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NS Safety improvements?

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NS Safety improvements?

Old 28th Sep 2013, 08:54
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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Cyclic my point was not to trash other opinions, but to point out the difference between something that looks dangerous, vs something that doesn't look dangerous but in fact results in an accident, and to point out that its not just the thing itself that is relevant, but also the way its perceived that effects the overall safety. So the very fact that something looks dangerous acts in its favour, because folk will be paying attention.

Yes it's true that just because something has yet to cause an accident in the 35 yrs or so of the N Sea, doesn't mean it won't in the future. However there is also an argument that perhaps its things that have repeatedly shown themselves to be accident causes, that should be addressed as the priority.

However, exposure as well as severity should be considered and the very fact that an operation (night bow decks for example) is fairly uncommon is again in its favour because the frequency of exposure is low, and the risk of complacency therefore also low.

Lets not have any concept of "safe" or "unsafe" please - there is no such thing, only a sliding scale of grey in between.
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Old 28th Sep 2013, 09:02
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Nf stable View Post
HC, has anyone ever come to grief on a localiser/DME approach whilst operating in the North Sea before? I don't my history well enough to give a definitive answer on this, but not that I can recall.
So does this mean prior to a couple of months ago, we would not be able to list this either???

Personally I also support Cyclics' suggestion on night bow decks and night unstable decks. There have been very close calls during these operations (rumoured, of course) by at least two of the companies in the near past that have gone "un-reported", but just because they didn't go splash, are you saying that we can't consider them dangerous?

HC, perhaps it's your "lack of understanding" on this thread that may need to change.
I am not aware of any "close calls" in our company. People feeling uncomfortable, yes. But that can be healthy as I have suggested.

Your point about the Loc approach really makes my point - something as seemingly benign as that would not have been on this thread's radar last year (if there had been such a thread). But looking at the fixed wing data, it seems that maybe its something we could have been taking more seriously had we scientifically, rather than emotionally, evaluated the risks.

If this thread is to just become a pilot whinge-fest, an opportunity will be lost. Could I suggest that before posting that "we don't like bow decks" etc, some thought is put into exactly why, what the real risks are, rather than just that they make us feel uncomfortable.

So no, I don't think I have a lack of understanding on safety matters. Its an area where I have done a considerable amount of work and research.

Last edited by HeliComparator; 28th Sep 2013 at 09:06.
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Old 28th Sep 2013, 09:37
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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If this thread is to just become a pilot whinge-fest, an opportunity will be
lost. Could I suggest that before posting that "we don't like bow decks" etc,
some thought is put into exactly why, what the real risks are, rather than just
that they make us feel uncomfortable.
So, just because a pilot doesn't want to compile half a page of explanation as to why they feel something is dangerous, and instead they just state the particular item, this turns it into a "whinge-fest". Considering we are on a pilots forum, speaking on a thread that will be predominantly be read by Nth Sea pilots, ALL of whom understand and appreciate the flight manoeuvre mentioned, and ALL of whom appreciate the un-necessary risks involved (considering that the deck could have been programmed for a day landing), you feel that it needs to be dissected in order to make it a legitimate concern.....

Well, why don't we start then shall we, anyone one else feel free to chime in please:

Shall we start by the fact that night approaches are to be conducted from a stable approach gate, standardised by a visual sight picture. As we no longer have a heave limit, as long as the heave rate is acceptable, the deck could be moving by say 10m (not unheard of), so where do we get our standard sight picture on a deck that is moving 30ft. Disorientation and black hole effect are serious risks here.

Did I really need to break that down? I suspect not.

HC, stop belittling fellow pilots suggestions, if this needs to become a "whinge-fest" in order to get the points out in the open, then that at least it might get us talking, as long as we have your response to any suggestions, it will only encourage pilots to stay silent. Why do you think it's taking so long for this thread to gain momentum?

