Helicopter types in the offshore industry
When the service of a chopper is commonly used as an ad hoc service in the north sea, this is not the case in all places of the World. In some countries along african coast for instance, in the best case an MRCC is in place. if not , it may be required to find an alternative solution:
- for potential Medevac
- for regular crew changes
As Medevac situation are rare and crew turnover may not be weekly not even monthly, the charter cost of an Helicopter may become very expensive per pax/ per day.
Ideal situation would be to share an aircraft with at least one other company in need for the same service in the surroundings of the project. Some companies are reluctant to do so. Some others are pretty enthusiastic when it comes to decrease their cost.
There are different types of aircrafts used in the oil an gas industry. For example Augusta Westland AW139 or AW189, the Sikorsky S92 or the eurocopter ( aerospatiale) AS365N3.
They differ namely by their payload and their range. Typically, a chopper may struggle to carry 10 pax over a return trip to a vessel or a platform to 150 nm offshore. Pilots have to take into account many parameters as security factors. It may be possible to bunker kerosene on site , in this case range is obviously extended.
Helicopter operators are regularly audited by many different Client companies
S92 offers a great passenger capacity. EC225 being banned by several companies, this is one of the most commonly used in the North sea. Very convenient for platforms. The “green deck” time range will however be reduced on a Vessel compared to a smaller aircraft.
Helideck certificate should be updated and compatible with the area of operations and the chopper operator. in Norway for instance , An helideck certificate issued by HCA is compulsory ( BSL D 5-1 standard ).
Sylmax can assist for Helideck certificates
Trainings for crew
Crew training have to be checked before any crew change by Helicopter . BOSIET / HUET performed outside of north sea are not recognized in UK for instance. CA-EBS (O2 bottle breathing )has been mandatory since 2016.
XBR ( extra broad ) refers to Shoulder measurement and is compulsory as well – Not easy to set up for the first offsigners when not prepared in advance. Different companies like Nutec or Survivex ask a significant cost per head for this… having your own instructor is not a bad idea.