Helicopter pilots operating around Britain’s shores and represented by the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) have welcomed the recommendations made in the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) review of helicopter operations published on 20 February in the wake of a series of accidents.
General Secretary of BALPA, Jim McAuslan, said, “The hundreds of dedicated helicopter pilots flying in support of Britain’s oil and gas industry and ferrying people to offshore rigs welcome these proposals which will help them make every single flight a safe flight. Pilots will work with the CAA and operators to improve helicopter safety in the North Sea and ensure there is no backsliding as memories of recent accidents fade.
“The CAA has recognised that independently setting and protecting decent helicopter flight safety standards in the North Sea is more effective than a ‘light touch’ approach. Pilots particularly welcome the ban on flying in adverse conditions and the recommendations on how the chances of surviving an incident can be improved. We will work closely with all concerned to make sure such changes are effective.
“Today’s report will need to be seen alongside reports due from the Transport Select Committee on offshore helicopter safety, Air Accident Investigations Branch reports and Fatal Accident Inquiries and we maintain our call for an independent inquiry to bring all of this work together.”
The CAA has taken the decision to take firm leadership of offshore helicopter safety by establishing a new offshore helicopter safety forum and helicopter pilots will make a full and active contribution to the forum in the interests of flight safety. There are also recommendations to standardise best practice in training and operational procedures and the use of Helicopter Flight Data Monitoring (HFDM) as a tool to maximise to improve flight safety.
The full CAA Offshore Helicopter Safety review is available here