Workers have written to their union to express safety fears following the EC225 crash of April 29 in Norway
For the story that goes with this dossier, please read Jeremy Cresswell’s: Helicopter Safety “Lethal mix” of fear and despair in wake of North Sea helicopter crash
EC-225 NORWAY CRASH
DOSSIER OF MESSAGES RECEIVED BY RMT FROM OFFSHORE WORKERS
Messages are verbatim except for the removal of sender’s names
Sent: 30 April 2016 18:29
I have retrained as a security man and given up working offshore because of all the crashes especially the EC-225. No more offshore for me.
Sent: 30 April 2016 18:30
Scrap then..why not use the s92
Sent: 30 April 2016 18:39 Subject: EC 225
These airframes should be taken out of service immediately they have been the cause of too many deaths one death is one to many we are now at about 40. Concorde had one disaster and was scrapped why isn’t the same standard set here ?.
Sent: 30 April 2016 18:36
The whole fleet should be sold to India who don’t have any safety standards. Purchase more S92 choppers so we can go to work safely. This is second major accident in a short period of time. The time must have come to scrap the fleet and move to a more reliable safer airframe. I seriously hope the union will fight for us as we have lost all faith in the 225
Sent: 30 April 2016 18:43
Subject: Norwegian Helicopter Crash – the Super Puma Question
First off, my condolences to those who lost their lives in the latest incident, an incident that should never of happened.
I haven’t been in this industry long, less than ten years. In this time there have been to many incidents with this aircraft.
They get grounded, they get checked, the incidents go to the backs of our minds and then they are reinstated and we carry on as normal as if nothing has happened. I remember seeing articles of when the Chinook was used offshore and the incidents with that particular aircraft, which was eventually withdrawn from use.
The only reason the Super Puma is still being used in my opinion is money. If we as offshore personnel refuse to board these aircraft we lose our jobs, but if we do get onboard we are risking our lives. The oil companies don’t care, they will get somebody else who is willing to get on.
Nothing will happen overnight I understand this, and the helicopters operators are not able to instantly change aircraft, but something has to be done to remove these in particular from service, and get a reliable replacement in ASAP.
There is quite obviously an issue with the Super Puma, or else they wouldn’t keep falling out of the sky.
We need to be strong as a union, that the current situation is wholly unacceptable for all concerned.
Sent: 30 April 2016 18:40
Subject: Super Puma accident
Regarding the latest Super Puma incident I stand by my decision not to fly in them due to them not being fit for purpose, the job of an offshore worker is dangerous enough already without the added risk of consistently unreliable airframes for transit.
On several previous trips it was made clear we had the choice not to fly in Super Pumas but there would be no guarantee’s our jobs would be secure, there have been plenty of excuses for cost saving due to the downturn and I feel it’s unacceptable to continue using this form of transport when the industry claims safety is always the highest priority when this has been given a backseat so many times.
Sent: 30 April 2016 18:44
My view is that the Super Puma has lost its reputation as the workhorse of the northsea. I travel on this aircraft every 3 weeks and always in the back of my mind is my wife and kids. This aircraft should be withdrawn from service.
Sent: 30 April 2016 18:52
I think they should be took out of service for good I have been traveling direct from the Brent delta since last year and there is no way that you can get into the recovery position on these aircraft this is the third 225 that has crashed in the same circumstances as it sounds like it could be gearbox again and all three aircraft have all been close to shore when returning from there platform pick-ups is this a coincidence my thoughts go to all there family’s at this sad time RIP to all the poor soles that have lost there lives God bless
Sent: 30 April 2016 18:59 Subject: Re: Super Puma and helicopter crew changes.
Understandably there are a lot of people employed for the service of these helicopters and for platforms this is the most efficient and cost effective form of crew change.
More flights results in less maintenance and more risk. Longer trips for offshore personnel on platforms will reduce the number of flights.
Vessels should only crew change by helicopter when absolutely necessary. Reducing risk. This will also reduce the time in the air of helicopters and number of flights.
More stringent maintenance routines would keep work for the helicopter maintenance crews and helicopters/high risk parts should have a shorter service lifespan.
The industry should be looking into safer forms of transport as the biggest risk to life is helicopter crew change for the North Sea oil & gas industry.
The industry has been driven by health and safety since Piper Alpha. Many high risk practices have been eliminated. Is this time for change?
Sent: 30 April 2016 19:24
Subject: Super Puma
This chopper has past its sell by date they are unreliable dangerous and cramped. You wouldn’t be allowed to transport animals in the horrible claustrophobic conditions we fly in. It’s time they were part of the offshore history same as the Chinook helicopters
Sent: 30 April 2016 19:23
It’s time these (Super Puma/EC-225) were taken out of service all together, every time this happens they assure us the problem has been fixed until it happens again, and it seems it’s always the same problem, since 2008 I no of at least 3 crashes 1 ditch and numerous problems with the same warning light all the time, that’s not including all the times choppers have shut down on deck with the same problem, they are other options out there for us like the s92, which might be a bit slower and a little less fuel efficient, but who cares when you get home safe to your family,
Sent: 30 April 2016 19:36
You may already know this but quite recently on the Brents we have switched from flying from Broomfield house via Scatsta out to the platform to direct flights from Scotia to the platform. I say direct flights with some irony because we always go via Sumburgh to refuel. With a decent headwind it is not unknown to be on them EC 225s for times approaching 4 hours.
You will be aware of the cramped conditions of this type of aircraft and by the time you reach your destination you are either bursting for the toilet or have seized up completely with cramp.
When we moved to direct flights , I asked the OIM why are we doing this , and he replied that it is actually more expensive to do direct flights than the Scatsta alternative (Bollocks).
To get to my point, there has always been genuine concern about this way of transfer, ie length of time in the air, scared to have a drink of pop or water before the flight in case you piss youself, cramped conditions on the chopper , actually flying in a 225 because of its recent safety record and now this terrible accident on Friday which has affected the workforce out here more than I have ever seen.
I can foresee trouble if they ever allow these flying death traps in the air again, Concorde was scrapped with one fatal accident to its name, and were not Chinooks quickly replaced after the fatal accident off Shetland , but us lads have lost count of the times these things have hit the water , controlled or not. I hope the OILC can do everything in its power to lobby the CAA and anyone that will listen , to consign these infernal machines to history and create confidence in the offshore transport industry.
Sent: 30 April 2016 19:51
All I can say about the EC-225 is I’d rather never fly on them again and hope not to. I felt this way the after the gearbox problems but returned to fly on them due to having no option other than resigning. If they manage to mitigate this and they return to service I may have to fly on them against my will as I can’t resign from my job. I hope they see sense this time.
Sent: 30 April 2016 19:56
Subject: Super Puma
As you know my personal circumstances are out with the norm however my view is this, how many more incidents are we to witness with this airframe (regardless of what variant is involved ) before they rightfully go the way of the chinook?
I for one will not be getting in to one ever again
Sent: 30 April 2016 18:56
Hello, yet another helicopter crash involving the 225. We had a town hall meeting today by the stand in OIM telling us what he knew about the disaster, which was what we knew anyway with the news and social media. He gave us some spiel about the “now get this” the 225 has an excellent safety record it is the work horse of the North Sea. He asked us if we had any concerns so I told him that if they had an excellent safety record how do they keep falling out of the sky. I also said how many more people are going to be killed going to and from work in them when they are surely not safe. I also think that the oil & gas companies are putting pressure on the helicopter company and crews to keep them doing more flights due to the so called down turn in the industry. It seems it will be another investigation that will be swept under the North Sea carpet again. My family and I send our sympathies to the passengers and crew who lost their lives on Friday.
Sent: 30 April 2016 20:11
It is without doubt harrowing, worse still when you’re sat in Bristows Aberdeen watching it unfold and about to board one of them.
Guys going to the Clyde platform yesterday decided to stick together and said they weren’t going until someone had answered their concerns and the response was, “fine, I’m going to my chopper, I’ll either see you there or I won’t”. Trigger lightning then conveniently reappeared and the flight was cancelled.
