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AS332L2 Ditching off Shetland: 23rd August 2013

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AS332L2 Ditching off Shetland: 23rd August 2013

Old 25th Jan 2014, 11:22
  #2381 (permalink)  
 
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A good point Rotorspeed. Sadly, in some ways, the OEMs are like the operators. always thinking that more is better because that's the conventional thinking.

But, the helicopter travelling workforce has had enough and the message is getting through to the oil companies very quickly. The travelling workforce want more room and less clutter. Improved comfort will be a welcome by product. Those companies which don't listen will find themselves without a willing workforce.

Even EC / Airbus is now beginning to realise (probably trying to avoid future liability claims) by pushing a better seating plan to the oil companies and operators. The operators are not selling it to the oil companies because they have no leadership, they still think more is better.

Cramming 19 passengers into the woeful cabin of the EC225 will soon be a thing of the past. You can agree or disagree but lower passenger numbers are coming to EC225s and S-92s soon. The 175 and 189 may also be re configured, both Airbus H and AW are talking to those who pay the bills.
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Old 25th Jan 2014, 13:00
  #2382 (permalink)  
 
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such things are set by the certification rules. Manufacturers have to demonstrate emergency evacuation with the specified seating configuration.
Do the Emergency Exit Specifications include allowance for the use of bulky Survival Suits and Flotation gear over heavy Winter Clothing?

All the passengers are not 165 pound "average" folk especially when outfitted for a Winter time flight over the North Sea.

Pitts gets a Gold Star on this one.....as I have in the past noted the very small percentage Helicopter Costs are in an Oil Company's Transportation Budget. Don't tell me they cannot spend a few Bob extra to enhance safety and comfort for their employees who fly out to Sea to get to work.

I can assure you their CEO's Gulfstream V has spacious seating.....and damn fine catering to boot.
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Old 25th Jan 2014, 13:20
  #2383 (permalink)  
 
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as I have in the past noted the very small percentage Helicopter Costs are in an Oil Company's Transportation Budget. Don't tell me they cannot spend a few Bob extra to enhance safety and comfort for their employees who fly out to Sea to get to work.
Of course they can SASless and they will spend more with fewer pax per flight. It's just a shame that the real so called specialists, the helicopter operators, are dragging their feet instead of leading the industry. Actually, the helicopter operator's understanding of their customers is very poor.
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Old 25th Jan 2014, 15:04
  #2384 (permalink)  
 
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PAX and pilot survival equipment

Just back in from an offshore job in Canada, I had a UK based guy with me who had to do our survival training course as we use different survival equipment over here. Thought I'd share some feedback he gave me as we chatted about the recent helo incidents.

He thought our survival suit (Helly Hansen HTS-1) was very bulky, with it's built in lifejacket, and added accessories (HUEBA, PLB). He found the HUET training over here much more realistic in comparison to the UK BOSIET course, especially the additional number of capsizes and having to do a sea day, similar to the. Norwegian course.

He found the HUEBA much more useful in comparison to the Airpocket plus, but didn't like not being able to use a nose clip or mask in the chair inversion HUEBA training (we're not allowed to use the HUEBA in the HUET exercises due to the remote possibility of damaging your lungs if you hold your breath and don't exhale when > 1 metre submersion). For clarification in the Newfoundland training centres you are allowed to use the nose clip/mask in the HUEBA training exercises, it's the Nova Scotian training centre that doesn't let you use these aids, I'm assuming that they want you to be ready for the worst case deployment scenario.

The S92 configuration we use over here has the aux fuel tank mounted on the starboard side, and that reduces the number of PAX to 17. He commented on how much more cabin room there was in comparison to the NS buses, even with the bulky HTS1 suit on. He did comment on how the window sizes were a challenge to egress with the bulkier suit, but obviously not impossible. The bigger you are the harder it is, so for me even at 240 lbs and a 52" chest I still manage even the smallest window as you have to go through that in the HUET training.

As for the Airpocket plus versus the HUEBA, I'm certified on both, but prefer the HUEBA as you don't have to pop the valve and you have a good couple of minutes of breathing if you keep calm.

