The Helicopter Association International has approached Congress advocating a significant improvement in the low-altitude air-traffic infrastructure in the Gulf of Mexico. In the short term, HAI is promoting an immediate investment by the FAA in currently available, proven VHF communications and automated weather technologies to support the 5,000 to 9,000 flights that operate daily to and from more than 3,800 offshore platforms in the region.
For those toiling for oil on the roiling North Sea, the stormy nature of that piece of water keeps the possibility of rescue constantly in mind. Traditionally that role has been filled by stationing formidably equipped rescue boats called emergency response and rescue vessels (ERRV) with each group of oil platforms.
Sikorsky S-76A++, Eugene Island, Gulf of Mexico, Oct. 22, 2006–The Petroleum Helicopters S-76 was destroyed when it crashed into the Gulf of Mexico while landing at the offshore platform Eugene Island Block 259, in VMC. The 16,848-hour ATP-rated pilot was not injured and the 1,731-hour commercial copilot received only minor injuries.
Bell 206B LongRanger, Gulf of Mexico, Aug. 18, 2005–While attempting to land on the West Cameron 560 offshore oil platform, the Bell 206 hit the platform and crashed into the water. The commercial pilot and a mechanic were killed. Operated by Air Logistics of New Iberia, La., the helicopter was flying from another offshore platform in the Gulf of Mexico.
“People blame the president, OPEC and anyone else they can think of for the price of fuel today; it’s nonsense. In over 30 years of exploration nobody ever told me when and how much I could sell my oil for,” retired oilman Jean LaForge told AIN.
Bell 206B JetRanger, Gulf of Mexico, Aug. 18, 2005–The NTSB concluded that the pilot’s improper fuel calculations caused the Air Logistics JetRanger to crash into the Gulf of Mexico because of fuel exhaustion. The pilot had enough fuel for approximately one hour and 50 minutes with no reserve when he flew to an oil platform, where oil was spotted on the side of the fuselage.
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