Industry body Oil & Gas UK has welcomed recommendations made by the UK's Civil Aviation Authority as part of the organization's safety review of offshore public transport helicopter operations in support of oil and gas recovery.
The CAA announced Thursday a series of measures designed to increase the safety of offshore helicopter flights. The changes are the result of what the organization described as "a comprehensive review of offshore helicopter operations" undertaken in conjunction with the Norwegian CAA and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The review followed a series of helicopter ditchings in the UK North Sea in recent years, including last August's fatal incident involving a Super Puma in which four offshore workers died.
The CAA's measures include:
Meanwhile, there will be changes to the way pilots are trained and checked, while the CAA will take on the role of approving each offshore helideck to ensure strict safety standards are met.
There are also a number of recommendations to EASA, as the regulator for helicopter certification and airworthiness. These include enhancing the safety of helicopters; establishing a review of offshore helicopter accidents and incidents with national aviation organizations, such as the CAA, to highlight safety issues and develop remedies; and, the development of standardized helicopter operating information for pilots.
In the meantime, the CAA expects helicopter operators to make improvements to helicopters and survival equipment, including:
CAA Chair Dame Deirdre Hutton commented in a statement:
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