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Review into North Sea offshore helicopter operations announced by CAA

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Review into North Sea offshore helicopter operations announced by CAA

Old 21st Feb 2014, 08:20
  #41 (permalink)  
 
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Yes TM but the limitation is associated with the ditching approval:

Action A6: With effect from 01 September 2014, the CAA will prohibit helicopter operators from conducting offshore flights, except in response to an offshore emergency, if the sea state at the offshore location that the helicopter is operating to/from exceeds the certificated ditching performance of the helicopter.
Sea State 4 (which is the base line approval for most medium offshore helicopters - and some of the larger) is a significant wave height of 1.25m - 2.5m (4ft - 8ft).

It was this that was being referred to.

Jim

Last edited by JimL; 21st Feb 2014 at 08:37.
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Old 21st Feb 2014, 09:00
  #42 (permalink)  
 
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So does the sea state limitation apply to a land based destination where the approach is made over water, such as Sumburgh? If so, how is the sea state measured there considering it varies so much with depth of water and exact position. If not, surely it is not addressing the Sumburgh L2 accident?

If you look at the 5 accidents, only one (the ETAP) could possibly be impacted by this new rule. So it's hardly going to create a step change in safety! It seems to me to be mostly a PR excercise.
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Old 21st Feb 2014, 09:02
  #43 (permalink)  
 
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forgive me ignorance (non-pilot here), but what is 'Part 29'
It's the design certification standard for large rotorcraft. Detailed guidance can be found here, including a lot of information about floatation gear certification:

http://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/m...updates%29.pdf

What I really struggle to understand these days is that when you and I flew together we were in a S61 with basic sas, Decca roll maps and crap radar and we seemed to manage a higher level of safety than today.
I think that quote wins the "rose tinted spectacles of the week" award!
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Old 21st Feb 2014, 09:03
  #44 (permalink)  
 
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So does the sea state limitation apply to a land based destination where the approach is made over water, such as Sumburgh?
That's how I interpreted the intent (and the reference to arming floats).
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Old 21st Feb 2014, 09:07
  #45 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by 212man View Post
That's how I interpreted the intent (and the reference to arming floats).
Certainly the arming floats bit. But I'm not so sure about the onshore destination sea state limit. After all, there is no sea state at a land destination. And which airports and runways are you going to include and exclude? For example, Aberdeen presumably not, Scatsta maybe, Sumburgh yes on the instrument runways. Wick probably not etc. No, I don't think they mean to include onshore destinations in the sea state rule, but it needs to be clarified!
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Old 21st Feb 2014, 09:23
  #46 (permalink)  
 
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but it needs to be clarified!
I fear not every recommendation is as well thought through as they might be....
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Old 21st Feb 2014, 09:31
  #47 (permalink)  
 
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Is Sikorsky going to do anything about their ridiculous floats "arming" limitation speed of 80kts?
Yes, AMS 8.0 (I think) will introduce auto-arming. The FSI simulators already have the 3 position switch installed.
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Old 21st Feb 2014, 10:16
  #48 (permalink)  
 
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What are the criteria for auto-arming?
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Old 21st Feb 2014, 10:25
  #49 (permalink)  
 
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It will use an IAS sensing switch to physically arm the floats (at 80 kts) but I don't know much more than that. I think the SOP will be 'select auto' when coasting out, and leave it there until coasting in. The EICAS will show the actual status. A 'manual arm' position is still retained.
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Old 21st Feb 2014, 11:34
  #50 (permalink)  
 
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back in the bad old days people would fly out in overalls and (maybe) a life jacket

Now, especially in winter, they have so much survival gear on that even the slimmest person looks like a Michelin Man

I'm sure it is good to have if you can get out of the helicopter but you have to get out first
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Old 21st Feb 2014, 12:31
  #51 (permalink)  
 
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I am not believing what I am seeing here!

Sea State applies to the body of water you are flying OVER....where or why you are flying over it has naught to do with business....just the mere fact you are exposed to a qualifying Sea State at any point in your flight should be the Criteria.

If this is the level of understanding as an indicator of how some folks think....Lord Help Us!

As to having a very slow Ground Speed on Approach....in the old days we saw that as not being a bad thing especially in really bad weather. You are flying a Helicopter.....Remember?

If you feel the need to whistle down the glide path at near Warp speed....perhaps you might rethink the capabilities and advantages of flying a Helicopter.
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Old 21st Feb 2014, 13:04
  #52 (permalink)  
 
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SASless,

Sea State applies to the body of water you are flying OVER....where or why you are flying over it has naught to do with business....just the mere fact you are exposed to a qualifying Sea State at any point in your flight should be the Criteria.
Could be a matter of accountability.

Jim
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Old 22nd Feb 2014, 10:59
  #53 (permalink)  
 
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SASless

I am not believing what I'm seeing here!
.... well I'm glad it's not just me, I managed Sumburgh Airport a good few years ago and am dumbstruck by suggestions of sea state criteria perhaps not applying to flights to land-based destinations?

