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Night offshore landings: a new approach?

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Night offshore landings: a new approach?

Old 12th Mar 2009, 09:02
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Night offshore landings: a new approach?

TO ALL

I have a Presentation on Stabilsied Night Approaches.

For those of you in Offshore industry I am offering sight of it.

To get it I will need your email address and an indication of who you work for and what you fly.

I am proposing a radical change in the concept of Night and Night ARTA approaches which to summarise, includes:

1. FORMAL IDENTIFICATION OF THE "REQUIRED VISUAL REFERENCES"

2. AN INCREASE IN THE NIGHT MDH FROM DECK +50 to DECK +200

3. PUBLICATION OF A MANDATORY VERTICAL & HORIZONTAL PROFILES - WHICH WORKS FOR ALL NIGHT APPROACHES whetehr they start in VMC or IMC.

My Company is currently evaluating this right now but if we are to have a chance of changing this archaic dangerous principles we need an industry wide chaNGE.

I have also send it to UK CAA and considering sending it to AAIB. If there is an AAIB member reading this please PM as I need advice on this issue.
DOUBLE BOGEY is offline  
Old 12th Mar 2009, 09:11
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Helimutt,

I hope that you never find yourself 'totally comfortable' with offshore night flying. I have found that a certain amount of adrenalin is a good thing!
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Old 12th Mar 2009, 09:49
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A certain amount of adrenaline, I enjoy, believe me, but beyond that amount isn't good for you!
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Old 12th Mar 2009, 11:26
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helimutt is right, yesterday night I had too much adrenaline low level over water calling the captain for more power and to keep the horizon...

BUT also Mel Effluent is right, I'm getting used to this and I SHOULD HAVE TAKEN the controls instead of telling the other pilot what to do.

well... nobody told us this job would be easy...

Regards & fly safe!

Aser
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Old 12th Mar 2009, 15:09
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I Have Control !!!

I think what DB is trying to acheive, is a clear definition of what should become a standard procedure at Night.

Therefore, any deviation from the profile will give the PNF a clear mandate to alert the PF, and ultimately take control.

Without a standard profile, the PNF has no clear rules on when or how this should be undertaken. We all know it is not a nice thing to have to do, especially for a low-time co-pilot.

The proposals above will give the PNF clear boundarys to an acceptable night approach, by defining a standard template night landing.

Up until now, with the low and shallow type of approach associated with a manouvre from the .75nm point at 50 above deck, there is no real definition of the ideal flight path, which, rightly so, DB is now proposing.

I think it's a great idea.
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Old 16th Mar 2009, 10:51
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Night Stabislised Approaches

Hi gents,

Those of you who have asked for a copy of the presentation have been sent a copy on the email.

I would like your feedback and also welcome discussion on PPRuNe.

Thank you all for showing an interest and for those of you who have already looked at the presentation I feel sure that you can appreciate the motivation behind the work.

Also I hope it helps to demonstarte that the Bond crew that night were actually just the last cheese, in a very long line of swiss cheeses, whoose holes had already lined up long before the poor b****ds left their base.

Changes is always difficult and seldom wlecomed with open arms. But the best changes are those that come from within!!!

Lets get together and make offshore night flying simpler, safer and less stressful than we all experience at present.

The problem with inappropriate limits and poor procedures is they place a onus onto the crew that "we must be able to cope with this cos thats the way its supposed to be done" NOT GOOD.

I hope Mike reads this and if you need a copy of my presentation, EMAIL ME.

SAFETY AND MANAGEMENT STAFF

If any others wish to see the presentation, especially those of you in Safety/Management/Training positions please email me and I will send a copy.
DOUBLE BOGEY is offline  
Old 16th Mar 2009, 19:53
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Stabilised Night Approaches In Offshore Helicopters

I have sent out over 50 copies of the presentation.

Any other takers???
DOUBLE BOGEY is offline  
Old 17th Mar 2009, 11:33
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Night Stabilised Approaches

What!!!

No comments yet.

No howls of anguish!!!!

Some feedback if you have it would be greatly appreciated.

DB
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Old 17th Mar 2009, 12:56
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Thumbs up A Good Presentation

DB,

An interesting presentation which makes many excellent points. Thank you for putting it together and giving food for thought
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Old 17th Mar 2009, 13:40
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Hey Double Bogey!

