or two at a time....it makes your statistics look much better than if you lose them a cozen or so each time. Having one engine means you have half the chance for an engine failure....and it eliminates problems on landing and takeoff trying to fly a OEI profile.
Add in the GOM guys prefer VFR to IFR.....again...makes things simpler and safer.
Dauphin dude, there is almost no excuse for your self-admitted ignorance. I've been watching this accident closely - being an ex-PHi guy and all, and so far NOT ONE BLESSED THING has indicated this was an engine-related accident. So just shut up, mm'kay?
Why are you GOM people so defensive and obsessed with the number of engines? It is well known (at least in the real world) that the majority of GOM accidents are related to poor CRM and flying VFR offshore - not the number of engines.
Multi-engine offshore helicopters operate IFR with 2 pilots and therefore have fewer CRM and and VFR related accidents. They just happen to have 2 engines as well.
Acoording to OGP Stats in their 1998 report singles have the lowest accident rate per 100,000 flight hours, followed by heavy twins.
According to HAI stats over the past 10 years twins have slightly lower fatal accident rate than singles. (.83 per 100k for singles vs .72 per 100k for twins)
(It shows singles have a significantly higher non-fatal accident rate 4.45 per 100k vs 2.67 per 100k for twins) Much of the difference is successful autorotations.
It is noteworthy to add that these are US helicopter fleetwide, not just oil and gas, so your single engine stats include ag, powerline, animal capture and other higher risk flight profiles.
As SASless said different environment. shorter flights, calmer water, as well as the often touted different government, customer thing.
I fly singles, (not in the gulf) and would feel no safer in a twin. I would however, feel less safe on any type that has only a million hours under its belt. Greatest new technology or not, there is value in 30 years of refinement, and an element of uncertainty in anything new.
Look at the EC 225 the S-92 the AW 139 and the EC 135, all NEW aircraft certified unther the new, more stringent regs and the source of many of the worst accidents in the past few years. All growing pains I'm sure. And I have no doubt at some point they will be safer than the models they replaced, but we wont know that point until we've passed it, and I'm not sure we have on some of them.
I agree with what the other guy said about the second pilot, I think that helps a lot more than a second engine.
Lots of pilots would like autopilots in single-engine aircraft, and lots of operators would also, and would install them immediately if they were available. Unfortunately, none are currently available, AFAIK. Light, reliable, and relatively inexpensive models are essential, and there's the rub. Any piece of equipment that costs as much as the airframe may as well not even exist, but I'm not aware of any available at any price. Work is in progress, but it's far from ready to install.
Well that is certainly not my point. It seems that only EASA think that turbine engines fail on a regular basis but we who fly and maintain them know that is not the case. It is the way that helicopters are operated that cause the accidents.
Sasless points out that the GOM environment is 'different' to the North Sea. That may well be the case but 2 pilot, IFR helicopters are the norm for offshore flights almost exclusively these days in all parts of the world - even the Third World.
Mini-STAB and I believe a 2-cue autopilot was/has been installed in some Longrangers as part of IR certification. Weight? The loss of a revenue seat for the whole gig? Less if you don't need full IR, "just" stabilisation with alt and heading hold. No doubt impractical for a B206, but what held up implementation (and development) in more Longrangers?
In the early 80's almost all the 206's I flew were autopilot equipped.
In those days Collins adapted one of their popular fixed-wing autopilots, the model 841, for helicopter use and it became the 841H. Bendix-King also began production of a helicopter autopilot, the KAP-150H and together with the Collins unit these were probably the two most popular light helicopter AP's during the 80's.
In the 90's, and due to the relatively small number of sales, Collins and Bendix stopped producing these models along with SFENA (the firm who had supplied AP's for the US Navy's TH-57 'Sea Ranger' fleet).
However, while the American avionics manufacturers ceased production of light helicopter AP's France's SFIM Industries (now Safran, owned by Sagem) has been producing 'specifically helicopter' AP's (AFCS) for years - check here for the Safran site.
As a side note; my godfather had been working on the development of a specifically helicopter autopilot system with Ferranti's Aircraft Equipment Division as a replacement for their SAS unit but, alas, the programme was axed when the Ferranti group ran into financial difficulties and the division's new owners (GEC-Marconi) did not wish to pursue the project.
I have no clue what the minimum equipment list is for GOM ops avionics but one supposes this would be nice:
206L III panel
The LIII above is fitted with: Dual attitude indicators, HSI, RMI, 3 axis autopilot, rad alt, DME and M3 approach certified GPS.
Of autopilots and single engine operations .. Ron Bower (1996 Around the World Helicopter Speed Record holder) said: "I expect it saved my life many times during marginal-weather low-altitude ocean crossings and reduced ground-reference flying at night."