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NS Safety improvements?

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NS Safety improvements?

Old 29th Sep 2013, 07:03
  #41 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
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II

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?
Asked and answered.

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?
HC will hopefully chip in here as it is a while since I flew EGPWS. However, onshore I cannot remember getting any warnings while flying instrument procedures. I suspect if they did get one on the localiser it would have been too late to do anything.
As to the AVAD, unless they had suspended it before becoming visual (unlikely) or it was u/s they would have probably got a shout at 200 and 100 feet and yet they still hit the ground/sea.
As to offshore approaches, you occasionally get 'Caution Obstacle' or 'Warning Obstacle' shouts as you approach a rig. If you are visual you can disregard these and continue the approach, which would have been the situation in the ETAP incident.

As to your comment about directing attention to things that have caused accidents, one would hope that any safety review worth the paper it is written on would address itself to not only factors that have caused accidents (the normal reactive approach) but factors which they think may cause accidents (proactive approach).

Last edited by Ray Joe Czech; 29th Sep 2013 at 07:04.
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Old 29th Sep 2013, 07:17
  #42 (permalink)  
 
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TM

A bit harsh RJC, there have been plenty of scientific studies conducted which have not been prompted by an accident (helideck lighting?)
True, and other stuff like triggered lightning. But it is a very patchy picture and any big money items like PC2e just get punted into the future (unless you are in Eire that is).

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).
Well, I cannot speak for other pilots but I don't. Some of the oil companies strike me as very well organised smart outfits, others not so much, but I don't have that kind of response because I am not a 13-year-old.
As to the question of the transport budget being x%, of course it is. They will have a budget set just like every other department, they aren't just told to spend what they want.

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.
None of the helicopter companies will do anything radically different from the others as they don't want to put themselves at a competitive disadvantage, which is why any change probably needs to be driven by the client.

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.
Look, you can agree with me or disagree with me, it is entirely up to you. But suggesting that I either put my big boy pants on or pi$$ off isn't the most helpful response to someone who is trying to point out things that could perhaps be done more safely.
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Old 29th Sep 2013, 07:38
  #43 (permalink)  
 
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It seems we are all speculating on what causes accidents in the North Sea, but not actually looking at a factual list. Below is a list drawn from the AAIB investigations, but not a definitive list. Apologies, but I am not computer literate enough to turn this into a neat table or formatted correctly, but I think it is readable!