Last edited by Nf stable; 28th Sep 2013 at 10:46. Reason: Too many zeros
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Old 28th Sep 2013, 10:14
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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Specific concerns about night bow decks:
Heave rate rather than heave amplitude means, as suggested above, the deck can be moving a _lot_. I haven't had a 10m heave but I've had 8m. Although this was day time, the vessel, being a category 1 was within night limits with an IIRC, 0.7m/s heave rate. If you do not have the opportunity to position out of wind you may be doing a lateral landing with possibly no horizon to a boat that is moving 20-30 feet up and down with, I would suggest, a good chance of losing your visual cues if the vessel dips down as you move over the deck.
The landing I mention above was by the other LHS pilot, so we may have been slightly out of wind. However, from my seat, at one point I could see the tip of the boat, the next I could see nothing. Not a good position to be in when you have signed for the aircraft. And there are a large numbers of new pilots on the NS this winter. I know they do a lot more training nowadays but I wouldn't be surprised if they get through all that with a minimal number of unstable decks and even fewer bow ones.
The final issue I would raise is power margin. How many times are there large loads onto or off of boats? Most times I can recall being on and off a bow deck you have been at or above safety pitch.
As to the observation about us bleating about things that make us feel uncomfortable, I am sure we can differentiate those times when we feel out of our comfort zone because we are working hard and those where we feel that we are exposed to potentially hazardous events, disorientation, power failure, striking the stinger on the deck, etc.

Last edited by Ray Joe Czech; 28th Sep 2013 at 10:18.
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Old 28th Sep 2013, 10:48
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Nf stable View Post
HC, stop belittling fellow pilots suggestions, if this needs to become a "whinge-fest" in order to get the points out in the open, then that at least it might get us talking, as long as we have your response to any suggestions, it will only encourage pilots to stay silent. Why do you think it's taking so long for this thread to gain momentum?
If it becomes a whinge fest it loses credibility and means that any valid points are lost in a sea of whinging. Not productive for safety.

Perhaps its taking so long to get going because for the most part our ops are safe and not scary. And yet we still crash. More intelligent thought required...
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Old 28th Sep 2013, 11:08
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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And yet we still crash.
which is perhaps direct contradiction to

for the most part our ops are safe and not scary.
I respect your views on Nth Sea operations, and often support your opinions, but on this, I feel you're way out of order. There's already been valid support for an opinion that you dismissed as whinging, so please just let people express their valid concerns. By all means feel free to offset their concerns with a logical argument in support of the current system if you disagree, therein lies the path to a constructive thread.....
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Old 28th Sep 2013, 11:14
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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I think the reason that it is taking so long to get going is that everyone knows nothing will change. Or, at the risk of having a second push of the wheelbarrow, nothing that costs or is disruptive.
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Old 28th Sep 2013, 11:18
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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Nf, for some reason you don't seem to be getting my point. Perhaps I am explaining it badly but after 3 goes I'm not going to do it again.
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Old 28th Sep 2013, 11:23
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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When did the Norwegians stop doing night bow decks or is it something they have never done?
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Old 28th Sep 2013, 12:28
  #30 (permalink)  
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I got a PM with a very good point.

Information regarding incidents/close calls should come out to the whole industry quickly following the incident, so that everyone can learn from it.

After an accident the AIBN typically spends several years processing the incident before the report comes out. That's too long.

In my previous company we had a great system that we felt worked without anyone getting "blamed". It was a small company, but we signed by full name. Nobody ever talked behind others backs after an incident.
-We described what had happened in detail, and concequences.
-We had to come with a corrective suggestion.
-The Ops-dept then wrote their comment/corrective action.

The report was filed for everyone to see the same day it had happened.

Maybe we could have an across-company, non-public reporting site, for everyone in the industry to see/learn? Then some sort of board to come up with suggested corrective actions? That could rotate between the companies.
And the reports should be able to see the minute they are submitted.

In our old company, the suggested corrective action was often "operational risk"
Offshore I think it would often say "follow SOP"....

One don't have to break a leg to know it hurts!
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Old 28th Sep 2013, 12:32
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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HC, as per usual, if it isn't your way, it is the highway. You come out with some great stuff but it is always qualified with "not at my perfect company". This comes across as distinctly arrogant, which I know isn't the message you are trying to convey. I don't wish this to be a company v company issue which is why we have all three companies working together - I don't have shares in any of them! Perhaps we can really learn from each other this time or perhaps some don't think there is anything they can be taught about NS ops.

