Additional checks on offshore helicopters being carried out

 

Additional checks on offshore helicopters being carried out

CHC helicopter on offshore platformImage copyright.
Image captionDamage was caused as a S92 helicopter was landing

Additional checks are being carried on a North Sea helicopter fleet in the wake of safety fears.

It follows an incident which saw a S92 spin more than 180 degrees on landing.

One-off inspections of the tail rotor on all S92 helicopters around the world took place last week, following the incident on the West Franklin platform in December.

Operators are now being told to increase inspections on the aircraft’s tail rotor.

No-one was injured in the incident, but there was significant damage to the deck of the platform.

As a result of the initial safety checks, 11 tail rotor bearings were returned to manufacturer Sikorsky for further tests.

The Federal Aviation Administration has now said further inspections using specialist cameras must be carried out every 10 hours of flying time.

North Sea operators said they were fully complying with the latest directive.

Gouge marksImage copyright.
Image captionGouge marks were left after the incident

More on this story

  • Helicopter spun after ‘losing total tail rotor control’
    11 January 2017
  • Sikorsky grounds S92 helicopters for safety checks after incident
    10 January 2017
  • North Sea helicopter ‘gouged platform deck’
    5 January 2017

Related Internet links

  • Federal Aviation Administration
  • Sikorsky · Lockheed Martin
  • European Aviation Safety Agency
  • Air Accidents Investigation Branch

 Health & Safety in the oil&Gas Sector is No Accident

Get Protected! Get Active! Get Organised!

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Unite is the largest trade union for offshore workers in the North Sea UKCS

Have a voice, take action and make change happen. Join the union

today!

http://www.unitetheunion.org/growing-our-union/joinunite/

EXCLUSIVE: Four North Sea Helicopters Fail Tail Rotor Inspection

 

Published in Oil Industry News on Friday, 13 January 2017

Graphic for News Item: EXCLUSIVE: Four North Sea Helicopters Fail Tail Rotor Inspection

Oil and Gas People broke the story earlier this week how all North Sea S92 helicopters were temporarily grounded to allow an examination to be conducted of each aircrafts tail rotor assembly.

Image Credit: Erling Johnsen / NRK

The temporary grounding was mandated by manufacturer Sikorsky in an Alert Service Bulletin and comes during the investigation into a CHC S92 that spun on the helideck of the West Franklin Platform, taking gouges out of the helideck and damaging the aircrafts landing gear.

 

Oil and Gas People also broke the Air Accident Investigation Branch’s preliminary findings into the West Franklin Incident, which gave the following details regarding the cause of the incident: “Once the panels were removed it was immediately apparent that the tail rotor servo piston was damaged. The servo was removed and revealed that the tail rotor pitch change shaft (TRPCS) double row angular contact bearing was in a severely distressed condition”

Oil and Gas People can now reveal that four other aircraft in the North Sea fleet have failed their inspections as follows:

Three Babcock S92s have been affected

One CHC S92 has been affected

Zero Bristows S92s have been affected

All four affected aircraft operated in the UK sector with Norwegian S92’s reporting zero failed inspections.

A spokesperson for Babcock stated: “Babcock has completed the required inspections on the whole of its S92 fleet. As a result of the inspection findings, three bearings have been returned to Sikorsky for evaluation.

All aircraft are subject to a full testing programme ahead of their return to service.”

The revelation comes amid ongoing controversy between offshore workers as to whether the Sikorsky S92 is indeed the correct replacement for the North Seas grounded Super Puma fleet.

A spokesperson for Sikorsky gave the following statement:

“Physical inspections of the tail rotor pitch change shaft bearing are well underway with over 250 aircraft inspected. Sikorsky has been reviewing HUMS data from those aircraft as well. A small number of parts are being returned to Sikorsky for additional evaluation. These findings do not constitute failure of the bearing and are being returned to Sikorsky for further evaluation. Sikorsky continues to work closely with our supply chain on replacement parts and is coordinating those activities with our Customers.”


