Helicopter safety reports published

The UK House of Commons Transport Committee has published its report into offshore helicopter safety available here.  The report acts as a companion to the technical report conducted by the Air Accident Investigation Branch (here), focusing on the May 2012 Aberdeen, and August 2013 Shetland Super Puma helicopter incidents, where both helicopters were ditched into the sea after coolant failures.

The Government report notes:

  • problems with the safety briefings provided to passengers, where the passengers chose not to use the emergency breathing system, based on what they were told during the pre-flight briefing, and
  • a ‘culture of bullying’, where staff concerns over the safety of the helicopters were ignored (although no evidence was found to suggest the Super Pumas are less safe than other helicopters).

The Government has asked for a further report from the Civil Aviation Authority as to why more helicopter incidents are reported in Norway than in the UK.  The Government also notes that the impact of commercial pressure on helicopter safety has not been looked at in enough detail, due to commercial sensitivities making it difficult to see the contractual obligations being placed on helicopter providers.

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