You didn't answer with the amount of bow decks you have flown at night recently. I would wager, that most of the night bow decks flown on the NS at the moment are done by one company - just the way the cookie crumbled. That gives some of us a little more recent background to what really is happening out on the street.
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Old 28th Sep 2013, 12:52
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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Many of the vessels used during my company's hook up phase are bow decks. All of our decks are unstable as our facilities are semi submersible in very deep water.

I am glad our operations are not in the NS otherwise the pilots would shut us down. We try not to fly at night but sometimes its unavoidable.

HC tells us the 225 has auto hover capability? What technology do you need to make a night bow deck landing safe, because just to ban them at night completely is not acceptable for the industry that contracts your services. How about some scientific analysis which has some credibility.
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Old 28th Sep 2013, 13:55
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by cyclic View Post
HC, as per usual, if it isn't your way, it is the highway. You come out with some great stuff but it is always qualified with "not at my perfect company". This comes across as distinctly arrogant, which I know isn't the message you are trying to convey. I don't wish this to be a company v company issue which is why we have all three companies working together - I don't have shares in any of them! Perhaps we can really learn from each other this time or perhaps some don't think there is anything they can be taught about NS ops.

You didn't answer with the amount of bow decks you have flown at night recently. I would wager, that most of the night bow decks flown on the NS at the moment are done by one company - just the way the cookie crumbled. That gives some of us a little more recent background to what really is happening out on the street.
Well firstly I don't know where you are getting any company vs company or Bristow elitism from. Can you show me where on this thread I have done that, or withdraw your comment?

Secondly, I retired 1st August so I don't work for any company (mea culpa for habitually saying "we" recently when I should have said "they".

Thirdly I am a bad example because as a chief trainer I have done little line flying in the past 5 yrs or so. Year before last I think I did 80 hrs! However I have done enough night bow decks in the past to know that they are challenging.

Yes, typically one of the pilots can be unsighted and trust has to be put in the other. However it is also "normal" for one pilot to be unsighted to any deck during part of the approach, although some structure usually remains in sight to give a clue.

So this is reasonable hazard to consider, however it could be controlled for example by requiring an elevated minimum experience for p2.

Then there is the issue of heave rate and power margin. I think that heave rate is a better measure than absolute heave since it directly relates to power margin. But we fail to "do it properly" by considering what the helicopter's actual power margin is for the current conditions and mass. There is a one size fits all figure for allowable heave rate which I suspect was derived without too much science. Really we should be checking the mass and performance to ensure we can match the heave rate with a good deal of safety margin, say 100% extra. By not doing so we are just being lazy and complacent.

Last edited by HeliComparator; 28th Sep 2013 at 13:55.
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Old 28th Sep 2013, 14:18
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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I have not done a night bow deck for about 3 years but I agree with the comments posted. It is an activity where very little margin is left for error and if they are not really necessary why should they be on the menu.

HC - I think everyone's voice should be heard. We all think slight differently and we all have different experiences. I do not hear any "whinging" on this thread. Just concerns from honest pilots.

DB

Last edited by DOUBLE BOGEY; 28th Sep 2013 at 14:20.
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Old 28th Sep 2013, 14:31
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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Many of the vessels used during my company's hook up phase are bow decks. All of our decks are unstable as our facilities are semi submersible in very deep water.
The bow decks on your ships are likely to be less than Cat 1 so already suffer from reduced limits. The Semi Subs are likely to have different (greater iirc) limits.

I am glad our operations are not in the NS otherwise the pilots would shut us down. We try not to fly at night but sometimes its unavoidable.
See if you think that when someone puts the tail rotor through the bridge when they lose references. Why do you try not to fly at night? I hope it is because of the science based reasons you quote in your next paragraph.