Health & Safety offshore is No Accident

Get Protected! Get Active! Get Organised!

join unite 2

Unite is the largest trade union in for offshore workers in the North Sea UKCS

Have a voice, take action and make change happen. Join the union

today!

http://www.unitetheunion.org/growing-our-union/joinunite/

 

 

Unite, GMB trade unions preparing North Sea strike ballots

Work offshore? Unite members employed  by Offshore Contractors Association (OCA) member companies It`s time to Join Unite the Union

 

OCA  companies   http://www.ocainternet.com/

 

 

 

 

be-ballot-ready.png

Industrial Action/Strike Ready 

All Unite trade union members details must be correct and up to date, if you have been given a new contract or your job or employer or if anything in your employment status has changed, It will have to be updated and verified on our membership system.

e mail : aberdeenstaff@unitetheunion.org  or offshoreunite@gmail.com  

  1. Unite the Union  membership Number
  2. Full Name (as on your offshore vantage card)
  3. Full Postal Address
  4. Date of Birth
  5. Employer (Name of company)
  6. Where you work(Location/Installation/ mobile within a company or field or contract)
  7. Current Job title
  8. Employment status
  9. which rota and shift your on  (mobilisation date / de mobilisation date )
  10. Employment status:
  • Core Crew
  • Full time
  • ad-hoc
  • fixed term contract
  • employee who is contracted to work for an employee on varying contracts
  • (you can answer more than one of the above)

9. Who is the Unite point of contact on your shift.

10. Who is your Unite Union  workplace rep/shop steward

Please e mail either of the following with your updated  details

 the aberdeenstaff@unitetheunion.org or offshoreunite@gmail.com


If your colleagues are not members of a Trade Union then recruit them into Unite today the more members you have the stronger you are and you have a better chance of winning

It is vitally important that members who can vote, do vote in the Industrial action ballot, as new anti-trade union laws around ballot thresholds brought in by the Tory government in the Trade union Act 2016 will apply early 2017.  https://www.gov.uk/government/news/trade-union-act-becomes-law

If the complex laws around industrial action ballots are breached there could be legal challenges to the ballot, the ballot could be delayed and declared null & void and a lengthy time period in the courts will ensue , this will be the employers preferred option to delay and frustrate the union members, go down a lengthy costly legal route to delay and put another ballot in place.

Misinformation divide and delay are employers key weapons in Industrial disputes  Our key weapons are solidarity, members collective strength and communication. it is vitally important that all union members stay strong and to deliver results in industrial disputes. We only get one chance to get it right and jump through all the legal hoops along the way.

Therefore to force any employer back to the negotiating table, only comes from a position of strength by the union, the employer has to re-assess their position and risk either change and improve their offer or stick and bust the union.

Unite members participation in any ballot is key and sets the ground rules for the strategy and plan to utilise Unite members collective strength and power to win the dispute.


To Win  will require:

  1. An increase in Unite membership offshore. (Every workplace should recruit and grow membership)
  2. Unite workplace reps elected and communicating with members and the full-time officials.
  3. Unite points of contact (Focal Point) on each installation, each shift and each rotas (This was achieved in the  latest offshore Wood Group – Unite- RMT Union dispute in 2016)
  4. Communication strategy, company, rig and Trade  Union-wide.
  5. We require  your  e-mail address to achieve this  (We can then  contact you on to update you on the dispute) e -mail  offshoreunite@gmail.com  or the aberdeenstaff@unitetheunion.org
  6. Unite members committed to taking Industrial action together and seeing the fight through to the end.

The  Industrial Action Ballot (The Trade Union Act 2016)

New Thresholds  on IA  ballots

The Conservative party made a manifesto commitment during the 2015 election to ensure that unions had a democratic mandate before they called their members out to take part in industrial action. The result was the Trade Union Act 2016, which became law in May 2016  but which is not yet in force.

