Global safety association HeliOffshore has formed three new working groups focusing on safety strategies for helidecks, search-and-rescue operations, and wind farms. The group aims to collaborate in defining standards for helicopters supporting operations in these various sectors.
For the wind farm group, Siemens' Lee Harris, who is the group's chairman, said different standards and specifications have emerged within the sector and disparate strategies could risk safety and efficiency.
The groups aim to publish new guidelines for wind farm operations in 2019 and for search and rescue operations by the end of 2018. For the search-and-rescue group, members hope to establish flight data monitoring data thresholds, a line-operations safety audit process and a review of terrain databases for enhanced ground-proximity warning systems.
Among the companies involved in the wind farm group are Leonardo, Bell, Airbus Helicopters, CHC Helicopter, Bristow Group, Heli Service International, Wiking Helikopter Service, HTM Helicopters, KN Helicopters, NHV, Era, Equinor and several wind turbine manufacturers.
The helidecks group is comprised of the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers, HSAC and the European Aviation Safety Agency. It is chaired by PHI Global Standards Manager Patrick Bosman.
The search and rescue group includes CHC Helicopter, Brunei Shell Petroleum, Babcock Aviation Offshore, Bristow Group, Cougar Helicopters, HNZ and IOGP.
The number of offshore wind farms is projected to increase, expanding the market for helicopters to aid in the construction of and transportation of supplies and people to the turbines. There are offshore wind farm projects under development all over the world, like Beatrice in the North Sea, which will be Scotland's largest offshore wind farm once operational in 2019.