The oil companies over here are currently looking for a replacement to the HTS1 survival suit as the ones we use are now at least 4 years old and must be coming up for certification expiry, I hope the next suit has less bulkiness and moves away from the large integrated rubber boots that are IMO far too bouyant.

My question to the pilots is "are you satisfied with your current survival suit/equipment?" I understand with the longer flying hours in comparison to PAX that some additional degree of comfort and protection from overheating is necessary, and that you generally have HEEDS mini-scuba sets. I know how fatigued and overheated we get in the back, especially if we boomerang and cannot land due to weather/visibility, so the last thing I would wish is same on the bus drivers.

Looking forward to lessons learned and further improvements in our primary mode of transport to do our jobs, both for PAX and bus drivers.

Safe flying

Max
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Old 25th Jan 2014, 15:48
  #2385 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by terminus mos View Post
... ... Cramming 19 passengers into the woeful cabin of the EC225 will soon be a thing of the past. You can agree or disagree but lower passenger numbers are coming to EC225s and S-92s soon. The 175 and 189 may also be re configured, both Airbus H and AW are talking to those who pay the bills.
Are you not being hard on the wrong aircraft there?

The 225, and especially the newcomers 189 and 175, have fat bar steward sized escape windows everywhere.

I am not a fan of the window size in the 92 or the middle section of the 332 in spite of what maxwelg2 tells us. The distances to good-sized escape window in a 92 has always concerned me. Then there is the 332 door jettison farce and the door-mounted liferaft.


(My favourite seat in a 332 is still starboard window 2nd row in spite of this. From this location I hope to be able to see the look on the co-pilot's face as he turns to the captain. )
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Old 25th Jan 2014, 16:47
  #2386 (permalink)  
 
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Meanwhile, out here in Africa in Bristow we are really looking forward to getting the ultra-modern S76D with its comfortable seats and hectares of cabin space. The passengers are going to notice a huge difference after those awful old-fashioned S76C+ and Bell 412 EP types . Luckily, we don't need survival suits for our ultra-slim passengers to slide through those huge rear and front exits. But it's okay, it's Target Zero, it's new tech - even if it is a 1970s design with marginally larger windows and a 'crashworthy' rear seat so good ole Bill, can still stay true to Target Zero.
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Old 25th Jan 2014, 20:10
  #2387 (permalink)  
 
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Helicomparator

IIRC the initiative to reduce from 19 to 18 in the AS332L came from Bond Helicopters (Engineering Director Tony Cox I believe) when they showed a reconfigured machine with some seats reversed to the UKOOA aircraft committee and the other operators (BIH and Bristow). UKOOA agreed that should be the standard along with a whole raft of modifications done on all types on a collective basis around that time, such as push out windows with integral water operated lighting, video briefing of passengers, ADELT beacons and other stuff like floor lighting. All operators fitted everything agreed, paid for by a time limited supplementary charge on each contract until the cost recovery was complete.
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Old 27th Jan 2014, 10:11
  #2388 (permalink)  
 
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Terminus

You are wrong on so many levels. If you saw the pressure applied by the big operators when the weather is poor, the back-log develops and general leading questions as to why a captain has decided that the flight isn't going ahead, then you wouldn't say that it is all down to the operators. The operators are like any other business when it comes to leadership etc., some good, some not so good. Generally, they are trying to react to an ever changing requirement and it is a race they can never win and still remain profitable. I don't know much about the structure of the oil companies, but I do see the shop floor result on a daily basis and I can assure you, it ain't pretty.

If the oil companies and their aviation experts can do it better and safer, know all the answers as HC says, then why aren't they? Because, it is easier to drive the price down amongst competing contractors. I would like an oil company pension and equivalent salary to the OIMs, so bring it on, I am ready to sign up.
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Old 27th Jan 2014, 11:16
  #2389 (permalink)  
 
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Cyclic, whether or not you think I am wrong, passenger numbers will reduce in order to improve cabin escape chances, firstly on the old 332Ls and L2s. Once one oil company leads (it sure won't be a dinosaur helicopter operator) and reduces cabin congestion, others will follow.