The Act makes two significant changes to employment law, when a union can call a strike lawfully. To make a strike legitimate, a union will still be required to obtain a majority in favour of strike action out of those who have voted also , in addition:

  • At least 50% of those entitled to vote in a ballot must have voted in all cases
  • Where those involved in the dispute work in an ‘important public service’ there will be a requirement that 40% of those entitled to vote in the ballot have voted ‘yes’ to strike action

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/445433/BIS-15-418-consultation-on-ballot-thresholds-in-important-public-services.pdf8Source

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/trade-union-act-becomes-law


To have a successful ballot and be in the strongest position to negotiate with your employer you will have to deliver

  • High Unite membership  (density) within the OCA  companies

Turnout

  • High Unite density turnout (Members voting over 70%)

Result

  • High Unite mandate on the question  (Clear indication mandate on  Industrial action or not)

Examples of  recent offshore Industrial action ballots

  1. 2016 Wood Group v Unite & RMT
  2. 2015  COTA  vs Unite & RMT

13 July 2016

Members of two unions at oil and gas company Wood Group have voted in favour of going on strike.

Members of  Unite and the RMT  unions at Wood Group have voted in favour of going on strike.

Unite and the RMT have been in dispute with the firm over what the trade unions have described as a “swingeing” proposed pay cuts.

Unite’s ballot had a turnout of 86.6% and 99.1% voted for strike action, while 98.5% of the RMT’s turnout of 67% also backed taking the same action.

source

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-36782640


2 : Sep  2015

A ballot by offshore catering workers has backed strike action.

Unite members of the Caterers Offshore Trade Association (COTA) were asked if they would be willing to take action over pay.

The result saw 54.2% of votes back strike action, with 62.7% supporting action short of strike.

Unite urged COTA to return to the negotiating table. Members of the RMT union are also being balloted on the issue.

RMT Union

Offshore catering workers from the RMT union have voted for action short of a strike in a dispute over pay.

The Caterers Offshore Trade Association (COTA) is seeking a pay freeze and also recently announced it would be consulting on about 500 job losses.

RMT union members narrowly voted against strike action, but for action short of a strike.

COTA indicated earlier it was retracting the second year of a two-year pay deal in a bid to secure jobs.

Source

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-34591593

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-34641624


As you can see from the examples above, recent Offshore workers industrial action ballots the membership decide what clear route and path they can take.

The strength of the action is determined by the solidarity in the vote and the turnout determines which action and power you the members have through your trade union  when negotiating a resolution to your trade dispute with your employer.


Get Protected! Get Active! Get Organised!

join unite 2

Unite is the largest trade union in for offshore workers in the North Sea UKCS

Have a voice, take action and make change happen. Join the union

today!

http://www.unitetheunion.org/growing-our-union/joinunite/

 

 

AAIB Details Cause of West Franklin Helicopter Incident

Published in Oil Industry News on Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Graphic for News Item: AAIB Details Cause of West Franklin Helicopter Incident

Yesterday aircraft manufacturer Sikorsky released an Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) detailing a series of mandatory inspection requirements that had to be completed on all S92 airframes prior to their next flight.

The ASB was issued as a result of an investigation into the West Franklin incident, where a CHC S92 helicopter span on the helideck while attempting to land on the platform. The incident damaged the aircrafts wheels and took gouges out of the installations helideck, with the aircraft finally coming to a stop a mere foot or two from the edge.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BO17Qh-hDax/embed/captioned/?cr=1&v=7
Today the UK’s Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) released it’s preliminary findings on the West Franklin incident producing the following explanation:

The technical investigation focussed on the tail rotor and associated components. Once the panels were removed it was immediately apparent that the tail rotor servo piston was damaged. The servo was removed and revealed that the tail rotor pitch change shaft (TRPCS) double row angular contact bearing was in a severely distressed condition (See picture below).

https://www.instagram.com/p/BPIOpbxhm6u/embed/captioned/?cr=1&v=7“Further disassembly and examination of the components found signs of severe overheating with extreme wear on the inner and outer thrust races and barrel shaped rollers of the bearing. It was found that the roller bearings seized to the inner member. The outer race roller had excessive axial play (0.5 in), such that the tail rotor driveshaft imparted a torsional load to the tail rotor servo. This torsional load caused the primary piston rod to fracture inside the servo. Due to the failure of the primary piston, the secondary piston sleeve separated axially from the primary piston adjacent to the link  tting, with the consequential total loss of control of the tail rotor.

