Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four hours sharpening my axe.”
Does anyone want to work off-site anymore? I count myself in the group that loathes being gone too long these days.
The helicopter industry is in “survival mode,” according to some observers, buffeted by depressed oil prices and fatal accidents that have grounded key aircraft in the fleet. The natural expectation of tough economic times is that helicopter operators might shirk on safety measures and productivity could suffer as employees fear a redundancy notice.
Enhancing safety standards in the global helicopter industry is a process that is constantly evolving, as individual operators, OEMS and regulators strive to introduce new technologies and procedures to help prevent accidents and incidences throughout all levels of the business.
When pilots of the Airbus Helicopter AS350 train in the new HNZ Topflight simulator at the Alberta Aerospace Training Centre in Edmonton, they may literally come to “the end of their rope.”
The Super Puma crash off the Norwegian coast in late April that killed 13 people is a sobering reminder that statistics seem to fade into irrelevance when the victim of an accident is your spouse, your parent, your friend.
It has been my experience that most helicopter operators approach their safety programs primarily from the perspective of flying operations and maintenance activities. Yet, the pure, health and safety – labour code aspect of our safety programs can sometimes be lacking. One facet of managing risks as part of a safety management system involves contractor safety. What can we do to address this area of risk management and workplace safety?
Should Canada increase the penalties for the hooligans and sociopaths who aim laser lights at aircraft? Under the Aeronautics Act, those convicted of pointing a laser at an aircraft could face up to $100,000 in fines, five years in prison, or both. By comparison, U.S. federal law allows up to 20 years in prison and a US$250,000 ($333,000) fine.
One of my favourite dictums can be summed up as, “wrenches turn nuts and hammers drive nails.” I use it a lot because I see many instances where people are in the wrong positions for their aptitude or are handed tasks they are ill prepared for and someone else should be doing.
Earlier this fall, I had the distinct pleasure of visiting with Helicopter Association of Canada (HAC) president and CEO Fred Jones at the association’s new home in the nation’s capital. Jones is one of the people I respect most in the Canadian aviation and aerospace industry, as few people are more connected, committed and passionate about the success of their respective area of expertise – and the industry they work so hard to protect.
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