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AS332L2 Ditching off Shetland: 23rd August 2013

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AS332L2 Ditching off Shetland: 23rd August 2013

Old 8th Sep 2013, 00:24
  #1401 (permalink)  
 
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HC ...that would have been the dark green Saab 96 with the fuel saving freewheel unit! CC was indeed a gent and one of the best instructors.

Last edited by industry insider; 8th Sep 2013 at 06:29.
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Old 8th Sep 2013, 02:56
  #1402 (permalink)  
 
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The third party guy has no incentive to be more or less stringent that the regs require and 99.9% of the time this equates to a 'pass'
If this statistic is accurate, then that's a big problem. Fundamentally it's an absence of quality control at an organisation's most visible and high profile level. How can everybody be up to scratch all the time?
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Old 8th Sep 2013, 03:09
  #1403 (permalink)  
 
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As the Third Party has to satisfy the Customer....so long as the Customer sets a Standard that must be met....The Third Party has no axe to grind and has no need to play favorites.

A true Third Party impartial evaluation of both the Pilots and the Operational Procedures cannot hurt. Sometimes an outside look is beneficial.

Last edited by SASless; 8th Sep 2013 at 03:10.
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Old 8th Sep 2013, 06:02
  #1404 (permalink)  
 
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It would appear that somehow the institutionalised military, stuck in the mud RAF SAR Force, have somehow managed to achieve what 26500lbs has advocated as the ideal -

Our simulator training is provided by a 3rd party (Thales) who employ ex-mil instructors (not all of whom have SAR Sea King experience operationally) - there are close links between the OCU, the 2 Sqn training teams and SAR Standards to ensure that what is taught is what is required and is kept up to date and relevant to the operational requirements.

Who would have thought? Oh let me guess, the answer is that we have a limitless bucket of money to throw at it - nothing could be further from the truth.

HC
How very logical to correlate concern for passengers' feeling with crashing into the sea!
no, your implication was that NS flying techniques are dictated by the need for passenger comfort - the technique of flying in a mixed-mode because you prefer small cyclic changes to collective changes, clearly didn't achieve passenger comfort and confidence in this sad case.
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Old 8th Sep 2013, 06:43
  #1405 (permalink)  
 
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Crab - you are correct and it is an ideal. It works well in the military. I saw it myself in my time and all the staff used in the sim were excellent instructors and former squadron QHI’s.

The main difference is that in the military environment you have time to train in the aircraft and a large amount of budgeted training sorties. Here the Squadron QHI can have his input on the process and feed down the directives from his boss. That does not exist in the offshore world. There are no dedicated aircraft training sorties available after the initial aircraft famil following the type rating.

If an operator were to wholeheartedly embrace third party training they must be able to address the shortfalls. I think the way it is done in the military is an excellent example of how it can work. The key is the two systems must work closely together and be on the same team. An operator cannot just let go of the ropes and say goodbye to training - “third party provider - you have control”.
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Old 8th Sep 2013, 08:11
  #1406 (permalink)  
 
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The discussion here is extremely interesting and thought provoking, and I would like to commend all the contributor's and this forum - it is excellent.

I am ex SLF, but still talk to colleagues who are SLF.

If a helicopter crashes, they are normally grounded. If mechanical fault is found, they remain grounded until either all have been fully inspected, or have had component replacement - and then the regulator (and operators) is satisfied the event cannot reoccur and the aircraft start flying again.
In this event, we still don't know the cause, but you guys seem pretty sure it is some form of procedural or human error, possibly coupled with something else that may have distracted the crew until it was too late to take corrective action.

Why then, are the aircraft (L2) then returned to the air without any assurance that the same event cannot be repeated? This worries me a little, although I am sure (well hopeful) that all crews now are very aware of the possible causes of this accident and this makes another occurrence less likely.

You guys are kings of the check list - I assume there is no check list you use when starting approach?, including ensuring both crew are aware of AP modes, who is controlling each axis and who is monitoring what?

