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Down Fall CHC North Denes

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Down Fall CHC North Denes

Old 31st Dec 2008, 21:03
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Down Fall CHC North Denes

With Conoco 2 Bristows and Perenco 2 Bonds is this the down fall of CHC North Denes with CAA wanting airfield fenced off 4 security and other clients not happy with there service there getting from them will it close sooner than later????
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Old 1st Jan 2009, 11:35
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on a vaguely factual point, Perenco hasnt been lost, only the Leman based shuttle a/c from 2010.

sorry to get in the way of some doom with less interesting facts
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Old 1st Jan 2009, 12:56
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Okay so the CAA want it fenced - not a major issue , I'd expect it to be in this day and age it's a no brainer with regards to basic requirements !

As for loss of contracts due to facilities - you get what you pay for at a grass airstrip = no ILS , limited facilities , limited capabilities. If you want the whole shooting match you need to operate from a full blown airport with the facilities and in built enhancements provided at the increased operational costs that can be incurred for the priviledge or live with the daily consequences of grass strip flying and its basics.

Loss of contracts due to level of service .... well the oil companies predicted a downturn in the requirement for heli support a couple of years back and got it totally wrong - nothing new there then !. Demand this year due to oil prices and exploration in the area has probably pushed resources to the max and possibly to the detriment of the existing operations , something all customers need to put their hands up to at some stage and take some flak , instead of just blaming the operator - you can only stretch something so far until the elastic starts to break given resources available at the time - especially if thw the workload has exceeded predictions and practicality.


Last edited by rufus.t.firefly; 1st Jan 2009 at 17:29.
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Old 1st Jan 2009, 13:53
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What about GPS letdown, would that be a good alternative to the ILS?
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Old 1st Jan 2009, 14:05
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Brilliant Stuff,

My thoughts precisely! Here we have an airstrip on the coast and helicopters equipped with radar and GPS. Anywhere in North America it would be a no-brainer with a GPS approach down to reasonable limits. But then again in North America they don't have the Campaign Against Aviation to deal with
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Old 1st Jan 2009, 14:23
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As an active promoter of RNAV/GNSS (GPS) instrument approaches I'd make two observations.

On checking the UK AIP, North Denes does not appear to be a licensed aerodrome or heliport. It is therefore doubtful that CAA would consider any instrument approach procedure.

If they are licensed, which would include an obstacle survey, a RNAV/GNSS procedure would probably not be considered by CAA unless ATS is provided (ie ATC, or exceptionally FIS).
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Old 1st Jan 2009, 14:27
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Just why is the fence such an issue all of a sudden?

Has there been a sudden influx of aggressive sheep in the neighborhood or something?

We are talking a heliport here....right?

Is there a perimeter fence all the way around every other airfield in the UK?

TCAS,

So I was have to assume all the GPS approaches to uncontrolled airports in the USA would be ilegal under the CAA rules then?

ATC is provided for IFR aircraft by means of either Center or Approach Control nearest to the uncontrolled airport.....some uncontrolled airports have Unicom stations that can provide traffic advisories but are not part of the ATC system.

In the UK...can you not operate IMC outside Controlled Airspace without ATC control? Re-phrased....however did the operators manage to operate day in...day out....all these years of lovely UK Winter weather without the facility being "licensed"?

The argument should be on "how can we make this happen...." and not "this cannot happen because.....".

But then that is the very essence of the difference between the US/FAA and the UK/CAA.
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Old 1st Jan 2009, 15:20
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I believe the facility has ATC Mon-Fri and Ground to Air at the weekend ...but I could be wrong on that , can someone confirm.

As for the fence ..... if you have a good few heli's on site wouldn't you want the facility fully fenced ..... just to stop trespassers

I visit the US regularly , access at many airfields used to be non fenced in certain areas which was great at the time ( I wish it still was ) ...sadly it isn't now ....... times have changed since 9/11
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Old 1st Jan 2009, 17:44
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I believe the facility has ATC Mon-Fri and Ground to Air at the weekend ...but I could be wrong on that , can someone confirm.
ATC is 7 days a week.
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Old 1st Jan 2009, 18:13
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Happy New Year to all.

Just to put the record straight. Contracts come and go. Yes, some have left North Denes recently. Not surprising when you appreciate how much work was being done out of Denes. That said a lot of profitable ad hoc work is being picked up. Ironically, some of it to support the lost contracts.

North Denes is an unlicensed aerodrome. It has two instrument approaches (for approved operators only) based on the NDB at Denes and the DME at Norwich. The DME at Norwich is associated with the ILS. Denes is aprox 23 miles east of Norwich. Denes is also at Sea level which puts it about 110 ft below the runway at Norwich.

The MDH at Denes is 320ft for runway 27 and 340ft for 09. The ILS DH at Norwich is 200 ft. As the weather for most of the year is similar at both the cloud base makes little difference to the day to day practicalities of operating for one over the other.

Visibility does on the odd day have an effect. Minima for Denes is 1000m Met vis and at Norwich it is 500m RVR for the ILS. But on those odd day when viz hampers recovery to Denes, the crews can use Norwich.

Fog occasionally affects both Airports. Radiation Fog affects Norwich on more days a year than Denes as the coastal effect helps at Denes. Sea fog some times hinders Denes. On some occasions the coastal effect allows Denes to continue when Norwich ops canít. Swings and roundabouts really.

The upshot of this is that the fact that Denes doesnít have an ILS of its own is no real operational hindrance. On the very odd occasion itís needed itís available at Norwich. Of course the associated costs are only incurred when needed.

