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AS332L2 Ditching off Shetland: 23rd August 2013

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AS332L2 Ditching off Shetland: 23rd August 2013

Old 24th Jan 2014, 15:49
  #2361 (permalink)  
 
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in general you don't know there is a problem until after the accident.
True statement when One does not look for a problem and ignores any report of a problem and relies upon established procedures and policies to be totally effective and compliant with all Rules and Regulations.

The reality is only through continuous examination and consideration of the way we do business can we be assured what we do and how we do it....is not subject to unrecognized potential failures.

Waiting for the Autopsy results is just waiting for proof positive we failed on the front end of the process and any changes we make after the fact ignores they should have been seen much earlier and acted upon.
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Old 24th Jan 2014, 15:58
  #2362 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by SASless View Post
True statement when One does not look for a problem and ignores any report of a problem and relies upon established procedures and policies to be totally effective and compliant with all Rules and Regulations.

The reality is only through continuous examination and consideration of the way we do business can we be assured what we do and how we do it....is not subject to unrecognized potential failures.

Waiting for the Autopsy results is just waiting for proof positive we failed on the front end of the process and any changes we make after the fact ignores they should have been seen much earlier and acted upon.
Yes that's all true and of course is what we try to do. But it is most certainly not a perfect process. As I mentioned before, there were no reports of near misses during an NPA, no crew disquiet, in other words absolutely no indication that this would be our next serious accident.

Once you have eliminated all the know risks, the remainder can only be dealt with by to the autopsy approach. Sad but true.
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Old 24th Jan 2014, 16:13
  #2363 (permalink)  
 
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Had someone done a fresh review of use of Automation with a view towards ensuring the Crew's were making the best and most appropriate use of the features and functions of the AFCS systems....would potential pitfalls been discovered that might have prevented this last crash?

Had bad habits been allowed to grow?

Had SOP's been reviewed to to confirm the Industry Best Practices were being incorporated.....would that have made a difference?

I take you back to the work Double Bogey did on Night Approaches to Offshore locations....is that not a perfect example of what I am talking about doing?

Look at current procedures and see if they can be improved.....and done at regular intervals.....skinning that Onion back looking to see if all the layers are as they should really be.
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Old 24th Jan 2014, 16:36
  #2364 (permalink)  
 
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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".
That's the whole point Comparator, it's about leadership and innovation. If Helicopter Company "A" introduced such a policy in a thought out and structured manner by engaging its customers and the workforce, yes, those horrible annoying passengers, pressure from those very passengers with whom you don't want to engage would soon use pressure to ensure its leadership position was rewarded. Operator B and C would be tripping over each other to follow. Before you know it, a new standard exists.

The fact that you don't see it demonstrates the very lack of leadership to which I refer. CEOs can pat their Directors of Safety on the back all they like. Target Zero is admirable, it's a good slogan. But real safety leadership involves actions not slogans.

Currently, the helicopter industry reaches Target Zero very well, Zero Innovation, Zero Action and Zero Effort. Pat yourself on the back Comparator, your bonus is coming.
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Old 24th Jan 2014, 16:39
  #2365 (permalink)  
 
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Rebreather - UK LAP

I posted about this earlier in the thread and still don't know the answer. I am fully aware through my survival training, and the flight safety briefing (I think) that the rebreather also has an air cylinder which will discharge when the rebreather contacts water.
But my thoughts are - and I'm not sure - if you have not deployed the mouthpiece and popped the valve (which you do after breath in - before breath out to fill rebreather) the air from the cylinder will vent out the bypass into the water?

I also suspect through conversations offshore about rebreather, that a % of the workforce do not like them and would not necessarily deploy them - on a controlled ditching I think there would be more chance as they would tend to do what the leaders in the cabin do - but I am not convinced in an uncontrolled crash like this they would be deployed. Main thoughts would be escape from cabin. Also much harder to deploy inverted and under water.

Also I have always felt that on the 4 yearly refresher in the pool, we should experience the air cylinder discharging into the rebreather - this is not done due to the need to charge/recharge cylinders - and they are small and I imagine would be easily marked and weakened when recharging, and a lot of new cylinders would be required - I don't know what they cost.

I really want to know how this helicopter ended up in the water - it should never have. I hope the focus on this is not blurred by evacuation/escape.

HC - I agree with your scenarios about ditching - I would never dismiss your theory about the PF worrying about being questioned by passengers/companies and this stopped him taking the required corrective action. But it alarms me greatly. In my experience PAX are not complaining, but often would just like an explanation for any unexpected in flight event. Pilots should worry only about keeping the aircraft, themselves and pax safe.
The very good point made was that North Sea flying is mainly routine, and maybe pilots take time to recognise the danger of the situation before reacting, or maybe they were distracted by something else.

I saw a press report saying 3 of the 4 fatalities drowned - has the cause of death ever been confirmed?
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Old 24th Jan 2014, 16:44
  #2366 (permalink)  
 
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TM - some companies are already restricting pax numbers to 16/17 in the EC225 and have been doing for some time - to improve comfort - although I agree they still have 19 seats.

I agree the oil companies can easily drive this change and make it easier for the contractors, but if it is required for safety reasons the regulatory authorities should also be driving the change through?

Last edited by thelearner; 24th Jan 2014 at 16:46. Reason: typo
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Old 24th Jan 2014, 16:50
  #2367 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by terminus mos View Post
That's the whole point Comparator, it's about leadership and innovation. If Helicopter Company "A" introduced such a policy in a thought out and structured manner by engaging its customers and the workforce, yes, those horrible annoying passengers, pressure from those very passengers with whom you don't want to engage would soon use pressure to ensure its leadership position was rewarded. Operator B and C would be tripping over each other to follow. Before you know it, a new standard exists.

The fact that you don't see it demonstrates the very lack of leadership to which I refer. CEOs can pat their Directors of Safety on the back all they like. Target Zero is admirable, it's a good slogan. But real safety leadership involves actions not slogans.

Currently, the helicopter industry reaches Target Zero very well, Zero Innovation, Zero Action and Zero Effort. Pat yourself on the back Comparator, your bonus is coming.
Jolly good, glad to see you residing happily in commercial cloud cuckoo land!

If operator A went to the oil cos saying they wanted to cut down pax numbers, the first reaction would be "cheeky b******* just trying to make more money" because typically our interface with the oil cos is via someone who is a budget controller only interested in the bottom line of his transport budget. It would only be a "good idea" if it was invented in the oil co's office, not if it was invented in the operator's office. OK things have changed a little bit recently, but only as a result of these accidents.

Of course there is history to this - many years ago it was decided to reduce the pax numbers in the AS332L from 19 to 18 but I don't know whose initiative that was - almost certainly the oil co's for the reasons I indicate.
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Old 24th Jan 2014, 16:56
  #2368 (permalink)  
 
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Learner, good on them but if you don't remove the redundant seats, it improves neither comfort nor safety. Your post though illustrates my point, you say "some oil companies", surely you don't mean those evil ones who know nothing about aviation and who don't care about safety?

Comparator, of course your interface is with the budget controller, that's because you Sky Gods won't engage with the workforce, not even at a union to union level to improve safety. If you can't understand the relationship between innovation and commercial reward, I can't help you. Anyway, as usual, it's the oil industry's own aviation advisors who will drive safety outcomes.
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Old 24th Jan 2014, 16:56
  #2369 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by thelearner View Post
... but if it is required for safety reasons the regulatory authorities should also be driving the change through?
It isn't required for safety reasons - by which I mean not to reach internationally accepted safety standards. If you want to increase the level of safety beyond that, then that is fine but it shouldn't be enshrined in law by regulators as they have no basis for such a change.

As I said before, far better to concentrate on stopping all this crashery rather than fretting too much about escapability under a very narrow set of conditions which may not be repeated for a very long time (last time I guess was cormorant A, 22 years ago).
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Old 24th Jan 2014, 17:15
  #2370 (permalink)  
 
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HC - you know I think I wholeheartedly agree with your post above.

TM - it increases comfort a little in the back where it's most cramped - if you are not squashed in there with some other big lads - although I of course accept that to make the biggest difference an improved interior layout is required.

I'd like some more opinions on the rebreather. Not sure improving the briefing video will help much.
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Old 24th Jan 2014, 18:17
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Originally Posted by thelearner
I'd like some more opinions on the rebreather.
I started flying offshore before the first version was introduced, which fitted snugly between the stoles of the lifejacket. ISTR that it was introduced as a result of a series of losses, to improve escape-times and instill a little confidence. The LAP jacket combined the hybrid re-breather with the lifejacket replacing the two previously seperate items.

Initial training included teaching the passenger that an additional supply of air was included in the re-breather, that the initial exhale into the jacket would provide some extra time, and the training-rig also allowed the demonstration of the effects of water-pressure on the assembly.

Personally, I accept the discomfort of wearing the LAP, given its purpose. Where my take on the item may differ from my fellow passengers is that I have no difficulty with the HUET due to considerable HUET training in a previous job, and recreational diving.

It always helps, of course, if you are given a little prior notice of the need to use it.
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Old 24th Jan 2014, 22:49
  #2372 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by terminus mos View Post
... Anyway, as usual, it's the oil industry's own aviation advisors who will drive safety outcomes.
Well could you get on with it then instead of dragging your heels? The safety record recently demonstrates you are not doing your job properly. At least we now know who to blame!

Perhaps if you had spent less time cheering on the race to the bottom, eg by such tactics as on-line inverse auctions for contracts, things would be in a happier place.
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Old 25th Jan 2014, 01:14
  #2373 (permalink)  
 
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From the NATO website, referring to both rebreather and hybrid rebreather equipment.

" ... the main disadvantage is that it requires a number of steps to make it operational during a critical part of flight. The system, currently the most popular used in North Sea, requires the human to physically perform up to six separate steps after the impact phase of a helicopter ditching to make it work. If these procedures are not carried out the system is rendered inoperable and the survivor could drown."
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Old 25th Jan 2014, 09:19
  #2374 (permalink)  
 
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If money were no object............

Our PAX would be issued with a one piece suit incorporating the life jacket, beacon, heated elements and quilted construction. Neatly built into the chest would be a lightweight full face mask connected to a small lightweight SCUBA kit which is integrated into the suit.

Air, vision and warmth, the lack of, being the three main obstacles to facilitating easy egress, should you be lucky enough to survive the impact with the water.

At present our pax appear at the AC door as a walking talking snag hazard. Bedecked in straps and kit that we know is simply not fit for purpose.

When will we wake up and stop pissing in the wind with cheap, impractical solutions, that arguably, create far more problems for a submerged passenger than they actually solve!

If money were no object............

DB

P.S. before you reply to my post, if you are not a current offshore PAX and therefore take no part in the risks involved, think before you bleat out some negative backward thinking bollocks, the like of which is the very reason our pax are saddled with such shit kit!!
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Old 25th Jan 2014, 09:41
  #2375 (permalink)  
 
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jimf671
" ... the main disadvantage is that it requires a number of steps to make it operational during a critical part of flight. The system, currently the most popular used in North Sea, requires the human to physically perform up to six separate steps after the impact phase of a helicopter ditching to make it work. If these procedures are not carried out the system is rendered inoperable and the survivor could drown."
agree 100% with this statement.
If you cannot deploy and prepare before you enter the water, chances are it will not be used. If you do not pop the valve before the valve and bypass on the mouthpiece enters the water, you are going to suck in water, unless the air cylinder discharges and stops the water entering - momentarily. I don't know if once you are in the water if the rebreather will fill with water if the valve is not popped and the bypass remains open - I guess it would. But I'm not sure.

What we have is good if you have time to deploy. No time to deploy - as in this CFIT - a scuba type device you put in your mouth to get air would be much better. Maybe much better for all scenarios. I don't know if they exist.

DB - correct.
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Old 25th Jan 2014, 10:20
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There has been a great deal of discussion here about reducing the pax numbers on acft and whether it should be driven by the helicopter operator or oil company, and clearly this is a balance between operating economics, safety and comfort. But in most forms of transport the balance between particularly safety and economics is set not by the operator or customer but by the manufacturer of the car/bus/vessel/aircraft in certification, when the seating capacity is specified. No one seems to have mentioned this aspect recently. Should not responsibility be fundamentally placed on (in this instance) Eurocopter to set the appropriate seating capacity? Accepting that if an operator or customer wants more comfort or space (rather than significantly more safety) a more spacious "executive" seating layout is optional.

Being responsible for setting criteria for acceptable safety (and let's face it, it can always be improved if money is no object) is a very onerous task and in general it is best set by the one, arguably most knowledgable, organisation to avoid exposure to criticism and alleged negligence in the event of accidents.
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Old 25th Jan 2014, 10:34
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Rotorspeed, such things are set by the certification rules. Manufacturers have to demonstrate emergency evacuation with the specified seating configuration. So it already happens as you suggest.

But aren't jumping the gun a bit? We don't yet know why some of the pax didn't escape. Maybe they were knocked out or otherwise injured in the impact? Maybe they panicked and took a large lungful of water as soon as they were submerged? Maybe they froze in panic?

It is one thing to know that they didn't get out, but it is a non-sequeter to conclude from that, that having a more spacious cabin layout would fix the problem.
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Old 25th Jan 2014, 10:42
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HC - yes sorry should have made it clear I do know capacity it set in certification. Just wondering why some seem to think others, eg operators or oil companies, are better placed than the manufacturer to determine a safe capacity. And agree with with the rest of your post.
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Old 25th Jan 2014, 10:46
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If money were no object...

Someone said all the things they could of, would have should have if money were no object... Personally that's nonsense because the kit described doesn't cost unlimited amounts however lets look at the players involved.

How about BP... the multi billion dollar corporation, Royal Dutch Shell...the multi billion dollar corporation, Total...., Statoil.... not talking oil companies? Perhaps the manufacturers? EADS... the multi billion dollar corporation, United Technologies? Same. Not talking those either? Perhaps the operators? Bristow?? guess what the market capitalisation is of Bristow Group? Goes by the ticker BRS on the New York Stock exchange.. Its $2.8bn.

Quite aside from which there is no point bleating about it here - how about some evidence of what you'd do in all those places where it might actually gain some traction??

I think in the course of history there have been many more difficult struggles than complaining to some corporates - who have the money - to get proper kit. If there was a committed effort to get the correct kit you'd have it. End of.
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Old 25th Jan 2014, 11:06
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Pitts...........take a deep breathe.......brace yourself........for the first time ever........I AGREE WITH YOU 100%

Congratulations on your first productive, positive post!!

DB
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