Aerossurance Marks RAeS 150th Anniversary by Sponsoring Rotorcraft Automation Conference

Aerossurance Marks RAeS 150th Anniversary by Sponsoring Rotorcraft Automation Conference

The Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) was founded on 12 January 1866, so is today celebrating its 150th anniversary (or sesquicentennial).

To mark this significant milestone Aerossurance is pleased to be sponsoring the Society’s 2016 Rotorcraft Conference.

Royal Aeronautical Society

This conference, to be held 6-7 July 2016 at the Society HQ at 4 Hamilton Place, London, will be the second in the series of ‘Automation & Offshore Operations’ conferences held by the RAeS Rotorcraft Group.

Aerossurance was delighted to attend and report on the 2014 conference: Technology Friend or Foe – Automation in Offshore Helicopter Operations.  The 2014 Technology Friend or Foe conference was triggered by:

  • CFIT accident on approach to Sumburgh airport in August 2013 (AS332L2 G-WNSB), for which the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) final report is expected soon (UPDATE 15 March 2016: AAIB Report on 2013 Sumburgh Helicopter Accident),
  • The issue, a few weeks later in 2013, of a Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) report into a serious incident where S-92A C-GQCH where the helicopter descended to within 38ft of the sea, and
  • The realisation that automation issues were not addressed in detail in the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAANorth Sea Review, which resulted in the CAP1145 report (the ‘Safety review of offshore public transport helicopter operations in support of the exploitation of oil and gas’) issued 20 February 2014.

The RAeS will publish further details of the 2016 Rotorcraft Conference in due course.

RAeS Rotorcraft / Helicopter Automation Conference Sponsored by Aerossurance and HeliOfshore

Confirmed Speakers include:


The Royal Aeronautical Society

Originally formed as the Aeronautical Society of Great Britain, the Society gained its Royal Charter in 1918.  The Society now has over 20,000 members and is an international, multidisciplinary professional institution dedicated to the global aerospace community.

Extra Helicopter Automation Resources:

The European Helicopter Safety Team (EHEST) has published: Safety Leaflet HE9 Automation and Flight Path Management

he9At the EHEST Safety Worksop at Helitech in London in October 2015:

UPDATE 18 September 2016: AAIB: Human Factors and the Identification of Flight Control Malfunctions

UPDATE 9 January 2017: HeliOffshore have released a HeliOffshore Automation Guidance document and six videos to demonstrate the offshore helicopter industry’s recommended practice for the use of automation.

UPDATE 13 August 2018: Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think  Thirty-five years ago a paper was presented entitled Ironies of Automation, by Lisanne Bainbridge. It included many insightful ideas:

The designer’s view…may be that the operator is unreliable and inefficient… so should be eliminated from the system. There are two ironies of this attitude.

One is that designer errors can be a major source of operating problems…

The second irony is that the designer who tries to eliminate the operator still leaves the operator to do the tasks which the designer cannot think how to automate…it means that the operator can be left with an arbitrary collection of tasks, and little thought may have been given to providing support for them.

This is discussed further in this 2012 paper: The ironies of automation … still going strong at 30?

UPDATE 24 October 2019: EASA issue NPA 2019-11 Human factors in rotorcraft design

This Notice of Proposed Amendment (NPA) proposes to introduce specific provisions into the rotorcraft certification specifications (CSs) to ensure that HFs are systematically taken into account during the design and certification processes of rotorcraft cockpits.

The proposed amendments are expected to moderately increase safety, as compliance with the new CSs is expected to reduce the probability of HFs and pilot workload issues that could lead to an accident or incident.

UPDATE 2 November 2019: Taiwan NASC UH-60M Night Medevac Helicopter Take Off Accident

UPDATE 16 December 2019:

UPDATE 19 April 2020SAR Helicopter Loss of Control at Night: ATSB Report

UPDATE 16 July 2023: SAR AW139 LOC-I During Positioning Flight

Aerossurance has extensive air safety, helicopter design, certification, airworthiness, human factors and operations experience.  For practical aviation advice you can trust, contact us at: