Photo courtesy of Ciacho5 / CC BY-SA 3.0
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has issued a new safety advisory notice for regular helicopter underwater training Thursday. The notice advises helicopter operators conducting overwater operations about the importance of frequent helicopter underwater escape training for aircrew and regular passengers to increase survivability of an in-water accident or ditching.
The safety advisory notice has been issued in light of the initial investigation of a fatal collision with water of a twin-engine Airbus Helicopters EC135 in Western Australia March 14.
Examination of the helicopter operator’s records revealed the deceased pilot, who was recently employed by the operator, had not undertaken such training for nine years. The helicopter operator normally required company pilots to complete a course for the training every three years.
The training involves a replica of a helicopter cabin and fuselage lowered into a swimming pool and rolled inverted to simulate a crash situation. Students practice bracing for impact, identifying primary and secondary exit points, escaping the helicopter and surfacing techniques.