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Risk Assessment in operation

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Risk Assessment in operation

Old 7th May 2007, 07:57
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Risk Assessment in operation

Thanks Bronx - it is clear that this is likely to result in a chain of posts so clearly a new thread is called for.

The picture below was posted on the Photo thread by 'oscar bravo'.





After viewing this picture, I posted the following:
Well Oscar Bravo - it is nice to see you are safety conscious and are wearing a helmet.

Is it possible to see the risk assessment that went along with that.
In fact I was trying to make a serious point; the pilot had considered the consequences on his health following a crash but was involved in an activity (rotors running with no-one at the controls) that, following a risk assessment by a number of authorities (including ICAO), is discouraged.

After a post by 'Heliringer' on my observations, the following was observed
My comment wasn't about the size of the pad per se - although it is small; it was the combination of location, small pad and rotors-running without a pilot at the controls.
'Remote Hook' further commented
There is nothing wrong with that what so ever. Happens ALL the time
In fact this was an interesting comment because in a previous thread on the wearing of helmets, 'Remote Hook' had posted the following:
I think in this day and age, not wearing one is just plain ignorant. They cost what they cost, and they save lives. It's like the seat belt argument, there's always someone willing to fly in the face of wisdom and common sense.
Clearly, Remote Hook's comment on the wearing of a helmet was based upon a risk assessment of the likelyhood and consequences of a crash and, reference to seat belts was based upon a risk assessment of likelyhood and consequence of a car crash conducted by other expert groups (not getting at you Remote Hook only the ambiguity of the argument).

In another thread, a question has been raised about 'self regulation' replacing prescriptive requirements. Clearly no-one wants to see the accident rate increase (particularly when we have a number of initiatives aimed at reducing the accident rate by 80% in 10 years); any move away from prescriptive requirements can only be contemplated if operators take responsibility for the consequences of their own actions.

In such a 'brave new world' will the wearing of helmets become the norm but the risk associated with the operation in the photo be deemed to be acceptable. A similar discussion followed a post, in the same vein, about the relative risk of sitting in uncomfortable seats for thousands of hours as opposed to the 'extremely remote' probability of a crash leading to back damage.

The risk assessment for wearing of helmets is obviously accepted (in the more risk associated aerial work activities), and the wearing of seat belts accepted under all circumstances. Is that as far as we are prepared to go or are we forever to be condemned to the principle that 'it must be all right, we do it all the time'?

Mars







NB: Oscar Bravo took the ag ops picture. He is not the pilot.
It is one of several superb pics OB has posted in our Rotorheads Around the World collection.

Heliport
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Old 7th May 2007, 08:37
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Got to be one of the dumbest pilots I have ever seen.
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Old 7th May 2007, 09:04
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We must not forget that people operate in different ways around the world. I have noticed that there are a lot of people who think nothing of leaving a running aircraft unattended. There was a documentary on Discovery where it showed an EMS helicopter something like a EC145 just landed on scene and the pilot got out in order to open the clamshell doors in order to hand the stretcher to the paramedics all this while the helicopter was idling.

These AGpilots have been operating like the picture shows for years and I presume the statistics will bear out that it is not as dangerous as it makes out. If they had lost a couple helicopters operating like that they would have stopped that kind of operation due to them not being able to afford to many helicopters.

Now this my thinking after reading the industry Magazines and the like.

Now I personally would feel unhappy to leave my helicopter running without me at the controls, but then my training was very thorough in regards to something like this and of course here in the UK the rules don't allow it.

I would like to just say hang fire before anyone brands these hard working pilots as cowboys.
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Old 7th May 2007, 09:20
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Leaving the controls

I have left the controls of a running helicopter when picking up pax.
With the frictions tightened and sitting at idle, it was the safest way of conducting a pax briefing prior to loading them. I don't like the idea of trying to load pax by waving at them and hoping that it will be safe...
It's not a common occurrence, and before there is a stream of posts about briefing prior to arriving, or at the time of the booking, consider the surprise/gift flight. In my case an anniversary present. There was no opportunity to brief the wife prior to my arrival. After the shock of the gift and the husband's exuberance have both past, I conducted a briefing, loaded and flew. Should I have shut down? There would still be an element of danger as I ran it down for 2 minutes...
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Old 7th May 2007, 09:24
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I don't see that the fuss is about - the truck is only doing 30, well within the 55 speed limit

But seriously, its easy to condemn an activity as "being dangerous" just because its something we have not personally encountered before. In this case, perhaps they had considered the hazard of leaving the cockpit rotors running, wondered what the issue was (mainly uncommanded control movement?) and fixed it by adding some means of locking the controls that don't have OEM locking (yaw pedals?) as well as turning off the boost, thought of a procedure to ensure that the pilot does not try to take off with the controls still locked etc. But then again perhaps not!

