Research Improving the Safety of Offshore Helicopter Operations
With the development of the Gulf of Mexico's deep-water fields, helicopter transportation is being required to serve larger offshore platforms located at greater distances from the shore. Although the weather climate is relatively benign, the helicopter operations to these new platforms are becoming more akin to North Sea operations. In particular, the requirement to evacuate large and distant platforms in advance of a hurricane may put a particular premium on demonstrating the safety of such operations in worsening weather conditions. The paper outlines progress and gives example results from a number of research themes aimed at improving the safety of helicopter operations on the UK continental shelf. The themes include ways of minimizing the risk posed by the aerodynamic hazards in the vicinity of helidecks on large offshore platforms, improving the emergency flotation systems for helicopters forced to ditch in the sea, and improving the crashworthiness of such systems so that helicopters that crash into the sea are more likely to float following impact. New motion criteria being developed for operations to helidecks on floating vessels and improvements to helideck lighting schemes are also described.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 01 January 2005
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