Would you mind to sent me a copy?

Thnx!

Airflow
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Old 17th Mar 2009, 15:51
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And although I am in "upper canada" I would not mind one either...

Cheers
W,
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Old 17th Mar 2009, 17:31
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Very interesting..........

........... the comparison of the two sets of minima for the ILS and for the ARA are stunning ......... how come I never realised how 'adventurous' we were being offshore. Could it by any chance have something to do with the fact that ever since offshore ops began we have been trying to creep away from the quasi military style of ops that were justified 'in the national interest' when exploitation of 'mineral resources' deep in the continental shelf was started 40 years ago (hang on, must get my calculator out for CRAB) yes, nearly 40 years ago.

Can you imagine, back then:-

no immersion suits - at all!!!
no instrument ratings - my VFR minima was 200 ft and I could get in almost anywhere when the approved instrument procedures were below limits - remember the 'low level route'. Ah!!! nightmares
no rad alts
no coupling
no separation
no radio coverage - save for HF if you could bare to use it when it worked.
no performance calcs once you crossed the coast outbound where Group A was an alphabet lesson.
no IVLL
no helideck inspections
crap FTL schemes
etc etc

So at last we get to deal with the ARA - well I hope so anyway. Nice work DB.

G
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Old 17th Mar 2009, 17:34
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Geoffers,

For the sheer sake of argument.....what was the difference in accident rates then and now?

Back then we spent 100 percent of our time flying the machine and not worrying about rules, regulations, SOP's, and all this other we do now.

Mind you I do not for a second suggest we should revert to the "old way".

The point is to see if we have made any true progress and if not.

That might show the need for significant change in the way business is done.
SASless is online now  
Old 17th Mar 2009, 17:58
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Accident rates - last century

SAS

Read this lot:

Rotor and Wing
February 1, 2006



Armed with a slew of accident analyses, the oil and gas industry is prodding operators and manufacturers to make helicopter operations as safe as airline travel. Here's why.

By Mark Stevens and Bob Sheffield

The International Helicopter Safety Symposium last September in Montreal launched a collaborative effort to reduce the helicopter accident rate.

More than 260 international representatives of helicopter manufacturers, military and civil helicopter operators, and international regulators agreed that the current helicopter accident rate is excessive and unsustainable and that collaborative effort by all should be able to reduce that rate by 80 percent. Several speakers described how a few key risk-reduction measures could achieve this result.

Shell's "7/7=1" helicopter risk-reduction program advocates seven key measures that can reduce the current fatal-accident rate for offshore helicopter operations from just under seven per million flight hours to around one per million flight hours. This is consistent with the symposium's conclusion that the means are at hand to reduce the helicopter accident rate by 80 percent or more. Such a reduction is necessary to achieve the International Assn. of Oil and Gas Producers' (OGP) goal: "The individual risk per period of flying exposure for an individual flying on OGP-contracted business should be no greater than on the average global airline." Achieving this goal could save more than 200 offshore oil and gas workers' lives during the next 10 years.

While the "7/7=1" program focused on helicopters supporting offshore operations by OGP member companies, these same measures can help any type of helicopter operation reduce its accident rate by 80 percent or more.

Shell Aircraft, the organization within Shell responsible for aircraft operating standards, developed the "7/7=1" risk-reduction program as a result of its detailed analysis of 30 years of commercial airline safety improvements, published accident data, its own ongoing safety initiatives and comparisons of existing helicopter designs to the current U.S. FAA design requirements.

The poor safety record of the helicopter industry is well documented and many studies have been carried out to analyze the causes. There is broad consistency and agreement in much of the analysis; the causes of each new accident rarely come as a surprise to the industry. Indeed, some people believe that helicopters are, by design and operating concept, less safe than fixed-wing aircraft.

The current safety record of public-transport helicopters is actually not much worse than the airline industry's safety performance was 30 years ago. But while the airlines for the most part have consistently improved, offshore helicopter operations' accident rate is actually getting worse. Unfortunately, a large number of the helicopters presently operating offshore were designed and are still operated to the same criteria and procedures that the airliners were 30 years ago. Indeed, many of the helicopters themselves were built more than 30 years ago.