Generally, they are trying to react to an ever changing requirement and it is a race they can never win and still remain profitable. I don't know much about the structure of the oil companies, but I do see the shop floor result on a daily basis and I can assure you, it ain't pretty.
I imagine you are a helicopter Pilot or Manager? It is therefore not expected that you would have anything other than an adversarial attitude to the customer. That's the problem with the helicopter industry.

I would like an oil company pension and equivalent salary to the OIMs, so bring it on, I am ready to sign up.
You won't make it into the HR office, the door is too small.

Last edited by terminus mos; 28th Jan 2014 at 02:02.
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Old 27th Jan 2014, 11:51
  #2390 (permalink)  
 
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adversarial attitude to the customer
I'm not going to get into the proverbial peeing competition with you, but I can assure you at grass routes level there is definitely not an adversarial attitude to our customers, in fact, quite the opposite. Regularly, those doing the job go out of their way to make sure it gets done despite the ever increasing hurdles that are put in our way. If your operator is adversarial, then I suggest you change them, after all, you call the shots.

If the oil companies and their aviation experts can do it better and safer, know all the answers as HC says, then why aren't they? Because, it is easier to drive the price down amongst competing contractors. I would like an oil company pension and equivalent salary to the OIMs, so bring it on, I am ready to sign up.
Trickier one to answer without just being "adversarial" eh?
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Old 27th Jan 2014, 13:12
  #2391 (permalink)  
 
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When an Oil Company refuses Contractor Staff the use of Oil Company recreational and social facilities....tell me about adversarial Helicopter companies?
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Old 27th Jan 2014, 13:56
  #2392 (permalink)  
 
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Cyclic, you may not be adversarial at grass roots level but every time a "customer" contributes here there is the same old song, which seems at odds with your claim not to be.

Trying to drive the cost down, don't care about safety, dare to ask technical questions, you don't need to know because it's pilot's stuff, you don't pay enough, helicopter travel is only 2% of transport budget, oil companies make obscene profits etc, all those comments seem adversarial to me.

Maybe that's just pilots on this forum?

To answer your "trickier" question about always wanting to drive down cost by wedging helicopter operators, we have already introduced max pax loads of 16 with unused seats removed in 225s and 92s. The initiative was led by our aviation department (and supported by our workforce),not the helicopter operator. We do not fly the 332L because we do not believe in flying passengers in 32 year old (cheap) helicopters and they wouldn't fly in them anyway. However, helicopter companies like to try to tempt us with cheap 332 deals believing that only money talks.
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Old 27th Jan 2014, 18:00
  #2393 (permalink)  
 
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To answer your "trickier" question about always wanting to drive down cost by wedging helicopter operators, we have already introduced max pax loads of 16 with unused seats removed in 225s and 92s. The initiative was led by our aviation department (and supported by our workforce),not the helicopter operator. We do not fly the 332L because we do not believe in flying passengers in 32 year old (cheap) helicopters and they wouldn't fly in them anyway. However, helicopter companies like to try to tempt us with cheap 332 deals believing that only money talks.
Oh yes the oil companies always want the best and most modern equipment with good emergency egress, crashworthy fuel tanks, and comfortable cabins coupled with 'twin engine reliability'

That'll be why in Nigeria, Chevron (ranked no 6 in the world) is still using single engine Bell 206 and Bell 407s offshore, despite the NCAA ruling more than 20 years ago that only twin engined helicopters would be acceptable for offshore CAT . That'll be why Chevron operates the ultra-modern Bell 412 in Nigeria and is rumoured to be asking for tenders to replace it with the ultra-modern S76 with it's excellent cabin, crash-worthy seats and huge emergency exit windows (and don't even get me started on the marginally larger windows on the later models of the S76D . That'll be why Exxon Mobil, ranked number 2 in the world is looking to replace it's ancient Bell 412's and S76s with ultra-modern S76Ds . Yeah, the oil companies lead the way in ensuring that only safe, modern, crashworthy machines operate for them. They're the ones who decide which types they're going to operate when putting out invitations to tender. Oil companies leaders in safety - you're having an egg yoke aren't you
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Old 27th Jan 2014, 18:30
  #2394 (permalink)  
 
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Phone,

At least Nigeria no longer holds the title for "The Place Where Old Helicopters Go To Die!" as it once did not so long ago.