Year - Reg - Type - Location - Cause - Fatalities - Day / Night - Details

1981 BIJF 212 Dunlin Human Yes Day Disorientation in poor weather
1981 ASWI Wessex Bacton Mechanical Yes Day Power Loss and failed Autorotation. Cause unknown
1981 BGXY S76 Peterhead Mechanical Yes Day Blade Spindle Failure
1982 BDIL 212 Murchison Area Unknown Yes Night No Firm Conclusion. Likely CFIT(W)
1983 TIGD 332 Aberdeen Mechanical No Day Tail Rotor Failure due to Drive Shaft Cover Failure
1984 BJJR 212 Humberside Unknown Yes Night Aircraft Crashed on approach at night. No conclusion provan
1986 BKFN 214 Aberdeen Mechanical No Day Failure of Collective Hub Nut -
1986 BWFC BV234 Sumburgh Mechanical Yes Day Gearbox Failure - Blades connected during fight (Chinook)
1988 BDES S61 Aberdeen Area Mechanical No Day Transmission Failure
1988 BEID S61 Sumburgh Area Mechanical No Day Gearbox Fire
1987 BHYB S76 Fulmar Human No Night CFIT(W) - Co-Pilot took control and established a climb but aircraft briefly hit water
1987 BKZH 332 Unst Mechanical No Day Tail Rotor Control Falure
1990 BEWL S61 Brent Spar Human Yes Day Collision with structure during landing
1992 TIGH 332 Cormorant Alpha Human Yes Night CFIT(W) - Aircraft crashed at night while shuttling between platforms
1993 BTCT 332 Gryphon Alpha Platform Mechanical No Day Double Engine Failure due to ingestion of snow
1994 BKJD 214 Petrojarl 1 Weather / Human No Night Vortex Ring State on Go-Around from Approach - Very Low Recovery - Possible Microburst
1995 TIGK 332 Brae Field Weather No Day Tail Rotor Failure due to Lightning Strike
1996 TIGT 332 Aberdeen Human No Night Rollover During Taxi
1997 BWZX 332 Soverign Explorer Weather No Day Lightning Strike
1998 BWMG 332 Sumburgh Area Mechanical No Day Rear Stabiliser Detatched from Aircraft during Flight
1998 ATBJ S61 Aberdeen Mechanical No Day Tail Rotor Control Failure on Landing
1999 BTEU 365 Loggs Platform Mechanical No Day Control Difficulty caused by Detatched Door Strut
2001 BKZE 332 West Navion External No Day Aircraft Rolled on Deck due to Excessive Vessel movement
2001 BMAL S76 North Denes Human No Day Inadvertant pulling of Collective instead of Parking Brake - Aircraft lifted then landed hard on tail
2001 TIGB 332 ESB Weather No Day Aircraft flew into waterspout. Tail rotor blades made contact with Tail Boom
2002 BJVX S76 Clipper Field Mechanical Yes Day Blade Failure - Main Rotor Blade Detatched from Head
2002 BMAL S76 Leman Field Human No Dusk Aircraft Struck Deck Edge on Approach to Platform
2002 SSSE S76 Trent Platform Human No Night Near Vortex Ring on Night Departure from Offshore - Co-Pilot Recovered Aircraft to climb from low altitude
2006 BLUN 365 Morcambe Bay Human Yes Night CFIT(W) - Aircraft crashed at night while shuttling between platforms
2007 CHCK S92 Aberdeen Mechanical No Day Vibration - Tail Rotor Blade Pivot Detached
2008 BKXD 365 Leman Field Human No Day Tail Boom Struck Crane During Approach
2009 REDU EC225 ETAP Platform Human No Night CFIT(W) - Aircraft crashed at night while approaching to land
2009 REDL 225 Peterhead Mechanical Yes Day Gearbox Failure
2010 IACC S92 Scatsta Human No Day Inadvertant pulling of Collective instead of Parking Brake - Aircraft lifted then landed hard
2012 REDW EC225 Aberdeen Area Mechanical No Day MGB Bevel Gear Failure
2012 CHCN EC225 Orkney Isles Mechanical No Day MGB Bevel Gear Failure
2013 WNSB 332L2 Sumburgh Yes Day Under Investigation
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Old 29th Sep 2013, 09:50
  #44 (permalink)  
 
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As to the question of the transport budget being x%, of course it is. They will have a budget set just like every other department, they aren't just told to spend what they want.
Of course, Ray Joe but transport is a lot more to a smaller oil company with low production than it is to a major, it depends on lifting cost, and location.

I am not suggesting you put your big boy pants on but I am suggesting that you concentrate on the issues that your industry on the NS is having not the ones they are not having but could have one day. If you want absolute safety, stay in bed.

There are lots of areas which have lots of helicopter operations in challenging conditions which are not having accidents. So, maybe its cultural and confined to the UK North Sea? That's why I think you should look inwards and stop suggesting its the fault of the customers who generally say OK when you don't want to fly.

None of the helicopter companies will do anything radically different from the others as they don't want to put themselves at a competitive disadvantage, which is why any change probably needs to be driven by the client.
That is between you and your employer. You are the operators who charge the customers, work as one unit not as pilots versus management another cultural issue?
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Old 29th Sep 2013, 10:05
  #45 (permalink)  
 
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Terminus Mo - yet again you prove yourself part of the problem!!

What Utter management rubbish you write.

You clearly have no vested interest in safety so why bother posting at all!!