I also found section 8.6.1 of this EASA document very interesting regarding automation and training.

The discussion on 3rd party training is very interesting - oil companies are run by bean counters too, but the MD's will release funds if required for safety improvements - as we all know a major accident (like this one) will cost much more than any savings made anyway - a lesson we seem to keep forgetting?

From limited discussion with my offshore colleagues, the EC225 briefings appear to be going well with very good input from the pilots doing briefings, although the major concern of the workers still seems to be how to get out if they end up inverted in the water.
In this incident, there was no warning and no time to prepare or deploy rebreather - I wonder if then the air bottles in the rebreathers activated on contact with water and there would have been air bubbles everywhere as the air escaped the rebreather? Personally my focus would have been on escaping and i would not have tried to deploy the rebreather, and I hope the full AAIB report focuses on what happened in the rear cabin as well as what caused the accident.

I still think the main focus should be on keeping the aircraft from entering the water - I think those of us who have flown in the NS for a long time know if we had to ditch on a winters day with quick overturning of the chopper the outcome may not be very good.
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Old 8th Sep 2013, 08:47
  #1407 (permalink)  
 
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The learner - why would you assume that there is no such checklist?

On the contrary - there is a comprehensive "Approach checklist" that should include all relevant aspects of the approach and landing including a crew brief of the approach procedure, instrument settings and Autoplit modes to be used.

OH
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Old 8th Sep 2013, 09:18
  #1408 (permalink)  
 
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The learner,

Thank you for your very well written and informed posting on this forum. It is really good for the crews to hear what you guys in the back are thinking, discussing and worrying about.

CHECKLISTS, actually you may well have stumbled on something really relevant here despite Overthawks simplistic answer.

My previous and current job gives me oversight of a lot of Operators procedures and checklists. All I have seen do not formally address how the Pilot Flying intends to deploy the automatics in sufficient detail to correlate the contingencies when a Mixed Mode approach is flown. It is rather implied by a very simplistic statement like "This will be a 3 Axis coupled ILS etc."

I must stress that there is no valid reason to fly a real 3 Axis approach in a 4 Axis helicopter that I can think of. It is more difficult and potentially dangerous when low and slow at the bottom of the approach if the pilots fail to recognise the collective (power) is in their control.

SASless implores us to let our shields down if we are to identify areas ŵhere we can reduce any risks to our passengers. I think your question is extremely valid, thought provoking and should be carefully considered by all the stakeholders involved in this business.

So Overthawk, Instead of slamming the door in his face lets hear if anyone is currently briefing in such detail that there is no doubt, at the start of the approach, the clear division of duties between the AP and the Crew??

DB

Oh! The Learner, one more point. I well understand your self degenerate reference to you and your colleagues as SLF.

However, please be reassured that to 99.9% of offshore crews on this forum you are "Passengers". Anyone referring to our Passengers as SLF is a stone cold moron and most likely not an Offshore Pilot. Even in jest it is disgusting to me given the nature of the human tragedies that these events actually represent.

Last edited by DOUBLE BOGEY; 8th Sep 2013 at 09:32.
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Old 8th Sep 2013, 09:55
  #1409 (permalink)  
 
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@26500lbs

... That does not exist in the offshore world. There are no dedicated aircraft training sorties available after the initial aircraft famil following the type rating.
Well then, perhaps there should be...? Or does Statoil's interest in safety not extend quite so far as to carry that extra cost...?

22
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Old 8th Sep 2013, 10:00
  #1410 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by SASless View Post
As the Third Party has to satisfy the Customer....so long as the Customer sets a Standard that must be met....The Third Party has no axe to grind and has no need to play favorites.

A true Third Party impartial evaluation of both the Pilots and the Operational Procedures cannot hurt. Sometimes an outside look is beneficial.
Problem is SAS, the customer is the beancounter who lets the contract, not operations. They also have nothing vested in how he performs later, or even if he conforms to the overall company culture.

