In our Finding Analysis series this issue is a discussion of helideck inspection against the globally accepted CAP 437 standard. Other news includes an update on the fatal Cougar S-92 crash in Canada; safety versus On Time Performance in India; and welcome changes to pilot scheduling to address fatigue in the USA.
Colin Weir, Managing Director
Flight Safety Pty Ltd
|Helideck Inspection Finding Analyses|
Finding 3: Helideck Inspection Standards - UK CAP 437
The UK CAP 437 Offshore Helicopter Landing Areas - Guidance on Standards has been accepted globally as the industry norm and is recognised by most major oil and gas companies operating offshore as a prerequisite to Helideck approvals, providing not only the necessary safety outcomes but also optimising on legal and insurance coverage.
CAP 437 Helideck inspection processes are one of the most demanding and complex inspection/auditing regimes undertaken and as such require not only formal inspector awareness training but also access to the global network that covers the CAP 437 validation and continual update process. This network is managed by the HCA (Helideck Certification Agency) in Aberdeen, with sub-contracted agencies in Norway and Flight Safety Helideck Certification Pty Ltd based in Australia.
Multiple repeat Helideck inspection activities conducted globally have revealed that many individuals and organisations are ostensibly carrying out CAP 437 inspections and issuing approvals without the appropriate training.
This Finding identifies the need for formal awareness training to be carried out before inspecting or approving Helidecks against CAP 437.
Draft TSB report into deadly Cougar chopper crash circulating for final input|
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada
says its report into a deadly helicopter crash off Newfoundland is in
the final stages.
A confidential draft of the report is circulating among experts chosen by the board for technical input.
Board spokesman John Cottreau says each reviewer has at least 30 days to make comments that will each be answered in writing. The process is time consuming and Cottreau would not speculate on when the final report will be made public.
Cougar Flight 491 crashed into the North Atlantic on March 12, 2009, killing 17 of 18 people onboard. Cougar is suing Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., claiming it misrepresented
how long the helicopter could fly without oil in its main gearbox. The claim has not been proven in court and statements of defence have not been filed.
Two weeks after Flight 491 went down, the Transportation Safety Board
said two of three titanium studs that secure the oil filter bowl
assembly to the helicopter's main gearbox broke in flight. The snapped studs resulted in a loss of oil pressure in the S-92 helicopter's main gearbox. Eleven minutes after the pilots reported the problem and headed for the nearest landfall, the chopper pitched into the sea.
"By promoting and advertising the S-92 as having a '30-minute
run-dry' capacity, Sikorsky fraudulently misrepresented to buyers and
operators the airworthiness and flight safety of the S-92," says the
statement of claim filed by Cougar and eight insurance companies in the
Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Read on at The Telegram >>
The difficulty in improving airline safety now
This year may end up being the worst of the past five years for
airline crashes worldwide, and that doesn't count some high-profile
military and private-plane fatal accidents that killed major political
far, there have been 13 fatal crashes of passenger-airline flights,
according to Ascend Worldwide Ltd., a London-based aviation consulting
company. That's through eight months. Last year there were only 10 fatal
airline crashes of flights carrying passengers, and 13 total in 2008.
"It's an average sort of year, but the problem is we still have four
months to go,
" said Paul Hayes, Ascend's director of safety.
Read full article at The Wall Street Journal >>
Air India grounds pilot for 'pointing out defect'|
DELHI: Pointing out that three of the four main wheels of an aircraft
were too worn out for the flight to be operated safely in adverse
monsoon conditions has cost a senior commander dear.
that changing the tyres after the alleged defect was pointed out meant a
delay of two hours for the flight, his employer, Air India (domestic), has grounded the pilot.
The airline's contention is that the tyres were not in such a bad
condition that the flight should have been delayed, especially in the
current environment where on time performance (OTP) is being monitored
very closely by aviation authorities.
debate was sparked exactly a month back on August 4 when the senior
commander was doing pre-flight inspection of an Airbus A-320 to operate
it as IC 217 on the Kolkata-Hyderabad-Kolkata route.
Read more at the Times of India >>
Safety board to take a closer look at air carrier alliances|
US: The National Transportation Safety Board will hold a symposium next
month on how the alliances between major and regional airlines may
affect aviation safety.
safety implications of so-called code-sharing arrangements, under which
you buy a ticket on one airline but discover at the gate that you
actually are on a different and usually smaller carrier, have been a
major focus of the NTSB and the Federal Aviation Administration for the
past couple of decades.
The two-day symposium will examine how code-sharing arrangements are
structured, how safety information is shared between airlines and their
partners, and the role a major airline should play in responding to
families' needs after an accident involving a partner airline.
Read on at the Kentucky Courier Journal >>
New rules would be big change for pilots' scheduling|
WASHINGTON, US - Airline pilot schedules would
undergo the most sweeping changes in more than 50 years under a proposal
intended to prevent fatigue from undermining safety.
Pilots would work shorter schedules and get
longer rest periods, the Department of Transportation said in proposed
rules announced Friday [10th September].
The plan would for the first time set stricter
limits on how long pilots can work in fatigue-inducing environments such
as overnight. Because the pilot workday would be shorter, the
government is proposing greater freedom for airlines to let pilots fly
slightly longer legs in the middle of the day if they are not under the
stress of numerous takeoffs and landings.
Read full article at USA Today >>
Hi-tech tweeters to ward off birds|
India: Faced with the perpetual problem of bird activity around airbases, which poses a serious hazard to flight safety, the IAF is introducing several new measures to check the menace.
Prominent among them are installing special tweeters, which have been specially designed to cater to the ornithology pattern of a particular geographical area. This follows a detailed survey conducted by a cell specially set up at IAF Headquarters and anti-bird measures formulated recently by it.
"The tweeter is different for each station and imitates distress sounds specific for birds species inhabitating around the station to ward them off,
" an IAF officer said. "These are undergoing trials at various stations and four such machines would be installed at each flying station
," he added. These are solar powered and a Bangalore-based firm has been contracted for the project.
Read more at The Tribune >>
Aviation Safety Reporting System "Callback"|
From NASA's ASRS Calback Issue 368
US: ASRS's award winning publication CALLBACK is a monthly safety
bulletin, which includes de-identified ASRS report excerpts with
supporting commentary in a popular "lessons learned" format. In
addition, CALLBACK may contain features on ASRS research studies and related aviation safety information.
The complete archive and is a valuable resource that goes back to 1994; it can be accessed as HTML or PDF format via the ASRS Callback Web Archive >>
This month Callback illustrates the PAVE checklist concept using several recent ASRS incidents involving General Aviation operations. "PAVE-ing the Way to Good Decisions"
Read full August Callback >>