Heli-Ops - Oil and Gas
Getting to an offshore platform used to be by boat in the early days. Apart from certain parts of Africa and Asia, helicopters are now used in most places.
They are faster, more convenient and allow for a faster turn-over of personnel. They are not without their draw-backs but have served the oil and gas industry well so far.
Types of helicopter used offshore
Bell 212, 214ST - An old, tried and tested helicopter. Massive 'rotor droop' due to 2 bladed main rotor.
Dauphin - Small and cramped, tends to be used in the Irish Sea sector where smaller crew rotations are commonplace.
Tiger / Super Puma - High Payload, mainstay helicopter for North Sea oil and gas operations.
Sikorsky - Boat shaped hull on certain models gives a degree more survability in a crash. New model that serves the Far northern sector of the North Sea is spacious, but boring to ride in.
All helicopters should have the following on-board in case of emergency.
ELT - Emergency Life Raft Transponder. Gives out a signal that will be picked up by rescue craft.
Aviation Life Raft. Carry's dual life rafts. Aviation life raft's are usually lighter, less contents and the equipment is less substantial compared with a marine life raft. However the helicopter's flight plan will rarely exceed more than 3 hours from mainland so this is justified
Personnel and Flight Crew on-board are also equipped with the following:
PLB - Personal Locator Beacon. Usually issued to each passenger in the form of a watch or integrated onto their lifejacket. When activated in an emergency, rescue craft, sea or airborne, that are within range will begin picking up the PLBs worn. A recognised make of these is known as the Sea Marshal.
Life Jacket - These vary considerably. For North Sea Oil and Gas Operations the following is the minimum standard:
Shark Life Jacket, LAPP - Life Jacket Air Pocket Plus.