Another thing to consider is that Denes crews can also plan to use Norwich as an IFR alternate. Denes is not routinely available to Norwich crews as a weather alternate. This has payload implications for the customers.

And, of course the customer has to pay for the extra 10 minutes each way per flight when operating eastwards out of Norwich.

Many (not all) of the Offshore workers prefer Denes too. The diner is cheaper and they donít have to compete with fixed wing passengers in the terminal.

Crews can rotors run refuel at Denes not at Norwich. They donít normally have to wait for a bowser. Denes can be used 24hrs a day, 365 days a year, unlike Norwich. Freight can quickly and easily dropped off for offshore. All still X-rayed of course. All in all less hassle than a Ďrealí airport.

The truth is that the only thing Denes lacks is a hard runway. The main grass strip has ďtank mattingĒ underneath it through which the grass grows. It offers a firm and stable surface to reject on to. Rejects are regularly practiced on it. Of course should an aircraft suffer the likes of a tail rotor control problem the runway at Norwich could be used.

ATC operates from Denes Tower from 06.30 to 18.30 seven days a week. Out of hours is Air to Ground from Operations at Denes. Radar sevice is available from Anglia and Norwich.

Contrary to what may seem to be current popular belief the Heliport at North Denes works very well and has done for some 30 years. It has a lot to offer the Offshore companies.

CHC also seem to be spending some cash on it too (new hangar doors on both the old Bristow hangars, new office and training block, new fire truck access roads, improved fencing around the fuel farm etc). Who knows what the future holds. Maybe a differential GPS approach.

It might even make a good East Coast SAR base.

Denes is somewhat unique, in that CHC own the real estate and therfore incur all its fixed costs as well as the variable costs of operating the business. In the future the bean counters may prefer the concept of higher variable costs with minimun fixed costs. By that I mean concentrate on operating helicopters rather than an aerodrome. In which case who knows what the future holds for Denes.

On the other hand CHC may see the fact they own the airfield as a huge advantage and plough even more money and resourses into it. Who knows they may even invite other operators back in, and compete against Norwich.

I guess we will just have to wait and see.
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Old 1st Jan 2009, 19:02
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Well said, could not have put it better myself
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Old 1st Jan 2009, 20:48
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In 1966 North Denes represented the state of the art offshore helicopter base.

Nothing much has changed since then. Can you still smell the dog 5hit when the wind is in the right direction?
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Old 1st Jan 2009, 22:15
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Cyclic Hotline, no, improvements in the dog track's facilities and the quality of a greyhound's diet have meant that that shouldn't be a problem now

Cheers

Whirls
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Old 2nd Jan 2009, 09:04
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Question....if North Denes is unlicensed how do they operate PT flights from there to the rigs?
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Old 2nd Jan 2009, 09:24
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You can operate a Public Transport flight in a HELICOPTER from an unlicensed aerodrome, if it's not a SCHEDULED flight.

On the other hand, you can't carry out Type Rating Training.

(See Article 126)

Are we sure it's unlicensed? I'm sure it was licensed when I was there (95/96.)
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Old 2nd Jan 2009, 10:00
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Are we sure it's unlicensed? I'm sure it was licensed when I was there (95/96.)
yes we are sure its definitely unlicensed
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Old 2nd Jan 2009, 11:24
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There are many who think that Bond made a huge mistake when they pulled out from Strubby and moved to Humberside. Especially as it wasn't built on a bog next to sewage farm and it had an 800m hard runway. All the convenience of a private site given up for the hassle, cost and restrictions of using an airport. Top decision!!!!!!!!

The hangar is still there and the runway is still in use for light aircraft. Could be reopened with a bit of push from the oil companies.
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Old 2nd Jan 2009, 11:25
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I'm also pretty sure it was licenced in 2003 as I landed there for my qualifying cross-country

Cheers

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Old 2nd Jan 2009, 13:49
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The other part of the Perenco work is the 7 year AB139 contract which started in 2006. Though the original Tullow 139 contract finished this July. Can't say North Denes eevr impressed me.
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Old 2nd Jan 2009, 14:11
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North Denes

Gents,

Let me put a few things straight.

1. North Denes is unlicenced
2. It gets audited by the CAA annually, as an aerodrome
3. It has no restrictions on flying hours or days
4. It has an ATc operation everyday until at least 2300 hrs, extension available.
5. It does have matting under the main runway (but only half of it)
6. only one runway is lit 27/09
7. Yes it has lost a couple of contracts, this has more to do with CHC management in aberdeen than the aerodrome and the staff there, and the fact that a certain member of ex staff has a bit of a mission and is now working for an operator.

North Denes is everybodys favourite travelling destination if you are an offshore traveller. the people are friendly, and make an effort to get to know regular travellers. It is much easier to travel through, than any other heliport. It is far easier to get too.

Yes it does look run down a bit, but for roughly 16000 movements a year it is hardly surprising. Yes it would be the east coast base of choice for SAR ops, the plans are in place.

With regards the concrete runway option, this would be poo-pooed by the local council as the runway is at points below sea level and this would pose a flood risk, there is talk of pad extensions also but again the council may poo-poo, if this is the case i beleive chc would look at other options.

this along with the government now allowing brownfield sites to be used for housing, this would be a very profitable sale if it were to go ahead.

All in all CHC will carry on, there is plenty of work out there, and North denes will continue to be the hub, it is so much easier for operators, for passengers and for freight.

It is CHC who needs to wake up and smell the roses, it should be the pearl to their oyster, not a thorn in the side.
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