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Penzance Heliport under new management

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Penzance Heliport under new management

Old 17th Nov 2022, 01:42
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Several questions spring to mind reading of this....beginning with the choice being a 76 to begin with....much less one ex-Caverton....the single pilot in Public Transport does raise a question in the UK Nanny State.....although we see them flying EMS single pilot in the USA.

In years past the 76 was flown offshore single pilot.

It is not like the operation is in a particularly high traffic location is it?

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Old 17th Nov 2022, 08:13
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Originally Posted by SASless
Several questions spring to mind reading of this....beginning with the choice being a 76 to begin with....much less one ex-Caverton....the single pilot in Public Transport does raise a question in the UK Nanny State.....although we see them flying EMS single pilot in the USA.

In years past the 76 was flown offshore single pilot.

It is not like the operation is in a particularly high traffic location is it?
Also fly SP HEMS in UK
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Old 17th Nov 2022, 09:31
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Same operator

https://www.gov.uk/aaib-reports/aaib-investigation-to-sikorsky-s-92a-g-lawx

https://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/627996-g-lawx-s92-incident-aaib.html
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Old 18th Nov 2022, 13:41
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It’s my understanding that the Leicester City 169 crash was the same operator as well. Although I believe that this was an NCC flight rather an AOC.
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Old 18th Nov 2022, 14:40
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no, but the sea and ground are still pretty hard if you fly into them

Originally Posted by SASless
It is not like the operation is in a particularly high traffic location is it?
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Old 18th Nov 2022, 15:40
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Single pilot IMC over water? With 8 pax?
Unlikely to be IMC since there is no let down at Penzance and a poor one at St Mary's. Only IMC will be due to diversion which will be tricky with fuel.
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Old 18th Nov 2022, 17:01
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So when it's marginal VFR...is single pilot a good idea?
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Old 18th Nov 2022, 17:29
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I suppose that depends what you’re trained for and used to.
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Old 18th Nov 2022, 19:03
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Originally Posted by ShyTorque
I suppose that depends what you’re trained for and used to.
Not to forget

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1983_B...sky_S-61_crash
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Old 18th Nov 2022, 19:14
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From the operators website ‘Safety and the management of risk is the starting point, the middle and the end of all we do. Starspeed has developed a mature safety management system over the last 12 years, not just because the regulations require it but because we firmly believe that it is an effective route to being ever better at what we offer.’
I would be interested to see the risk assessment for this operation and how single pilot in an S76 (which has more than its fair share of issues with rotors running pax transfers) compares with MP in an AW139. Seems odd that it was deemed to be safer and ‘better’. There can be do doubt that it is cheaper though. Mind you, I would agree that MP done in a manner as demonstrated in the recent S92 incident with the same operator is less safe than a competent SP operation.
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Old 19th Nov 2022, 11:43
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I find the talk here of unsafe S76 operations a bit unfair. The S76 has a fabulous safety record. Fuel loads are not an issue for that run. Ive flown them with 2 crew and 12 pax + bags for over 1.5 hours at a time in some pretty high temps. This is basically a VFR trip with the option of a divert if wx deteriorates. All you need to do to make it a safe SP operation is only fly when the wx is good enough. Just don't take any risks. No it may not please everyone but at least it removes the main risk for that job. Yes I've flown that route in a 109 too. Id happily fly it SP in a 76. Actually id take a 76 over a 109 any day of the week.
IF they allowed an RNAV/GPS approach then even better.
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Old 19th Nov 2022, 11:51
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Prices are £300+ for a return.