DB
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Old 29th Sep 2013, 11:16
  #46 (permalink)  
 
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What Utter management rubbish you write.
You clearly have no vested interest in safety so why bother posting at all!!
And that, DB is the problem on the UK side of the North Sea, no one else has a legitimate view. Its obviously not about doing a job and transporting passengers who have to get to work to get paid.

Please call me Management again, I like the sound of it, if only it were true!

So, let's have a thorough safety review, but just don't suggest anything that might mention the word pilot, or CAA (they are the problem right?) because BALPA couldn't possibly allow anyone to actually take a look in case they find part of the problem.

Well, carry on, because all of the accidents with heavy twin engine helicopters are happening in the UK NS, not Angola, not Vietnam, not China and not even the GOM which the NS looks down on.

Look inwards, because before you can improve safety, you have to find the problem and it might just be closer than you think, there are a lot of "human" lines in Special's post above.
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Old 29th Sep 2013, 11:25
  #47 (permalink)  
 
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Accident list drawn from the AAIB investigations

This helps me to put some perspective on the risks for our passengers. Of the 3 dozen or so accidents listed for 33 years, about 12 involved fatalities. So there is an accident with fatalities in UK offshore operations about once every 3 years (every 2.75 years if you prefer), on average.

My "back of a cigarette pack" arithmetic comes up with maybe 50 return flights from Aberdeen and Scatsta each day for all three operators combined, five days a week. For 50 weeks a year, I get 12500 return flights a year for the Northern North Sea, or 25000 single flights.

Each passenger who is doing a 3 week on, 3 week off cycle, goes on about 17 single flights a year, or 46 flights every 2.75 years.

Now my shaky grasp of statistics is revealed, because using the above info, I reckon that each passenger has roughly a 1:1500 chance of being on a flight involving some fatalities in each 2.75 year cycle.

Yet chance doesn't always work so simply and I agree that we must strive to improve on what is already a very low risk.

But unless we can fly in daytime, VFR only, benign sea states, carrying a maximum passenger load of 50%, with survival-trained cabin crew, in aircraft with EC225 quality autopilots to unobstructed helidecks, I don't see how we can much improve the accident rate.

Last edited by Colibri49; 29th Sep 2013 at 11:54.
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Old 29th Sep 2013, 11:55
  #48 (permalink)  
 
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Surely 50 return flights for all operators including Scatsta is a significant underestimate? Plus the accidents cover SNS and Morecambe.

Last edited by HeliComparator; 29th Sep 2013 at 11:58.
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Old 29th Sep 2013, 14:52
  #49 (permalink)  
 
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From the perspective of the passenger, may I suggest that the industry looks into an anthropometric study of passengers, particularly with a view to the practicality of escape while wearing the full PPE, the possibility of implementing a seat-allocation system to improve not only passenger comfort but the ease of egress in an emergency, and fundamentally, the methods of cabin-door jettison on the EC225, as it would seem that, from information posted on the recent thread that we have a situation where the liferafts can be deployed to the cabin door by any one of three methods, yet we have only one means of jettisoning the door, and even this mechanism is sub-optimal in it's accessibility to the passengers?
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Old 29th Sep 2013, 15:13
  #50 (permalink)  
 
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In my time flying in the NS there were perhaps only a couple of evolutions that I felt could be on the limit of safe operations.

These were:-

1. Night decks to a small deck which was at the limit of pitch roll and heave. It was always interesting that when deck parameters were broadcast they were often just below our published limits! (which of course the ship operators knew).

A night deck was the only time that I did an emergency pull away as I felt it was going wrong. It was important to make sure you had a good excess power margin as in this case I pulled full power as I rotated into forward flight.

2. Approaches onto rigs whose decks were in the "turbulent sector". I spent many years on the 40s whose decks where notorious for turbulence and wind reversal over the deck when the wind was from the SW. We were allowed an extra 10 kts on the limiting wind speed as we were experienced on making approaches in these conditions. The approaches were challenging and it wasn't unusual to get a large nose up attitude as the tail was "hit" by the wind reversal and you had to hold the a nose down attitude as you knew that ground effect would come into play as you levelled for the landing. It was always interesting to see the "eyes on stalks" of first time passengers as they disembarked!!