Analysis shows that the helicopter industry has not fully embraced the improvements in design, equipment, operating procedures, training and maintenance practices that enabled the airlines to achieve their safety improvements. In fact, the key steps taken by the airlines to improve their safety can be replicated with helicopters with similar effects.

Shell Aircraft analyzed numerous sets of accident data. These included: NASA's 2000 study of U.S. civil rotorcraft accidents from 1963 to 1997; a 1999 study of helicopter safety by the Scandinavian research group SINTEF; statistics and analyses of the U.S. Gulf Coast's Helicopter Safety Advisory Conference; Robert Breiling Associates' Annual Turbine Aircraft Accident Review; the Flight Safety Foundation's Flight Safety Digest, and U.K. Civil Aviation Authority studies of helicopter tail-rotor failures (in 2003) and helicopter health-monitoring cost-benefit ratios (in 1997).

These data show similar trends: a steady decrease in accident rate until the mid-1990s, followed by a disturbing upward trend in recent years. 2003 was a particularly bad year for accidents in the Gulf of Mexico, although all were on single-engine helicopters. In recent years, the overall accident rate for a representative sample of twin-turbine helicopters has averaged about 20 per million flight hours in the United States and about 12 per million in the North Sea.

Despite strenuous and continuous efforts by some oil companies and helicopter operators to reduce accidents, the trend of overall accident rates, also reflected in the rolling five-year average fatal-accident rate, shows a very disturbing upward trend in the last few years.

With the best available accident data and analyses in hand, our team carefully assessed Shell Aircraft's current and potential further risk-reduction initiatives, including:

* Aviation safety management systems (SMS) incorporating systematic hazard assessment and a structured approach to risk management.
* Quality assurance (QA) in maintenance.
* Operating, maintenance and training standards in line with industry "best practice" to minimize human error and improve the safety culture. These include, among other things, line-oriented flight training (LOFT) exercises with a focus on crew resource management (CRM) during simulator training, human factors training for air and maintenance personnel and the requirement for duplicate inspections after maintenance on safety-critical equipment.
* Health and usage monitoring systems (HUMS) on contracted or owned aircraft and the subsequent development of a minimum specification for HUMS/vibration health monitoring (VHM) for the industry, targeted at monitoring the machine and human error in maintenance.
* Cabin configuration guidelines and helicopter underwater escape training (HUET) standards to improve survivability for passengers and crew in the event of a ditching.
* Improved aircraft performance standards and standardized takeoff and landing profiles, i.e. Performance Class 1 (PC1) or Performance Class 2 enhanced (PC2e) as defined by ICAO Annex 6.
* Helicopter operations monitoring programs (HOMP), a version of flight data monitoring targeted at monitoring the pilot and his conduct of the operation in accordance with Flight Manual and Operations Manual requirements and enhancing training effectiveness through confidential feedback loops.
* Defensive aids such as automatic voice alert devices (AVAD) or enhanced ground proximity warning systems (EGPWS) to prevent controlled flight into terrain or water and traffic alert and collision avoidance systems (TCAS) to prevent mid-air collisions.
* Industry "best practice" for managing helideck operations.

Implementation of these risk-reduction measures has improved Shell's air safety performance fourfold since 1992. Analysis showed, however, that design deficiencies in many of the helicopters we currently fly would make it unlikely to achieve the goal of making them as safe as the good airlines. This fact is demonstrated by the helicopter safety record in the North Sea, where implementation of the measures mentioned reduced the fatal-accident rate to about two per million flight hours. Further improvement has proved to be difficult to achieve. Our analysis showed that to achieve a fatal-accident rate of one per million flight hours or less, industry must re-equip with helicopters designed to the latest requirements in Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) 27 (for small aircraft) and 29 (for large ones).

We came to this conclusion after assessing the effectiveness of existing and potential risk-reduction measures against the common causes of helicopter accidents. Although the analyses we reviewed each used different ways of categorizing accidents, system failure (including engine failure), hitting objects, and flying into the ground featured prominently as the main causes and accounted for about 70 percent of all accidents. We analyzed the following causes (some of which have design implications) and assessed means of mitigation: airframe system failures, in-flight collision with objects, loss of control, loss of engine power and in-flight collision with terrain.

