Portugal witnesses an intriguing first AGM of HeliOffshore

By Stephen McCabe

Helioffshore held their first AGM in Lisbon, Portugal, recently, of which we were delighted to attend.

The AGM - held between 8th and 11th of May - was open to all current members of HeliOffshore and the most senior stakeholders in the offshore helicopter transport industry. The event offered attendees like myself with the chance to participate in an interactive discussion on how we best collaborate to add momentum to our joint safety goals.

In terms of HeliOffshore, it is a not-for-profit organisation, whose mission is to improve flight safety and advance technical competence for the offshore industry, on a global basis. Their motto is: “Safety Through Collaboration” and to that end, Helicopter operators, Oil companies, Airframe and Engine Manufacturers all had a strong presence at the event, as did other supporting businesses, of which we were a representative.

The purpose of the Group is several fold, and includes;

  • Developing offshore helicopter transport industry policies and standards of flight safety
  • Fostering consistent development, exchange and use of best practices
  • Collaborating with customers, regulators and industry partners to address common interests related to safety, technology, aircraft design and performance.

Prior to the AGM, HeliOffshore had identified areas, that in their view, would be the priority workstreams for the Group to become involved in, and these are as follows;

  • Automation
  • Flight Path management
  • Health and Monitoring (HUMS)
  • Information exchange
  • Monitoring (HF)
  • Operational standards.

Saturday and Sunday were the two working days allocated to the Group, and it was a privilege to be sat with so many leading figures from the industry, including CEOs, COOs, Directors, VPs, Test pilots, and many other senior figures.

Saturday was “Brain Day”, and given over to structured brainstorming of the six identified workstreams, with tables of between 8-10 delegates (all pre arranged) tackling each subject, and results coordinated by an electronic voting system – which worked very well.

Sunday started with some administration for the Group, including the voting of two new members to the HeliOffshore board, and deciding the location of next year's AGM. The voting on this proved to be much closer than anticipated, but of the four suggested locations, it was Budapest that prevailed, and no doubt plans are already being made.

The rest of Sunday was given over to OEM presentations, all of which had fascinating and insightful content. The Group was left under no illusion, as to the amount of effort and money being put into improving many aspects of aviation safety, for the offshore community, by manufacturers.

No doubt this was a unique first gathering, and not just a “one off”, and the output from this Group will have significant influence on the industry for many years to come. This all came about as the result of the vision of the founding HeliOffshore board members, of whom special mention must be given to Gretchen Haskins, who as Master of Ceremonies…was masterful!!

In terms of us. we look forward to contributing to this unique industry collaboration for many years to come...

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