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What's New In W. Africa (Nigeria)

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What's New In W. Africa (Nigeria)

Old 12th Nov 2006, 07:24
  #1341 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Nigeria
Posts: 50
Re- OAS Helicopter

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‘Helicopter crash victims, responding to treatment’
By Our correspondent
Published: Sunday, 12 Nov 2006
The management of OAS Helicopters has said victims of the air disaster involving its helicopter, which happened in Warri on Friday, were responding to treatment in Lagos.

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Site of the Crashed Helicopter

In a statement signed by its executive director, Captain Moses Weefur, the company expressed its heartfelt sympathy to the family of Kingsley Iroabuchi, the engineering contractor who lost his life in the unfortunate incident.

The statement noted further that the Iroabuchi was the only non-staff member and second Nigerian on board the helicopter during the non-commercial company flight from Lagos to Port Harcourt..

In the one-page statement, the management of the helicopter leasing and charter services company said it was ready to cooperate with the authorities investigating the crash, to ascertain its cause.

The helicopter with registration number 5N-BHU reportedly crashed after colliding with high-tension power cables along Aladja Expressway in Warri.

Four persons including two Nigerians and two Filipos were on board the ill-fated aircraft. Three persons, Capt. Everest Nnaji, and the two Filipos survived the sustained injuries while Iroabuchi died.
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Old 14th Nov 2006, 05:09
  #1342 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 1999
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A new Presidential helicopter?

Chairman of the Committee, Ekweremadu, confirmed at the session that the committee had earlier been assured that the helicopter was one of the best available in the industry, although he had not set his eyes on it.

According to him, "As soon as the helicopter arrives, I will go with members of my committee and possibly with a team of experts to inspect it."
What did they buy?

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Old 14th Nov 2006, 06:44
  #1343 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2006
Location: New Zealand
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AB 139 I think
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Old 14th Nov 2006, 07:16
  #1344 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 1999
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'Someone' told me that too!
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Old 14th Nov 2006, 10:36
  #1345 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Nigeria
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Re-Presidential Helicopter

Yeah. I saw one AB 139, 5N-BJB parked at Aero apron yeasterday! They might be right then since Aero-Contractors is also engaged in the fleet. The colour is white and have no resemblace with CHC colour. Rumoured too that one of the presidential aspirant from the south south is also 'buying' one to his fleet of fixed wings aircrafts.
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Old 18th Nov 2006, 16:31
  #1346 (permalink)  
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5N-BJB is actually painted in the colours of Rivers State Government with the blue and green flashes on the tail. It is owned by RSG (or Governor Peter Odili? - one of the Presidential aspirants) and will be maintained and flown by Aero. So far it's sitting in the hangar because it has no C of A. Expect Aero to bring another one next monnth or January, probably for Agip.
The Presidential AW139 will probably be flown by the Nigerian Air Force.
There are also rumours that caverton Helicopters may operate a helicopter for Bonny LNG, though with their track record so far, that's rather amazing. With so many staff leaving or being fired, I wonder who'll fly and maintain it? Their A109E has already left Nigeria having been sold at what is rumoured as a huge loss from the purchase price in 2004. I hear it's broken down somewhere in North africa. Anybody else heard anything?
I also hear that the Bristow 6/6 is starting to get them quite a few enquiries from CHC pilots less than happy with the way things are being run, pilots being moved from their rooms of years, bans on guests in their guesthouse and the impending move to east Death road.

Sadly, the Filipino pilot of 5N-BHU died in hospital in Lagos. RIP
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Old 19th Nov 2006, 10:30
  #1347 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Nigeria
Posts: 50
Angry Re-5N-BHU Crash

May his gentle soul rest in peace.

