6-Jun-2017 Source: Oryx Aviation Consulting
Oryx Aviation Consulting (OAC), the helideck inspection company based in Abu Dhabi has been experiencing a huge increase in demand for their friction testing services across the Middle East in 2017.
Although OAC have been offering friction tests using their state of the art testing devices from Findlay Irvine in Scotland for over a year now the recent release of the latest edition of UK CAP 437 and the impending implementation of UAE CAAP 71 in January 2018 has turned greater attention to this important aspect of helideck inspection and approval.
CAP 437 now calls for annual friction testing of helidecks, no matter what friction “grip number” score they achieve. It also specifically names the testing unit as used by OAC, the Findlay Irvine Micro GT. This unit is also the only one (currently) that meets the requirements as listed in the helideck advisory publication CAAP 71, as applicable in the UAE, where OAC is based.
Matt Hayes, the Oryx Aviation Consulting Chief Helideck Inspector said: “We have seen huge and increasing demand for our helideck inspection and particularly helideck friction testing services so far this year. In our region the widespread use of skid equipped helicopters excludes the use of helideck safety nets, therefore it is vitally important that the helideck surface has adequate friction properties. Both the latest CAP 437 and CAAP 71, our recently introduced local UAE standard, have shone a light on this important but often overlooked subject and helideck owners are now realizing that many of the rather basic friction testing devices, that have been widely used on helidecks for so long prior to the introduction of the Findlay Irvine Unit, are simply not up to the job and never have been. Our message is simple, if the friction test is not compliant in terms of methodology and equipment then the resulting certificate will not be accepted; not by professional inspection companies like us, the accountable organisation or the local regulator.”