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NS Safety improvements?

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NS Safety improvements?

Old 25th Sep 2013, 22:48
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NS Safety improvements?

Instead of posting in the "ditched 332"-thread, I'm starting a new thread concentrated on suggestions and views regarding safety of Offshore OPS in the North Sea.

I think that could be useful to us who fly in the NS everyday.

First, I fly from Norway, and have only been in the British sector a few times.

But me and my colleagues often talk about the massive use of radio-calls, and repetition of flight-plan info to many different stations when flying in the British sector.
Compared to the Norwegian sector it seems somewhat overwhelming and one might think it can contribute to a lack of situational awareness when there's too much going on on the radio. I guess one get used to it, as with everyting else, but it seems a bit unneccesary.

Another issue is the practice of hot turn-arounds. We don't do that on-shore in Norway, and we get a little break between the flights.

My thought is that I think I would be a lot more tired after 6-7 hours flying in the UK sector than I am here in Norway.
Fatigue can make people miss a thing or two, that's only human.

Of course, one gets used to everything, but wouldn't it be nice with less chatter on the radio, and a little break between the flights?

That's my first thoughts, and maybe I've got it wrong, but how do you who fly in UK see it?
And do you come up with any other safety-issues?
We are somewhat anonymous here, and it's always good to discuss SOP, and improvements.
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Old 26th Sep 2013, 23:11
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No feedback from UK guys?
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Old 27th Sep 2013, 07:19
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Having operated offshore in both Norway and UK and in many other parts of Europe and the world I can assure you that Norway has by far the best attitude to safety and work practices that I have witnessed.

You probably have not had much response to your post because UK North Sea pilots, and in particular those who work in Aberdeen, have an unshakeable belief that their way is the only way to do things. They also seem to spend their entire working lives in that environment and so have not been exposed to anything else.
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Old 27th Sep 2013, 07:27
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Another safety review

BBC News - Offshore helicopter firms announce safety review

After some time this will no doubt come up with several minor alterations in practice that (a) cost little and (b) cause no lost flights for the clients, while ignoring several elephants in the room.
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Old 27th Sep 2013, 08:37
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Considering fatigue, you touch a valid point there Charly. CHC had a similar incident some years ago in the Netherlands, where an S61 ended up in the same situation but was able to perform an over-torque climb-out after touching the sea.
If I do remember correctly, fatigue was in issue according to the findings. Also management attitude, deviation from SOP's and crew attitude for that matter.
There are indeed many (hidden) area's we still need to look into and find improvements...
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Old 27th Sep 2013, 10:31
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You probably have not had much response to your post because UK North Sea pilots, and in particular those who work in Aberdeen, have an unshakeable belief that their way is the only way to do things. They also seem to spend their entire working lives in that environment and so have not been exposed to anything else.
So untrue! Most of us recognise there needs to be change but unlike the Norwegians, the pilots on the NS don't have much of a voice. When the state virtually owns the oil industry and you have a very powerful union, it is a lot easier to make change - we have three companies plus multiple customers all fighting amongst themselves. The CAA are starting a review, the operators are reviewing safety, where is the announcement from the oil majors?

A lot of us have done plenty of other things in aviation as well.
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Old 27th Sep 2013, 12:16
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Most of us recognise there needs to be change but unlike the Norwegians, the pilots on the NS don't have much of a voice.
It would seem to me that you have an opportunity to change that situation if you care/dare to try.

The Spotlight is on....it is looking for something to shine on.

The CAA and MP's are going to be reviewing the situation, the Media has taken interest, the Workers Union is beating their Drum, and Rotorheads has two threads going now where you can make your concerns known.

In time....some News Reporter or Journalist is going to read what is posted here.

So....I would say you have every chance of being heard if you will just speak up.

I do wonder if the silence is due to arrogance or fear.

But.....right now Silence is the wrong course for sure.

Post your concerns here, write you local newspaper, mail a letter to the CAA, send BBC a Tip, call your MP, roust your Union Management, send and e-mail to your own company management, but speak up folks.
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Old 27th Sep 2013, 13:39
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Originally Posted by charlieDontSurf View Post

But me and my colleagues often talk about the massive use of radio-calls, and repetition of flight-plan info to many different stations when flying in the British sector.
Compared to the Norwegian sector it seems somewhat overwhelming and one might think it can contribute to a lack of situational awareness when there's too much going on on the radio. I guess one get used to it, as with everyting else, but it seems a bit unneccesary.
re the radio calls - it helps (a lot) that you have radar coverage right down to deck height in the Norweigan sector.

There would be a marked improvement in flight safety (and a dramatic reduction in the number of radio calls) if there was a similar service in the British sector. But I imagine that it comes down to the good ol' chestnut - at what cost?
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Old 27th Sep 2013, 13:49
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Maybe part of the silence is not arrogance or fear but “where the hell do we begin and how have we got here?”

