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AS332L2 Ditching off Shetland: 23rd August 2013

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AS332L2 Ditching off Shetland: 23rd August 2013

Old 23rd Jan 2014, 18:23
  #2341 (permalink)  
 
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SAS, no, there were no meteor shower at the time and even if there were, they wouldn't have been able to see them due to lots of cloud.

The point about the Vietnam vet thing is that you guys have (I suspect) been exposed to more life or death situations requiring instant reflexes to survive. This was learned behaviour aided by a massive dose of adrenalin.

By contrast a career N Sea pilot may well have never had a life/death instant decision situation. The human brain is an analogue computer, various levels of analogue input from various sensors are summed up to create a resultant output. In your case, life/death reflex had a lot of gain in the computer due to it being learned, and was thus the predominant stimulus. By contrast a career N Sea pilot has seen many situations with someone else (often unqualified) breathing down their necks and making grief for them whenever there is a hiccup. In the absence of life/death familiarity, a reluctance to fall foul of this sort of thing becomes the predominant autonomous reaction. Of course, if the pilot were able to press pause and think for a few seconds, he would decide to rapidly raise the lever and stuff the passengers' upset. But he didn't have that luxury so his brain was in autonomous mode due to the lack of thinking time, resorting to its learned behaviour which is to avoid upsetting the pax.

Regarding your penultimate para, I think that because that is what you said.
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Old 23rd Jan 2014, 21:56
  #2342 (permalink)  
 
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The real latest bulletin.


http://www.aaib.gov.uk/cms_resources...4%20G-WNSB.pdf
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Old 23rd Jan 2014, 22:16
  #2343 (permalink)  
 
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Ah - good spot!

Anyway, it is short and not too sweet. Although it is a valid point, it seems a little picky. I remain unconvinced that a passenger, already submerged in icy water, had the clarity of thought to say "no point in deploying the rebreather because I forgot to take a breath prior to being submerged", or, following implementation of this AAIB recommendation, would now say "oh dear, I seem to be underwater with empty lungs (having miraculously resisted the gasp reflex), I'd better deploy my rebreather and use the air in its cylinder".
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Old 24th Jan 2014, 09:05
  #2344 (permalink)  
 
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Icy water? The sea temperature is approaching its warmest in August, even at 60 North. Still, cold shock is a player and you have a point.


Nevertheless, the existence of 64 limbs flailing around the water-filled cabin is of far greater detriment to the passenger trying to either escape or deploy their rebreather. If the forthcoming parliamentary visit does not seek to address the root causes behind the necessity for helicopter companies to cram as many passengers as possible into the cabin, then they'll have wasted their journey.
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Old 24th Jan 2014, 09:36
  #2345 (permalink)  
 
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In BBC news...

BBC News - Helicopter safety briefings to be amended over AAIB concerns
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Old 24th Jan 2014, 09:44
  #2346 (permalink)  
 
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Good job the AAIB are there to hold everyone's hand and come up with all the ideas.
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Old 24th Jan 2014, 14:30
  #2347 (permalink)  
 
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Pitts, problem is that the helicopter companies are no longer run by helicopter people, but MBA qualified accountant types with Safety Directors drafted in from other industries.

They don't think that running a helicopter company is any different from a chocolate factory. It's just a quarterly result with an annual bonus cheque.

Pilots are all sore that they don't have a solid door between them and the passengers like big planes do, good heavens, the idea of having to engage with Rig Pigs who might ask a question!

Then there is the customers who pay the bills, they are all evil because they, as Satsuma says, just want to "cram in" as many pax as possible, pay as little as possible and they know nothing about flying helicopters.

So, you are right, where is the innovation coming from? The helicopter industry is still stuck in the last century but with new equipment, for which, after 10 years, they are just developing the correct operating techniques!

The first helicopter operator which shows some leadership and reduces the number of seats in a 332L, EC225 and S-92 to a max of 15 or 16 will set the tone for the industry. There will be little option but for others to follow.

I am not waiting, I have asked our helicopter contractor to de configure both contract aircraft types (225 and 92) down to no more than 16 seats. I have the full support of management for this policy.

We have other ideas to stretch people's comfort zones and to improve understanding and mutual respect.
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Old 24th Jan 2014, 14:57
  #2348 (permalink)  
 
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TM a little patronising and disingenuous. The oil companies get what they demand from their contractors. If an invitation to tender is sent out for passenger transport, the operator who said "we can give you an (eg) EC225 for $x but it can only carry 16 passengers" would not get the contract. It would go to the operator who said "we can give you an EC225 for $x and it will be able to carry 19 passengers on your route".

So to downsize the number of passengers is only within the power of the contracting oil companies, not within the power of the contractors. It is the oil companies who have dragged their heels on this, trying to minimise the cost of transportation (because they are run by accountants just like the operators) and now that there is a mood change, they are finally being dragged screaming into reducing the number of pax carried which is of course going to cost them more, and increase business for the operators.