The CAA had already stated a grounding of the type likely, but Bristows we believe continued to operate them until they had been categorically informed otherwise.
2009 sprung to mind with 16 faces, just recently shown again, serve to remind us that was termed a catastrophic failure or gearbox components. Mild weather conditions in Norway are reported at the time so it can only be assumed that catastrophic ‘yet again’ played a part, as well as reported delays in the servicing of this airframe.
Surely a sweep of in use gearboxes shouldn’t suffice to allay the concerns of the thousands that rely on this as ‘their taxi’ to work. A proper in depth strip of these and spares is all that can do it and including amendments/modifications to any found to be at fault.
These types were grounded for several months after the last incident which no doubt caused heartache as well as financial burden for the operators. Or are we still in the mindset that the undoubted loss of commerce far outweighs any legal or criminal fines that may arise……?
Sent: 30 April 2016 20:18
Changing the name of a company like Eurocopter to deflect from previous tragedy’s is in my opinion despicable. Once again folk have paid the ultimate price when all they were doing is going to & from work. How many more lives have to be lost before we scrap these “Not fit for purpose” machines…?
Sent: 30 April 2016 20:23
I have worked in the North Sea since 1980, I am currently living in Florida and travel back and fore every 3 weeks, the worst part of my journey isn’t the 12+ hours flying from Florida to Aberdeen, the worst and most worrying for me is the one and a half hours I spend cramped and worried in the flight to the platform on a 225.
After the safety record of the Pumas the last few years, and I knew a lot of guys on the Miller flight that went down, I can’t help thinking that if “the operators and CHC” had listened, 13 poor souls would be enjoying time with their families, and I would not have to express my feelings as I am doing.
God Bless the poor families left to suffer.
Enough is enough, time for a total ban on these airframes.
Sent: 30 April 2016 20:27
Subject: Norway disaster
I would like to send my condolences to the families of the victims at this moment in time and hope they can move on with their lives in their own time. It’s such a sad time for the families at this time but myself and I’m sure all offshore workers around the world, will be thinking of the families.
Everyone knows by now that the EC-225 helicopter has major issues. Everyone involved with this aircraft has been reassured time and time again that everything that’s being done is being done. So why hasn’t anything been done?
Since the last ditching of EC-225 the fear and the denial stepping onto the 225 with major gearbox issues has always been there. Until the horrible scenes we seen in Norway the fear has returned to all offshore workers and I don’t care how hard anyone thinks!!!To the neutral who works in a bank, gym, retail or anywhere outside the Oil & gas industry their question is “why has no one done anything about this gearbox trend???
Most of us have seen plane crashes on the TV and very few have been involved in crashes. We have seen or heard 747 planes crash but when going on holidays it doesn’t stop us boarding these types of aircrafts when we know they have previous failures and crashed. So why is the EC-225 different???
I work on a Platform with guys who work long days, work hard and are away from our families for 2-3 weeks. All of us will confess we are only out in the North Sea to bring home money to feed our families, go on holidays on 747’s and spend time with our friends and families who work in banks, gyms and retail. The Oil & gas company promote all the above and demand we come onboard and carry out our daily tasks in a safe and prudent manner. In one Oil safety statement, during our induction days, Safety meeting and town hall meetings offshore they believe they can achieve not injuring or accidentally killing anyone offshore can be at ZERO. I don’t buy this, but would like to believe this goal and that’s my opinion.
Although getting hurt in the workplace is unacceptable it’s very possible as I’ve seen people lose fingers and hurt themselves seriously. It’s something I never want to see again. It changes the IP life and their families on a daily basis. I thought this would be the worst that could happen but when I seen those poor souls in Norway then my mind has been changed. Going back to the Oil company’s ZERO policy of hurting people then why are they watching their employees, their friends dying on aircrafts coming offshore?? Why have the Oil companies never had the approach to ZERO on employees hurting or being killed coming to and from work??? I’m not pointing the finger at the Oil companies but I do believe they have the biggest influence offshore to make sure everyone is safe. So what have they not done this??
We the majority shareholder, President, OIM, Scaffolder and Steward all have responsibility to act now and stop seeing our co workers, friends and family being killed coming to and from Oil & gas platforms. If the ditching or crashing of this aircraft can’t be seen by all parties involved as a trend then why should I believe anything that any oil company, helicopter company should tell me in my flight brief or my Induction again. I’ve not just lost all confidence in flying but I’m starting to lose confidence in Oil companies if they can’t remove this aircraft from the Oil & gas sector once and for all. Let’s work together and see sense and bring these awful events to a close for good. No one should die coming to and from work from one of the most respected industry in the world when it comes to leading in safety. Oil companies please please get all helicopter providers together and induct them as you do the workforce and promote a ZERO policy on no one being killed coming to and from work again,
Sent: 30 April 2016 20:30 Subject: Super Puma
Hi, on first reaction I would say – Stop using the Super Puma, as workers have lost confidence in it. The helicopter companies will point to the amount of hours flown V accidents. On that front the Super Puma safety record isn’t terrible. Especially if you take into account Norwegian sector and it is used as a Rescue Chopper elsewhere.
Ultimately -it comes down to what workers have confidence in… I didn’t like the Puma’s, as they are too cramped inside, especially if a couple of the bigger lads were on board.
So – yes – stop the Puma’s, go to the S92’s instead.
Sent: 30 April 2016 20:53
In response to the tragic news regarding the fatal EC-225 crash in Norway I would like to express my personal view about flying in this particular aircraft. Personally I have never felt comfortable flying in the EC-225 or it’s predecessor and much prefer the 92’s as a mode of transport. In a nutshell I always feel if things go South I would have a fighting chance of surviving in a 92 rather than the EC-225 which is very cramped and uncomfortable to travel in.
Since the implementation of direct flights from Aberdeen to the Brent field, which can take over two hours, weather dependant, I personally dread the journey and feel more anxious than if I went via fixed wing to the Shetlands and a shorter journey out to the various platforms using the 92’s
Sent: 30 April 2016 21:08
Subject: Super Puma
Whilst I appreciate it is an aspect of the job perhaps less avoidable for platforms and other fixed installations I find it very hard to swallow we that work on vessels have to be put aboard helicopters. We are told now that we can refuse but of course that would make us less employable so it’s not an option. Why is it that a vessel perfectly capable of sailing in and crew changing down a gang plank has to use helicopters…. Plainly and simply it’s cost to project time, how’s that for safety first, we are told not to work at height unless absolutely necessary and to minimise risk.
The sad fact is that helicopters will continue to crash, this IS a fact that there will be another and we are told to accept it and that travelling to work in a car is more dangerous etc. But when you consider we know there will be another fatal helicopter crash in all likelihood within a twelve month period it simply becomes a lottery as to whether or not you will be on it, I have flown gulfaks to Bergen on many an occasion.
Why are our companies happy to enter us into this lottery when we could simply sail into port to crew change, it sickens me that they choose to fly the safety flag until it really matters. In my opinion helicopters are very safe but should only be used where necessary not as a cheaper option for companies, any risk assessment which says have you known of any previous instances of multiple fatalities in the industry and the answer is yes is pretty much a red card to the operation, it’s a shame we don’t use the risk assessment we are made to use to judge a job for safety on helicopter crew changes because they simply wouldn’t happen.
Safety costs money, plain and simple and they are happier to risk multiple fatalities to save it. I do respect helicopters have a place and they could be the safest option in some circumstances however they should only be used when absolutely considered the safest option not the cheapest most convenient.
Very very sad times again, my heart goes to the families
Sent: 30 April 2016 18:57
Subject: Chopper accident
Dear brother I’m offshore at this present time the mood out here is of a depressed one I was sitting having my lunch with a young guy who said to me I am going home on Monday but am I? The entire crew said exactly the same last helicopter disaster off Shetland. What do we do next? Great response as per these pieces of shit we fly in are death traps when will it happen again who knows Russian roulette every time you sit on one! The union needs to address this now and stop putting all our lives at risk stop them flying these again . RIP to all
Sent: 30 April 2016 21:37
Subject: Super Puma Helicopter
Although not 100% comfortable flying in helicopters I have total faith in the pilots controlling them and if they didn’t feel safe with the equipment and choose not to fly them then I wouldn’t be in them either.
