Substantial progress has been made on measures to improve offshore helicopter safety but there is still more to do, the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said today as it published a progress report on the recommendations and actions from its comprehensive review of offshore helicopter operations from February 2014.
Safety improvements introduced since the CAA review was launched have included:
• Stopping flights over the most extreme sea conditions.
• Ensuring every passenger on an offshore helicopter flight is equipped with new improved Emergency Breathing System (EBS) ahead of schedule.
• Standardisation of pilot training, particularly for the use of complex automated systems on helicopters and the associated operating procedures.
• Establishing a new top level group to drive change, the Offshore Helicopter Safety Action Group (OHSAG) that includes unions, industry and the CAA.
The OHSAG will continue to drive change and work closely with other parties such as helicopter manufacturers and international regulators, especially the European Aviation Safety Agency, to move forward on safety recommendations.
The majority of the recommendations and actions are aimed at preventing an accident from occurring. Some of these, such as helicopter design, are longer term projects but the CAA and OHSAG will be maintaining pressure on the organisations responsible for change to ensure the safety improvements are delivered as soon as possible.
CAA Director of Safety and Airspace Mark Swan said: “The safety of those who rely on offshore helicopter flights is our absolute priority. Some encouraging progress has been made over the last year to improve helicopter safety but there is still more that can and will be achieved. We will continue to report regularly on progress, so that people can have confidence that these important changes are being implemented as quickly as possible.”
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