HeliOffshore is a not-for-profit industry association founded by five operators in the oil and gas sector: Avincis, Bristow Group, CHC Helicopter, Era and PHI Inc. The idea behind the establishment of the organization came from a joint operators review of helicopter safety, born out of a spate of accidents in the North Sea, in addition to a safety review conducted by the European Helicopter Operators Committee (EHOC).
HeliOffshore’s goals are to improve flight safety and advance technical competence on a global basis. The factors include developing offshore helicopter transport industry policies and standards for flight safety; fostering consistent development, exchange and use of best practices; collaborating with customers, regulators and industry partners to address interests related to safety, technology, aircraft design and performance; advocating on behalf of the offshore helicopter transport industry and engaging with regulatory agencies; interacting with other stakeholders on specific issues; and reinforcing the essential role of helicopter transport to the offshore energy industry. Further to this, the organization’s six areas of priority will be: automation, pilot monitoring, stabilized approaches, accident survivability, application of health and usage monitoring systems (HUMS), as well as acting as a point for the exchange of information between members.
The UK’s Aviation Minister Robert Goodwill attended the launch in London, which incorporated an inaugural safety workshop. In September Gretchen Haskins was appointed as the organization’s chief executive. Prior to this she served for three years as a member of the Board of the UK Civil Aviation Authority as Group Director of the Safety Regulation Group (SRG), providing oversight of aviation safety in the UK. Before that she spent 10 years at National Air Traffic Services (NATS) where she served as director of safety.
Two memberships are available: those holding an Air Operators Certificate (AOC) and those who can qualify as affiliate members. Haskins said that this was expected to include customers of helicopter services, aircraft manufacturers, service providers, technology companies, staff and passenger organizations, and government and research institutions. In conclusion, Haskins stated that “the industry will continue to compete vigorously on commercial issues, but safety is not a competitive factor.”