HeliOffshore Conference 2018 Report: “Delivering Our Priorities”

The offshore helicopter safety association, HeliOffshore held its fourth conference and AGM in Baveno, Italy 5-6 May 2018.

The focus was on ‘Delivering Our Priorities’ for improved offshore helicopter safety. Being close to Leonardo‘s sites just north of Milan, the Italian manufacturer arranged a formation fly-past at the start of the conference of an AW169, AW139 and AW189.

Leonardo AW169. AW139 and AW189 Fly-Past at the Start of the 4th HeliOffshore Conference (Credit: Aerossurance)

Leonardo AW169. AW139 and AW189 Fly-Past at the Start of the 4th HeliOffshore Conference (Credit: Aerossurance)

The conference was attended by a record 203 industry leaders from operators, helicopter manufacturers, oil and gas companies, regulators, suppliers and service providers (including, for the fourth year, Aerossurance). helioffshore 2018 Day 1 HeliOffshore chairman Bill Chiles explained:

We are ordinary people who can help our team members to achieve extraordinary results.  There is no more noble cause than for all of us to work together to save lives. We do this because it is right – it’s a fundamental human obligation to make sure all our passengers and crews return home safely every day.

In a keynote presentation Richard Noble discussed delivering breakthrough performance.  Noble was holder of the land speed record between 1983 and 1997, when his lead the Thrust SSC team that achieved the first supersonic land speed record (and a then record 59 million webpage hits in 1997).

His current project, the Bristol built Bloodhound SSC car is powered by one EJ200 reheated turbofan from a Typhoon figther, three Nammo high test peroxide (HTP) rocket motors and a 550bhp Jaguar Supercharged V8 engine (just to power the HTP turbopump). 

It is designed to achieve 1,000 mph on the Hakskeen Pan in South Africa.

Noble is an advocate of the Wisdom of Crowds and the project is to put over 30Gb of telemetry data online for collaborative analysis.

Fawaz Bitar, chairman of the IOGP Management Committee and BP’s Head of Global Operations - Upstream, also emphasised the need for stakeholders to collaborate on safety in his presentation.

BP's Fawaz Bitar (Credit: HeliOffshore)

BP’s Fawaz Bitar (Credit: HeliOffshore)

He indicated that IOGP would be ready to invest in safety initiatives, echoing Chiles’ comments:

It’s personal: in BP alone 2,500 passengers are transported each day by helicopter and fixed wing aircraft. People’s lives depend on aviation safety.  In a decade, the oil and gas industry has halved fatalities and our mission is now to eliminate all loss of life. This is no longer a vision. It is an expectation.

https://youtu.be/c36dvL038ZA Day 1 continued with panel sessions on safety collaboration and delivering results.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ll9_tCt-5cc&feature=youtu.be Terry McVenes of Boeing commented:

You’re on the right track. It’s taken collaboration and communication and a working together spirit that wasn’t easy at the beginning. (In the fixed wing industry) we also had different constituents and perspectives. Trust was a big issue to work through. It is such a precious thing.

General Tan Sri Muhammed Ismail Jamaluddin, CEO of, Weststar Aviation said:

It’s the leadership in the company that needs to push safety projects to the top.

Trust and leadership are things Aerossurance has discussed before: Leadership and Trust

HeliOffshore 2018 Panel Session (Credit: Aerossurance)

HeliOffshore 2018 Panel Session (Credit: Aerossurance)

In a joint presentation, Airbus Helicopters and Sikorsky explained how a proven stage gate review processes will now be applied to HeliOffshore projects.  This provides increased clarity on progress and implementation responsibilities. HeliOffshore Day 2 The main themes on day 2 were the workstreams:

HeliOffshore 2018 Conference (Credit: Aerossurance)

HeliOffshore 2018 Conference (Credit: Aerossurance)

In Safety Intelligence, there was a major emphasis on all operator members committing to sharing safety data, with demonstrations of analysis of data already received within the HeliOffshore Safety Intelligence Programme (HSIP).

“It’s unacceptable that someone should die because someone didn’t share their data” said Chris Hawkes of IOGP earlier in the conference. In Operational Effectiveness, HTAWS offshore optimisation and FCOMs were major subjects.

A HeliOffshore initiative to apply Human Hazard Analysis was described in Designing out human error:

Recent trials with Airbus Helicopterss and HeliOne show that this new direction has promise. The approach is based on an analysis of the aircraft design to identify where ‘error proofing’ features or other mitigations are most needed to support the maintenance engineer during critical maintenance tasks.

Operator members volunteered to see the further application of HHA on the AW139 and H175.

HeliOffshore 2018 AGM (Credit: Aerossurance)

HeliOffshore 2018 AGM (Credit: Aerossurance)

At their AGM, the HeliOffshore Board of Directors recognised three people for exceptional contributions to safety:

  • Robert Bouillion (PHI),
  • Dé Jansen (CHC) and
  • Tim Rolfe (Bristow).

Tim Rolfe of Bristow receives his award from Bill Chiles and Gretchen Haskins (Credit: HeliOffshore)

Tim Rolfe of Bristow receives his award from Bill Chiles and Gretchen Haskins (Credit: HeliOffshore)

HeliOffshore CEO Gretchen Haskins said:

Together we’ve achieved so much in the four years since HeliOffshore was formed and there’s plenty that we can take pride in.  Nevertheless, each and every member company knows there is no room for complacency and that there is so much more we can achieve for safety.

UPDATE 15 May 2018: In a post conference blog post she added:

I left Baveno more convinced than ever that we have reached the point where we have executable implementation plans, and that will deliver tangible safety benefits.

We’re using our new dashboards and stage gate review processes—also rolled out at the conference–to ensure we have complete clarity as to who is doing what and when.

We know that, together, we can achieve so much more progress and momentum on our safety goals. We’re focusing more than ever on conversations that ensure our safety products are fit for purpose and deliver at the front line. Our safety intelligence and data sharing efforts are starting to yield information to help us make the business case and measure the results of our endeavours. Use of leading indicator information is allowing us to approach our work more proactively than ever before, helping us to work on preventing accidents before they can occur.

HeliOffshore Background

HeliOffshore, founded by the 5 largest players in offshore helicopter operations (BabcockBristowCHCERA and PHI) in 2014 has grown to 112 members. HeliOffshore’s purpose is to bring together the global offshore helicopter industry such that:

  • No lives are lost through offshore flight;
  • Information is shared to prevent accidents;
  • Best practice is used by the global frontline;
  • Our combined activities provide cost benefits to members; and,
  • Collective action delivers breakthroughs in safety performance.

See also our reports on the previous HeliOffshore conferences:


esasi2018 Aerossurance is pleased to sponsor the 9th European Society of Air Safety Investigators (ESASI) Regional Seminar in Riga, Latvia 23 and 24 May 2018.

Aerossurance are pleased to be active members of HeliOffshore.  Aerossurance has extensive offshore helicopter design, airworthiness, operational, safety and regulatory experience.  For practical aviation advice you can trust, contact us at: enquiries@aerossurance.com