Last edited by BlackIsle; 22nd Feb 2014 at 19:42. Reason: inserted "flights to"
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Old 22nd Feb 2014, 13:24
  #54 (permalink)  
 
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Could be a matter of accountability.
Care to expound upon that a bit, Jim.....as that short statement leaves us unsure of what you are actually saying? Do you mean some form of "counting" or as a device for "eluding responsibility"?
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Old 22nd Feb 2014, 18:01
  #55 (permalink)  
 
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Auto-arming floats, Cat A rebreathers, slimmer passengers, smooth seas - NS problems solved - phew, there was me thinking this could take a while, thank goodness we have the CAA and NDB holds.

Why is the majority of this report actions regarding survivability of a crash? Are the CAA saying that a crash is inevitable? Are the real safety issues being addressed or is this the CAA (government) looking for a good way to pacify our passengers? Limits on sea state were introduced after two of the recent incidents by all three companies I think, but the first week it impacted on commercial ops, the restrictions were deemed unnecessary. Who were the pilot group that were consulted? Does anyone know of someone that was consulted outside of management? Is the CAA as the regulator really in touch with what actually happens and if so, why have all their actions been after the event? They can't claim to be short of cash judging by how much they charge for an outdated licence document, just as an example.

We had spoken up about sea state, night bow decks, Dacon scoops (good prospect of recovery...WTF) and the like but nobody wanted to listen after each incident/accident. Even now, decisions we make are still being questioned and that is something that would surprise our passengers. Do I think we have moved on? Yes, a little, but the regulator's intervention is aimed incorrectly and is too little too late. The current mini-boom creates a whole new raft of problems which they had better get a grip of quickly. As someone who has contributed significantly to the coffers of the regulator I am a little disappointed. Our fixed wing brethren must be having a good giggle. As for BALPA...
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Old 22nd Feb 2014, 18:36
  #56 (permalink)  
 
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I thought that the object of using helicopters was to access the installation under all sea conditions. When I started we did crew changes in Bell 47s
with two to four passengers.
If the authorities knew what they were talking about we would not be running into this ludicrous situation.
I sure SAS will agree that real pilots should cope and that passengers who don't think that they are Nurth Sea Tigers and just people going to work in often pretty basic jobs and just do what they are told. The Leggoland helicopter dunker trainers don't help!
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Old 22nd Feb 2014, 19:44
  #57 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by SASless View Post
I am not believing what I am seeing here!

Sea State applies to the body of water you are flying OVER....where or why you are flying over it has naught to do with business....just the mere fact you are exposed to a qualifying Sea State at any point in your flight should be the Criteria.
It could be. In your opinion. However there area couple of problems with using sea state anywhere en route.

Firstly, who is going to measure it?

And secondly, we all know that helicopters only crash near the offshore installations whilst taking off and landing, that's why we have the safety vessels lurking there...... Er, well, that used to be the perceived wisdom anyway! How many out of the 5? Oh yes, just one, the ETAP!
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Old 22nd Feb 2014, 19:50
  #58 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by BlackIsle View Post
.... well I'm glad it's not just me, I managed Sumburgh Airport a good few years ago and am dumbstruck by suggestions of sea state criteria perhaps not applying to flights to land-based destinations?
Well the point is that helicopters aren't supposed to fall into the sea during an onshore instrument approach. They have sufficient speed to fly happily on one engine until over the runway. Whereas offshore, they have to slow down to below OEI flight speed before landing, whilst at the same time crossing over all sorts of nasty jagged metal bits.

OEI flight is, as we know, the only malfunction the CAA concern themselves with.

Which is just as well because if they contemplated the need to ditch immediately (not that this ever happens ... Ahem!) they would stop us from flying over land in weather where the cloud / fog was on the surface and especially over mountains when the cloudbase was below mountain top height.



Doh, I think I've blown it now...
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Old 22nd Feb 2014, 20:15
  #59 (permalink)  
 
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Here is the thing I don't understand. Criticism of this initiative makes some feel smug but industry isn't doing any better, read for example the HSSG newsletters and - for example - the last time HUMS got a mention was 2012 to report nothing needs doing..... Super.
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Old 23rd Feb 2014, 00:57
  #60 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by HeliComparator View Post
Well the point is that helicopters aren't supposed to fall into the sea during an onshore instrument approach. They have sufficient speed to fly happily on one engine until over the runway. Whereas offshore, they have to slow down to below OEI flight speed before landing, whilst at the same time crossing over all sorts of nasty jagged metal bits.

OEI flight is, as we know, the only malfunction the CAA concern themselves with.

Which is just as well because if they contemplated the need to ditch immediately (not that this ever happens ... Ahem!) they would stop us from flying over land in weather where the cloud / fog was on the surface and especially over mountains when the cloudbase was below mountain top height.



Doh, I think I've blown it now...
Yup, cat, pigeons etc

Do I hear that EASA apparently want to exclude Single Engined Helicopters to fly over Hostile Environments?
Doh They want unreliable, underpowered, weak tail rotor aircraft instead in the mountains? A twin Exposed is more than twice as dangerous as a single.

Over obsession with Engine Failure distorts methodologies.

Duplicating Engines might just be a good idea under some extreme circumstances but it is not the magic answer that people want it to be, evidently.

Set realistic and proportionate goals and let designers deliver using their initiative and skill.
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