The components were shipped to the helicopter manufacturer for forensic analysis. Initial  ndings indicate that the failure of this speci c bearing was rapid; a period of 4.5 hours had elapsed from the  rst exceedance of the relevant bearing condition indicator recorded on the operator’s Health and Usage Monitoring System (HUMS) to the point of failure.

The West Framklin incident bears similarities to a separate incident where an S92 lost tail rotor control during a hover and an Airworthiness Directive was released by the American Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) in November 2011 in response to the earlier incident.”

The AAIB investigation will continue to examine all the operational aspects of this accident and conduct a detailed engineering investigation of the relevant helicopter components. The AAIB will report any signi cant developments as the investigation progresses.

CHC gave the following statement:

“CHC welcome the Air Accident Investigation Branch’s (AAIB) Special Bulletin S1/2017 published today (January 11, 2017) into the offshore event on December 28, 2016.

“CHC has worked closely with the AAIB and aircraft manufacturer Sikorsky. We will continue to support ongoing investigations by the AAIB and the NTSB, as well as Sikorsky into the root cause of the suspected TRPCS Bearing failure.

“We are confident that the measures we have taken and the actions directed by the Sikorsky in their ASB to all operators worldwide will continue to underpin the safety and airworthiness of the S92. The industry has acted swiftly to comply fully with the requirements of the ASB and to return the S92 to safe operations in both O&G and SAR roles worldwide, as soon as it was possible to do so.

“CHC’s top priority is the safety of everyone we carry in our aircraft. We have well established procedures and have been at the heart of developing industry guidelines for HUMS best practice.  We will learn from any lessons to be drawn from this event and have already taken steps to further strengthen procedures and our compliance monitoring, as well as sharing this information with other operators.”

“The offshore helicopter industry has committed to sharing best practice and driving offshore transportation safety ever higher and will continue to do so through HeliOffshore.”

 


 

Offshore Helicopter  Health & Safety is No Accident

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Unite is the largest trade union in for offshore workers in the North Sea UKCS

Have a voice, take action and make change happen. Join the union

today!

http://www.unitetheunion.org/growing-our-union/joinunite/

 

 

AAIB Special Bulletin on S-92 Helicopter Incident Elgin- Franklin Platform

AAIB Air Accidents Investigation Branch

 

AAIB Bulletin S1/2017

SPECIAL

Farnborough House

Berkshire Copse Road

Aldershot, Hants GU11 2HH

Tel: 01252 510300

Fax: 01252 376999

http://www.aaib.gov.uk

This Special Bulletin contains facts which have been determined up to the time of issue. It is published to inform the

aviation industry and the public of the general circumstances of accidents and serious incidents and should be regarded as

tentative and subject to alteration or correction if additional evidence becomes available.

© Crown copyright 2017

ACCIDENT

Aircraft Type and Registration: Sikorsky S-92A, G-WNSR

No & Type of Engines: 2 General Electric Co CT7-8A turboshaft engines

Year of Manufacture: 2014 (Serial no: 920250)

Location: West Franklin wellhead platform, North Sea

Date & Time (UTC): 28 December 2016 at 0844 hrs

Type of Flight: Commercial Air Transport (Passenger)

Persons on Board: Crew – 2 Passengers – 9

Injuries: Crew – None Passengers – None

Nature of Damage: Left outer mainwheel rim distortion, seized tail rotor

pitch change shaft bearing, servo piston fracture and

minor damage to helideck

Commander’s Licence: Airline Transport Pilot’s Licence (H)

Commander’s Flying Experience: To be confirmed

Information Source: AAIB Field Investigation

AAIB Air Accidents Investigation Branch

AAIB Special Bulletin: S1/2017 G-WNSR EW/C2016/12/04

© Crown copyright 2017 2

The investigation

The accident occurred on 28 December 2016; the operator raised a Mandatory Occurrence

Report and transmitted it to the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) the same day.

The AAIB became aware of the accident1 during the morning of 5 January 2017 and initiated

a Field Investigation. This Special Bulletin is published to provide preliminary information

gathered from an initial ground inspection, recorded data, and other sources.

In accordance with established international arrangements, the National Transportation

Safety Board (NTSB) of the USA, representing the State of Design and Manufacture of

the helicopter, appointed an Accredited Representative to participate in the investigation.

