Safety Alert 1/2016
23rd December, 2016


This month our Safety Alert newsletter has a focus on global offshore Helideck regulatory control, legislative liability, and corporate responsibility.

We trust you will find it informative.

Colin Weir
CEO, Flight Safety Group Australia/Africa

CAP 437 Edition 8 December 2016

Current Helideck Legislative Approval Status Preamble

From a national/international legislative perspective, regulatory authorities have lagged behind with the implementation of offshore Helideck and onshore HLS (Helicopter Landing Site) legislative requirements. In addition, many national regulatory controls, as defined by Civil Aviation Authorities Part 139 (Aerodromes), either exclude helidecks/heliports or in some cases fail to adequately cover the requirements.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has established international Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) for the safe conduct of Civil Aviation operations in the Annexes to the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago, 1944). The following Annex is applicable to Helicopter Landing Sites:

Annex 14: Aerodromes - Volume II: Heliports

Further guidance on the design of heliports is provided in ICAO's Heliport Manual (Doc. No. 9261-AN/903).

Signatories to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, have undertaken to apply the ICAO SARPs, except where specific differences have been notified to ICAO.  

Most countries have undertaken not to fully apply the ICAO SARPS and therefore it is mandatory for these countries to file differences and in most instances the following wording applies:

[Country] does not regulate the design and operation of helidecks/heliports.  If the owner/operator of a helideck/heliport intends to develop and operate a helideck/heliport for the purpose of regular public transport or charter operations, they are referred to the ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices set out in Annex 14 Volume II.

The new version of CAP 437 (Edition 8 December 2016), a direct derivative of ANNEX 14 VOL II, has just been issued with significant changes, such as an annual requirement for friction testing.

Also of significance is a clear-cut statement on Page 278 of CAP 437 that states:

The legal acceptance for the safety of landing sites rests with the helicopter operator.

The responsibility to accept the safety of the landing site now lies directly with the Operator and Pilot-in-Command, as analysis and interpretation of ANNEX 14 VOL II and CAP 437, a direct derivative of ANNEX 14 VOL II, clearly outlines.

The alternative, with nations enforcing a regulatory regime, has yet to be defined.

Serious incidents have previously occurred when unqualified personnel have signed-off on helidecks that are not CAP 437 compliant. Costly mistakes can be prevented, and safety enhanced, by having all relevant personnel trained by experienced Helideck Inspection Trainers.

Flight Safety Australia and Africa are global leaders in this field.

New CAA directives to come into effect on 1st Jan 2017 after fatal helicopter crash

A new directive designed to improve the safety of offshore workers will come into force on January 1.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has issued an order to create better, standardised lighting on helidecks.

The authority's new safety directive has been made following recommendations by an Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) report into the Super Puma crash on February 18, 2009.

In the incident, the helicopter - which was carrying 18 people - crashed into the North Sea during a night time visual approach to a BP platform in the Eastern Trough Area Project (ATAP).

The investigation found that the two pilots were not aware the helicopter had been descending towards the sea until it hit the surface 125 miles east of Aberdeen.

The report revealed that poor lighting and foggy, dark conditions resulted in the aircrew likely confusing the platform with its reflection in the icy cold water below it.

Read more at Energy Voice...

Flight Safety Pty Ltd
+61 7 5448 2788

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Peregian Springs 4573, QLD Australia