This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
make it back to an airport with an instrument approach procedure or an immediate area of VMC. The premise of the procedure is to follow the usual IIMC proce-

dures, which are to transition to instruments, fly the helicopter, stabilize the helicopter, climb to a safe altitude, then communicate. Assuming the pilot cannot find a location that would allow a VMC descent to a safer alti- tude above the water or ground, they will attempt an IMC descent to a safe altitude above the water or ground. The procedure is quite simple in that the pilot needs to identify an area clear of known obstructions and then perform a wings level constant airspeed/constant rate descent until they break out and can see the surface. The pilot would then fly low and over the surface to the nearest safe landing area (rig or land) or set down in the water prior to running out of fuel. The main idea: Would you rather put the helicopter down in the

water in a power on controlled descent or auto rotate IMC when the engine quits? I think the former would be the choice for most. Although my “hand flying – B206 – instrument” skills were a bit rusty, I managed to follow the procedure and break out at 100’ agl without incident. In my opinion, this single training procedure would make the simulator worth its weight in gold!

ANOTHER CRITICAL TRAINING PARTNER As stated earlier, the offshore environment can be very unforgiving,

especially if you find yourself, along with your passengers and helicopter, in the water. There have been many accidents over the decades in the GOM


in which pilots and passengers have drowned. It was determined that with proper training, a water crash victim could increase his or her chance of survival by 90%. We are not just talking about classroom and book train- ing though. I am referring to the “in the cockpit, strapped in, upside down and underwater” type training. This is the type of training that makes very large Cajun roughnecks, who are typically afraid of nothing, shake in their boots.

Modern day Helicopter Underwater Egress Training, also known as

HUET, became somewhat main stream in the 1990’s. Most GOM oper- ators would require this training as a part of their new hire training pro- gram. In 2007 Bristow made HUET training mandatory for all new employees who would fly offshore. Additionally, those same employees are required to do recurrency training every 36 months. Bristow has found a training partner in Safety Management Systems based in its headquarters home town of Lafayette, LA. With a large indoor pool facility, and a team of crack instructors they teach thousands of per- sonnel per year how to get out of a sinking helicopter alive. Although I have been through this training in the past, my experience this time around was no less daunting than my first time around back in 1997. To see underwater footage of myself and other personnel escaping the

HUET device, watch the supplemental video to this article on JustH - elicopters.TV. In decades past, helicopter operators in the GOM, as well as the

pilots in their employ had the reputation of being “cowboys” from an oper- ational standpoint. This was due in part by a culture that was developed which lived (and sometimes died) by the mantra of “customer first” as

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52