I myself have yet to see any civil 3rd party training that comes even close to the level of auditing and data acquisition you are talking about.

Originally Posted by 26500lbs
The main difference is that in the military environment you have time to train in the aircraft and a large amount of budgeted training sorties. Here the Squadron QHI can have his input on the process and feed down the directives from his boss. That does not exist in the offshore world. There are no dedicated aircraft training sorties available after the initial aircraft famil following the type rating.

If an operator were to wholeheartedly embrace third party training they must be able to address the shortfalls. I think the way it is done in the military is an excellent example of how it can work. The key is the two systems must work closely together and be on the same team. An operator cannot just let go of the ropes and say goodbye to training - “third party provider - you have control”.
Exactly!

Originally Posted by Double Bogey
My previous and current job gives me oversight of a lot of Operators procedures and checklists. All I have seen do not formally address how the Pilot Flying intends to deploy the automatics in sufficient detail to correlate the contingencies when a Mixed Mode approach is flown. It is rather implied by a very simplistic statement like "This will be a 3 Axis coupled ILS etc."
...
So Overthawk, Instead of slamming the door in his face lets hear if anyone is currently briefing in such detail that there is no doubt, at the start of the approach, the clear division of duties between the AP and the Crew??
...
However, please be reassured that to 99.9% of offshore crews on this forum you are "Passengers". Anyone referring to our Passengers as SLF is a stone cold moron and most likely not an Offshore Pilot. Even in jest it is disgusting to me given the nature of the human tragedies that these events actually represent.
SLF is something I first heard on PPRuNe. Agreed!

From my own experience, the SOP's cover a lot of items that shouldn't need to be rebriefed in the aircraft. The checklist covers what is needed very well as long as the SOP's are well understood. Over the years I have found that some pilots, for various reasons, aren't completely aware of every SOP and so confusion results.

An example from my own past: A few years ago, I briefed an ILS to minimum weather. In the brief I stated that this would be a Pilot Monitored Approach (well defined in the SOP's) and asked if there were any questions when the brief was done. There were none. At DH, he asks me, "do you have visual?"! After the missed we had a discussion to clarify things and when I was satisfied we were ready we completed the ILS successfully.

In the debrief it came to light that 1) as an experienced new hire he didn't think that the IFR SOP would have very much new [definitions of PMA vs PFA?] to show him so he gave it scant attention in his studying (and training) and 2) had never done an approach to real minimums outside of the sim.

Last edited by pilot and apprentice; 8th Sep 2013 at 10:04.
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Old 8th Sep 2013, 10:20
  #1411 (permalink)  
 
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The learner - why would you assume that there is no such checklist?

On the contrary - there is a comprehensive "Approach checklist" that should include all relevant aspects of the approach and landing including a crew brief of the approach procedure, instrument settings and Autoplit modes to be used.

OH
It was a question, hence question mark but maybe not clear as such. I did mean a detailed checklist including what the autopilot was controlling and what each of the crew were to control and monitor. Checklists are a great tool - one of the best things to come from aviation to other industries.

Edited to add - communication is one of the things we humans do worst - including making assumptions that others have understood what we mean - needs to be reinforced with feedback/questioning.

SLF - point taken, I always have assumed it was meant as a humourous term - not degenatory - I can still laugh at myself - humour is very important. I don't think most of us mind the term.

Last edited by thelearner; 8th Sep 2013 at 10:25.
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Old 8th Sep 2013, 10:36
  #1412 (permalink)  
 
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I did not know what SLF was until I started reading this thread and have been flying offshore the majority of my working life. That should perhaps illustrate how little used, if used at all, it is in our cockpits.
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Old 8th Sep 2013, 10:40
  #1413 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by thelearner View Post
SLF - point taken, I always have assumed it was meant as a humourous term - not degenatory - I can still laugh at myself - humour is very important. I don't think most of us mind the term.
Without taking it too seriously, PPRuNe does have a forum Passengers and SLF (Self Loading Freight)

Are we really so sensitive about such things in this day and age?
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Old 8th Sep 2013, 12:44
  #1414 (permalink)  
 
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DB asks:

lets hear if anyone is currently briefing in such detail that there is no doubt, at the start of the approach, the clear division of duties between the AP and the Crew??