He is supported by advisers from the helicopter manufacturer and the Federal Aviation

Administration (FAA). The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the UK CAA and

the helicopter operator also assisted the AAIB.

History of the flight

The flight was the second sector of a four-sector rotation from Aberdeen to the Elgin-Franklin

Offshore Field in the North Sea.

The helicopter commander was the handling pilot for both sectors. The first sector from

Aberdeen to Elgin Process Utilities Quarters (PUQ) was uneventful. As the helicopter,

on a heading of 270°, with nine passengers on board, lifted from the Elgin PUQ helideck

it yawed unexpectedly to the right through 45°. The commander applied full left yaw

pedal, checked the rotation and landed back onto the deck. The flight crew discussed

the likely cause, which they thought to have been the result of local turbulence or wind

effects created by the platform structures which, anecdotally, is not uncommon for this

helideck. They decided to continue and during the subsequent lift off into the hover the

commander applied left yaw pedal, the helicopter responded and turned to the left; all

control responses appeared normal. The commander then climbed to 500 ft for the brief

transit to the West Franklin wellhead platform, 3.3 nm to the south.

The helicopter made a normal approach and deceleration to the West Franklin and crossed

over the helideck. During the descent to land, at approximately 4 ft above the helideck,

it yawed rapidly to the right, reaching a maximum rate of 30 degrees per second. At the

same time it rolled 20° to the left, at which point the left main landing gear contacted the

helideck. It continued to yaw to the right on its left mainwheels and nosewheels before

the right mainwheels contacted the surface. The helicopter came to rest on a heading of

041° having rotated through 187°.

The helicopter was shut down and the crew and passengers disembarked; there were

no injuries. The helicopter was subsequently craned from the helideck onto a ship and

recovered to Aberdeen.

Footnote

1 The AAIB have classified this event as an accident; this is consistent with the International Civil Aviation

Organisation definition as this helicopter sustained damage which adversely affected its performance and

flight characteristics, and required replacement of the affected components.

3

AAIB Special Bulletin: S1/2017 G-WNSR EW/C2016/12/04

© Crown copyright 2017

Weather

The meteorological observation from the Elgin PUQ at 0608 hrs was: surface wind from

220° at 17 kt, visibility 10 km or greater, overcast cloud at 2,000 ft and temperature 8°C,

dewpoint 3°C and pressure 1038 hPa. No lightning activity was recorded in the area.

Initial investigation

The technical investigation focussed on the tail rotor and associated components. Once

the panels were removed it was immediately apparent that the tail rotor servo piston was

damaged. The servo was removed and revealed that the tail rotor pitch change shaft (TRPCS)

double row angular contact bearing was in a severely distressed condition (Figure 1).

Figure 1

TRPCS double row angular contact bearing from G-WNSR

Further disassembly and examination of the components found signs of severe overheating

with extreme wear on the inner and outer thrust races and barrel shaped rollers of the

bearing. It was found that the roller bearings seized to the inner member. The outer

race roller had excessive axial play (0.5 in), such that the tail rotor driveshaft imparted

a torsional load to the tail rotor servo. This torsional load caused the primary piston

rod to fracture inside the servo. Due to the failure of the primary piston, the secondary

piston sleeve separated axially from the primary piston adjacent to the link fitting, with the

consequential total loss of control of the tail rotor.

The components were shipped to the helicopter manufacturer for forensic analysis. Initial

findings indicate that the failure of this specific bearing was rapid; a period of 4.5 hours

had elapsed from the first exceedance of the relevant bearing condition indicator recorded

on the operator’s Health and Usage Monitoring System (HUMS) to the point of failure.

4

AAIB Special Bulletin: S1/2017 G-WNSR EW/C2016/12/04

© Crown copyright 2017

Health and Usage Monitoring System

The HUMS used by the operator for this helicopter was the Integrated Mechanical Diagnostic

HUMS (IMD-HUMS)2. A routine download of the HUMS was performed on the evening of

27 December 2016 and the helicopter was released to service. A detailed analysis of the

data, conducted after the accident, showed that the Tail Gearbox Bearing Energy Analysis

limit had been exceeded on 27 December 2016.