If it is true that the maintenance was delayed in order for the helicopter in Fridays accident to carry on working then heads should roll and people responsible held accountable.
My thoughts and prayers in the mean time are with the families of those lost.
Sent: 30 April 2016 21:42 Subject: Re: Norway Helicopter Disaster 29-04-16
In recent years most if not all the accidents/fatalities have been in the Super Puma.
My feeling is the age of the fleet means it warrants replacement. Many things are starting to fail in areas that aren’t checked as regularly or thoroughly, nor are these parts replaced as frequently as is evident by this most recent disaster.
It’s time to retire them.
Sent: 30 April 2016 21:53
I’ve been flying offshore since December 1977 I really thought that the last stand down and investigation had got to the bottom of any mechanical issue. I don’t know what caused the failure this time, I do know that no helicopter in use could survive the loss of it’s rotor assembly. This is very definitively one incident too far and no further north sea flights with this type should take place until full investigation is completed. This should include previous model Super Puma which utilises common parts. I don’t believe the maintenance regime in UK or Norway is at fault but should be investigated for this company and this helicopter of course. Hard to argue with overall flying hours for type but 13 lives lost is too many. Not one more flight without customer approval.. not the client but the passengers who have to use them.
Personally I dislike the type as we are not comfortable, there are too many seats in a cramped cabin. The windows are worrying, you have to pull the tab to extract a window bead then push out, only extra wide shoulders guarantees a window seat.
S92 is more spacious, windows are push out no faffing about. But same failure would result in complete loss of life too. Surely there is something can be done like a parachute deployment system or something…
Sent: 30 April 2016 22:14 Subject: Super Puma 225
Have to be honest – haven’t flown on them too often – thankfully! They do seem to be a common factor in more recent fatal or non fatal incidents. For me, they should be no longer used.
Sympathies to the families and others affected by this recent incident.
Sent: 30 April 2016 22:18
I’m not one for stating facts and like most lads offshore try to put the thought of flying out my mind and just down to the job. Unfortunately I personally feel that there aren’t enough lads in unions now offshore. A lot of these lads have been in the industry a couple of years and would step over their mother to land a slot. This is where we lost ground on the 3 and 3. They need to be shown and educated that unions are still there.
I feel there isn’t enough presence from unions, I remember 4 years ago seeing people like yours at broom field house before checking in.
Any way back to these tragic events. The 225 should have been taken out of service 1-2 years back as there was safety fears then. But what happened NOTHING. In events like these we need help and educated into what we can do to fight. I have refused trips to certain rigs in my career down to 225s being used. Every time it is reaction instead of pro action.
Sent: 30 April 2016 22:27
Subject: 225 helicopters
I have worked in the North Sea nearly 30 years and still there. As you know there is and was concern about these choppers the company’s of the EC-225 assure that these choppers are highly maintained and safe to fly in, they will give us a choice to fly in these refusal to fly in them would mean dismissal, how would we stand against this.
Sent: 30 April 2016 22:37
Subject: what now
It’s such a tragedy that yet again another Super Puma helicopter has gone down with the loss of so many lives. I personally think that this model of helicopter should be taken out of service, there has been too many disasters in relation to this model of helicopter but I fear it will be the usual, ground them for a short period, carry out a few investigations and get them out flying again!!!
Myself and others have no choice to get onboard these “death traps” at the end of the day if you don’t someone else will be prepared to take the risk and your job! In these current climates most offshore personnel will not speak up in fear of losing their job.
Sent: 30 April 2016 22:40
Subject: Crash in Norway
In response to the H225 Super Puma that crashed of the coast of Bergen. Firstly I would like to send my condolences to the families and friends of the workers that lost their life, when traveling from their workplace, back home.
I’m sure everyone in Statoil will feel the rawness of this tragedy for years to come. It’s unavoidable that helicopter travel between installations, is the preferred means of transport for the general mass of workforce. And I’m pretty sure there may be some analyses done to say that statistically it is still safer to travel by helicopter than other means.
But it is time to end the anxiety every time I sit in one of these antiquated air buses. Not knowing if I am going to make it home? Or am I going to be one of the ‘unlucky ones’. Let’s force stricter regulation on aircraft maintenance, send older models to the scrapyard, increase survival training techniques, provide better emergency breathing systems.
Does the whole industry need to step back, take a deep breath and just slow the whole process down. In a world where share holder are king, it seems that we are doing more and more to cut running costs and overheads. It’s only a matter of time before there is a much bigger disaster on our hands than the one that happened two days ago.
Sent: 30 April 2016 23:05
I would not rather fly in the 225 but we don’t have much say in the matter. How many lives will be lost before they do any thing about it? They get grounded for a short while hoping everyone has forgotten about the lives lost. (which doesn’t go forgotten about ) When you get in these 225s you think to yourself is it me next. My other concern is we can voice our opinions, but what are the PILOTS opinions on flying these choppers. Are they getting pressured into flying them from management? (Who don’t have to sit in them to get to work) They will just watch them take off from their office window hoping that they will return o.k. The pilots will be getting told the same as the offshore workers, your lucky you’ve got a job. Unfortunately some pilots and offshore workers don’t have lives or jobs anymore by flying in these 225s. How are the maintenance people being treated by the management? Is it like working offshore? Just make it work or we are losing money. I think they will be under a bit of pressure regarding maintenance. This thing must be ready by the morning and when you’re under pressure that’s when it goes tits up. The maintenance guys will be working against the clock. It’s a bit different from working on a car when it goes tits up because of bad maintenance you draw into the side of the road. We all see what happens when bad maintenance goes tits up your when your up in the air, it’s a different ball game.
Sent: 01 May 2016 00:01
Subject: EC-225 helicopter
Hi well respected for sending our sympathy to the oil workers that lost there lives in the disaster over in Norway. Think we need to no why the helicopter came down and they should remain out of service till a full inquiry is concluded
Sent: 01 May 2016 05:09
Subject: Norway disaster and Scrap 225
Hi Mike. Simple as this. Scrap the 225. History has now proved it’s unreliable. You’re cramped in it like sheep and everyone that goes in these choppers are constantly thinking that this is Russian roulette. You can do as many studies as you like, 225’s need to be eliminated now.
Sent: 01 May 2016 06:16 ; Jake Molloy Subject: What Now
I believe the time has come for a full public investigation into the history of 225 incidents and if it is found that the tragedy we have just had is a result of previous faults that have been identified criminal prosecution is the only way forward.
These death traps must be removed from service and scrapped. The workforce are very uneasy with flying in these choppers given the recent history, fatal crashes are becoming the biggest killer of people working offshore. We are held to ransom daily now with the threat of job losses, this will make it very difficult for people to raise their voices and refuse to fly on these helicopters without fear of being singled out and paid off.
Action has to come from onshore we need the unions and the press to highlight the stress that the workforce are under. Fear of flying is hard enough for some folks without the knowledge that it is just a matter of time before another tragedy will happen, (will it be my turn this time we are about due another crash.)
God rest those poor folk
Sent: 01 May 2016 08:08
Subject: Super Puma
I think the model of helicopter in question should be removed from service permanently.
It didn’t take this number of incidents to remove the CH47 from service all those years ago.
Sent: 01 May 2016 08:45 Subject: NORWAY HELICOPTER DISASTER 29-04-16
Good day brother
EEC-225 I firmly believe these airframes should be banned totally in the North Sea.
The number of colleagues we have lost as a result of these crashing should be telling us something. They are the most uncomfortable aircraft to travel in also.
The industry spent a lot of money promoting how good these were & ALL the problems had been resolved, but as the tragic events of the last few days show there are still obviously problems. I do think peoples confidence in this aircraft were being restored but now definitely this has been shattered.