Well yes. And for each crew member.

While I might not go into such great detail if we are doing, e.g. an ARA technically required for 9999 Sct/005, if it is likely to be anything near minima then we will brief explicitly.

E.g. for an ARA:
"This will be a fully coupled approach. We will let the FMS establish on finals. When you are satisfied that the approach and go-around sectors are clear, I will beep the radalt hold down to [MDH]. you will monitor this. You will then centre and select the heading hold and give me courses to steer...
... in the event of a go-around, you will select AltP, which is set at 1500ft and I will steer the aircraft at least 30 degrees to the right, and adjust speed and rate of climb as required."

I will also remind my co-pilot that once he is visual, I am more than happy for him to continue to command me to fly headings, speeds, rad-alt height etc. until he is satisfied that he can fly a safe, visual final approach.

Similar guidance for other approaches.
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Old 8th Sep 2013, 13:22
  #1415 (permalink)  
 
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Moving forward together

I'd like to thank all contributors on this thread who are proactively discussing ways to improve our safety culture and allowing a "shields down" discussion to continue. It is much appreciated by us pax, or SLF which acronym I personally take as being a light-hearted and good-natured term in the realm of the Rotorheads threads, in the same theme as bus drivers

Through the open discussion here on approach methods and SOPs, training etc. I'm getting a much better understanding as a back seat passenger on what is involved in approaches, in my last flight I watched the PNF take control and land at the heliport, I'm flying back out again tomorrow (I do numerous trouble-shooting/short trips offshore as part of my day job) and will make a point of sitting where I can watch the PF (type is a S92A so you'll have an idea of my seat placement in pole position at the main cabin door starboard side).

Wrt. whether or not to use the rebreather, this is something worth discussing further. I have been trained to use them since their inception by Shell back in my NS offshore days. The first version was alien in design and use, with the bag floating up in your face. The next version (Airpocket Plus) was a vast improvement, and at least in Malaysia they let you use it in the HUET exercises albeit with the "one breath" cartridge removed. Our latest version over here in Canada, the HUEBA, is IMHO the best so far, but our exposure to it is limited to pool exercises and inversion in a chair rig, we are not allowed to use it in the HUET exercises due to potential for mis-application and subsequent damage to your lungs i.e. if you forget to breath out on the ascent.

Whether or not the equipment will be used in a capsize will be determined by many variables, however if you end up upside down in a poor visibility environment, disorientated due to air bubbles and cold water hits your face, it could save your life.

When we do our sea day over here as part of our offshore certification we have the option to jump into the sea off the rescue boat. This is done wearing a Fitzswright immersion suit and not the Helly Hansen HTS-1 that we wear on the flight, reason being cost of suits and previous use in the pool. Not many jump in, especially if you are doing a recurrent course, as you generally get a bit more water in your suit from the face seal breaking as some air still finds a way to avoid getting "burped" out prior to jumping. Nevertheless the cold water shock to me and that reflective gasp happens just from the water on your face. You have to mentally tell yourself not to breath, when you have a breathing device the opposite is true.

In the same way that indecision can cause an accident to occur the same action can cause the outcome to be more disastrous.

I look forward to reading the final AAIB report to see how many pax actually deployed and used their rebreathers. I hope that this will force the respective safety regulating bodies who determine the survival training curriculum to revise and improve on what we currently do and make it more realistic. Practice makes perfect, and once every 3 or 4 years depending in what certification you are doing is too long. I would prefer to see annual rebreather/HUEBA training mandatory.

