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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 7th Mar 2014, 10:39
  #121 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: nowhere special
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Not bad research. I have my last Shell Aircraft audit report in front of me. I don't agree with it and think it might change but until I get audited again (end of the month), STASS is an open finding against us.
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Old 7th Mar 2014, 16:38
  #122 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Nigeria
Age: 54
Posts: 4,881
Shell think Pilot STASS is a snag hazard.
I don't have your report to see what they say, but I suspect - because it's true, and I used that combination for 7 years - that they refer to the poorly incorporated pocket on the MK44 crew life jacket, which lets the bottle dangle very loosely. That nice Capt AB who runs his own company has designed a 'fix' for it: http://www.pose-online.com/index.php...&category_id=3 with supporting comments from that website:

This meant that the top of the STASS unit fell away from the life jacket whilst the pilot was seated and hampered operations in the cockpit, at the same time it pulled the two stoles of the life jacket apart resulting in it being ill fitting
But, let's not let facts get in the way of a good slagging off.......
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Old 9th Mar 2014, 10:31
  #123 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2009
Location: uk
Posts: 171
Wading through the review for a morning read during this remarkable extended period of UK sunshine (roll on Global Warming)

Lack of crew EBS make me smile - you need to use your powerful lobbying union to just mandate the provision of readily-available solutions for all crews .........oh yeah - that's right!

Can anybody direct me to the section which covers commercial pressure/working practices re maintenance & manufacture of these machines we take over large expanses of cold water?
Pilot Error has been the handy catch-all for majority of incidents/accidents as the poor old pilot 'touched it last' - but the fact that HUMS-equipped aircraft MGBs have 'failed' with catastrophic results and only very fortunate ditching environments has kept the toll lower.

No excuse for poorly-written SOPs and not using 'all available' aids but can't see how inadequate training and inappropriate use of autopilot can be used as a 'reason' for some of the decision-making processes witnessed in NS. Pilots have been trained to use the ap. Is the competition so fierce that one feels must push-on or is it over confidence in ones own ability after amassing thousands of hours in the rotary equivalent of 'Long Haul'. Going to be interesting to see the line of IF approaches at Aberdoom!

More IF training will only have an effect if already known procedures are followed/used.

Latest accident happened due to lack of 'monitoring' - it hit the sea due to timeframe of acting upon situation etc - is this a company problem with cockpit sops or just complacency? I understand their sops have changed but many people report not for the better - not sure what could be worse than what has already happened?

No doubt the law suits will roll and rightly so - the industry needs a kick as too many wake-up calls have seen the 'snooze' button hit by the industry!

Probably why one of the NS companies (with a seemingly disproportionate number of accidents) appears to be moving their assets into their Norwegian arm?

Last edited by JulieAndrews; 9th Mar 2014 at 10:42.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 19:20
  #124 (permalink)  
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BBC News - Super Puma fatal accident inquiry: Findings due on Thursday

Fatal accident inquiry to report Thursday 13 March
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Old 20th Mar 2014, 22:34
  #125 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2005
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I would like to inform all of you about the Norwegian reaction to the review. Several organizations have posted their opinion online, and one of them is NHF.

Norsk Helikopteransattes Forbund

The Norwegian magazine Teknisk Ukeblad, has also written several articles regarding the actions and recommendations in the report.

The last one contains comments from the Norwegian Civil Aviation Authorities.

(Translated with Google translate, for english readers)




Do you accept that there are no real conclusions why helicopters end up in the North Sea, and are you really satisfied with actions only safeguarding people after they are swimming for their life in the ice cold waters?
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Old 21st Mar 2014, 09:07
  #126 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2004
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Originally Posted by helitech View Post
Do you accept that there are no real conclusions why helicopters end up in the North Sea, and are you really satisfied with actions only safeguarding people after they are swimming for their life in the ice cold waters?”
Yes. No.

I think we (I) have said before that the concept of reducing pax numbers hasn't taken into account the effect on overall safety of stretching resources to accommodate the increased number of flights at short notice. However the intention, as JimL has indicated, is for this to be a short term effect pending the Cat A devices. So I guess we have to keep fingers crossed that we get through that period without a consequential accident. I know from practical experience that the first thing that suffers at such times is training. Of course it will continue to meet the legal requirements but it will be cut to the minimum and messed around (eg cancelled at the last minute, rescheduled repeatedly until checks actually run out etc, and generally devalued) in order to meet the line flying requirements.