To try to make out that this is somehow the operator's fault is transparently pathetic. You convince no-one except yourself, and your reputation suffers as a result.
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Old 24th Jan 2014, 15:13
  #2349 (permalink)  
 
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May I assume this Learned Panel in Aberdeen shall be discussing this issue in detail?

Will the Operator's Presentations point fingers at their Customers?

Will the Worker's Union raise the issue and force discussion?

As the AAIB and CAA are Missing in Action from the Scheduled Witnesses....I guess we can assume they shall have no position on the matter despite one being the agency that makes Safety Recommendations and the other writes the Rules and Regulations that could require those Recommendations be applied.

Am I being entirely to cynical about this "Board of Inquiry"?


HC.....in the old days....flying the Wessex, S-58T, and venerable old Whirlwind did have its benefits....we sat well above and isolated from the Bears....and came to our looking down on them quite naturally as a result.
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Old 24th Jan 2014, 15:18
  #2350 (permalink)  
 
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As I think I've made clear I'm not inside the industry - my interest was fuelled as a mate working for Total when 225s started shunting.

That said it is clear that there is division and that it is all too easy to sit back on regulation before action, in other walks of life that is commonly termed closing the gate after the horse is down the lane.

HC there is clearly history between you and TM and whilst I don't disagree that the customer is going to call the tune at least TM describes actions which are self motivated and noble (for want of a better term).

Perhaps number of seats, HUMS, crew training, equipment fit and type certification are as good as they can be and in the end we have to accept accidents can happen - although that doesn't seem to fit with your view on the variance between HUMS between operators.

What is still a mystery is you have the group called HSSG so where is the intelligent conversations inside that? Bristow's CEO constantly bangs the zero accident policy - which he seems very sincere upon.. yet perhaps any good policies from that could be spread industry wide and finally the manufacturers. Ironically in a June 2012 note from HSSG you can see that the main players are in disagreement on HUMS.

The detail is irrelevant but lets not pretend that there isn't a forum for debate and make change if there was the motivation. It shouldn't take the publication of AAIB reports years after the event before evidence of the work starts, and they shouldn't be the driver of change.
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Old 24th Jan 2014, 15:22
  #2351 (permalink)  
 
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To try to make out that this is somehow the operator's fault is transparently pathetic. You convince no-one except yourself, and your reputation suffers as a result.
That's not entirely fair. In your postings on the G-REDL FAI you suggest differences in HUMS process was in play... how is that anyone but the operators influence?
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Old 24th Jan 2014, 15:22
  #2352 (permalink)  
 
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I remain unconvinced that a passenger, already submerged in icy water, had the clarity of thought to say "no point in deploying the rebreather because I forgot to take a breath prior to being submerged", or, following implementation of this AAIB recommendation, would now say "oh dear, I seem to be underwater with empty lungs (having miraculously resisted the gasp reflex), I'd better deploy my rebreather and use the air in its cylinder".
HC, while my gut instinct is to agree with you, I learned a few things about "negative training" when I was in the service (particularly about survival gear) and feel less critical of the point AAIB is making.

There are a variety of tools/types available. It seems a valid approach to refresh one's memory before a transit on what tool is being provided, and how it works. I agree that initial training, and recurrent, ought to address this, but a little refreshment never hurts for life critical skills.

When I was instructing in fixed wing, in a parachute equipped aircraft, my students and I on every flight briefed and went through the procedures, all steps, for bail out. (A very rare event). Why? To refresh the mind on a particularly "you only get one shot at this" event, however low in probability it might be. I got a lot of positivie feedback on that approach.

When we flew from ships, a number of tail rotor malfunctions were addressed in the brief, top to bottom, since those malfunctions were of critical nature to get right if one ever cropped up in flight (rare, but not zero).

For a passenger flying over the North Sea, refreshing just what that survival tool does (and these guys don't transit every day, right? Once a week? One a fortnight? ) puts them into an alert mind set, which, God forbid it all goes pearshaped, may make the difference between successful or failed emergency egress. You only get one chance at it.
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Old 24th Jan 2014, 15:25
  #2353 (permalink)  
 
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I think TM has a point and HC is demonstrating that point. If helicopter companies have so little committment to the safety of their passengers that they will do whatever the oil companies want, then TM wins!

HC does have a point though in that the helicopter companies will happily undercut each other and only run to the regulatory minimums in all things. Of course the oil companies are well aware of this, and the inability of the helicopter compnaies to demonstrate any effective leadership. Of course the re-introduction of Bond into the UK offshore market was a pretty cynical ploy to ensure 'more' competion and make any form of united front more difficult.

Can any of the helicopter operators demonstrate effective escape from an unturned helicopter in water carrying 19 pax? Highly unlikely even with the LAPS system.