I hope those of us in not 'well to do' of the general aviation sector in Nigeria will learn not to work under pressure of the callous management of whose interest is to make profit at all cost by breaking all the rules of weather minimums and MELs . At the end of the day the crews are always at faults- courtesy of the ex minister- before the outcome of any investigation of an incident. It is a known fact that instrument rating is a must to operate commercial flight in Nigeria. Apart from CHC and Bristow in the rotary section which other operator can boast of not 'cutting corners' in this regard with the authority of the Civil Aviation?
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Old 20th Nov 2006, 10:45
  #1348 (permalink)  
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Despite the adverse security situation and the instability preceding the 2007 Presidential elections, there’s a lot of helicopter work in Nigeria. However, the shortage of suitably qualified pilots looks set to continue and maybe even worsen, which may lead to a decrease in helicopter activity in the short-term. The only incentive for pilots to come here is money and it’s just not enough in present circumstances to keep enough crews to fulfil the expansion plans of the 2 major operators, Bristow and CHC. There is a lot of other work around in safer, nicer places for not much less money right now and more pilots are looking there first. For instance, Heli Malongo are now offering good money for a 4/4 contract in Angola and pay in Europe is such that pilots from there are not so willing to put up with substandard conditions in Nigeria without a substantial financial incentive. This has led to a considerable decline in the number of pilots from Europe and North America willing to work in Nigeria and seen a shift towards more from lower-paid countries like Malaysia, Thailand, the Phillipines and South America.

The Bristow pay-rise and change to 6/6 may have been widely talked about, but details are conspicuous by their absence. One or two pilots may have put their resignations from Bristow on hold, and a few CHC pilots may have made enquiries about moving over, but unless the Bristow management manages to slough off its almost total inertia soon, they’ll just be thought of as a joke. Their area manager for West Africa has already returned, but despite the expectations of so many, the silence is deafening. People will lose what little remaining patience they have soon and the drain will continue to the point where their flight operations will become unsustainable. The crews are already being scheduled on the basis of who is closest to 28 day flying limits and more pilots from Eket seem to be going sick once they’re out on leave. The pay may be little different, but Bristow have no equivalent of the CHC benefits package, with loss of licence, pension, personal loan schemes for all, reasonable internet access at all places of work as well as in all the housing and decent medical facilities in-country as well as good healthcare insurance. CHC comes across as a more caring employer, far more in-tune with the expectations of staff in the 21st century. Bristow still have the old attitude of 'well we managed like this 20 years ago, so why should you expect any better now?'. This attitude will no longer wash and it's obvious that the OLOG take-over has done little to change matters - odd when you consider that Air Logistics is one of the more enlightened employers in the USA and even has a union!

CHC can have little to smile about either. They may have taken delivery of the first AW139 in Nigeria, but it’s not theirs, it’s for Peter Odili, the governor of Rivers State. The new CHC management, put in to replace the ‘terrible old management from Schreiner’ has seen the number of helicopters fall, pilots resigning or looking for transfers and almost lost a major oil company contract, saved only by a visit of ‘Captain Kobo’. Many of those who were too quick to celebrate his departure and new, enlightened management now wish for his return and to have managers who know how to get things done in Africa, particularly Nigeria. He managed to increase the number of contracts and aircraft and didn’t interfere in the personal lives of the pilots, but the new managers have no clue of how to deal with things in Nigeria and are now also now treating their pilots like children. No wonder the Aero bar is a sad shadow of the place where once everyone wanted to visit. The management have a seemingly caring attitude, but with all their experience of nearly 2 years in Nigeria seem to think they know it all, can change it all to just the same as Thailand and anyone who doesn't like it is welcome to leave as they have queues of willing (but hopelessly inexperienced and poorly qualified) applicants. They'd be much better as they're cheap and won't complain about moving to the new Paradise camp on Death Road

The sad, fatal crash of OAS’s Astar has seen another civil helicopter operator probably set to fail along with the likes of Southern Air, Stillwater, Concorde and Okada. Caverton is still just hanging on, but with just one AS350B2 flying, and the recent firing of its Chief Pilot and another national pilot, it has almost no credibility left. It’s been talking forlornly of its Lagos shuttle operation and expansion into fixed-wing operations, but as long as its owner insists on interfering it will probably never achieve anything except another costly collapse, despite the best efforts of Sunny. Their 109 actually did arrive in UK recently, but the number of former Caverton pilots, both expat and national and expat, now working for Aero and all owed money, is testament to their abysmal management style. How they think they can get any pilots with any credibility, acceptable to a large company to crew a 139, heaven knows - probably the old-boy network again. Having seen the weather that inexperienced pilots are flying single-engined helicopters in, with not the slightest chance of making a safe landing in the event of an engine failure, bears out what ruma says when he talks about working in unacceptable weather because of pressure from uncaring and callous management.

