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Global Offshore Helicopter Industry to Collaborate on 'Root and Branch’ Review of Safety

May 16, 2016

  • 180 leaders participate in HeliOffshore’s second annual conference.
  • Industry will complete a collaborative review of offshore fleet to enhance reliability and resilience in the system.
  • Industry to accelerate implementation of enhanced terrain warning systems by end 2017 to increase warning time for pilots.

Prague, Czech Republic – HeliOffshore Chief Executive Officer Gretchen Haskins, in closing remarks yesterday, described how recent helicopter tragedies had strengthened the industry’s resolve to enhance the safety of offshore helicopter operations.

“We owe it to those who lost loved ones in Norway – and in other accidents – to do everything to continue our collaboration and deliver safety breakthroughs,” said Mrs. Haskins.

“Our aim is that no lives are lost due to offshore helicopter transport. Agreements at this conference – and work already underway to share information and expertise across the industry – will help to achieve that,” said Mrs. Haskins.

Bill Chiles, Chairman of the HeliOffshore Board, described the commitment of HeliOffshore members to do yet more to ensure safe operations, worldwide.

“Members have adopted a plan to undertake a fundamental review that will enhance the reliability and resilience of the offshore fleet and the systems that support it – both human and machine,” said Mr. Chiles.

The review will be done in partnership with aircraft manufacturers, offshore operators, the oil and gas industry, regulators, and organisations in the supply chain to the offshore helicopter industry.

At the conference, delegates also agreed to accelerate implementation of enhanced terrain awareness and warning systems (HTAWS) in the offshore fleet by the end of 2017. HTAWS provide visual and aural advisories to help keep aircraft safely separated from hazardous terrain.

“With time-bound commitments, made across the industry, we will make a difference to safety at the frontline and protect the lives of the crews and offshore workers who travel by helicopter every day,” said Mrs. Haskins.

According to Mrs. Haskins, increasing information sharing is a priority area for HeliOffshore.

“We are focused on improving the reliability and resilience of systems, increasing operational effectiveness, and ensuring that the right safety enablers are in place,” she said. “Those enablers include sharing safety expertise industry-wide, so that all of those who work within and rely on offshore flight are benefiting from our best knowledge.”

Such global collaboration has led to two helicopter manufacturers publishing flight-crew operations manuals, HeliOffshore creating a best practice for health and usage monitoring systems (HUMS), and an eye-tracking research programme to enhance performance of crews in the cockpit.

Despite the slowdown in demand for offshore helicopter services, both membership within HeliOffshore and attendance at its conference are up. The organisation launched with five founding members in October 2014 and today has 88 members participating in collaboration to enhance safety.

About HeliOffshore
HeliOffshore is dedicated to constantly improving offshore helicopter safety around the world. HeliOffshore was founded by five leading helicopter services operators, and membership is open to any enterprise with a stake in offshore flight – and a determination to make it ever safer.

HeliOffshore will develop, share and apply best practices; create and use advanced technology; and advocate for harmonized global flight standards. www.helioffshore.org