The 76D might be old tech...but at least it is new build.
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Old 27th Jan 2014, 18:36
  #2395 (permalink)  
 
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The 76D might be old tech...but at least it is new build.
So were the S76A, A++, B, C, C+ and C++ in their time. So tell me again about all the brilliant new safety innovations which are of positive benefit to passenger survivability and comfort.

Where do all the old helicopters now go to die? Where are all the S76As, S76C+s Bell 212s, 412s, SA365N and Cs and SA 330l and L2s? I guess there are none in Nigeria
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Old 27th Jan 2014, 20:03
  #2396 (permalink)  
 
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To answer your "trickier" question about always wanting to drive down cost by wedging helicopter operators, we have already introduced max pax loads of 16 with unused seats removed in 225s and 92s. The initiative was led by our aviation department (and supported by our workforce),not the helicopter operator. We do not fly the 332L because we do not believe in flying passengers in 32 year old (cheap) helicopters and they wouldn't fly in them anyway. However, helicopter companies like to try to tempt us with cheap 332 deals believing that only money talks.
So, to answer my question, if you are totally unhappy with the awful service you are being provided with, why don't you do it yourself? There is nothing to stop the oil majors setting up and doing it better. They won't because it is too expensive. Well done, you took some seats out of a type, it doesn't make the operation any safer. I can make the system safer, probably, you will need more helicopters and staff, you will need to invest considerably, you will need to commit to long term contracts, you will need considerably more training (passengers and management) etc, etc. Positive suggestions, not adversarial. By the way, this is a pilots' forum not a "trade" magazine whether you like it not. Quite happy to give reasonable answers to reasonable questions whoever asks, we do it everyday.
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Old 28th Jan 2014, 00:34
  #2397 (permalink)  
 
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DNFTT springs to mind!
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Old 28th Jan 2014, 10:58
  #2398 (permalink)  
 
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To bus drivers and SLF all over the world...

Loss of life in our work place is always a subject that brings a reality check for me in this part of my job.

There is a price to safety, and in our current industry that reveals itself in the most unfortunate way, whether in the air or on the rig floor.

Training, equipment, safety culture, are just a few of the mitigating factors in what happened off Shetland.

All we can do is try and prevent the same thing happening again, or being totally realistic at least minimize it.

I'm about to drive to work, which is inherently less safe than flying in the back of a helo, do I choose not to do it or do I keep the risk as low as possible by adopting a safe driving style and using a piece of equipment with the latest built in safety features. I decide myself the level of risk in how I drive and what I drive in.

What I don't have much control on is the other drivers out there and what they use. That is only influenced by a larger safety culture, and what is accepted by my fellow man and woman.

We should always learn from our mistakes and experience, here's to doing the same in our shared working lives. It is only with our voices singing from the same hymn sheet that this will happen, so please take a step back and look at the causal factors of this tragedy and so many others like it and see what you can do as an individual and within your own organization to mitigate the causal factors.

That's all we can do, we all just want to do our jobs to the best of our ability with what we've got.

Safe flying

Max

Last edited by maxwelg2; 28th Jan 2014 at 15:39.
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Old 28th Jan 2014, 11:01
  #2399 (permalink)  
 
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All the things about passenger safety is wonderfull,but to stop the aircraft landing on the water in the first place would help.Something very wrong in the training or crew awareness here.
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Old 28th Jan 2014, 11:14
  #2400 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by micraman View Post
Something very wrong in the training or crew awareness here.
No doubt. However that is very easy to say. What is much harder, is to know what to do about it.
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