But perhaps they had a couple of shortened blade incidents from the heli landing too close to the truck (following a hose leak where they had to cut some off the hose to repair it etc) and decided this was the lower risk option.

Whilst I have seen a lot of reports of ag helis hitting power lines etc, I have never seen one where it falls off a lorry. And how many ag pilots suffered illhealth from chemical poisoning versus being hit by debris from a helicopter falling off a lorry, yet they are not wearing even masks? You have to look at the big picture.

HC
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Old 7th May 2007, 09:53
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When you're flying Ag you only get a few minutes turn around between loads, So if you need to piss etc. you've got to get out and leave it running, I also need to stand and move a bit because I dont need the distraction of a numb arse when flying.
If you are operating in outback Australia you tend to leave it running just incase it wont start after you shut down and your left in the middle of nowhere with a geologist!
I dont see anything wrong with the picture, it's normal to me here in Australia.
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Old 7th May 2007, 10:17
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One of the most common failings to doing risk assessments is to only do half a risk asessment. That is not to look at ALL the risks, and the changes that occur good and bad.

I have been brain washed into the UK system, so I know that leaving rotors running is not allowed. But taking a look at the picture, the use of the truck top means that no third parties can reasonably get to the rotors. The pilot and crew seem to be restricted to working close to the airframe so they cannot get to the rotors either. So where is the risk from the rotors running, so long as the cotrols are locked in some way?

Of course, in the UK the H&S Nazis would get you for working at height without edge protection, but let's not even go there..............
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Old 7th May 2007, 10:17
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condemned to the principle that 'it must be all right, we do it all the time'
Condemned?
Or maybe because it's been tried and tested over many years and works.

There's always gonna be conflicts between the guys who've always flown in a sheltered environment with strict rules about everything and the guys working in parts of the world where they are self-sufficient and are allowed to think for themselves.
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Old 7th May 2007, 10:34
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Personally, I don't condone the practice of leaving an aircraft running with no one at the controls. There have been some incidents of the aircraft sliding (one happended to an AS350 in Canada I think) from the unprepared landing site and ending up in the bottom of a valley.

However, I accept that it is standard practice in some places although I don't accept the reasons for having to do it. If you have to brief passengers, a shutdown or a ground crewman is a better option. If you have to pee, then you should have a proper break and stretch your legs and have some downtime.

In this case, the risk is potentially higher because the platform is basically unstable, ie. on pneumatic tyres. However, its hard to quantify numerically. It would probably be classed as a low probability but high consequence event.

I have recently witnessed a pilot leaving an aircraft running while he got out to fuel the aircraft while passengers were on board, not experienced passengers, tourists off on a sight seeing flight. To me, that is not acceptable because of the risk to the passengers.

HC, I take it that its not standard practice for both pilots to leave the controls while the aircraft is running on a helideck in Bristow (well not the UK part anyway but who knows about the GOM) If you don't see what all the fuss is about then what's wrong with one pilot going downstairs for a pee while the other pilot supervises the bag loading and refuelling? Although there are no control locks on a 332L or 225, surely you could fix a rope or something to the cyclic and tie it to the (uncrashworthy in some cases) seat?
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Old 7th May 2007, 10:35
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Helinut

Where does it say in UK regs about not leaving a helicopter running ?
Personally I cant see a problem with the picture. A 206 at ground idle with the frictions on is not going to go anywhere. If left at flight idle - thats different.
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Old 7th May 2007, 10:38
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That's the nubb of the problem IMHO common sense and experience is being eradicated thanks to people who don't know better and need to be seen to justify their existence in my part of the world, which makes for a boring/stressful life at times.
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Old 7th May 2007, 10:55
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Although there are no control locks on a 332L or 225, surely you could fix a rope or something to the cyclic and tie it to the (uncrashworthy in some cases) seat?
Maybe they took them out of the tiger, but the puma has control locks unless I am very confused! They are used in high wind starts.
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Old 7th May 2007, 12:35
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1) Like every good argument we have the sublime;

Of course, in the UK the H&S Nazis would get you for working at height without edge protection, but let's not even go there..............”

