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.
The UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) published a further “special bulletin” late last week in its investigation into the controlled ditching of a Bond-operated EC225 medium twin in May in the North Sea, confirming an earlier hint by Eurocopter that the emergency lubrication system gave the pilots a false failure warning.
British investigators are focusing on a fractured bevel gear vertical drive shaft as a contributing factor in the North Sea ditching of a Bond Offshore Eurocopter EC225LP Super Puma (G-REDW) 20 nm east of Aberdeen, Scotland, on May 10. The UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) issued a bulletin late last week on its preliminary findings.
Each June, NBAA’s Flight Attendants Conference (FAC) promotes the professional development of full-time and contract flight attendants, flight technicians and cabin safety professionals. Hosted by the NBAA Flight Attendants Committee, it focuses on the importance of having trained flight attendants and technicians on board corporate aircraft and is a forum for discussing industry changes affecting cabin safety, security and service.
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