I agree that the reasons behind the repeated crashery have not really been addressed. As you link suggest, maybe it is a cultural issue. I suppose from the UK CAA's point of view, addressing touchy feely cultural issues is really difficult, whereas slapping in some new rules is easy, and as usual they have to be "seen to be doing something". Of course as you suggest, most people would rather not end up swimming around in icy waters and it will not be too much consolation that they are always next to a window or have a breathing device.

This process just goes to reinforce why an independent enquiry is needed since only that has the chance of addressing cultural issues endemic in the industry, as was the case with Cullen.
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Old 21st Mar 2014, 12:46
  #127 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Holly Beach, Louisiana
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Pilots and Mechanics can always find a way to put a Chopper into the drink. Nothing really changes over the years as the same old causes for crashes keep happening over and over. Pilots aren't very innovative in that they cling to the same old proven ways of tearing up helicopters.

Here in the GOM we don't change the way we do things much even though we are going much further out. The FAA doesn't care. The Oil Company doesn't care.

We did make a lot of changes a while back that has cut down our accident rate.

It sounds like you guys on the North Sea are where we were several years ago.

Our accident rate had gotten bad and our safety standards had slipped.

We changed then and maybe you need to change now.

The it will be our turn again but I bet we have to lose a few Choppers first.
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Old 21st Mar 2014, 15:48
  #128 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2004
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Whadd'ya change Boudreaux?

Do you guys wear exposure suites in Winter? Even GoM water temps drop in the 40s.

Do you fly only in twin engine helicopters? Ask RLC, PHI and ERA pilots.

Do you limit the size and weight of your duffel bags so that the helicopter companies do not need to use passenger seats for your VCRs, work boots, helmets and stuff even though you always go to the same place week on and week off?

Any of you guys drop his weight below 300 lbs?

Are you organized in Labor Unions that force the OGP employers to act on safety standards like in the North Sea?

What did you change in the last 30 years?
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Old 21st Mar 2014, 16:09
  #129 (permalink)  
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Check the accident Stats....and there's your answer.

You don't need a bunch of feather bedding Union members or fancy uniforms to get the job done.

Compare the accident Stats to the British North Sea over the past few years.

We may be more casual and far less burdened by Rules and SOP's....but the Oil flows.
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Old 21st Mar 2014, 16:32
  #130 (permalink)  
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Oh yes? It doesn't seem so.

HSAC > Statistics
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Old 21st Mar 2014, 17:26
  #131 (permalink)  
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wow - all those things they didn't do and it still doesn't make any difference, maybe the UK is 'barking' up the wrong tree?
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Old 6th Apr 2014, 20:46
  #132 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2014
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Sure, they are barking up the wrong tree! Why does not the Civil aviation authorities in UK want to check the cultural differences between UK and Norway?
If the helicopter companies, rules and regulations, operation procedures and the equipment are the same, why do the major part of the accidents and incidents happen on the UK side?
There must be some diffenences in operation?
From a flight safety perspective, I mean the review and it's recommendations and actions are far to focused on the reactive side. What about trying to prevent crashes to happen!
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Old 7th Apr 2014, 02:22
  #133 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2014
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Hello Guys,

My 2 cents for what its worth...
I am not a pilot (but have 20hrs on my PPL) but I have worked offshore for 7 years.
These CAA "new" regulations are pretty amusing as most of them are already in force. I think they are trying to make it look like they are doing something about safety when really doing nothing.

First off the sea state of 6m is already in force for a majority of platforms/rigs. It is monitored by the standby vessels. The ONLY reason its a 6m stipulation is so that they can safely launch their Fast response crafts should a chopper ditch. It has nothing to do with the helicopter directly.... (So the CAA have jumped on that one to make it look like change)

Secondly the EBS systems we use are "Hybrid" systems which consists of a bag on your chest that you have to inflate with a single breath of air before the chopper turns turtle. However, they also have a small cylinder of oxygen that will also fire into the bag once submerged - there is also a safety back up pull chord to manually fire the oxygen if necessary. Because of this they ARE class A equipment! (Class A meaning they CAN be deployed under water if you fail to get a breath before the chopper turns over.) Yet another CAA "improvement" that already exists... spot any patterns?

The size restriction is a tricky thing to enforce - I struggle to see how they could effectively police that one without strolling into discrimination teritory. After all we are not just talking fatties here - Well built guys will struggle to comply also (Luckily I am neither).

So as for the 2 points raised above its nothing new.
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Old 7th Apr 2014, 19:16
  #134 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2014
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Agree with you Kawijet!
But why does not the CAA try to identify the cause of all the accidents?
Are they afraid what they will find, or do they just don't want to know?
As a general view, I see this review just as a action, to calm down the masses. We all know that people was protesting heavily, after the last ditching. So the easy thing to do, is to try to come up with a review with actions who seems trustworthy to the normal passenger (and his relatives).
And I think that this is the result of this review, more or less.
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Old 8th Apr 2014, 05:47
  #135 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2014
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The CAA do know the causes of all of these accidents as they are looked into in quite some depth by the AAIB. The accident reports are available for anyone to read online.