Safe flying

Max
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Old 8th Sep 2013, 13:22
  #1416 (permalink)  
 
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If a helicopter crashes, they are normally grounded.
I would say that historically, this is not the case. An aircraft with 20+ years of flying experience would not normally be grounded following an accident, unless there was some clear mechanical cause. The Super Puma family has been running since the early 80's and has an excellent safety record, so the decision to ground would appear to be more of an Oil Company decision rather than airworthiness or safety related. I guess that explains the stance from the AAIB and CAA who have not issued any grounding of the aircraft in response to these sad events.
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Old 8th Sep 2013, 14:10
  #1417 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by John Eacott View Post

Are we really so sensitive about such things in this day and age?
Thankfully, the majority of us aren't.
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Old 8th Sep 2013, 15:00
  #1418 (permalink)  
 
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Quote:
...
Well then, perhaps there should be...? Or does Statoil's interest in safety not extend quite so far as to carry that extra cost...?

22
Perhaps there should be, but that is another debate. Perhaps then you are back to the beginning, where the whole issue is solved by using in-house instructors. Why use third party training organisations then double your costs by addressing all the shortfalls with costly aircraft training sorties and having to buy extra aircraft and increase the burden on the operations dept and technical department, when there is a better solution. It is not as easy as just taking a machine out for a 2 hr sortie. All machines are closely budgeted for and maintenance planned for months and years in advance. One extra aircraft requires far more than just the initial purchase. The running costs are constant. The aircraft has to commercially pay for itself by flying as many commercial trips as possible within the maintenance schedule. You are talking millions of dollars per aircraft per year, not small change. Spare aircraft do not exist. The customer pays for the number of aircraft they need for the contract and not for extra training aircraft. I do not know what the current price of an S92 or 225 is but enough that it would be financially disadvantageous to any company to just have them sitting around. That is if you could even get hold of an S92 right now.
The operators generally do not own the aircraft, so have little say in how many they have to operate as they are usually leased. They simply cannot afford nor need to have more than required and the reality is the current level D simulators are more than adequate for training given appropriately qualified instructors and training plans, so aircraft training sorties are really not required.

Last edited by 26500lbs; 8th Sep 2013 at 15:04.
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Old 8th Sep 2013, 15:21
  #1419 (permalink)  
 
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I wouldn't worry about the "SLF" tag! As you can see I'm not!

On the platform, we used to call the production techs "Growbags", the Instrument techs were "Tiffy's", we of the electrical persuasion were "Greenies", and with guys from around the UK, the banter and name calling between Geordies, Scousers, us Jocks, Welsh sheep-sh***ers and so on, was seen for what it was - harmless banter. It made the trip go quicker!

Like the other passengers who have commented on this thread, I have read all the posts, and although some of the more technical aspects are WAY above my head, I am acutely aware that you are having a good airing of the issues that affect you in your job, and I am in no doubt that these discussions will lead to a safer environment for us all. Keep up the good work, guys.

Last edited by OffshoreSLF; 8th Sep 2013 at 15:22.
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Old 8th Sep 2013, 16:14
  #1420 (permalink)  
 
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SLF

The first time I heard the term SLF was from a friend of mine who is SLF, therefore if its good enough for them its good enough for me! I believe it has its origins in the military.

Better than pax, which is just a lazy shortening, at least SLF has some ironic humour to lighten the mood.

As has been said, helicopters are not normally grounded following an accident and let's remember that the airworthiness authorities did not even ground the EC225 after 2 ditchings from more or less the same cause in the same year. The CAA Flight Ops put a ban on offshore CAT, only applicable for UK. The reason why the aircraft stopped flying was because the operators and oil companies decided it was the best course of action, and I think we all agreed it was a good idea until the real cause was understood.

II - you have an excellent memory, clearly senility has yet to catch up with you!

Last edited by HeliComparator; 8th Sep 2013 at 16:19.
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