I am one of the fortunate ones where my crew change is a S92 in which I have a great deal of confidence in. There’s lots of room to move about in, it looks like it would float like the old 61,s – If I was flying EEC-225 I would be calling it a day.
PROFIT BEFORE PEOPLE AS ALWAYS
Sent: 01 May 2016 08:53
Sent from my iPad. Scrap the EC-225
Sent: 01 May 2016 09:21
Subject: Norway disaster
Yep that’s it for me, no more flying offshore in Super Puma . Enough is enough. I’m a ad hoc
Rope access/rigger I have been offshore 20 years and will not be taking any jobs from now on flying in a puma end of. Super Puma should be taken out of service for good.
Sent: 01 May 2016 10:32 Subject: EC-225
How many people have to lose their life before a decision is taken to remove this helicopter from service. As offshore workers we are used to working in a dangerous environment when we are on the rig, that shouldn’t extend to the transport to and from our place of work. More people have died going to and from their place of work in this type of helicopter than have died in offshore accidents in the last number of years.
The industry was forced to clean up its act and put controls in place to make oil rigs a safer place to work after piper alpha, now the helicopter companies must ensure they to do the same and give the workers and their family’s confidence in all types of helicopter operations because at the moment I for one have very little confidence in them.
Sent: 01 May 2016 12:10
Sent from my iPad
I think its time to get rid of this chopper I don’t use it much but I have heard and seen lots of problems with them up north. We were going to use one for our shutdown today and I was about to go on night shift shuttle after seeing what happened in Norway I really don’t think I would have come out on nights flying in that chopper for my trip of 28 flights! GET RID!
Sent: 01 May 2016 13:24
Subject: What now
I’m coming to the end of my North Sea Career. I’ve been on various platforms over the past 38 years offshore. Never in all that time have I been worried about reaching my destination until the Super Puma 225 was introduced.
I don’t think making the windows larger was the answer for a start. Surely keeping the choppers in the air is more important than, making the windows easier to escape from. Another point that is concerning me is the new LAP Jackets worn on all helicopter flights. This is a move in the right direction but, because they have compressed gas in them they can not be used when doing your survival refresher, Why?
The mouthpiece on these are, and I would say 99 people out of a hundred would agree if a survey was carried out, that it is impossible to get a proper mouth seal ,as they are too hard. (Mouthpiece). I honestly think it’s defeating the purpose of the refresher.
Thankfully, I just completed my final refresher in January this year as, I’ll be 66years of age by the time it would be due again. There is no way I’ll be completing another one as all my family and friends are telling me, enough is enough as far as this 225’s are concerned.
Sent: 01 May 2016 13:56
Subject: 225 s
We can’t use these things any longer. I’ve heard enough in the past about it will cost jobs if we refuse to fly in them. Look around , they don’t need an excuse to shed numbers.
If they want to operate a safe offshore transport system, spend money fast on safe helicopters.
They should have been ordered years ago so no more excuses about – it will take time to change.
Enough really is Enough.
Sent: 01 May 2016 16:50 Subject: Airbus 225
Mike, It’s far too early for this scaremongering. We know there was a gearbox/rotor problem, which the company addressed and up till now been proven to have got right.
If it transpires that last week’s incident was caused by the same, or similar, fault, then I will happily subscribe to the call to ground the aircraft indefinitely. In the meantime, I agree it should be grounded until the full facts are known but we should not be promoting any other action until these facts are known.
We have enough to worry about in the North Sea as it is, without a further distraction, which is very convenient for certain people.
Sent: 01 May 2016 20:23 Subject: Helicopter crash
Is maintenance being compromised due to the down turn in oil prices and due to the frequency and type of problems these helicopters have? Isn’t it time they were removed from service, permanently?
Sent: 01 May 2016 20:59 Subject: ecc225
hi , ref the above I have been in the oil & gas industry for 32 years, and have had to go through many incidents with helicopters, over the years many of our colleagues have died . And now yet again the EC-225 has been involved in yet another catastrophic disaster. I think its time for this helicopter to be withdrawn, confidence in this aircraft is 0.
This aircraft is the main helicopter that I crew change in, and every time I get in one I’m crapping myself, as I fear I may die. As it stands the oil company’s have changed all our t/cs due to a down turn in the industry. Rotas have been extended , wages cut etc. etc. and yet the risks stay the same ,or have they ? What they have done is heighten the risks, for less pay etc. They don’t care about any of us we are just a number. You go offshore and all you get is safety, safety, safety, total bullshit, safety when it suits. I’m getting to a point now where I’m thinking seriously about leaving the industry as its just not worth the risks for the now low pay and conditions. To my fellow oil workers who lost there life’s, rest in peace brothers. To the oil company’s I say shame on you, there deaths are on your shoulders, BAN THE EC-225 NOW BEFORE ANYONE ELSE DIES.
Sent: 02 May 2016 07:34 Subject: Super Puma
My deepest sadness for the families, friends and colleagues of those involved in this tragedy.
At a time when we are under pressure to take what we’re given and be grateful, I don’t think the protests of offshore workers will be considered. The majority of us shed silent tears or had nightmares three years ago and some still do, and all are sickened to the core about this event.
We were “Steered” back on to these helicopters by lies, deceit, threats and financial considerations. To clarify, I never again wish to be crammed into a Super Puma of any variety.
Sent: 02 May 2016 08:31 Subject: Norway Tragedy
We have been using EC-225 to Triton, only now and again when they went (TEC) have we the honour of the 92. We went to the meetings about gearbox issues after the other incidents, and they showed us the faults and that they were so closely monitored this would not happen again .
What don’t we know, from other parts of the world they fly in .
Is this thing now grounded, as I fly in a few weeks and am feeling extremely unsure about what we will hear next . Absolutely no correspondence from my company at all regarding any reassurance!
Sent: 02 May 2016 09:06
Subject: Helicopter crash.
I have worked offshore for about 20 years now after working as a licensed aircraft engineer with companies such as Bond and B Cal Helicopters. Seeing the latest pictures and video of this tragedy is all the more shocking with the similarity to the 2009 Bond crash. We can only guess the cause until investigations are complete but it certainly looks like the gearbox catastrophically failed as before detaching the main rotor head and blades. The root cause may be the same or it may be different, either way the result is the same and it should not happen.
I just cannot accept the use of Super Puma, 332 or 225 or whatever they wish to call it these days. It is an old overstretched design and should be rejected for offshore use.
How risky is going to work meant to be, we fly in conditions that make surviving a ditching unlikely, in aircraft that make you doubtful of your safety, is that acceptable?
No amount of talking will make this right, operators and the manufacturers will want to get passed this with all sorts of promises, data, statistics etc. Too late!!
Sent: 02 May 2016 09:02
Subject: Super Puma
Enough is enough… Ground them for good. S92’s are what we want.
Sent: 02 May 2016 09:48 Subject: Re: Norway Helicopter Disaster 29-04-16
My own personal feelings on it are that no other aircraft manufacturer, will have had so many incidents/accidents in a relatively small time scale, and not have a massive rethink over the technical issue. The number of incidents is almost taking us back half a century to when a certain number of incidents/accidents in a year were almost acceptable. Loss of life should not be acceptable, especially when we have had, what I feel due to the number of incidents, adequate warning that a large accident is coming. I don’t believe that anyone feels safe stepping onto one of the EC-225 helicopters. Our operator is speaking to CHC and they have developed a plan to retrain a number of pilots currently flying the EC-225 to the S92. I imagine there would have been no shortage of volunteer pilots offering their services as they must be feeling extremely vulnerable while flying in them also.
The offshore industry is full of hazards as it is and the men are already being squeezed to do more work as there are fewer people to carry it out the same work scope. The helicopter crash on the 29th of April in the Norwegian sector is just making the men think what is the point in being offshore and leaving ourselves in an extremely vulnerable position where we might be the next statistic!
