The Step Change in Safety organization, which represents a number of players in the North Sea oil-and-gas industry, is reporting progress in the implementation of the safety improvement measures required by the UK CAA in its CAP 1145 review. To improve survivability in the event of a ditching, helicopters are being equipped with a better emergency breathing system (EBS) and more attention is being focused on the shape and size of passengers in relation to the size of emergency escape windows.
Australian company One Atmosphere was recently named this year’s winner of the Australian Defense Science and Technology Organization’s Eureka prize. The company received the honor for creating Pegasus, an emergency helicopter buoyancy system to prevent aircraft from sinking after ditching at sea. One Atmosphere said the lightweight Pegasus will quickly raise a 22,000-pound helicopter from a depth of 33 feet and keep it afloat for four hours.
The UK CAA has unveiled a series of dramatic measures stemming from the review it launched last September to improve the safety of offshore helicopter operations in the North Sea. Its primary goal is to improve the odds of passengers and crew surviving a ditching, but the exhaustive 293-page report also addresses pilot training, helidecks and a host of other safety topics.
The UK CAA unveiled a series of stringent measures today as a result of a review it launched last September to improve the safety of helicopter operations in the North Sea. These changes are expected to improve survivability after a ditching.
Preliminary Report: King Air 200 Destroyed in Water Landing
Surviving the impact of an emergency ditching is not the only risk facing helicopter crews flying over water. They also face the chaos of safely exiting an aircraft that may be sinking or submerged.
Night Flight Concepts and Bolo3 Group have organized underwater egress training for helicopter crews, with a special emphasis on those operating with night vision goggles (NVG). The class uses real-world scenarios and preparedness training to reinforce the tactics necessary to survive after hitting the water.
This year’s keynote speaker at the 3rd annual Tampa Bay Aviation Association (TBAA) Safety Standdown is US Airways flight attendant Doreen Welsh, one of the cabin crew aboard Flight 1549 when it ditched in the frigid waters of the Hudson River in January 2009. Other presentations at the April 17 event will cover human factors and loss of control, as well as an introduction to the Tampa International Airport aircraft firefighting and rescue team. The event begins at 7:45 a.m.
The Canadian government is adopting new rules for offshore helicopter operations in the wake of the March 2009 fatal Cougar Helicopters crash near St. John’s, Newfoundland that killed 17. The proposed rule changes include mandating flotation devices and emergency breathing apparatus for all aboard and that crewmembers wear specialized survival suits when flying over cold water. Operations would be prohibited when sea state conditions exceeded safe ditching levels.
A study commissioned by the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) recommends the resumption of night flights to offshore oil and gas platforms in the region and lays out a plan that incorporates upgraded and specific safety measures.
Offshore operator Bristow “entered into an agreement” yesterday to order 10 Sikorsky S-92 medium-twin helicopters and secured options for another 16. The move emerges as the operator is keeping 16 Eurocopter Super Pumas on the ground, following two controlled ditchings that affected the EC225 type in just six months. Both ditchings were caused by a failure of the main gearbox.
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