There are signe that Bristow may be set to change some of its old ways (more due to the pressure of having to get crews than to any real enlightenment), but unless CHC can bring back someone like Captain Kobo, they'll continue to run into problems. Actually, Captain Kobo would probably be a good replacement for Kone Head, because at least he has the art of talking to everybody and getting some form of consensus. The management in Vancouver still think they can micro-manage everything from there and this may well prove a costly mistake in the longer-term, despite their huge budget. Companies like Caverton and OAS are also needed here to fulfil a charter and GA helicopter requirement, but until they have owners, like those of Bristow and Aero who allow their hired aviation experts to actually get on and make decisions and stop behaving like too many Nigerian employers, they'll only ever be on the sidelines and have huge staff turnovers, followed by the inevitable decline as they show no profits.

Sad isn't it? A huge country, with vast potential, many pilots interested in coming to give it a try, but very few happy or contented workers. Let's hope that financial pressures will force a new enlightenment within the next few years. Nigeria has been written off many times, but I expect that things will improve in the next year as change is forced on employers. It will continue to be a dangerous and unstable working place for a long time to come yet though.
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Old 20th Nov 2006, 16:36
  #1349 (permalink)  
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Long time no hear! Thought you'd left Africa. Are you back or just keeping well in touch?
Your points are all very true. CHC need to start listening and Bristow need to join the 21st century.
I heard that the Caverton 109 limped back into UK as it's now been sold to an operator there. I can't really believe that piece about Bonny LNG buying them a 139 to operate. They're a company with little track record, except of a huge staff turnover for their size, plans which never come to fruition (the MMIA - VI shuttle) and little credibility (a helicopter landing in the Shell RA behind the MDs house with the pilot thinking it was a field!!!!!) and passengers on Oyibosonline complaining of poor service and being frightened by flying at treetop height in s/e helicopters in bad weather. Scarcely bodes well if LNG want someone to rely on. As you say, maybe it's contacts and brown envelopes
Little ever really changes in Nigeria
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Old 22nd Nov 2006, 20:19
  #1350 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2006
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PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria, Nov 22 (Reuters) - One hostage was killed and two wounded on Wednesday when Nigerian troops launched a rescue attempt to free seven foreign oil workers abducted from an offshore oilfield, military and industry sources said.

The remaining four hostages, seized from an Italian oil facility off the coast, were freed unharmed by the Nigerian military, who killed two militants in the raid.

"Government security forces engaged militants from this morning's hostage taking. One expat is dead and two were injured. Four were unharmed," one military source said.

Italy's foreign ministry said the dead hostage was British.

It was the first time an expatriate oil worker has been killed after being taken hostage in Nigeria, security sources said.
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Old 22nd Nov 2006, 21:14
  #1351 (permalink)  
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Thumbs down


I understand the hostages (7 out of a crew of around 85) were taken from the FPSO Mystras, operated by AENR (basically a division of Agip), about 30 miles south of Bonny Island. Whilst they were being taken off into the swamps they met up with a JTF (Joint Task Force) patrol and during the exchange of fire a British hostage and 2 militants were killed and an Italian hostage seriously injured. My sincere condolences to the family of the unfortunate victim of this tragedy.
I wonder if Agip mentioned anything to Aero Contractors who fly several flights a day to the Mystras? They have a habit of conveniently forgetting such things
It all just goes to highlight that the Niger Delta is effectively a war zone, even if the oil companies and helicopter operators in the region don't want to recognise the fact and compensate their workers for the danger involved in operating in this very dangerous environment I think this is the first time an expatriate hostage has been killed in the violence during the last 5 years, even if it was indirectly as a result of crossfire.
To all those flying in the region - don't forget that you don't have to be the primary target, a bullet may still kill you, even if you are not the one it was originally aimed at. Avoid the temptation to get too close to what may be a boatload of heavily armed gunmen in the swamp areas of the Delta and leave that job to the Nigerian security forces, who are paid to take that risk.
I wonder if Mr Brian Clegg, the Operations Director of CHC still thinks that the pilots and engineers of CHC are working in a 'tropical paradise'?
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Old 23rd Nov 2006, 20:14
  #1352 (permalink)  
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Thumbs down