3. Poor allocation of crew experience by the ops cell. When I first joined the NS after 20yrs in the RAF I was surprised that there was no thought of matching crew experience/personality. In the RAF a lot of effort was placed in making sure that crew experience/personality was correct. In the NS it was just filling the capt and co-pilot positions from the pool available that day. Several accidents have had crew gradient as a contributory factor.

NS operations can be challenging and it is practice as well as good training which will keep it a safe operation. I was very confident as a night flyer as I did at least 28 night approaches (and sometimes 100+) each month during the winter. I wasn't as confident doing night approaches to moving decks as I did so few. It is interesting that DB hasn't done a night deck for 3 years!

The old adage train hard fight easy applies to the NS and the companies have to have solid SOPs which will allow pilots to have experience as well as practice on the less common evolutions in the NS.

HF
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Old 29th Sep 2013, 16:23
  #51 (permalink)  
 
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Okay HC, I was being very conservative and "ball park".

Make it about 2 dozen accidents in the NNS in 33 years, of which 8 involved fatalities and 75 return flights, or 150 singles each day, 5 days/week, 50 weeks/year.

Using these revised figures, there has been on average 1 accident involving fatalities in the NNS every 4.125 years.

This would mean that your typical offshore worker doing 3 weeks on, 3 weeks off, would go on 72 flights in 4.125 years and would have an approx 1:2150 chance of being involved in an accident with fatalities.

Unfortunately I couldn't find stats for Aberdeen and Scatsta annual helicopter departures and arrivals, so erred conservatively.

Last edited by Colibri49; 29th Sep 2013 at 21:10.
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Old 29th Sep 2013, 22:10
  #52 (permalink)  
 
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Colibri49

What do you define as a flight - one takeoff and one rig landing - ie a sector. If that is your definition then in the 40s in the 1990s we had 2 a/c each doing 42 sectors a day/night 365 days year or 30660 sectors a year plus one of those a/c doing an extra 10 sectors a day 365 days a year or 3650 sectors. This was a total of 34310 sectors. There were other shuttle contracts in the NNS at that time, on the Ninian and Claymore, though the 40s was the busiest. These figures slightly skew your simplistic view of accident rates!

HF
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Old 29th Sep 2013, 22:43
  #53 (permalink)  
 
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HF

I'm not going to get drawn into pointless debates about what counts as a flight and this will be my last word on the matter. Having been a NS pilot for decades, I'm as aware as you are of the complexities and all that I was trying to demonstrate is the historically low risk our passengers are exposed to of being in an accident where there are fatalities.

I hope that most pilot colleagues will understand the clear inference of my estimate of departures from and arrivals into Aberdeen and Scatsta. Simply that our passengers go offshore to work and return usually 3 weeks later.

How many en route stops the helicopter might make for fuel etc and how many shuttles the passengers might be involved in while working offshore is of no significance in my "back of a cigarette pack" calculations. Except that if you insist on adding in all those extra sectors, then the 1:2150 chance looks even more conservative.

Things have changed since the 1990s and in my experience there are now fewer in-field shuttles than used to happen. Generally we take them to work and bring them home 3 weeks later. What happens in between is of little interest to me, apart from that I hope it all gets done safely.

If you now wish to rearrange my efforts and build your own hypothesis, please feel free to do so. Personally I prefer to keep things simple.

Last edited by Colibri49; 29th Sep 2013 at 22:44.
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Old 30th Sep 2013, 02:55
  #54 (permalink)  
 
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Colibri

I am not debating or disagreeing with your statistical analysis, but if the Lottery had those odds, everyone would flock to buy a ticket and would say "we have a 1 in 2150 chance of winning, what a great chance".

If there was an activity which involved a 1 in 2150 chance of death, I would not take it. My life insurance would have a huge premium with those numbers.

