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Scared of Heights? Bristow Supports Safety Course that Relieves Flight Concerns

June 19, 2015

It’s something many people flying offshore have experienced – bumpy air, foggy skies, an unusual sound – all of which can conspire to get the passenger thinking “What am I doing here?”

Bob Egan, an offshore worker for more than 20 years, had those thoughts even though he doesn’t fear flying on helicopters. But a day spent at a Step Change in Safety Helicopter Safety Awareness course gave him a detailed look at flight operations that will ease his mind on future flights.

Step Change in Safety is a non-profit, member-led group that seeks to make the U.K. the safest oil region in the world, with helicopter companies among those providing instructors for its safety courses. Bristow S-92 pilot Christina and Avionics Instructor Graham were the instructors during Egan’s visit.

A new appreciation
“Christina talked about the rigorous training pilots have to go through and the continuous proficiency checks and simulator training they have to complete,” Egan says. “She also told us about pre-flight preparations and all of the double checks, including flight planning and weather. Christina made it very clear that pilots don’t compromise on their own safety, let alone passenger safety.”

He also learned about the extensive training that engineers receive. “Graham gave a detailed account of their training – and I had no idea it takes longer to become a helicopter engineer than it does to become a pilot,” Egan says. “We saw up-close the type of maintenance work that goes on and how engineers manage, record and store their tools and parts – it may sound boring, but one mistake can have repercussions.”

The eye-opener for Egan was how much work needs to be completed before the pilots and passengers go anywhere near their aircraft. “Christina and Graham really knew their stuff and place a huge importance on safety in every aspect of their work,” he says. “I’d definitely recommend the course for anyone who flies offshore.”

Course information is available on the Step Change in Safety website.