So how often has this happened to you in Nigeria?
Arrive at work and get tasking to go to XXXXX rig or flow station. The only information you're given is that there are x number of passengers to come back and possibly, if you're lucky the weather. When you arrive, you find that you're evacuating the place because just a few hours before it was hit by terrorists and several task force personnel were killed and some of the expats taken hostage . You heard nothing about this beforehand, either because the oil company (usually Agip or Shell) said nothing about it to you. You enquire of your company management if they knew anything beforehand, but if you work for CHC and it's the weekend, you get no reply because they have their usual weekend off in their secure, luxury housing (just like yours ).
The oil company has no interest in you because you're a contractor. Your company is getting you on the cheap because it tells you that you're getting a great salary (actually, you're getting a crap salary for what you're doing - it's just that you don't have to pay tax on what you earn in this tropical paradise). Do you think that your counterpart in the North Sea, GOM, Thailand or Newfoundland gets asked to fly out to a place that's just been subject to a terrorist attack? You can bet your sweet bippy that the answer's a big no. So why is Nigeria different?
Never mind, CHC's soon to announce a huge increase in IP and Bristow's officially going to 6/6 with a huge payrise. No, really, it's going to be announced before the end of the week. Honestly, it's really going to happen this time. Truly, the management has finally realised they have to do something urgent.........
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Old 26th Nov 2006, 11:12
  #1353 (permalink)  
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Old 26th Nov 2006, 12:35
  #1354 (permalink)  
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Despite most believing that the return of the MD of Bristow Nigeria would lead to an announcement of improved pay and conditions by the end of the week, there's still no information forthcoming, except being told that there's to be 6/6 as from 1 November, but whether this will lead to any changes in pay, or if there's any improvement on conditions forthcoming, none of the mushrooms know. I hear that the applications from CHC have dried up, and those that were in, are on hold, pending Bristow demonstrating that it still has any credibility in Nigeria. Meanwhile, I hear Bristow are using a professional security consultant to survey all their living areas in Nigeria and that what he has to say so far is all bad. Maybe they'll have to rethink their policy of always seeking out the cheapest option .
CHC continue to drift on, hoping that all the naive new staff they have, who know nothing about Nigeria (obvious when you hear them on the radio) will believe all their meaningless platitudes about what a tropical paradise they're being moved into in the Death camp on East Death Road. Veal cows are also happy and content while they're being fattened for slaughter! The Global Helicopter Pilots association is on the verge of being a legal entity under Canadian labour law and, with a high percentage of the pilots in Nigeria being members, it will be interesting to see if sudenly management are willing to listen to employees in the 'tropical paradise'. Doubtless, their arrogance will continue as local management (just like Bristows) don't want to listen to their staff. Granted, CHC managers live in Port Harcourt (unlike Bristow), but locked up safely in their expensive, secure camp, they may as well be on a different planet (and yes, they're not moving to the death camp ).
At the end of the day, I blame the oil companies. They use their helicopters as military transport. Why aren't the Nigerian Air Force and Nigerian Navy using their Mil 35s and Agusta 109s for transporting troops and MOPOL to the oil company swamp and offshore locations? (All they seem to be interested in is taking money off the civil operators at NAF Base to improve the facilities there, with nothing in return - why are helicopters still having to use the taxy way, which is far more dangerous than the runway, for many take offs?). The oil companies long ago abrogated all their responsibilities for the security and safety of contractors and while their staff all live in secure camps, Bristow and Aero live in substandard, insecure housing. Pilots and engineers are no longer willing to put up with this and soon, if the oil companies don't either face up to their responsibilities, realise they have a duty of care and either provide security, or pay contracting companies enough so that they can provide proper security, maybe they'll find they have no helicopters to operate for them any more. When their staff are in problem in the swamps they expect the pilots to put their lives on the line and land in hot and hostile landing pads to evacuate them, but if the pilots are injured, they won't even allow them into their well-equipped clinics . A lot more pilots I know are no longer willing to go out on a limb to rescue the very people who refuse to allow them access to the same standards of security, safety, medical cover and standard of living here in the undeclared war zone
