The CAA has identified a number of development areas to help improve the safety of helicopter operations with moving helidecks and has formulated a new technical specification for helideck monitoring systems (HMS).
In order to trial the new methodology the CAA required an HMS provider to design, engineer and test a real-time helideck monitoring data collection and display system that met the new specification. The trial results would then be used to validate the system’s suitability for incorporation in a new version of CAP 437, the CAA standards supporting helicopter operations for floating helidecks.
By selecting Fugro as its HMS partner the CAA is able to capitalise on its worldwide offshore systems expertise and will also benefit from its additional proven capabilities, such as weather forecasting, reporting and positioning. Chevron North Sea Limited agreed to host the new trial system on the Captain FPSO operating in the North Sea which facilitated real operational feedback being received on the new system.
Rather than building a new system from scratch, Fugro developed an integrated solution using its proven HMS software package that seamlessly incorporates the FPSO’s existing sensors, hardware and cabling. Fugro’s proprietary software architecture has a modular design which allows the functionality to be easily modified and updated to include the new calculations defined by the CAA. Remote connectivity functionality in the HMS also enables Fugro to continue to monitor and support the system without the requirement for costly offshore visits.
This innovative approach minimises equipment and installation costs, improves the reliability and robustness of the system and increases data quality. By developing, installing and commissioning the new system and providing support for data collection and analysis during the trial, Fugro is well placed to play an important role in the development of the CAA’s new helicopter safety standards for the offshore industry.
Dave Howson, the research project manager for the UK CAA's Safety and Airspace Regulation Group said, “The CAA was impressed by Fugro’s comprehensive response to the invitation to tender. The range of options provided in the proposal documentation allowed the CAA to tailor the project to meet its needs while minimising costs.”