Most of the airframe system failures reported in NASA's study occurred in the rotor, transmission and control systems. Metal fatigue or other material failure caused about three quarters of them, accounting for about 20 percent of all accidents. The SINTEF study attributed about one fifth of all accidents to design deficiencies, most of which related to damage tolerance of rotor systems and flight controls. One of the greatest design deficiencies appears to be the tail-rotor systems on many helicopters.

Even with this most obvious difference between fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, designs can be improved. For instance, NASA found the industry and regulators could adopt more conservative fatigue-design criteria and incorporate additional fail-safe modes, such as a fail-safe tail-rotor pitch mechanism. SINTEF found rotor systems and flight control systems could be made more redundant, for instance with duplex drive shafts. The Flight Safety Foundation noted rotor-control systems could be designed so no single failure (or combination of failures not shown to be extremely improbable) could cause an accident. This is similar to the requirements of FAR 25.671 for airliners. The table above shows some of the important amendments to FAR 29 that can help prevent airframe system failures.

Similar assessment of all the amendments to FAR 27 and 29 showed that many important risk-reduction measures are not present on older helicopter design types.

Together with the established risk-reduction potential of simulator training, quality and safety management systems, HUMS, HOMP, disciplined takeoff and landing profiles and defensive equipment like EGPWS and TCAS, our assessment showed that helicopters designed to the latest standards can indeed achieve the goal of reducing the fatal-accident rate by 80 percent or more. What's more, some of the new design types, like Sikorsky's S-92, come equipped with HUMS, a flight data recorder for HOMP, significantly improved takeoff and landing performance and EGPWS.

Having determined that Shell Aircraft's helicopter safety goal is achievable, we set out to show that the necessary risk-reduction measures are affordable. Within Shell, the ultimate test for safety measures is the expectation to reduce risks to a level as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP). Meeting this ALARP test argues for investing in safety improvement until the additional cost becomes disproportionate to the incremental safety benefit. When you consider that the costs associated with accidents include material losses, loss of reputation, loss of production, costs of litigation and potential punitive damages, the cost of an accident with a medium or large helicopter involving multiple fatalities could be in excess of $50 million.

Our first step toward determining what is necessary to manage helicopter risks to the ALARP standard was to quantify the risk reduction expected from each potential corrective measure. Having studied the referenced reports, we assigned effectiveness levels to each potential risk-reduction measure and applied them where appropriate in three levels of defense. The values assigned were conservative relative to established data. For instance, we assumed HUMS would have a 65-percent effectiveness, while the U.K. CAA study found such systems 69 percent effective.

To illustrate the three levels of defense, the first level of defense against loss of tail-rotor effectiveness is the design. The second is a HUMS to warn of incipient failure, and the final defensive barrier before release of the hazard is simulator training for the flight crew to cope with loss of tail-rotor effectiveness.

When all these defenses fail, secondary safety measures come into play. These include crashworthiness of the airframe and passenger seats, the helicopter's flotation system (to keep it upright after alighting on water), upper torso restraints (to help prevent disorientation should the helicopter capsize on water), HUET, and the water survival equipment used by passengers and flight crew.

Having applied the estimated effectiveness of each mitigation measure to the accident data, it was possible to project the percentage of reduction in accidents that could be attributed to each measure. The graphs on page 36, derived from the SINTEF and NASA studies, illustrate the impact of each mitigation measure in isolation, with the others set at zero.

This analysis shows that designs adhering to the latest amendment combined with enhanced handling qualities (which of course can only be obtained with new types of helicopter) would prove to be the most effective mitigation to prevent accidents. The NASA study covers a period ending in 1997, whereas the AS332 and S-76 analysis includes another six years. The charts indicate that mitigation provided by training, quality and safety management systems with operational controls, HUMS and the disciplined takeoff and landing profiles of PC1 and PC2e are all lower for the AS332 and S-76 accidents than for the NASA study. This may be indicative of improvements progressively introduced over the last 10 years to these two helicopter types, which predominate in offshore operations. The only significant difference between the two analyses concerns EGPWS/TCAS. This can be accounted for by the very high number of S-76 accidents involving controlled flight into terrain or water, which has driven Sikorsky to deliver the C model equipped with EGPWS standard.

Many of the mitigation measures have already been deployed to a varying extent throughout the world. To illustrate how the trends in accident reduction relate to operating costs (and hence whether changes meet the ALARP test), we estimated the risk reduction and cost for a number of mitigation-measure packages.

Package A is the baseline, with no mitigation measures, and represents twin-turbine helicopters operated globally in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The baseline accident rate we used is 20 per million flight hours, although recent trends indicate this may be rising. Using the ratio of 0.35 between fatal accidents and all accidents, we get a baseline fatal-accident rate of seven per million flight hours. The corresponding operating cost is estimated at $2.5 million a year based on annual standing charges for medium-twin airframe and 1,000 flight hours per year.

Package B comprises the following mitigation measures: a mix of PC2 and PC3, partial implementation of HUMS and simulator training with some LOFT and partial use of enhanced quality and safety management systems (SMS) and operational controls (with elements of a structured SMS and helideck management). This represents twin-turbine helicopters operating in the mid-1990s in the North Sea and currently in most other OGP regions. Aircraft types generally are the S-76A++, Bell 212, AS365N, AS332L/L1 and S-61.

We projected that applying Package B mitigation measures to a layered system of defenses would result in an accident rate of 15.1 per million flight hours and a fatal accident rate of 5.3 per million flight hours

The corresponding operating cost estimate for the medium-twin helicopters in this group for future contracts is $4.6 million per year based on an annual standing charge per airframe and 1,000 flight hours per year.

Package C's mitigation measures include a retrofitted HUMS with associated effectiveness, PC2, full JAR Ops 3 quality assurance to JAR 145, effective SMS with safety case and helideck management to CAP 437 standards, partial implementation of design requirements to equivalent levels of safety beyond that claimed in the Type Certificate Data Sheets, full implementation of HOMP and of simulator training and installation of TCAS and EGPWS.

Implementation of Package C's measures is representative of most of one major oil operator's twin-turbine helo operations in the late 1990s and early 2000s and all North Sea ops with such aircraft as the S-76C+, Bell 412, AS332L2, and EC155.

We projected that applying these measures in a layered defense model would result in an accident rate of 6.19 per million flight hours and a fatal accident rate of 2.17 per million flight hours. The corresponding operating cost estimate for this group is $5.03 million per year.

Package D includes all the mitigation measures and is representative of new twin-turbines such as the AB139, S-92, EC225 and EC155B1.

Applying these mitigation measures to the defense model, we estimated, would result in an accident rate of 3.2 per million flight hours and a fatal accident rate of 1.1 per million flight hours.

The corresponding operating cost for the helicopters in this group is estimated to be $5.76 million per year, but it should be possible to reduce this figure with, among other things, smart procurement, improved utilization and sharing.

Package E is a prediction of the potential safety level that might be achieved in the next 10-15 years with derivative technology such as fly-by-wire, enhanced cockpit management and flaw/damage-tolerant design and more rigorous monitoring and operational controls. It assumes that FAR 29 design requirements have closed the gap with FAR 25 and that operations are being conducted to the more stringent requirements of FAR 121 or JAR-OPS 3/NPA 38 (or the equivalent). It also assumes HUMS analysis employs machine-learning techniques and has been extended into the rotor system and that all operations are conducted to PC1 to no smaller than 1D helidecks according to CAP 437.

Although it is difficult to predict actual costs, we assumed that a premium of at least 20 percent over the Package D annual costs would be conservative for an equivalent aircraft. We adjusted the effectiveness of the appropriate mitigation measures for the various enhancements upwards by 5-10 percent. Applying these upgraded mitigation measures to the layered defense model, we projected, would result in an accident rate of 2.34 per million flight hours and a fatal accident rate of 0.82 per million flight hours.

The corresponding operating cost for the medium helicopters in this group is projected to be $6.9 million per year based on an annual standing charge per airframe and 1,000 flight hours per year. As in Option D, it should be possible to reduce this figure with smart procurement, improved utilization, sharing etc.

