Helicopters Magazine

Features Procedures Safety & Training
Offshore safety centre simulates helicopter crashes

March 9, 2012  By CBC News

March 9, 2012, St. John's - The Marine Institute has improved its training facilities for workers in Newfoundland and Labrador's offshore oil industry, although demand for safety preparation may exceed what it can deliver.

The Offshore Safety and Survival Centre
in Foxtrap has new equipment that can help prepare workers for a
helicopter crash in the Atlantic Ocean, a follow-through on a
recommendation on an inquiry into safety led by retired judge Robert

wanted workers in the offshore oil industry to receive better safety
training, including simulations that more closely resemble what
passengers on the fatal Cougar Helicopters flight of March 2009
encountered in a Sikorsky S-92A.

"If you take a look inside … the shape and size of this cockpit is
exactly how it's configured inside," centre director Robert Rutherford
told CBC News.

"It's an exact replica of the S-92."


The centre, which is equipped with an enormous wave tank, can
simulate real marine weather conditions, including rolling waves,
driving rain and — through effects — thunder and lightning.

Instructor Roma Barron said the simulation is intense, and deliberately so.

"It's a confidence builder," Barron said. "That's what this trainer
is about, it's about building their confidence, giving them the
confidence to get out in a real emergency."

Demand for the centre's services is already high enough that there are no free spots available.

With the Hebron megaproject on the horizon, the centre expects to be busy for years to come.

"This facility is pretty well booked, and we'll have to look at the
scheduling for the Hebron development and the offshore oil and gas
training," Marine Institute vice-president Glenn Blackwood said.

"If we need to expand it, we'll have to."


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