The NTSB is calling on the U.S. Coast Guard to work with the Interior Department to mitigate methane discharges from offshore energy platforms in the Gulf of Mexico when helicopters are present. The recommendation follows two power-loss incidents in helicopters that led to accidents, one in 2011 and the other last year, on or near offshore oil platforms.
Oil & Gas UK, the lobbying association that represents UK oil and gas companies–especially the ones operating production platforms in the North Sea–has expressed doubts about the review the UK CAA published in February.
It’s been three months since Sikorsky announced that its S-92 rig approach system has gone into operation in the Gulf of Mexico with oil and gas transport provider PHI, and here at the show, the airframer is providing demonstrations of the safety enhancement.
Sikorsky and PHI Helicopters, co-developers of the new rig approach software for the S-92’s flight control computer, said they have recently gained new customers for the approach automation product. Half of PHI’s 28 S-92s already has the rig approach installed, and the remainder of the U.S. operator’s fleet is scheduled for the upgrade.
The Pacific offshore helicopter symposium will be held in Australia next month in the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Center at Darling Harbour. Topics to be discussed at the October 8 event include the new CASA rules on commercial operations such as the latest IFR, copilot qualifications and multi-engine performance standards. Changes to the latter could result in many hospital helipads and oil rig platforms operations being considered unsuitable for the current crop of medium to heavy helicopters, unless the new EASA rules are modified.
Petroleum Helicopters is negotiating a joint venture with Brazil’s TAM to support the growing Brazilian offshore market. The joint-venture company reportedly plans to begin operations by year-end with Sikorsky S-76s, while the longer-term plans include the addition of the larger S-92.
At 10 p.m. on April 20, seven minutes after the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig exploded, the search-and-rescue alarm went off at the U.S. Coast Guard Air Training Center in Mobile, Ala. Pilot Lt. Andy Greenwood and his crew headed for their HC-144 Ocean Sentry, a CASA CN-235 twin turboprop, for the 115-mile flight. “We were at 4,000 feet when we hit the Gulf, and we could already see the fire,” Greenwood said.
Bell 206 JetRanger, Sabine Pass, Texas, Dec. 11, 2008–Five people were killed when the Rotorcraft Leasing JetRanger crashed into the Gulf of Mexico eight miles south of Sabine Pass. The flight was en route to an offshore oil platform in VMC. The commercial pilot took off from Sabine Pass and failed to make the first 15-minute position report required by company policy.
Bell 212, Persian Gulf, United Arab Emirates, Sept. 3, 2008–All seven people aboard the Aerogulf Services Bell 212 were killed when the helicopter hit a crane while taking off from an oil rig in the Persian Gulf. The helicopter had flown cargo from Dubai. After unloading the cargo, it lifted off the helipad, hovered and moved backward into the crane.
Eurocopter EC 120B, Gulf of Mexico, Feb. 12, 2007–The commercial pilot and a passenger were killed when the ERA Helicopters EC 120 crashed into the Gulf on approach to an offshore oil platform. Reported weather was 10 miles visibility, and the wind was at 20 knots gusting to 25 knots.
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