This snapshot, taken on
27/12/2010
, shows web content acquired for preservation by The National Archives. External links, forms and search may not work in archived websites and contact details are likely to be out of date.
 
 
The UK Government Web Archive does not use cookies but some may be left in your browser from archived websites.
Pilot Opening Brent Crude price on
27 Dec 2010 
is $92.93
*
 Home Page PILOT Contacts* Site Search* About PILOT* PILOT Priority Areas* Other Activity Areas* Communications Press Centre News Archive Industry Links
*
*
*
 Introduction Email Bulletins
*
*
*
 members*username:*password:*
*
*
* * *
*

Ground-breaking North Sea Helicopter Safety System Goes Live



Date:13 Dec 2010
Details:Oil & Gas UK and NATS, the UK's air navigation service provider, today (13 December 2010) announced the world's first operational use of wide area multilateration technology for tracking offshore flights.

Helicopters in transit to and from oil and gas platforms in the North Sea are now visible to air traffic controllers from takeoff to landing, increasing the safety of helicopter traffic and efficiency of rescue operations.

Multilateration uses signal transmitters and receivers fitted to offshore oil and gas platforms to track helicopters at a much greater range than radars. Previously, helicopters would be lost to shore-based radars 80 miles from land; this new system follows flights from runway to platform in real time.

This information allows air traffic controllers to keep safe separation between helicopters operating around the platforms and provides vital details on helicopters' locations in the event of an emergency.

"This is a major step forward for safety, as we can offer a traffic service to aircraft in the North Sea and pinpoint helicopters in emergency situations," said John Mayhew, NATS' general manager, Aberdeen.

"It also enables more direct routing of helicopters to and from offshore platforms, which delivers environmental and efficiency benefits."

The system uses signal transmitters and receivers fitted to 16 offshore oil and gas platforms (four clusters of four platforms) in the central area of the North Sea, to track and identify individual helicopters across 25,000 square miles of sea, in real time.

When a helicopter leaves the 80 mile shore-based radar zone, its transponder responds to an interrogation signal sent from a platform, which is then sent back and detected by receivers on each of the four platforms in a cluster. Only three signals need to be received in order to provide a position for the helicopter, but the fourth signal both increases accuracy and gives some redundancy should a signal not be received. The data is then sent to the control tower at Aberdeen Airport where it provides real-time information for the controllers.

The offshore industry Helicopter Task Group was instrumental in helping to expedite delivery of the multilateration system. The project began in 2004 and was officially unveiled last year. Since then, successful flight trials have taken place, the system optimised and training undertaken by Air Traffic Control staff. The multilateration system went live on 11 December 2010.

Since the task group was formally closed earlier in the year, the progression of cross-industry helicopter safety issues such as multilateration has been handed over to the Helicopter Safety Steering Group. This new workgroup also includes representatives from the helicopter operators, oil and gas operators and contractors, offshore trade unions, the pilots' union BALPA, the regulators HSE and CAA and Oil & Gas UK.

Robert Paterson, health, safety and employment issues director with Oil & Gas UK, welcomed the launch, adding: "I am very pleased to see this system go live now.

"This is a considerable step forward in helicopter safety and typifies the sterling work done by the Helicopter Task Group - to drive important safety-related projects to a successful conclusion."


ENDS
Contact:NOTES TO EDITORS

1. For more information on the Helicopter Task Group or its successor, the Helicopter Safety Steering Group, please contact Chris Walker at Oil & Gas UK on 01224 577279.

2. For more information on the multilateration system, click here.

3. For more information on the achievements of the Helicopter Task Group, click here.

4. While the Helicopter Task Group has now fulfilled its purpose and disbanded, offshore aviation safety now falls under the remit of the Step Change in Safety Helicopter Safety Steering Group. To find out more about this group, click here.

5. The Helicopter Task Group model of engagement has been so successful that it has been used again by Oil & Gas UK to respond to safety concerns around drilling and oil spills in the light of the Gulf of Mexico incident. Using this model, the Oil Spill Prevention and Response Advisory Group (OSPRAG) was founded, again bringing together industry (operators and contractors), the regulators and trade unions.

back Back to press releases

For all press enquiries please contact:
Trisha O'Reilly at Oil and Gas UK. Tel: 0207 802 2422 Email: toreilly@oilandgasuk.co.uk *
*
* * *
*
* * *
*
About PILOT*Other Activity Areas*Communications*Press Centre*News Archive*Industry Links
*
* * *
*
* * *
*
Top of page Top of page
*© Copyright
*
* * *