The operators are conducting their own reviews. Hmmm…Who exactly in the company will be responsible for this? What if they say the top man is the problem or suggest such a major overhaul that the cost is deemed unacceptable by the duty accountant? Isn’t this really just the greatest arse covering exercise to date?
Whoever does a review needs to be totally independent and unbiased without loyalty to a company, the CAA or the customer. This is just becoming the greatest self licking lolly otherwise.
SASless is bang on with the suggestion that maybe the greatest change will come from within. For years pilots have been ignored on safety issues, now they have a voice and they must use it in whatever way they can.
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Old 27th Sep 2013, 14:13
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There would be a marked improvement in flight safety (and a dramatic reduction in the number of radio calls) if there was a similar service in the British sector
Doesn't multilateration address this? Innocent question as never operated with it.
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Old 27th Sep 2013, 14:33
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Originally Posted by 212man View Post
Doesn't multilateration address this? Innocent question as never operated with it.
WAM only works above 1500ft, so not down to deck height. And it's not the most reliable of systems either. If/when it drops out, the 'outer sector' (ie from 80nm from the ADN to the Median line) reverts to Aberdeen Information with a Basic Service.

Even with WAM, you still don't get any effective radar or traffic service below 1500ft.
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Old 27th Sep 2013, 14:41
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Originally Posted by Ray Joe Czech View Post
BBC News - Offshore helicopter firms announce safety review

After some time this will no doubt come up with several minor alterations in practice that (a) cost little and (b) cause no lost flights for the clients, while ignoring several elephants in the room.
Well, if they are serious about it (and although it's got no connection to this accident), this review will hopefully see the end of night bow deck landings.
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Old 27th Sep 2013, 18:07
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Norway is going to establish controlled airspace (D) from 1500 to FL85 in what is Balder and Ekofisk ADS areas now. Airspace will be the first in Europe based solely on ADS-B

re the radio calls - it helps (a lot) that you have radar coverage right down to deck height in the Norweigan sector.
This is not true, the only offshore radars are at Gullfaks and Norne.
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Old 27th Sep 2013, 19:28
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Is there a permanent Met Observer at Sumburgh? With the amount of helicopter traffic going through the Shetlands and the need for accurate weather forecasts I would presume there is. I know the observer was removed at one point to save money

HF
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Old 27th Sep 2013, 20:48
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and maybe a sensible cloud base limitation for all night approaches. How about no unstable decks at night? Just a start.
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Old 27th Sep 2013, 22:08
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So its interesting that the things pilots find a little scary at times (or, for the benefit of our passengers "hard work") are getting listed, even though they have never resulted in an accident. Sorry but this shows a lack of understanding of flight safety issues. Its very easy, as demonstrated, to fix on things that superficially seem dangerous, but proper analysis must be done to determine whether something is actually dangerous, as opposed to looking and perhaps feeling dangerous. Otherwise effort is completely misdirected.

Yes we can find night bow decks etc a little challenging but no-one has ever come to grief. If you look at the "failure modes" of this activity, they are few and unlikely. In part this is because everyone in the cockpit is giving their full attention and the activity is easily aborted by flying up and away. Accidents are much more likely to happen during something more routine when complacency can be a factor. Hopefully those taking part in the review wil understand these things!
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Old 27th Sep 2013, 22:41
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The down to deck coverage in Norway is provided by M-ADS. ADS-B operations are planned to be ready for last quarter 2014, I believe.

TiP
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Old 28th Sep 2013, 07:44
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HC

These issues may not have directly resulted in an accident, but how many unreported close calls have there been? I think it is important to let everyone have a voice rather than just putting the opinions of others in the trash can. You could say that the unreported incidents show the wrong culture and this is true as well. By bringing all matters that anyone thinks are of concern to the fore, perhaps we will genuinely get a much more transparent culture on the NS. How many night bow decks have you done in the past few years?

Just because one issue has never caused an accident in the past doesn't mean it doesn't have potential to in the future. This is a truer understanding of flight safety - proactive, not reactive.

Last edited by cyclic; 28th Sep 2013 at 07:47.
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Old 28th Sep 2013, 08:16
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Cyclic...I so agree with you. Those at the sharp end need to say what worries them and the broad industry needs to listen and evaluate ,not instantly dismiss.
Sure some safety criticism will be on minor matters,but even that might point to training gaps or collectively something bigger.
So come on guys,as this thread originator alluded ,now is the time to list your safety worries on offshore ops.
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Old 28th Sep 2013, 08:27
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Yes we can find night bow decks etc a little challenging but no-one has ever
come to grief. If you look at the "failure modes" of this activity, they are few
and unlikely.
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.
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