How does that compare with prices in the past?
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Old 19th Nov 2022, 14:02
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Originally Posted by helimutt
I find the talk here of unsafe S76 operations a bit unfair. The S76 has a fabulous safety record. Fuel loads are not an issue for that run. Ive flown them with 2 crew and 12 pax + bags for over 1.5 hours at a time in some pretty high temps. This is basically a VFR trip with the option of a divert if wx deteriorates. All you need to do to make it a safe SP operation is only fly when the wx is good enough. Just don't take any risks. No it may not please everyone but at least it removes the main risk for that job. Yes I've flown that route in a 109 too. Id happily fly it SP in a 76. Actually id take a 76 over a 109 any day of the week.
IF they allowed an RNAV/GPS approach then even better.
There is not much to disagree with in your post but there in lies the problem. Nothing wrong with the S76 but it is older technology replacing newer technology and on a commercial operation that relies on quick rotors running passenger changes why would you chose a helicopter with a lower disc height?
And why would you chose a SP operation where, as you recommend, the safest thing to do is ‘you only fly when the weather is good enough’? I can’t see the operator increasing their weather limits above and beyond the national limits as this is a scheduled service. The reality it this a coastal area whether the weather changes very quickly and there are few of us that have operated in that area on a regular basis that haven’t been caught out by the rapidly changing weather all year round. I have read the detailed AAIB report on the Starspeed S92 incident and it appears that the Accountable Manager, on that occasion at least, didn’t fully adhere to the rules and getting the job done was more important than strict adherence to regulation. One assumes that the pilots on this operation will be faced with some difficult decisions. I don’t envy them.
Surely a fundamental of Safety Management is that the risk should be as low as reasonably practical? The previous operator on this service achieved this by MP operations in a modern helicopter and strict adherence to the rules. Perhaps someone with a PHD in Aviation Safety Management can explain to me how an older technology helicopter operated SP can be deemed to be the same or lessor risk?
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Old 19th Nov 2022, 14:28
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Originally Posted by Undecided
There is not much to disagree with in your post but there in lies the problem. Nothing wrong with the S76 but it is older technology replacing newer technology and on a commercial operation that relies on quick rotors running passenger changes why would you chose a helicopter with a lower disc height?
And why would you chose a SP operation where, as you recommend, the safest thing to do is ‘you only fly when the weather is good enough’? I can’t see the operator increasing their weather limits above and beyond the national limits as this is a scheduled service. The reality it this a coastal area whether the weather changes very quickly and there are few of us that have operated in that area on a regular basis that haven’t been caught out by the rapidly changing weather all year round. I have read the detailed AAIB report on the Starspeed S92 incident and it appears that the Accountable Manager, on that occasion at least, didn’t fully adhere to the rules and getting the job done was more important than strict adherence to regulation. One assumes that the pilots on this operation will be faced with some difficult decisions. I don’t envy them.
Surely a fundamental of Safety Management is that the risk should be as low as reasonably practical? The previous operator on this service achieved this by MP operations in a modern helicopter and strict adherence to the rules. Perhaps someone with a PHD in Aviation Safety Management can explain to me how an older technology helicopter operated SP can be deemed to be the same or lessor risk?

In a perfect world I'd always use properly trained Multi crew ops with a machine which is suitable. There is nothing wrong with an S76C++ and I wouldn't call it outdated by any stretch. Older tech? maybe. Reliable ? Yes. Refuelling can always be done with no-one else on the pad, or shut-down, as per offshore ops, and then you need strict loading of pax. It's been done for decades with no passenger accidents being hit by blades that I'm aware of?? Could you point me to any? (I'm not talking about crew incidents where they became complacent)

There is the issue of exit if you ditch offshore, one of the reasons the S76 died a death offshore in the North Sea was the passenger emergency exit size restriction. Im sure we all know of 30+ year old airframes still flying regularly so I don't believe age of aircraft is part of this debate. If every old aircraft was dangerous, they wouldn't be allowed to fly.

My personal view is that this operation has so many requirements to operate at a profit, that a new airframe just wouldn't be part of that equation. You can prob buy 5 s76c++ for less than the cost of a new airframe like the 169 etc. The first people I'd speak to if I had to cost this op would be the engineers. Then ask the pilots opinion. Then see what ticks the boxes. Good luck to Starspeed but I get the feeling this Penzance thing is a poisoned chalice.




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Old 19th Nov 2022, 15:11
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This situation begs a Low Altitude IFR route structure with a GPS Approach at each end using the latest technology, with automated weather reporting at each end.

Add modern lighting aids and equip and train for SPIFR operations and I would see safety be very much improved.

What is going to be done today is not that much different than back in the 1980's....when it was a two pilot S-61 doing the job.

Let's think back to some notable crashes that give us a hint at the pitfalls of doing a VFR flight in marginal VMC conditions...day and night.

One thing that does argue for a new way of doing things is that the Pilots flying this operation would become very familiar with the Approaches at each end if they did them every time...every flight...every day..