Sent: 02 May 2016 10:41
I personally think it’s time to scrap the 225, there overall safety performance has been very poor and every year we have a serious incident which is costing people lives — how many other high potential incidents have we never even heard about. The confidence is these aircraft amongst the offshore workforce is nil — Your jam packed in and on these helicopters up to four hours depending on other stops from the Brent field.
Sent: 02 May 2016 10:56 Subject: Super Puma
I feel that to suggest the question now “should the Super Puma be banned?” is too soon. We will need to wait until the investigation into this latest incident has been completed. Only then will decisions be made about the safety record of this aircraft.
It is easy to say the Super Puma should never fly again but we all know the cost implications on the industry will be too great, or so the oil companies will claim. This argument will never work. That said, I fly in a S92 now and am very glad I do as I would not feel safe flying in a puma. I truly hope the 225 is withdrawn from service but I know that this incident, in the same way all previous incidents were dealt with, will sadly be glossed over. Some pointless regulations will be brought in and a “comprehensive” report will be published to keep everyone assured that all is well.
The cost of replacing these aircraft is too much and unfortunately it is a sad fact that money takes priority over safety, so after more than 25 years in the industry I can say with some confidence that no matter what the morally right course of action, nothing will change soon.
Thank you for raising this issue and I wish you all the best in instigating a positive change.
Sent: 02 May 2016 12:54 Subject: Norway Helicopter Disaster 29/04/16
I only heard about this tragic news after we had landed on our platform, it happened at the time when we were on route. Although we were flying in a Bristows S92 it brings home the worries & fears associated with helicopter travel/ offshore work.
I myself would have no confidence in flying in a EC-225 or any other type of Super Puma helicopter, as I have done in the past. The company’s have reassured us time after time that these type aircraft have been improved since the last disasters, which have been all too frequent in the last few years. I sincerely hope that this type are removed from the offshore industry for good, as it would seem that no amount of improvement has made the aircraft safer.
Our company has given us a brief outline of the Disaster but stands by the fact that not enough is known to comment any further for fear of incrimination. I can only say from myself and other colleges that it was a terrible shock to hear that this has happened again.
Our thoughts go out to the devastating affect this will have on the families & friends, it also highlights our own position.
Sent: 02 May 2016 13:20
Subject: Helicopter safety
I think they should be grounded, so they can find out what the problem is, not a lot of confidence in these choppers now.
Sent: 02 May 2016 14:46 Subject: Norwegian Helicopter Disaster
How many more of these Super Pumas have to fall out the sky before they are taken out of service? There is clearly an issue with them. I’m surprised they were not taken out of service after the last disaster.
Sent: 02 May 2016 16:16 Subject: Norwegian Helicopter Disaster
Due to the latest disaster, I think it is about time that the aircraft in question is finally scrapped before any more lives are lost. Just how many incidents like this has to occur before anything is done to make an improvement.
In the ‘225’ guise, they are just a Mk2 with updated mechanicals & electronics where they are
programmed just to go quicker & further with changes in seating arrangement & the ability to detect triggered lightning. They don’t appear to be any safer than previous models – you are still packed in like sardines & in going quicker that doesn’t leave much room for any error.
Just get rid of them & replace with a better more up to date helicopter that is safer & more comfortable, there are others available out there that are more than adequate to do a better job. That will instil confidence within the personnel who need to travel in them to get to their work & come back home safely to their families & loved ones. Mind you, if these are the cheapest ones available, that will be right up Oil & Gas UK’s street so long as they are seen to be saving money regardless if a few lives are lost here & there.
They have to be removed from service now. As an offshore worker who has to sometimes travel on these I will be refusing to travel on one again if they continue to use them.
Sent: 02 May 2016 17:33
Subject: re: Norway Helicopter Disaster 29-04-16
In response to your email, it is a travesty the loss of life that we have witnessed due to the Super Puma this week and over the last few years, this model of aircraft is obviously not fit for purpose and should be withdrawn before there are any more disasters attributed to the model.
Yes the industry is a high risk industry, arguably getting more risky as costs are being cut drastically, but the commute to the worksite should not be a lottery, we the passengers should feel safe in the fact we will get there and back safely, then there is the families fretting every time we leave to go to work, waiting for the call whether we have made it safely or not then there is the return journey. Also the aircrew who have to use this multiple times daily, them feeling like their odds must be getting shorter each time.
Or is it the fact that there is a number out there, once they have reached this number then they will consider removing the model?
Sent: 03 May 2016 09:23 Subject: EC-225
I think it is time to scrap this type of aircraft. The boys offshore have zero confidence flyin in these airborne coffins, yet the operators keep sending them to and from platforms in the north sea. gb from forties.
Sent: 03 May 2016 12:12 Subject: Super Puma’s
To whom it may concern,
Once again innocent lives have been claimed by a SUPER PUMA, a helicopter which we were assured had been stripped down to the last nut and bolt. I believe the statement was made; “We are happy for the SUPER PUMA’s to fly as they have been overhauled and scrutinised more than any other helicopter to date” or words to that effect.
The statement which incurred not long after the crash I think stated something like, “This helicopter has missed two services, this is not only disrespectful to the families! but in my opinion, it goes to show how much these people value other peoples live’s.
There is absolutely no get out clause on this incident, no pilot error! it can clearly be seen that the rotor has detached from the helicopter!
So what now I ask? They can’t do anymore tests than they have already done! They can’t scrutinise them any more than they have already. I will never be satisfied with the excuse that it had missed two services, they have had they’re chance to prove themselves and failed miserably once again. This industry is meant to be one of the safest industries to work in the world. Lord Cullen put measures in place after Piper Alpha, which claimed the live’s of many offshore oil workers, does the Super Puma need to claim as many live’s as the Piper Alpha did before we someone take a stand????.
Sent: 03 May 2016 12:19
Subject: Re: Norway Helicopter Disaster 29-04-16
Good Morning Mike,
The tragic events of last Friday, has yet again cast a dark shadow over the industry, in troubled times. To see on TV the detached Rotor head spiralling towards land/sea brought a chill down my spine. My initial thought was back to 1st off April 2009, when in a similar tragedy, but more catastrophic, in terms off loss off life, all on board lost their lives.
Since then there have been a number of ditchings, and the 4 passengers who died off Shetland most recently off our shores. How many people will lose their lives for the Industry to ground the Super Puma, types L1,L2, 225, which have all been involved.
My personal opinion, is for the CAA, Helicopter Steering Group, Oil Companies, and the HSE, to get together and decide “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH” for once and for all, terminate flying all Super Pumas, within the industry, and phase in a Helicopter that we can rely on, go to work in and return safely to our families, and our loved ones.
My sincere condolences to all the families who lost their loved ones, in what has been another terrible tragedy to beset our ailing industry.
Date: Sat, Apr 30, 2016 at 6:26 PM Subject: Re: Norway Helicopter Disaster 29-04-16 To: “firstname.lastname@example.org” Scrap it.
Date: Sat, Apr 30, 2016 at 6:38 PM Subject: Re: Norway Helicopter Disaster 29-04-16 To: email@example.com Scrap theEC-225 Bring back the S92
Date: Sat, Apr 30, 2016 at 6:44 PM Subject: Re: Norway Helicopter Disaster 29-04-16 To: firstname.lastname@example.org I believe these should be took out of service and scrapped.
Too many incidents happened over the years and too many hard working people losing there lives.
If this was any other industry where so many people lost there lives going to earn a living for there families there would be public outcry. But not in the oil & gas industry it has an enquiry then just seems to be swept under the carpet and nothing actually done about it. The servicing of these helicopters should be monitored more rigorously.