In oz it’s anything over eight feet ~ thou shalt wear a safety harness ~ of course double decker road train drivers who are carrying very angry cattle cutely look forward to the day when they trip over their safety harness paraphernalia when they are walking on their twelve foot high catwalk and lob, suspended, upside down, in the midst of their cargo.


2) The ridiculous;

“as well as turning off the boost, thought of a procedure to ensure that the pilot does not try to take off with the controls still locked etc. But then again perhaps not!”

When y’get that procedure down pat, take out a patent it’ll be a beauty!!


3) The superbly ridiculous:

“I have recently witnessed a pilot leaving an aircraft running while he got out to fuel the aircraft while passengers were on board, not experienced passengers, tourists off on a sight seeing flight. To me, that is not acceptable because of the risk to the passengers.”

Nuff said, name rank and serial number and off to the bloody dungeons with that idiot!!


4) Then there’s the practical, logical and pragmatic;

“There's always gonna be conflicts between the guys who've always flown in a sheltered environment with strict rules about everything and the guys working in parts of the world where they are self-sufficient and are allowed to think for themselves.”

We’ve aired this a few times.


5) Lastly of course there’s the philosophical;

“You have to look at the big picture.”

Trucks or other vehicles that have springs and shock absorbers that are timed to automatically harmonise with brokeback helicopters, etc, etc, etc??????????????????????

Of course all I have to worry about is to whether I’ve lost a coat of paint!!
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Old 7th May 2007, 13:35
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fish

Bronx, Im with you! Where a procedure is taught, planned and thoughtfully carried out it becomes just another procedure. Living in areas of the world well away from immediate backup concentrates ones mind on what is really necessary. Of course there will always be idiots operating helicopters irrespective of whether they are in JAAR land or not! When landing in the bush in Africa, within seconds the aircraft is normally surrounded by seeming thousands (?) of locals. It is only the rotors running which keeps them away. I would land, close to ground idle, get out and walk around the helicopter sticking metal poles into the ground at intervals. With attached tape this forms a perimiter. I would then get back in and close the heli down - no dramas! Departing is the opposite procedure!
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Old 7th May 2007, 17:36
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Hippolite,

The EC225 has control locks on the collective and cyclic.

Although I never left the controls unattended while still running, I can understand the reasons some people gave to justify it in their field of work. There will be inherent risk in doing so but as a previous mentioned reason getting stuck in the outback because the helicopter will not start after a shutdown must have its risks as well.

Greetings

Finalchecksplease
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Old 7th May 2007, 21:31
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First: Seems to me not clear that the engine is running on idle.

Have flown some older BH 06 without rotor brake. If the engine is stopped you can go out because there is nothing do do on the neutral controls while the rotor is slowing down and you have no possibility to do anything in case of a problem. And the heavy rotorsystem of the BH 06 takes a long time to stop.

Second: Leaved the ship lot of times with engines running during Ag ops. Same opinion like Heliringer.

Third: Also today on high mountain ops we leave the engine(s) allways running because it could be difficult to start up again 3000-6000ft higher.

But use your brain!

If we like to discuss Risk Assessment we can find a lot of real problems in the helicopter business.
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Old 7th May 2007, 22:30
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I seem to remember that of all the helicopters I've ever flown the flight manual has something to say on the subject.
I would have thought that would be the last word on the subject.
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Old 7th May 2007, 23:04
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Finalschecks

Thanks for the clarification. I don't remember them on the 332L though but maybe its just my decaying memory!

Shouldn't be a problem for HC and his first officers to hop out for a quick brekkie on the platform while leaving the aircraft running then, reduces the chance of a non start offshore which can be most inconvenient as we all know.
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Old 8th May 2007, 18:08
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Hippo

Why would we want to do that, when brekkie is served to us in the comfort of the cockpit? In the wonderous 225 there is no flying to be done, just a few buttons to press and then we can tuck in on the way home

In any case I am getting too old to get out - seized back and overweight means that once I'm in, a fork-lift truck has to be used to get me out

HC
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Old 8th May 2007, 23:50
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Angry Insurance costs proportional to risk!!!!

.......and people wonder why the cost of Aviation Insurance is so high.

The problem with risk assessment is what some folks may find risky (worlds best practice risk matrix or gut instinct & experience determined), other folks may not find the same activity risky at all. Some of these folks wear the risky activity as a badge of honour and poo poo the folks that use a different approach......

As we have learn't (some the hard way), there are old and bolds there are no old bolds.....

THINK ABOUT YOUR AVIATION ACTIVITY-Your families want you back at the end o the day!

Max

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