The CAA has recently published CAP 1864, which is the Onshore Helicopter Review Report. This conducts a similar review into onshore operations which CAP 1145 did to offshore operations, following a number of offshore accidents including the Sumburgh AS332L2 in 2013.
As onshore operations are more diverse, it covers training, CAT, HEMS, Police, SAR and GA operations -http://publicapps.caa.co.uk/modalapplication.aspx?catid=1&pagetype=65&appid=11&mode=detail&id=9304 . Due to the diverse nature of onshore operations, it might be more difficult to focus on specific industry issues as there will be major differences between the various types of operation. However, one interesting element of the study is the proposed adoption of the principles in the EUROCONTROL White Paper entitled “From Safety I to Safety II”. This basically focuses on the large number of occasions when things go right and not on the very small number of occasions when things go wrong. In some ways, this is similar to the approach we took when defining the HTAWS envelopes in CAP 1519, where we attempted to define “normality” and then warned the crew when things were abnormal.
One of the accidents referenced in CAP 1864 is to G-SPAO, an EC 135 which suffered a double engine flameout and impacted the Clutha Vaults in Glasgow on the 29th November 2013, resulting in 10 deaths. I was an expert witness for the Crown and Procurator Fiscal’s Office for this case. The Sheriff Principal’s report is available online https://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/docs/default-source/cos-general-docs/pdf-docs-for-opinions/2019fai46.pdf?sfvrsn=0. Two of the four safety recommendations made by the AAIB include recommendations on the installation of flight recorders to police helicopters, something the Regulations do not currently require. Flight and cockpit voice recorder data would have been helpful in this accident, as it would be with many other Part 27 helicopter accidents. A recent article by EASA seems to support the fitment of recorders to small helicopters, although stop short of mandating them https://www.easa.europa.eu/flight-recorders-light-helicopters. A few years ago, I was involved in an investigation into a fatal accident involving a Bell 407 which crashed in poor weather in Louisiana. The Appareo recording system fitted, although not connected to any aircraft instrumentation, provided invaluable data which allowed us to determine the cause of the accident.
Some reflections on the aviation industry by Mark Prior. I will aim to produce regular blogs covering areas where we think our company can make a real difference for our clients.