Previous events relating to the TRPCS bearing

There have been two previous events, the first being in 2007, where a degradation of the

TRPCS bearing has occurred, leading to reduced tail rotor control in flight. These events

were identified by the flight crews and resulted in immediate landings. The underlying

causes were identified and a number of safety measures were introduced. At this early

stage of the investigation the helicopter manufacturer is not clear whether this bearing

degradation is the result of a new root cause, or a previously unidentified failure mode.

Safety actions

The initial findings suggest that the damage to the servo in this case is such that it could

have imparted extreme or erratic inputs to the tail rotor at any time after the failure of the

primary piston. Evidence suggests that the yaw which occurred on departure from the

Elgin PUQ was uncommanded and may be related to the condition of the TRPCS bearing.

The AAIB considers that this failure mode would seriously affect the ability of flight crews to

maintain control of the helicopter.

The operator

The operator has subsequently introduced a number of measures to further

strengthen the ability to detect impending bearing degradation. These include: a

review of all HUMS data to ensure no anomalies, fleet-wide borescope inspections,

a requirement for HUMS to be serviceable before flight and the time between

HUMS download/analysis reduced to a maximum of 5 hours. The operator has

also reviewed their HUMS processes and analytical procedures and introduced a

requirement to carry out an additional assurance check.

The helicopter manufacturer

On 31 December 2016 the helicopter manufacturer issued to all operators an ‘All

Operators Letter’ (AOL), CCS-92-AOL-16-0019, which described the event. It

emphasises the use of the HUMS Tail Gearbox Bearing Energy Tool, provided

on the ground station, which will detect a TRPCS bearing that is experiencing

degradation, and recommends that this Tool should be utilised as often as

reasonably possible.

Footnote

2 The IMD-HUMS includes the use of additional stand-alone mechanical diagnostic software tools for the HUMS

Ground Station (GS) that help assess the condition of a number of specific components, one of which is the Tail

Gearbox Bearing Energy Analysis software tool; however, these require the user to visually inspect the data and

search for exceedances. The helicopter manufacturer now offers an alternative GS analysis system which offers

a number of enhancements to IMD-HUMS, including more advanced algorithms and the automatic alerting of all

exceedances on receipt of new HUMS data.

5

AAIB Special Bulletin: S1/2017 G-WNSR EW/C2016/12/04

© Crown copyright 2017

Published 11 January 2017

AAIB investigations are conducted in accordance with Annex 13 to the ICAO Convention on International Civil Aviation,

EU Regulation No 996/2010 and The Civil Aviation (Investigation of Air Accidents and Incidents) Regulations 1996.

The sole objective of the investigation of an accident or incident under these Regulations is the prevention of future

accidents and incidents. It is not the purpose of such an investigation to apportion blame or liability.

Accordingly, it is inappropriate that AAIB reports should be used to assign fault or blame or determine liability, since

neither the investigation nor the reporting process has been undertaken for that purpose.

Extracts may be published without specific permission providing that the source is duly acknowledged, the material

is reproduced accurately and is not used in a derogatory manner or in a misleading context.

This was followed by an Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) issued by the manufacturer

on 10 January 2017. ASB 92-64-011 introduces a one-time inspection of the

TRPCS and bearing assembly for ratcheting, binding, or rough turning. The

manufacturer has recommended that compliance is essential and is to be

accomplished prior to the next flight from a maintenance facility; three flight

hours are allowed in order to return directly to a maintenance facility. Concurrent

with the release of ASB 92-64-011, the manufacturer published Temporary

Revision 45-03 to require operators to use S-92 HUMS ground station software

to review Tail Rotor Gearbox energy analysis Condition Indicators for alert

conditions on a reduced flight hour interval. Records in excess of published

alert levels require inspection of the pitch change shaft and bearing.

Ongoing investigation

The AAIB investigation will continue to examine all the operational aspects of this accident

and conduct a detailed engineering investigation of the relevant helicopter components.

The AAIB will report any significant developments as the investigation progresses.

