Alert 12 – 20 Helideck Obstruction Hazard: Marking and Notification
A recent fatal helicopter crash has highlighted the need for effective coordination of information between offshore facility operators and aviation service providers (ASPs) regarding helideck obstructions and closures.
As with most incidents, there were multiple barriers which, had any one of them been effectively managed and in place, could have prevented the incident. One such barrier, which is under the control of the management of the offshore facility, is the effective identification of possible obstructions to the helideck, declaring the helideck closed, properly marking its closure, and notifying aviation service providers of the helideck’s closure. In this incident the pilot attempted to land on the helideck of a platform that was not marked as closed, even though it was apparently obstructed by a jackup that was working over the platform. It is not known why the pilot attempted to land on the platform’s helideck instead of that of the MODU, or that the pilot did not identify that the flight path was obstructed, even without the helideck being marked as closed. After the incident, the platform’s management did mark the helideck as closed.