I certainly will not be riding in the back of a helicopter in the North Sea with such a high chance of being involved in a fatal accident.
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Old 30th Sep 2013, 05:25
  #55 (permalink)  
 
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Colibri49

I was under the impression that you were trying to say the NS was a very dangerous place to go to work in as like terminus mos.
if there was an activity which involved a 1 in 2150 chance of death, I would not take it.
I would also not take it. My point is that there are far more flights/sectors than you quote. My example alone doubles the number of sectors.

Personally I prefer to keep things simple.
There is no point keeping things simple if that gives a totally inaccurate answer

HF
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Old 30th Sep 2013, 05:57
  #56 (permalink)  
 
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Lets not get bogged down in lottery statistics.

What did stand out for me is that of the 12 fatal accidents, half were in the early 80's, on types that we no longer operate - Bell 212, Wessex, Chinook.

Then suddenly things changed. Super Puma arrived, HUMS, Procedural changes and following the 1986 Chinook disaster, the accident rate improved dramatically.

There is a lot of negative opinion on this forum that things cannot change and there will be no progress if it will impact our commercial operation. I disagree. We have seen before a very significant 'Step Change' in our industry safety and that all cost money. There is a genuine focus on achieving these goals and am entirely confident that in the current climate, that could be accomplished again.

What I don't want to see is change for change sake. Too much poor information amongst our customers, and a desire to push out an aircraft that the pilot workforce consider to be the safest aircraft available.
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Old 30th Sep 2013, 08:08
  #57 (permalink)  
 
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Its interesting that Colibri thinks 1 in 2150 in 4 years is a good rate. Some offshore guys work their whole careers, say 30 years offshore, that puts their lifetime rate to 1 in 286. Even though this is the chance of being involved in an accident with fatalities, not actually dying, this seems a horrendous statistic to me and I just hope its wildly inaccurate.
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Old 30th Sep 2013, 12:51
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If you are going to argue Stats....let's get back to the one that got a lot of this discussion going.....the difference between Norway's Safety Record and the UK Sector's safety record.

The salient "Numbers" to me are simply the number of Accidents/Ditchings, and Injuries or Fatalities that occur and the determination of the causes of the them.

In a perfect World....the number would be a simple "0" but we do not live in a perfect World.

We have to determine the causes for the events, analyze them and determine how to prevent them from happening again by doing an honest evaluation of the system, procedures, and standards extant.

Rather than arguing over the extent of the problem you define by the creation of your "numbers"....why not just agree something needs to be done to reduce those "numbers" to as close to "Zero" as possible and offer some ideas that would work to do that.

Like it or not.....the North Sea UK Sector has a problem. You can deny it, spin it, but in the end....you are putting aircraft into the water and killing people.
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Old 30th Sep 2013, 13:20
  #59 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by HeliComparator View Post
Its interesting that Colibri thinks 1 in 2150 in 4 years is a good rate. Some offshore guys work their whole careers, say 30 years offshore, that puts their lifetime rate to 1 in 286. Even though this is the chance of being involved in an accident with fatalities, not actually dying, this seems a horrendous statistic to me and I just hope its wildly inaccurate.

I'm one such statistic! I started offshore in 1975, before we had survival suits, rebreathers Etc., and our lifejackets were in a little pouch that we tied round our waist. There were S58's still in service at that time, and I wouldn't even like to count the number of trips I made to/from Forties, plus infield shuttle flights in that time. I also worked on the Australian NW shelf project for a while, flying from Karratha to the Goodwyn.

In all that time, I know of none of my colleagues who were killed in flying accidents, though I do know of a couple who were killed in car accidents coming/going to the heliport. What does that tell us? Probably not a lot.

Let's not get hung up too much by statistics, and just concentrate on why we are having all these incidents in the UK sector in the past few years, and what we can do to make it more safe.
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Old 30th Sep 2013, 14:04
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SAS, the trouble is that when you look at the recent fatal accidents, its hard to find any repetition from the same apparent cause. The holes that caused those accidents have already in the main been plugged. So you have to look deeper at the underlying culture if you want to reduce the likelihood of the next "accident from a hitherto unthought-of cause".
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