 

 

North Sea helicopters grounded over safety concerns

North Sea helicopters grounded over safety

The S92 fleet has been recalled for safety inspections after emergency landing last month.

North Sea helicopters have been recalled for safety checks after a chopper lost control during an emergency landing offshore.

Manufacturer Sikorsky has called for inspections to the tail rotors of S92 helicopters and all three major UK operators, CHC, Bristow and Babcock, have agreed.

The move is likely to cause widespread disruption to North Sea flights for at least 24 hours, as well as search and rescue operations.

S92s and Super Pumas, which are already grounded following a fatal helicopter crash last year, are responsible for the vast majority of flights offshore.

Some helicopters which were already in the air when Sikorsky issued the recall at 8am on Tuesday were forced to turn around and return to base.

S92s have been widely used by the coastguard since 2015.

One Inverness rescue helicopter was cleared for lifesaving work on Tuesday morning and other choppers are expected to return to service later in the day.

There are around 60 S92s in the UK and each inspection is expected to take up to 11 hours.

A small number of helicopters with parts installed or repaired after November 2016 are allowed to fly for up to ten hours before they are inspected.

A Sirkorsky spokeswoman said: “We anticipate that the majority of the fleet will have the initial inspection accomplished within the next 24 to 48 hours depending on their operational tempo.

“Many operators have already informed us that they have completed this inspection. From that point, there is a recurring inspection on a continual basis.”

Inspection: Work under way in Aberdeen on Tuesday.
Inspection: Work under way in Aberdeen on Tuesday. Newsline

Les Linklater, director of oil industry safety body Step Change in Safety, said: “This morning Sikorsky released an alert service bulletin for the S92 requiring a onetime visual inspection of the tail rotor pitch change shaft and bearing assembly on the worldwide S92 fleet prior to the next flight.

“The decision made by Sikorsky is a precautionary measure to ensure continued safe flight operations and we are aware that helicopter operators are working to assess the impact of this requirement, while investigating all opportunities to limit the effects on the flying program.

“Currently the duration of the inspections is expected to take up to 11 man hours, which means this will cause some short-term delays.

Aberdeen: S92 being towed off landing pad.
Aberdeen: S92 being towed off landing pad. Newsline

“We are in close communication with trades unions, helicopter operators and the Civil Aviation Authority.

“Furthermore, the Offshore Helicopter Safety Leadership group has convened a call to discuss what is being done to maintain safe flight operations and limit the operational impact and inconvenience this has caused, and will provide an update when it is available.”

On December 28, a CHC S92 was attempting to touch down on the West Franklin oil platform when it began to respond unexpectedly to commands.

Emergency: S92 crashed into platform during landing.
Emergency: S92 crashed into platform during landing. Oil and Gas People

The helicopter spun and as it landed its wheels gouged the helipad, reportedly damaging the helicopter’s undercarriage and the deck.

None of its 11 passengers and crew were injured and the S92 was taken back to Aberdeen by boat two days later.

The Air Accident Investigation Branch is carrying out an inquiry into the incident, focusing on potential problems with the helicopter’s tail rotor.

The American Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a warning to helicopter operators just over a month earlier after an S92 lost control while hovering.

Preliminary enquiries by the FAA determined that the likely cause was a fault in the helicopter’s rotor system.

CHC carried out an inspection of its S92 fleet in response but found no issues, the firm said.

Recall: S92s on tarmac at Aberdeen Airport.
Recall: S92s on tarmac at Aberdeen Airport. Newsline

 

`Healthy & Safety offshore is No Accident`,Unite and Offshore trade unions fight to ensure the highest safety standards are adhered to for all who work and fly in offshore helicopters.

The professionalism of the aircrew and support staff has to be commended on how they deal with health & safety issues and helicopters flight incidents. Offshore trade unions will continue to demand the highest training and safety standards for all who fly and work in the offshore helicopter fleet.

 

If you fly in the helicopters or work offshore `  Health & Safety is No Accident`

 

Get Protected! Get Active! Get Organised!

join unite 2

Unite is the largest trade union in for offshore workers in the North Sea UKCS

Have a voice, take action and make change happen. Join the union

today!

http://www.unitetheunion.org/growing-our-union/joinunite/