ATSB stresses importance of HUET

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has issued a new safety advisory along with the release of its preliminary report on the fatal Airbus EC135 accident on 14 March.

The helicopter in question, registered VH-ZGA, collided with water northwest of Port Hedland at night when attempting to collect a marine pilot from a bulk carrier. The pilot flying had only recently been hired by the company and was under the supervision of a company training and checking pilot. The accident occurred when the aircraft’s first attempt to land on board the ship failed. During the second approach, the helicopter hit the water and rolled inverted, ATSB said. The training and checking pilot was able to free himself, but the pilot was unable to free himself.

In response, ATSB told all helicopter operators who conduct overwater operations to reiterate the importance of frequent helicopter underwater escape training (HUET) for all aircrews and staff, and how this can increase survivability of a ditching.

“Our examination of the helicopter operator’s records indicated that the deceased pilot, who was new to the company, had not undertaken any HUET for the past nine years,” said ATSB Executive Director of Transport Safety, Nat Nagy. “It is vital for all pilots who undertake over water operations to regularly conduct underwater escape training to greatly increase their chances of survival in an accident such as this.”

The final ATSB report of the crash is due in the first quarter of 2019.

Other news

Air medical transport company Med-Trans Corporation has opened a new AeroCare medical helicopter base in Plainview, Texas

The Office of the Secretary of Defense has named Davis-Monthan Air Force Base the top base in the Air Force for the second time in six years

Swiss air ambulance operator Air Zermatt has celebrated its 50th year of operation with the delivery of a brand new Bell 429 helicopter.

Safran Helicopter Engines has announced that it has made two senior management appointments.

A firefighter from Bernalillo County Fire Department, US, helped to save two hikes and their incapacitated dog using his own personal drone.