Date: Sat, Apr 30, 2016 at 8:40 PM Subject: Re: Norway Helicopter Disaster 29-04-16 To: email@example.com
Regarding the ec-225 aircraft I now think this helicopter should be withdrawn from service after more lives have been lost following the crash on 29.04.16. The 225 has a terrible safety record taking into account the incidents it has been involved in over recent years. After other ditchings controlled or otherwise the 225’s have been grounded for a period of time and then reintroduced to service with assurances from the respective operators that rigorous checks have been carried out and the aircraft are safe only for another crash to occur. If safety is the number one priority of oil companies and offshore flight operators to keep oil workers safe the only solution is to scrap the Super Puma helicopters and introduce a helicopter with a better safety record for example the Sikorsky s-92. I feel however that money will be the deciding factor and the 225’s will eventually be reintroduced as they have been after previous fatal incidents
Date: Sat, Apr 30, 2016 at 6:37 PM Subject: Re: Norway Helicopter Disaster 29-04-16 To: firstname.lastname@example.org
I for one have no interest in the results of any investigation that is carried out following this tragic incident as I have little confidence in what we are told. The point is these helicopters repeatedly fall out of the sky and have killed far too many people so we need to get rid of them. If any other piece of equipment used in the North Sea had caused half as many fatalities it would have been replaced a long time ago!
Date: Sat, Apr 30, 2016 at 6:41 PM Subject: Re: Norway Helicopter Disaster 29-04-16 To: email@example.com
In my opinion the 225 should have been removed from service before this latest accident but the greed & what the company’s & the government get away with is unbelievable. Obviously money matters before our lives like in most 3rd world countries that we are fast becoming life is cheap. A very reluctant 225 passenger.
Date: Sun, May 1, 2016 at 5:42 AM Subject: Re: Norway Helicopter Disaster 29-04-16 To: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi Dear Friend. Having worked in the Offshore Industry since 1981, I have seen a lot of changes. But of all the things that have happened to me in the past, the one that really hit me was when the Chopper went down on the Miller. Why? Because all the Crew were my Back to Backs. Our Crew got off and the unfortunate Crew got on. To this day, I still think about that day and the Boys who Died. Died,,,,, Coming Home From Work. There isn’t one person who works Offshore, after the Video Brief, and donning your immersion suits who doesn’t think,,, I HOPE this Chopper doesn’t Go Down. You can cut the air with a knife, everybody is quiet. Then there’s the jockeying for position, to see who gets a good seat. IS THERE A GOOD SEAT ON THESE CHOPPERS? Remember The Chinooks? When the one went down off Shetland, the main contractors ie, Shell, refused point blank, to fly in them, resulting in a change of thought. You are asking What To Do Now? That’s a very hard question to answer. Another mode of transport, maybe something like a V-22 OSPRAY. Years ago this was being looked into. As usual it was swept under the carpet, the dust has settled. The only way to change things is for the Offshore Workforce Boys and Girls to grow a Set Of Balls, and Take Action. Just like the Operators who TOOK ACTION and sent nearly everybody down the road when the Price of Oil came down. WE ARE THE FORGOTTEN WORKFORCE, THE WORKFORCE, WHO PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD RELY ON. LETS ALL STAND TOGETHER AND BE COUNTED. THE WAY TO BE HEARD IS TO TAKE ACTION. OR STAND OUTSIDE THE HELIPORTS DRESSED AS THE GRIM REAPER. and MAYBE THE PENNY WILL DROP. DITCH THE CHOPPERS, BEFORE THEY DITCH YOU: Very Very Sad News.
Date: Sun, May 1, 2016 at 6:48 AM
Subject: Re: Norway Helicopter Disaster 29-04-16
The answer for me is quite simple. Lets STOP flying the EC-225. It would be ironic after all the so called discussions with the offshore work force, who pointed out from the start there displeasure in flying in the EC-225, and also there strong desire to use the much better and safer S92.
I also hope that the people that passed these choppers fit for purpose can look at themselves in the mirror and say that they made the correct decision now, as it is little consolation to the 13 people that have recently lost there lives.
Date: Sat, Apr 30, 2016 at 7:14 PM
Subject: Re: Norway Helicopter Disaster 29-04-16
Once again the oil worker suffers at the hands of incompetent operators. How many times are they going to kill people before they take this issue of the EC-225 seriously. I personally have been involved in incidents with this aircraft and it’s really frightening that they tell us all is ok. They up graded the HUMS system and tell us you have nothing to fear. I think the 225 should be grounded until the operators can prove that this aircraft can operate without any further incidents, if not then they should be scrapped. Let’s all make a difference and stop killing people.
My heart goes out to the 13 people loved ones
Date: Sun, May 1, 2016 at 8:51 AM Subject: Re: Norway Helicopter Disaster 29-04-16 To: email@example.com
Hi Jake, been a long time
It is with extreme sadness and regret that I find myself replying to your correspondence. Flying the Super Puma is a form of Helicopter roulette – it is now, not a question of a possibility but an ever increasing reality that this would happen again – Would you let your loved ones (Wives and children) travel on a clearly unfit air craft.
I would like to put this question to the CEO and managers at CHC. We, in the industry are given no option – Can the simple question be put to the board at CHC to ask which aircraft they would prefer to fly their wives /husbands/parents/children/grandchildren and loved ones on.
Their response, I am sure would mirror the offshore workforce. I feel enough is enough….
On Captain field offshore we successfully utilised a walk to work system – picked up and transferred by boat – This seemed to work fine, but would be a struggle during winter months, though I am sure the technology can be improved (necessity is the mother of invention). Preservation of life is surely the number one priority.
My thoughts are with my fallen friends and grieving families.
Date: Sun, May 1, 2016 at 9:10 AM Subject: Re: Norway Helicopter Disaster 29-04-16 To: firstname.lastname@example.org Hi, After the previous loss of life my hope was that the EC-225 would be grounded for good but we were assured that with the new maintenance routine all would be well. This has now been proved wrong. We were deceived at the alter of profit. The industry did not want the cost of replacing the fleet of 225s and now more lives have been lost. I know guys who turned away from offshore work after previous deaths, me I still work on because I travel on Sikorski S92s. I don’t think I would have had I been forced to use the EC 225. The industry, us, should now insist that the EC-225 is scrapped with the threat of industrial action, regardless of cost. I cannot afford not to work but equally I cannot afford to die.
Date: Sun, May 1, 2016 at 9:29 AM
Subject: Re: Norway Helicopter Disaster 29-04-16
We need to do some thing about these
Pumas I say F##### Scrap the LOT as you know all we want is to go to work and come.
Date: Sat, Apr 30, 2016 at 7:42 PM
Subject: Re: Norway Helicopter Disaster 29-04-16
First I’d like to pass on my condolences to all the families and loved ones of this tragedy.
Yet again we are in the situation of guys dying on there way to or coming from their work. While all that work offshore are aware of the dangers of travelling in helicopters I think it’s got to be time for a real serious discussion on whether the Super Pumas are fit for purpose as this situation cannot go on.
I personally think they should be withdrawn as there is too many incidents involving this chopper and were always getting the incident triangle rammed down our throats (100 cut fingers leads to a fatality ) I don’t know anyone that likes flying in them it’s like packing sardines in a can and confidence in them is zero every time you hit a bit of turbulence in them your arse collapses your thinking – is it my time. Having your arse in tatters just travelling to and from your work because of these heaps of s### is not good enough.
I tried to call yesterday but I’m sure you were busy as one of the lads sat in Bristows text me and said that as of 3 o’clock Bristows still hadn’t said f### all to them!
If that’s the case why didn’t Bristows ground the 225s straight away it was on the Internet by 1230 it looks like the usual case of f### em get them out till we’re told to stop not there’s been an incident ground the choppers this s### should be automatic!
The questions should be
1 when was the decision made to ground uk flights ?
2 why were guys made to do a brief and be told they had to fly after everyone knew of the tragedy?
3 where was the information for the lads sat in the heliports?
4 was there pressure from oil companies to keep flying ?
Sorry for this being a bit of a rant and quite long but it’s just another example of an industry that says all the right things in public and in reality means the exact opposite.