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Old 26th Nov 2006, 16:02
  #1355 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Captain Buck View Post
Caverton is still just hanging on, but with just one AS350B2 flying, and the recent firing of its Chief Pilot and another national pilot, it has almost no credibility left. It’s been talking forlornly of its Lagos shuttle operation and expansion into fixed-wing operations, but as long as its owner insists on interfering it will probably never achieve anything except another costly collapse, despite the best efforts of Sunny. Their 109 actually did arrive in UK recently, but the number of former Caverton pilots, both expat and national and expat, now working for Aero and all owed money, is testament to their abysmal management style. How they think they can get any pilots with any credibility, acceptable to a large company to crew a 139, heaven knows - probably the old-boy network again..
Helicopter Pilots
:: Caverton Helicopters :: (Posted: 2006-11-13)
[email protected]
Due to continuing expansion, we require experienced and licensed Personnel for our operation in Nigeria. Aircraft Types : SA365, AS350, AS355 and AW139. Requirements: ICAO ATPL (IR) (CPL – IR may apply). Current First Class Medical. 3000 Total hrs in Helicopters. 1500 hrs on Multi-Engine Helicopters. 1000 hrs in Command of Multi Engine Helicopters. 500 hrs on Type. Offshore experience is an advantage. Benefits: Attractive Tax free Salary. Free Accommodation. Local living allowance paid weekly. 3 months on site / 1 month leave. Free air travel to / from place of Domicile for leave periods. Private medical Cover. Life Insurance. Please send your applications to the email above.
............................................................ ........
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Old 26th Nov 2006, 18:04
  #1356 (permalink)  
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That'll be the continuing expansion that's seen them go from 1 Agusta 109E (sold) to 2 365Ns (now grounded due to lack of CVFDR) plus 2 AS350B2s (one still flying - so let's see, that's an expansion from 1 Agusta 109 flying to 1 AS350B2 flying! ). The e-mail address is that of the executive Vice Chairman, who promises the earth and that's about what you end up getting paid. The expats who are there now are not on 3/1 (much worse) despite the fact that they were conned into thinking that's what it would be. Every other operator in Nigeria now offers equal time contracts and they still think they can con people into working 3/1. They don't have an AW139, though there are rumours that NLNG may buy one and lease it to them (presumably until that, too falls through). This is a company which in 3 years has been through 2 Managing Directors, 3 Operations Directors, has recently fired its Chief Pilot and has overall had a turnover of at least 8 pilots.
Caveat emptor!
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Old 26th Nov 2006, 18:09
  #1357 (permalink)  
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5N-BHX where are you? We're on your deck (oh....... wait a minute...... what are all those roman numeral thinggies? VIII - what does that mean?).
And CHC still think that it's not important to have experienced pilots in Nigeria - just bring in anyone, give him minimum line training and send him off with an experienced co. Wonder if anybody else noticed?
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Old 28th Nov 2006, 09:52
  #1358 (permalink)  

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No word on the BGI "deal" yet. Maybe there isn't one and it was all just a rumour ? That would be sort of appropriate, given that we first heard about it here


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Old 28th Nov 2006, 12:55
  #1359 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Nigeria
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PW, 5N-BHX was 20nm to destination when she sighted the rig in a hazy weather . Pronto she landed before she knew that it she was miles away on a strange rig. Funny enough, the two crew on board were expart. No need to say they were new in this environment. Seven wonders of the world! hen? Line training is becoming things of the past in CHC. Heard the Caverton's A-star today going to Eket who know maybe the bidding for the Mobil contract is on. They are eligible too . Somebody should watch out.
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Old 28th Nov 2006, 19:12
  #1360 (permalink)  
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North Sea pilots have landed on the wrong platform or rig in the past.....that is nothing new. With GPS and radar....it does make one wonder more than a little unless maybe you are jumping around the Ubits and the GPS is TU!

I know one guy who even landed at the wrong airfield...was cleared to land and told he was in sight and clear by the Tower. I wonder who was in the Chinook the Tower was looking at?

That was in the days of Army IFR....peering straight down through the chin bubble at what you thought would lead you to your destination. That is my story and I am sticking to it.
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