Senior offshore helicopter industry leaders met during the HAI HeliExpo show in Las Vegas last week to add momentum to their collaborative efforts to enhance safety through HeliOffshore. A meeting of the global offshore helicopter safety association’s Safety Strategy Panel on 26th February agreed to increase the degree of governance exercised by key stakeholders, with clearer decisions and more effective delivery of priority actions that save lives through project stage gate reviews. The Safety Strategy Panel meeting included top level leaders from all four helicopter manufacturers, as well as from operators, oil companies and regulators.
HeliOffshore members have been working together to create a series of products that can help improve safety in our industry. These include flight crew operations manuals, better collision warnings, training videos and best practice guides. The next stage of this work is to get effective implementation across the globe and deliver frontline results. “The decisions taken at this breakthrough meeting mean that we will be able to achieve and sustain global implementation of key collaborative projects,” said HeliOffshore CEO Gretchen Haskins. “We will have greater transparency on our implementation plans, a higher degree of clarity on key decisions throughout the stakeholder chain, and greater certainty that our key safety projects will be deployed globally.”
The participation in the Safety Strategy Panel of senior representatives from the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP) was particularly significant in signalling the strong support of the offshore helicopter industry’s customers for HeliOffshore’s collaborative efforts on safety. IOGP safety director Chris Hawkes identified the organisation’s Top Five areas for safety action as being system reliability, flight path management, human factors and organisational performance, improved technology, as well as requirement standardisation and compliance—all of which are closely aligned with HeliOffshore’s priorities. His presentation underlined IOGP’s commitment to its role in helping to support these priorities through improved funding and standardisation.
Also presenting were David Solar, Head of the Rotorcraft Department of the European Aviation Safety Agency, and Jorge Castillo, Manager of Rotorcraft Standards Branch within the Aircraft Certification Services of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. Both regulators signalled strong support for our collaborative approach, and a willingness to work with industry to support delivery of technology and projects with significant safety benefits.
As part of its twice-yearly meetings, it was agreed that the Safety Strategy Panel will be asked to review and endorse priorities and determine whether the right support and infrastructure is in place to achieve full implementation. The meeting at Heli-Expo specifically considered the collaborative effort and support needed to ensure implementation of key programs such as Flight Crew Operating Manuals (FCOMs), Approach Path Management and Helicopter Terrain Awareness & Warning Systems (HTAWS). With expert input from manufacturers and operators, the HeliOffshore workstreams have developed worked example summaries to clearly indicate how programmes like FCOMs and HTAWS can be implemented.
HeliOffshore’s Board of Directors, Safety Steering Group and new Technical Steering Group also held very constructive meetings in Las Vegas this week.
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