Date: Sun, May 1, 2016 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Re: Norway Helicopter Disaster 29-04-16
Once again in a very short period of time we find ourselves part of a terrible tragedy and make no mistake we are part of it. On 6th November 1986 a Chinook helicopter had a catastrophic failure which killed 45 people and almost thirty years later we are playing out a similar scenario with what would appear to be another catastrophic failure and a heavy loss of life. The EC-225 is a development of the Super Puma 332 L2 which has had a poor record for safety when you consider the ditching incidents and the once again catastrophic failure and sixteen deaths in 2009. My feelings are summed up in an article by Graeme Smith in the Glasgow Herald from 11th May 1987. The will of the workforce was eventually able to persuade Shell and others that the guys were no longer going to get on board that aircraft.
Date: Sun, May 1, 2016 at 11:44 AM
Subject: Re: Norway Helicopter Disaster 29-04-16
I think industry leaders should lead from the front and put the work force and their families before any business concerns. SHOW SOME EMPATHY WITH THEIR WORK FORCE.
Date: Sat, Apr 30, 2016 at 7:47 PM Subject: Re: Norway Helicopter Disaster 29-04-16 To: email@example.com
Hi Mike I’d scrap the Super Puma, feels like a gamble every time you fly in one despite their reassurances.
Date: Sun, May 1, 2016 at 11:25 AM
Subject: Re: Norway Helicopter Disaster 29-04-16
What most the lads on here are saying is, how many more disasters have there got to be before the operators and oil the gas companies stop using these EC-225 helicopters? Or is it just too expensive for them to change them for a safer helicpoter to fly in?
We are so pleased we don’t have to fly in these aircraft.
Date: Sat, Apr 30, 2016 at 8:14 PM
Subject: Re: Norway Helicopter Disaster 29-04-16
Firstly thank you for passing on our condolences to our offshore family in Norway. This has saddened us deeply here in the UK and thoughts go out to all family and friends of the ones we’ve lost.
I work on the Brent Bravo which used to fly S92’s operated by Bristow from Sumburgh, but due to Shell cost cutting we are now on 225’s direct from Aberdeen with CHC!!
My first question to Shell was – why go from 92’s to 225’s??
The answer….cost!! 92’s cost $16 per nautical mile and 225’s cost $8 per nautical mile!!
Surely after all the safety bull that offshore industry preach (but don’t necessarily follow) they can’t put a price on people’s life’s?!
I previously had the attitude of if your time is up, your time is up!! My son is now 3 years old and is inconsolable when daddy goes away to work; and it breaks my heart to think that the chopper that falls out of the sky could be his daddy!!
Something needs to be done and needs to be done fast!! If the S92’s are better/safer and are proven to be better/safer then surly in a “safety culture” industry it’s a no brainier regardless of the cost??!!
Date: Sun, May 1, 2016 at 12:10 PM Subject: Re: Norway Helicopter Disaster 29-04-16 To: “firstname.lastname@example.org” Wait and see what the investigation turns up. If it’s a maintenance issue that’s one thing, component failure quite another.
I work on well service ships and rarely need to use a helicopter. I would prefer to do longer trips – 4 weeks instead of 3 and crew change in port every 2 weeks. I know there’s been a backlash against longer trips on the platforms, but it does reduce exposure to flying. I assume helicopters have been the single greatest danger to offshore workers over the last few years? There must be methods available to reduce fatigue at work if the trips are longer.
It’s the aircrew I feel for, 2 or 3 flights a year for me, several a day for them. Up to now I’ve taken the opinion that if they’re willing to keep flying then I am. They used to say the mortality rate per passenger mile was about the same as being in a car. Is that still true?
Date: Sat, Apr 30, 2016 at 8:29 PM Subject: Re: Norway Helicopter Disaster 29-04-16 To: “” Now is the time strike why dont we all just do it and sick together .
Date: Sun, May 1, 2016 at 12:15 PM Subject: Re: Norway Helicopter Disaster 29-04-16 To: email@example.com
In my opinion I am in favour of grounding the EC-225 for good before any more lives are lost. I will not feel safe travelling offshore in one of these choppers again so action will need to be taken now to make travelling to your place of work safe again and stop bowing down to the oil companies all the time?
Date: Sat, Apr 30, 2016 at 8:38 PM
Subject: Re: Norway Helicopter Disaster 29-04-16
So after all the other incidents why have the unions always said that the problem has been solved and it was an isolated incident when clearly we all know for years that it hasn’t been an isolated incident. And also if you refuse why have the unions said you can go and get counciling before you fly at the end of the day that’s not going to stop them falling out the sky. It’s about time the unions actually stood up to the oil companies and made them scrap the 225s, not say they are safe to fly in again. I think you’s should be greatly disgusted in the way you’s have acted on all other accidents involving the 225s you know you were wrong on all accounts.
Date: Sun, May 1, 2016 at 12:28 PM Subject: Re: Norway Helicopter Disaster 29-04-16 To: “firstname.lastname@example.org”
We are all shocked at what has happened again to our colleagues offshore.
The majority of people I have talked to have expressed their concerns and do not want to fly in EC-225 helicopters, the direct flights are bad enough without the thought of catastrophic failure in your mind.
After the last helicopters went down many expressed their feelings of dread at flying in the 225’s however we were all given a take it or no job out here response, and safety briefs telling us how this would not happen again by the “snake oil salesmen” who peddle this kind of information to win over any concerns. I am sure we will be flying in 225’s in a few months after more assurances everything will be safe and more precautions will be put in place because profit is more important than peoples lives and always has been. Every opportunity is taken to cut costs and to increase profits, this includes the flying.
Morale is at an all time low already without being pressured into flying in aircraft we all think are unsafe, we have all expressed our concern when going direct but they did it anyway.
Date: Sun, May 1, 2016 at 1:12 PM Subject: Re: Norway Helicopter Disaster 29-04-16 To: “email@example.com” , “M.McCaig@rmt.org.uk” If it has always been the Super Puma that had all the failures in the past and present, this aircraft should not be used anymore. But it should be clearly established if in all the incidents it is not the human error of correct maintenance that is to blame, but the design of the helicopter itself.
A very sensitive subject and difficult to establish – good luck with it.
Date: Sun, May 1, 2016 at 1:25 PM Subject: Re: Norway Helicopter Disaster 29-04-16 To: “firstname.lastname@example.org”
Most of the time we fly in an S92 to the Forties, but on odd occasions it’s in the 225. Yet another gearbox/shaft failure? If so then the actual gearbox/rotor assembly must definitely have an inherent design fault. No amount of investigation or reassurance will remove doubts from passengers. Perhaps dare I say it , now may be the time for Eurocopter to admit defeat and commission designers and R and D to go back to the drawing board for a total rethink on their designs.
Date: Sun, May 1, 2016 at 2:49 PM Subject: Re: Norway Helicopter Disaster 29-04-16 To: email@example.com
I recall the EC-225s coming in to replace the old tigers and proclaimed as being more fuel efficient faster, not as noisy, staggered seating and larger Windows.
This on top of pilots preferences that the 225 is still their favourite machine to fly for cockpit set ups. Pilots also seem to have confidence in these frames but hard to tell how slash and burn industry cuts now affect providers who all aspired to Bristows gold standard.
For me even before the tragedies 225 flying was already highly stressful as there are 8 seats I far prefer not to be entrapped in. Legroom space always foregoes being jammed in against a window in Garfield style. But on the other hand being next to aisle also means very real possibility of only having half a seat to sit on as other occupant spans 1 and a half seats.
These jammed in seats are often referred to as death seats in tea shacks as movement is so restricted reading is difficult never mind initiating a rebreather or escape. Seating while padded and not as hard as 92s are very small and put pressure on backs due to knees raised due to seats being so low down. Full flights of 19 always strike fear due to claustrophobic nature of the air frame.
This means the jockey for position to be in first 5-6 on is manic. Also for last 2on who in theory get the single seats at the door. It’s a merry stressful dance on every flight as no one really wants to sit in double seats or jammed in. On helidecks asking someone at door to move into cabin to allow access is often met with refusal as no one will give up a single seat willingly to then be crammed in to another seat.