The ALARP assessment plot on the next page shows that in the last decade, progress has been made in reducing accident rates through the implementation of some of the mitigation measures. Where there has been more extensive implementation, as in the North Sea, accidents rates have been cut further. Recent contract rates for Package B's older aircraft and Package C's new versions of older-design aircraft do not now show the significant difference that existed five years ago. The significant reduction in accident rates clearly justifies the added cost.

However, the aircraft in Package C represent the status quo and are unlikely to help us achieve an 80-percent accident-rate reduction. This can only be achieved with the introduction of new-design aircraft like those in Package D. Although they show a premium of up to 15 percent in annual cost for a medium, 12-seat helicopter, their use has the potential to reduce accident rates by 50 percent.

Package E is likely to increase costs another 15-20 percent and the mitigation assessment shows an improvement of about 25 percent in safety. This would indicate the effect of the law of diminishing returns and that the ALARP point, which coincides with the projected safety goal, is Package D.

Oil and gas companies contract for helicopters within an industry that has generally been under funded and, arguably, complacent in the past 15 years. Regulatory change has been insufficient, and regulators globally are not harmonized in their approach to helicopter operations and safety.

Whilst mitigation has been introduced with improvements in training, equipment, safety management and operational control, these measures cannot by themselves deliver our safety goal. The opportunity exists for the helicopter industry to learn the lessons from the airlines and the fixed-wing industry. Our study demonstrates what can be achieved. However, it is very unlikely that the International Helicopter Safety Symposium's goal can be achieved without the mitigation offered by all the projected further improvements, including introduction of new types. "Business as usual" is therefore not an acceptable option. The only option that will enable the long-term goal to be met would be to acquire new helicopters built to the latest design standard.

Mark Stevens was an engineer in the U.K. Royal Air Force. He left the RAF in 2005 with the rank of Group Captain and joined Shell Aircraft as director air safety and global projects.

As managing director of Shell Aircraft Ltd., Bob Sheffield is responsible for Shell's corporate fleet and for the standards for all aircraft used in support of Shell's operations worldwide. Shell operates or contracts for operation of about 100 aircraft that fly around 100,000 hr. each year in more than 30 countries.

The authors gratefully acknowledge the work of Peter Perry, Eric Clark, Cliff Edwards, and Grant Campbell, whose research paper on this subject was the foundation for this article.

Airline safety improvements:

1. Damage tolerant design; system redundancy

2. High fidelity flight simulators

3. Engine and vibration monitoring systems

4. Quality & Safety Management Systems to reduce human errors

5. Flight data monitoring programs (FDM)

6. Disciplined take-off and landing profiles (e.g. stabilised approach)

7. EGPWS/TAWS; TCAS/ACAS

Helicopter mitigation available now:

1. Late FAR 29 designs with glass cockpits

2. High fidelity flight simulators with LOFT & CRM

3. HUMS/VHM/EVMS

4. Quality & Safety Management Systems to reduce human errors

5. Helicopter Operations Monitoring Program

6. Performance Class1/2e & helideck operating profiles EGPWS/TAWS; TCAS/ACAS
Back to this month's issue



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Geoffersincornwall is offline  
Old 17th Mar 2009, 18:16
  #15 (permalink)  
 
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Night Stabislised Approaches

DB,
Would like a copy of your presentation, if you would be so kind.
Brom is offline  
Old 17th Mar 2009, 18:28
  #16 (permalink)  
 
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Oil and gas companies contract for helicopters within an industry that has generally been under funded and, arguably, complacent in the past 15 years. Regulatory change has been insufficient, and regulators globally are not harmonized in their approach to helicopter operations and safety.
Which industry do they refer to here?

The Helicopter Industry or the Oil Industry?

If the emphasis was on continuity, investment in captial improvements, modernization of equipment, enhancing of training, and perhaps not just getting the cheapest rates some of this lack of progress could have been avoided.

The Helicopter Industry has always been a cut throat business re competition.

So who steps up to the plate first.....the oil companies who will advertise and fund this magical solution or the helicopter industry who will refuse to do it the "old" way and demand the oil companies fund the contracts as needed to provide for the improvements?