My last flight with Bond at the end of last year, at night and they were just starting to use what felt like a long stabilised offset approach - for which the pilot apologised as the approach and landing would take longer - no mention that it is fundementally safer. The wheels seem to turn very slowly sometimes.
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Old 24th Jan 2014, 15:33
  #2354 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Pittsextra View Post
... It shouldn't take the publication of AAIB reports years after the event before evidence of the work starts, and they shouldn't be the driver of change.
Unfortunately it is and will always be thus. Its the autopsy approach - where you wait for folk to die before you do anything. But in general you don't know there is a problem until after the accident. To address what you think is the problem in a knee-jerk way, is prone to wasted effort and lack of concentration on the real issues when they finally come out in a properly thought-out report, and every unnecessary change has it's own hazard to contribute.

HFDM goes some way to being pro-active, but even a well-run HFDM programme (which is a bit like a hen's tooth!) can only prevent accidents that have had a preceding "near miss".

So I'm afraid that accidents have always been, and will always be, the driver of change not just in this industry but in every other one.

On the particular subject of the number of pax in the cabin, a reduction would be welcomed by the pax on comfort grounds and who could blame them for that! It could also be justified on evacuation grounds, with caveats.

However, if I were a pax, I would prefer that max effort went into keeping the helicopters airborne, rather than spending too much effort on what happens after an uncontrolled ditching, only a small spectrum of which would entail any benefit by reducing pax numbers.

ie a controlled ditching - everyone gets out OK.
A completely uncontrolled ditching (crash) - chances are everyone dies on impact.
A slightly uncontrolled ditching such as the Shetland one, yes for that case certainly the chances of sucessful evacuation is improved with fewer pax. But it is the only one out of all the recent arrivals in the water, where that is the case.
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Old 24th Jan 2014, 15:34
  #2355 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Pittsextra View Post
That's not entirely fair. In your postings on the G-REDL FAI you suggest differences in HUMS process was in play... how is that anyone but the operators influence?
I was referring specifically and only to the point about reducing passenger numbers per flight.
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Old 24th Jan 2014, 15:37
  #2356 (permalink)  
 
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Lonewolf, I don't disagree with your points, and I agree that the videos (which a few pax do actually watch) should be improved to include the hybrid rebreather. My point was just that I didn't think it was sufficiently important to warrant a special bulletin (that got us all excited!). The overall contribution to safety of this change will be miniscule.
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Old 24th Jan 2014, 15:39
  #2357 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by gasax View Post
I think TM has a point and HC is demonstrating that point. If helicopter companies have so little committment to the safety of their passengers that they will do whatever the oil companies want, then TM wins!
Unfortunately there is no point in being the safest helicopter operator in the world if you win no contracts and thus go out of business. Like it or not (and I don't like it!), we have to do whatever the oil companies want, in order to survive.
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Old 24th Jan 2014, 15:40
  #2358 (permalink)  
 
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Unfortunately it is and will always be thus. Its the autopsy approach - where you wait for folk to die before you do anything. But in general you don't know there is a problem until after the accident. To address what you think is the problem in a knee-jerk way, is prone to wasted effort and lack of concentration on the real issues when they finally come out in a properly thought-out report, and every unnecessary change has it's own hazard to contribute.
OK so what is Bristows Target Zero doing? Waiting to react to accidents?
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Old 24th Jan 2014, 15:41
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For colour here is a transcript of Bill's opening gambit on the last earnings call:-

Thank you, Linda. Good morning to all of you and thank you for joining us on our fiscal year 2014 second quarter earnings call and I'm going to start on slide five, as I always begin talking about safety. As always, our commitment to Target Zero is our fundamental goal and serves as a cultural touchstone for our company. Touch wood to this point: year-to-date our air safety performance has been consistent with our Target Zero goal with no accidents or no incidents reported so far, obviously a great credit to the entire team around the world.
However, we continue to be vigilant and as I just said, touch wood, highly collaborative within Bristow and highly collaborative outside, which I'll talk about in just a few minutes. Our goal is to improve safety performance not only within Bristow but also help improve the safety performance in the entire industry.
On ground safety, we were challenged. We were able to continue to reduce our lost work case rate from an non-acceptable high of 1.26 per 200,000 man hours in April to 0.44 in September. Good work on everybody's part to improve from a really bad start. We are highly focused on making improvements in the area of safety.
And to this end, I would like to formally introduce Steve Predmore as Bristow's Vice President and Chief Safety Officer, who's just joined the company. Steve's job is to further our grab to Target Zero work to improve safety across the entire industry and as I said within Bristow and outside. Steve has a long and proven track record of outstanding leadership in aviation and ground safety including 11 years with JetBlue Airways as Vice President and Chief Safety Officer and six years with Delta Air Lines as Director of Safety Performance and Quality.
Bringing in world-class safety professional to further our air and ground safety capability will make Target Zero a reality sooner and, most importantly, more sustainable for our clients, passengers and our employees worldwide.
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Old 24th Jan 2014, 15:42
  #2360 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Pittsextra View Post
OK so what is Bristows Target Zero doing? Waiting to react to accidents?
Perhaps you should ask someone who works for Bristow, but I would say that it is trying to eliminate known risks. But to therefore presume that there are no unknown risks would be foolish and plain wrong. For example, a bog standard non-precision approach into Sumburgh was not on anyone's radar as a risky practice, but look what happened.
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