The CAA is being forced to make a change by the Unions (who really have no clue about the aviation industry) and realistically there is no changes to be made that will really make any significant difference as far as safety is concerned. So they took the step of looking at a variable that does affect the likelyhood of escape - the size of the workforce! (And quite right too).
Its now quite amusing that the Unions, who are set up to protect the interests of the workforce, are now potentially putting their workforce directly in the firing line should a size restriction be enforced.

So you are correct Tomcat - I think this is a shrewd move by the CAA, just an action to calm them down a bit.

Maybe in future the Unions should keep their heads down and mouths shut instead of trying to judge the aviation industry by its own standards.
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Old 8th Apr 2014, 06:50
  #136 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2009
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As of 1st June we go from 6 flights a week with max 19 pax each way to 8 flights a week with max 13 pax each way so still move 10 pax less despite the increased flying hours.

No idea what the numbers crunch to from an overall risk perspective but if you are flying more flights I suspect it must go up ?

I think we all fully appreciate that they had to be seen to be making an intervention to improve but even with all the changes being implemented there is still no guarantee everyone will survive in the event of a crash / heavy ditching anyway.

I await with interest how they will manage the pax size issue when that one comes into force ..............
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Old 8th Apr 2014, 07:47
  #137 (permalink)  
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Offshore bear - if money was no restriction PAX would be issued with a one piece streamlined suit integrated with life jacket, beacon and SCUBA kit including a full face mask tucked into a chest pocket.

such equipment provide ensures the PAX has vision, air and no snags. He is able to select a suitable exit and wait for it to clear of other PAX before he uses it. His size is now no longer a primary factor in his survivability.

I am talking about a properly pressure balance demand valve that will work at depth. A face mask with integrated self purging valve. This is simple and easy to provide but costs a bit more than the current re-breather bag that is not pressure balanced.

The CAA are using the seating restriction to force Oil Companies and operators to properly address the safety provisions for PAX. They are firmly on your side.
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Old 8th Apr 2014, 10:26
  #138 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2005
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This report has some interesting comments on the safety of offshore helicopter operations.
It also looks at UK operations and North Sea ops as a whole.
During the period covered 1981/2010 the UK fatal rate is comparable with other North Sea operations and the non fatal rate is about half.

"There is a long held perception by the workforce that UKCS offshore helicopter operations are a “high risk
mode of transport”; this is not matched by the statistical evidence. This led to HSE commissioning and
publishing the initial “Safety Record Report” in 2003 to gain a better insight into offshore helicopter risk,
including available safety performance data and the criteria used to measure it. This current report published
by Oil & Gas UK simply updates the original “Safety Records” to the end of 2010.
The purpose of this study is to provide an accurate historical safety record for (the) UK."

Last edited by ericferret; 8th Apr 2014 at 10:38.
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Old 8th Apr 2014, 16:40
  #139 (permalink)  
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The report does indeed give details of the safety data from 1981 to a date before the recent spate of accidents.

UK Oil and Gas have been keen to publicise the 'improving helicopter accident rate', until the data showed that was not the case. As with all statistics the detail is the critical aspect. Choose your data set and many things can be proven. Data back to 1977 has frequently been used to demonstrate the trend mentioned above.

A couple of points worth noting. All North Sea data would not unnaturally include the UK. Thus any differences would be partially masked by that inclusion - any differences would be partially from the UK plus the rest rather than directly against the 'rest'. So the data being presented is not a true comparison. For that you need the direct Norway - UK comparison.

Even here you need care as the EC225 shaft failure might have occurred in Norway or the UK as it is notionally a parts related failure - although again there were a lot of human factor elements in failure to deal with the defect.

But if the accident rate from one side of the North Sea to the other is so different luck or mis-fortune over more than 15 years seems a poor explanation.
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Old 8th Apr 2014, 17:13
  #140 (permalink)  
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If a Statistical analysis is going to have any reliability at all, it must include data current right up till yesterday evening. Cutting off a few Years at this end fails the "Smell Test". Including Data from Day One of North Sea Operations is valid so long as comparisons use similar Data derived from similar periods of time.

I can see where omitting the Loss of a Rotor Head and a CFIT crash that killed four people might skew the Safety Stats in a more favorable direction than if they were included (and I am just a Dumb Ass Helicopter Pilot).
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