Never mind the regulators.....they are too busy worrying about losing their paychecks if they pitch a stone in someone's mill pond.
SASless is online now  
Old 17th Mar 2009, 18:39
  #17 (permalink)  
 
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Whilst you still have people harking back to the 'old days' as if they really were the 'good old days when men were men' then you stand no chance of making progress.

A fundamental sea change in attitude is what is required here - all the bells and whistles of modern helicopter design and certification haven't stopped two of them ending up in the water in the last 2 weeks - one sadly with far worse consequences than the other but only by the grace of God.
crab@SAAvn.co.uk is offline  
Old 17th Mar 2009, 18:46
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If the emphasis was on continuity, investment in captial improvements, modernization of equipment, enhancing of training, and perhaps not just getting the cheapest rates some of this lack of progress could have been avoided.
SAS, whilst I fully agree with you that helicopter operators have been stretched by their customers, I can also remember back to days when contracted helicopter rates were much better for the operator, but some (perhaps most?) operators cut their own throats by not putting any of their income into future planning even when they were getting plenty of usable income as they were writing down the costs of their helicopters many times over.

Another situation where operators bring about their own demise is when they respond to a contract with a very low bid to "steal" the contract. After 6 months or so they then present a case to their customer that they are unable to maintain the level of service without more funds, relying on the probability that the customer will not pull out of the contract as there are few, if any, options available to replace the contracted operator.

Unless all parties are realistic and honest with each other, things wont change for the better.

Of course, on top of all this the regulators could be more prescriptive???
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Old 17th Mar 2009, 18:53
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Crab

A fundamental sea change in attitude is what is required here
Sea change

A radical, and apparently mystical, change.

Origin

From Shakespeare's The Tempest, 1610:

ARIEL [sings]:
Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell
bast0n is offline  
Old 17th Mar 2009, 19:16
  #20 (permalink)  
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The Winds Of Change

The best changes are those that come from within!!!

The CAA have had a peek at the proposal and they are thinking along similar lines, although they will wait until the AAIB have put out an statement/report.

I think the harping back to the good old days is not a bad thing. It is true that the accident rate seems to have stayed the same, if not risen slightly.

However, the type of accidents we seem to have these days, generally are somewhat different.

HUMs seems to have made a pretty good job of reducing in service component failure (recent S92 aside) but the greater tragedy is when serviceable machines are lost due to crew/procedure/WX etc.

It is these kinds of accidents that we, the flight crew, have the most influence in stopping.

I believe that the advent of automatics, although far safer on paper, are not been fully exploited by us at the moment.

We need to embrace the safety features with which we have been blessed.

Alleviations afforded by MELs in some instances should be removed. Why are we expected to operate a machine that has a broken leg before its even leaves the warmth of the hangar.

We tend to weaken the argument for better equipment when we seem incapable of fully exploiting the new kit when we get it.

CAA Standards Doc 28 (new) makes a pretty good fist of allowing training during checking. This is long long overdue. Also it actually encourages the operators to train and check using the full suite of displays and automatics.

The old and bold have a point. They had one way of doing things, they got good at it, and the balance of the cosmos was maintained.

Today, in a modern helicopter, there are several different ways to skin the same cat. And this leads to problems in itself.

Allied to all this, the trend of replacing old school Chief Pilots/Operations Directors and AOC postholders with non-aviators just cos they are the cheaper option seriously weakens the strength of an AOCs Flight Operations management to effect real change when it conflicts with the organisations commercial interests.

Personally I have never had a conflict with an Oil Company rep. I have many many with my Operations Staff trying to "force" a flight.

Most Oilys are happy to accept an explanation that "there is doubt" so there is no doubt. The bears we fly on the NS are trained in this ethos in their own walks of life.

But while we have crews who will happiliy launch into an airmass that is actively producing lightning (on the false promise that they can avoid by 10Nm), while we have crews that will fly when the freezining level is way below MSA, while we have crews that will not use automatics, while we have crews that will do anything....just to get the job done...........

WE SEND A VERY POOR MESSAGE TO OUR MANAGEMENT AND CUSTOMERS.

It is time to raise our game, the offshore helicopter industry, to the level of proffessional responsibility that it demands of us.

I often say that "The Enemy is always closer than you think"

In some cases we are our own worst enemy.

DB
DOUBLE BOGEY is offline  

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