S-92s although uncomfortable and with far more vibration to offer far more space, seats are larger meaning rush for seating is not as required. Although single seats are still the optimum units. But being on right side means slept is hard due to bottle on life jacket . (Easier to lean left to sleep)
So in summary helicopter flying follows airplane and train loading where there is a mass rush to get on and claim your space. Preferably not hemmed in by strangers. We as oil workers often hear little sympathy on rota downgrades to 3/3 or salary cuts but no one else has to live with this stress going to and from work.
And even now on 22 days shifts we also have to share a small cabin with privacy, access and sleep also deprived by other occupant who may use it as recreation room, with TVs for older people hard of hearing drilling through you till 11pm. Try a few 11pm sleeps then up at 0530 for moral and tolerance.
Recent safety meeting agendas on cold weather working and fatigue have either been highly censored or removed due to conflict with work hours or being controversial in nature by educating people on fatigue and sleep loss.
You quickly get to a point of being “peopled out” and seeking personal space and privacy becomes primary .
Date: Sun, May 1, 2016 at 2:51 PM
Subject: Re: Norway Helicopter Disaster 29-04-16
Thanks for the message of condolence sent on our behalf to Norway. It is a loss felt by all of us who work offshore and our families who support us in our endeavours.
In my home we have had a great deal of discussion about this since the incident occurred, and a lot of questions have been raised regarding the continued use of the 225; its suitability for use in the North Sea environment and particularly the age of the aircraft and its ‘lifespan’.
Having worked offshore for 10 years, I have flown in 225’s in the past, most recently two trips ago to return from offshore when the ‘contracted’ S92 aircraft went tech. But most of my offshore travel in that time has been in the S92 aircraft. I was not strongly opposed to the 225’s use and have commented that the seating is actually more comfortable than the S92. (Although this view seems to be contradicted by the majority of folks that express their opinions on social media. )
Unfortunately now, after the latest incident, I will be refusing to travel on this type of aircraft – even if it means staying offshore with loss of days leave and/or loss of pay should I be waiting to travel in the other direction from Aberdeen to offshore at the time.
I am now concerned that the type of failure that these aircraft are exhibiting is so catastrophic in nature; that all confidence that I may have had in the manufacturer to engineer a solution to this is totally lost now. I don’t feel that I should gamble with my life and have my wife and family sitting at home on the demob day praying that I return safely from work and having the anxiety and worry of this until they know I have made it safely offshore or onshore that day.
The bus, train and taxi companies that I travel with to and from the airport do not use or support the use of ‘classic vehicles’; so why should I rely on the use of an old chopper to complete the most hazardous part of my journey offshore? The question must be asked of the suitability of this aircraft in the North Sea sector.
My current helicopter contract is flying from Bond with S92 as the principle aircraft, but the 225 as the substitute should there be a problem with the S92. I would not be happy using a 225 and I need to know how to manage this now, as I am not willing to fly in it any longer. My company has been supportive in the past, (in words) but the 225 has slowly crept back in to use, when required. As far as I know, no-one has tested their ‘support’ by refusing to fly to date.
In speaking to a colleague earlier today, he expressed that he will refuse to fly in these in the future. I feel that there will now be a determination to get rid of these aircraft, but I would prefer to understand what occurred and why, before I jump to any conclusions about the retiring of the 225. But until I understand what went wrong, I will NOT be flying in the 225.
I do not claim to have a solution to this mess, but there are a lot of ‘extreme’ views out there; from ‘scrap the 225’ to the ‘supermen’ who say that if you don’t want to fly, then rap it! I prefer to sit somewhere in the middle, I only ask that I return home safely by using the safest means possible. I don’t believe that the 225’s are the safest means possible just now. I don’t believe I should be making the decision to use, or refuse, these machines. I do not trust Eurocopter or whatever they call themselves now to do the right thing either. We need Government support, but sadly I feel that won’t be forthcoming either.
So I will report for work this Tuesday and hope that my S92 is well maintained and say a prayer for my family and friends next to me before we fly.
Date: Mon, May 2, 2016 at 8:00 PM
Subject: Eurocopter EC-225
Apalled to learn of another tragic accident involving an EC-225 type helicopter. The problems as we know are not new.
In 2004 the first flights of G ZZSA were made to the FPSO Triton then operated by Amerada Hess.
There were that many late/delayed or cancelled flights, as well as substitute aircraft that the operater of this aircraft came to the installation on a number of occasions in order to reassure the workforce of the safety of the aircraft. The workforce also had regular meetings with platform management about this matter The problems were described as teething problems normally associated with so called spurious indicator lights. Seems like not a lot has changed
Sent: 04 May 2016 15:56 Subject: airbus
Hi Mike, so glad to hear that finally the EC-225 been grounded, some kind of relief, not so long ago been involved on mid air warning light and flight returned to Aberdeen on thick fog and full emergency for this particular flight on the 15 of March 2016, EC 225 flight 63M, took off to Triton in the morning, half an hour into the flight at cruising speed and altitude, engine sound change dramatically and airbus slow right down and start returning to base. Pilot made tannoy announcement and said oil cooler for one of the engines shown overheating, that’s why he slow speed right down and I believed it worked. Airbus return to Aberdeen and land it safely, what a relief, for a moment on the flight I though the worst and cross my mind ,time for the EC 225,call it a day. Happy to see them grounded now, tomorrow off to the Scott, Nexen, and they fly only S92, yihaa!! Take care lad.
Sent: 04 May 2016 10:35 Subject: Helicopter crash
I am currently offshore in the Norwegian sector, I was offshore last week when the chopper went down and my feeling on the EC-225 hasn’t changed. It needs to be removed from offshore service. If this was a domestic flight the machinery would have been condemned after the second incident let alone the fourth. Norway’s safety record has been exemplary up until recently, is it a coincidence that in these “austere” times that we have seen that record tarnished? The reports on this side of the North Sea are suggesting Statoil have been pushing harder and harder for cost cutting from the helicopter operators, just they have with all other service companies. How can you possibly say that this does not affect safety, to say so is deliberately disingenuous and classic corporate double speak. Reports on today’s news are suggesting that Norway is about to SLACKEN it’s regulations on helicopter flight to offshore installations! I find this incomprehensible, it is another example of corporate interests being upheld by a conservative government. What surprises me the most is that the Norwegian union’s are not calling a general strike.
Sent: 04 May 2016 07:10
Subject: I’ve said it before
Scrap the 225 death trap, we have had enough of this piece of s####!!!!!!!!!
Sent: 03 May 2016 11:18 To: Jake Molloy; firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Super Puma helicopter crash
Please keep this correspondence private as my job is already at risk. I do not want to be victimised.
Please can you do all you can to stop the use of the Super Puma in British air space as it is not only a danger to offshore workers but also to the general public.Please remember this helicopter flies over homes, schools, businesses, etc.
As far as I know when a chopper is landing and taking off the forces on the gearbox are at its greatest.
Please ask the relevant persons about this if the rotas fell off on landing or take off from an oil platform. I don’t think the heildeck team would be able to help they would be all dead and the fire equipment would all be wiped out.
This may lead to another Piper Alpha and what would be the cost of that?
I look forward to hearing from you.
Sent: 02 May 2016 22:28 To: Jake Molloy Subject: EC-225
After the recent incident involving an EC-225 I just want to voice my personal concern with having to use this type of helicopter to travel to and from my offshore installation, it seems that the industry are very quick in forgetting (or choosing to ignore) the terrible ditchings we have had in recent years.
I’m not sure how we as an offshore team can further emphasise our dismay and fear of being told that basically if we choose not to fly in an EC-225 then we choose not to work offshore attitude, I don’t know what needs to happen for the people that make the decisions to understand that these helicopters are not fit for purpose in many respects.
Just thought I would air my opinions and fears in the hope that in some small way it will help towards replacing these dangerous and unfit machines.
All of these comments are genuine emails sent to the RMT office since the date of the tragedy in Norway on April 29th. Some have been edited down due to the language used in sections but none have been altered in any other way or added to in any way.
RMT Regional Organiser