If those approaches and missed approach procedures were pre-programmed....and the FD and Autopilot was working and flying those approaches.....combined with the other required equipment.....why would it be a problem for a single Pilot to fly the flight?

The fuel requirement for an IFR Diversion would the largest hurtle.

The revenue provided by additional flights in marginal weather should begin to pay for the extra costs I am thinking but it would take a detailed study to make that determination.


My personal opinion is it should be Two Pilot crew.....as I am old fashioned and learned the hard way that all that fancy Gucci Kit doesn't not always work and when it doesn't the workload on a single Pilot ramps up very quickly.
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Old 19th Nov 2022, 16:26
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Originally Posted by hargreaves99
Prices are £300+ for a return.

How does that compare with prices in the past?
Was a bit cheaper last year but everything has gone up in price.
If you look what renting a place in Tresco for the week during the high season cost £300 isn't the end of the world for people who able to afford that kind of cash. Also the alternative is either the vomit comet ferry (around 3 hrs each way, not cheap in peak season either) or a flight to St Mary's from Lands end for about £100 ish cheaper.
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Old 19th Nov 2022, 17:51
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Originally Posted by SASless
This situation begs a Low Altitude IFR route structure with a GPS Approach at each end using the latest technology, with automated weather reporting at each end.

Add modern lighting aids and equip and train for SPIFR operations and I would see safety be very much improved.
Couldn't agree more, but I can't see the CAA doing anything productive about it (creating helicopter-specific RNP procedures / routes) for many years to come, if ever. I don't know of a single PinS approach or helicopter low flight network throughout the UK - I would enjoy being enlightened if anyone does. Not having LPV level-of-service anymore also won't do the CAA any favours when it comes to it.
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Old 19th Nov 2022, 18:27
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Originally Posted by SASless
This situation begs a Low Altitude IFR route structure with a GPS Approach at each end using the latest technology, with automated weather reporting at each end.

Add modern lighting aids and equip and train for SPIFR operations and I would see safety be very much improved.

What is going to be done today is not that much different than back in the 1980's....when it was a two pilot S-61 doing the job.

Let's think back to some notable crashes that give us a hint at the pitfalls of doing a VFR flight in marginal VMC conditions...day and night.

One thing that does argue for a new way of doing things is that the Pilots flying this operation would become very familiar with the Approaches at each end if they did them every time...every flight...every day..

If those approaches and missed approach procedures were pre-programmed....and the FD and Autopilot was working and flying those approaches.....combined with the other required equipment.....why would it be a problem for a single Pilot to fly the flight?

The fuel requirement for an IFR Diversion would the largest hurtle.

The revenue provided by additional flights in marginal weather should begin to pay for the extra costs I am thinking but it would take a detailed study to make that determination.


My personal opinion is it should be Two Pilot crew.....as I am old fashioned and learned the hard way that all that fancy Gucci Kit doesn't not always work and when it doesn't the workload on a single Pilot ramps up very quickly.
Might be a while SAS - "Brexit" negotiations did not elect to continue with EGNOS contributions so LPV no longer exists "legally" in the UK as of June 2021.
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Old 19th Nov 2022, 18:52
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I remember doing GPS approaches in the USA 17 years ago.

I can't believe the CAA haven't sorted this out yet. The technology exists, and has done for years.
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Old 20th Nov 2022, 00:58
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There is a problem with relying upon GPS alone.....as in doing so on any single source of navigation or approach.....what do you do if that sole Aid goes the way of the Buffalo on you?

We used that wonderful thing called Decca...with the scroll type paper map....in a Single Pilot S-58T or Wessex with only a SAS system if it was working and no RadAlt....at night over the sea flying out of some very hostile areas with few Diversions near by.

I certainly am not suggesting that is the best way of going about business.....but do use that as an indicator of far technology and safety standards have advanced.

Some of you UK Helicopter Pilots might offer up some ideas of what could be done to create a Low Altitude Airway system and approaches for the operation....should the CAA awake from its after Lunch nap and find a way to legalize such a thing.

If you had a magic wand .....how would you do such a thing using GPS?


A Thread I started back in April.....

Low Altitude IFR Route Structure and Approaches For Helicopters

One Research Study Report on the topic......

https://arc.aiaa.org/doi/10.2514/1.D0210




Last edited by SASless; 20th Nov 2022 at 02:42.
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