HC tells us the 225 has auto hover capability? What technology do you need to make a night bow deck landing safe, because just to ban them at night completely is not acceptable for the industry that contracts your services. How about some scientific analysis which has some credibility.
It's not the hover that is the problem it is the bit from the hover to the deck. You sit there watching the deck heave around below you and getting the PM to tell you if there are any big waves coming. Good game, I recommend it.
As to your comment about 'completely unacceptable, blah, blah' well you are wrong. It is acceptable in Norway as they don't do them. What you _mean_ is that you don't want the cost/disruption implications (sorry, third push at the wheelbarrow).
As to how to make it safer, HC beat me to it. Short of not doing it, crew composition and power margin and maybe tighter heave limits. I'm not a fan of any bow deck being Cat 1.
Finally as to the scientific analysis bit the safety reviews ongoing have a simple choice: do they want to have a look at the tip of the iceberg, i.e. the crashes that have occurred and address those specific problems or do they want to have a look at the whole iceberg. The bit below the waterline is stuff that hasn't happened yet but might. Some of the things that may be part of the submerged iceberg might be issues that are raised here: bow decks, etc. You can take these pilot concerns on board or not, it is entirely up to you. If, however, you want scientific analysis to support these concerns you will probably have to wait for a future AAIB report with bodies attached.

Last edited by Ray Joe Czech; 28th Sep 2013 at 15:48.
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Old 28th Sep 2013, 15:56
  #36 (permalink)  
 
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RJC

Post Mortem scientific analysis is one way, but not the only way. Scientific proactive analysis is also a way. I hate to use the term "risk analysis" because these are usually done with a view to an outcome, but done properly they can be good. Its just that at the moment, they are rarely done properly.
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Old 28th Sep 2013, 16:21
  #37 (permalink)  
 
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Provision of full ILS on R/W 09 at Sumburgh

Having spent over 25 years of my life in Shetland, I'm fairly confident in saying that Sumburgh has more foggy days than any other airport in UK. Yet there is not a full ILS on runway 09.

Had this capability been available on the day of the recent Puma accident, it would have filled one of the holes in the much-mentioned "Swiss Cheese" of the accident chain.
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Old 28th Sep 2013, 19:45
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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In Norway we still do night landings to unstable decks, most ships here are bow mounted. During winter it is regular to do one or two a week depending which company/contract you work on.

Petrojarl Varg (80ft deck) is a good example with regular early morning and evening shuttles.

TiP
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Old 29th Sep 2013, 00:07
  #39 (permalink)  
 
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RJC

All of our Bow Decks are CAT 1 and we are using a Cat A helicopter under HCA definitions.

HC makes a good point re power margins to compensate for heave, but I am asking you again, what technology, procedures or equipment do you need, based on a scientific approach to allow you to conduct Bow Deck landings at night?

I find it strange that we would direct attention towards something which has not caused accidents rather than to something which has, ie. CFIT, should we have dual EGPWS and a double AVAD instead?
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Old 29th Sep 2013, 03:53
  #40 (permalink)  
 
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Finally as to the scientific analysis bit the safety reviews ongoing have a simple choice: do they want to have a look at the tip of the iceberg, i.e. the crashes that have occurred and address those specific problems or do they want to have a look at the whole iceberg. The bit below the waterline is stuff that hasn't happened yet but might. Some of the things that may be part of the submerged iceberg might be issues that are raised here: bow decks, etc. You can take these pilot concerns on board or not, it is entirely up to you. If, however, you want scientific analysis to support these concerns you will probably have to wait for a future AAIB report with bodies attached.
A bit harsh RJC, there have been plenty of scientific studies conducted which have not been prompted by an accident (helideck lighting?)

There seems to be a hatred of the customer by NS pilots, these discussions always seem to generate into "customers need to pay more" or the transport budget is only x% etc (which is a very over simplistic argument).

It's your helicopter companies you should be talking to. If there are genuine safety issues which need to be addressed, then ask your companies to address them with improved technology or procedures. Industry will pay, passengers will demand it.

So instead of blaming the oil companies, look inward, you might be surprised at what you see. If you want runways, go and fly a plane because you are in the wrong business.

Last edited by terminus mos; 29th Sep 2013 at 03:54.
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