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Prepared by John Burt Associates Limited / BOMEL Limited for the Health and Safety Executive



These offshore helideck design guidelines have been developed in response to an increasing awareness within the industry that offshore helideck operations can encounter problems that potentially affect flight safety. These problems may be caused by helideck layout and equipment deficiencies, structure-induced turbulence, hot gas plumes generated by turbines and flares or the effects of wind/wave-induced motions on helidecks on floating structures and vessels. Often the problems result in operating limits being imposed by the helicopter operators. Recommendation 10.3 (i) in CAA Paper 99004, a joint HSE / CAA sponsored report into offshore helideck environmental issues, was the main starting point for these guidelines along with an increasing number of non-conformities found during helideck inspections. HSE, with the support of the CAA and endorsement by the Offshore Industry Advisory Committees Helicopter Liaison Group (representing industry associations, trades unions and regulators), have commissioned the development of these guidelines. The objective is to provide designers and helicopter operators with the means to identify and understand the key issues that need to be addressed during design, fabrication and commissioning of helidecks. Good helideck design and operability also requires the designer and helicopter operator to have a clear understanding of regulatory requirements and the management and operational aspects of offshore helicopter logistics. These guidelines should therefore be read in conjunction with the latest editions of CAP 437 - Offshore Helicopter landing Areas - Guidance on Standards [Ref: 40] and the UK Offshore Operators Association Guidelines for the Management of Offshore Helideck Operations [Ref: 49]. They should be regarded as companion documents. The environmental research work, which is the foundation for Section 10 of these guidelines, was performed by BMT Fluid Mechanics Limited in conjunction with other specialists (e.g. DERA and JBAL). In addition, technical contributions from several experienced industry professionals and the findings from several other research projects form the substance of these guidelines. It is HSE's intention that these guidelines be periodically updated to reflect the outcome of ongoing industry research and advances in design and operating knowledge. Readers are therefore requested to send in their suggestions and comments for consideration to the HSE Hazardous Installation Directorate Offshore Division (Marine & Aviation Operations) at Rose Court, 2 Southwark Bridge, London, SE1 9HS and / or BOMEL Limited at Ledger House, Forest green Road, Fifield, Maidenhead, Berkshire, SL6 2NR.



Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the data given in this document are both correct and up to date at the time of publication, the Health and Safety Executive and authors will not accept any liability for any erroneous, incorrect or incomplete information published in this document.


Association of British Certification Bodies (ABCB) British Helicopter Advisory Board (BHAB) British Rig Owners Association (BROA) Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Cogent / Offshore Petroleum Industry Training Organisation (OPITO) International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC) International Association of Geophysical Contractors (IAGC) International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (OGP) International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) Inter Union Offshore Operations Committee (IUOOC) Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) Offshore Contractors Association (OCA) United Kingdom Offshore Operators Association (UKOOA)

BOMEL Limited


John Burt Associates Limited



PREFACE DISCLAIMER CONTENTS 1.0 INTRODUCTION 1.1 Purpose 1.2 Scope THE OFFSHORE HELICOPTER OPERATING ENVIRONMENT 2.1 Introduction 2.2 The Offshore Platform Operator / Vessel Owners Perspective 2.3 The Offshore Helicopter Pilots Operating Environment 2.4 Helideck Problems Encountered on the UKCS THE OFFSHORE HELIDECK DESIGN PROCESS 3.1 Introduction 3.2 Design REGULATIONS, DESIGN CODES & VERIFICATION 4.1 Introduction 4.2 Regulations 4.2.1 Aeronautical Legislation and Enforcement 4.2.2 4.3 4.3.1 4.3.2 4.4 4.4.1 4.4.2 4.4.3 4.4.4 4.4.5 4.4.6 4.4.7 5.0 Offshore Helidecks Legislation & Enforcement Selecting Appropriate Design Codes Fixed Installations Mobile Installations and Vessels Verification Introduction Safety-Critical Elements Performance Standards The Process Helideck Design Appraisal Providing Information for Operating and Flight Crew Operations Manuals Limited Helideck Operations III IV VII 1 2 2 5 5 5 6 7 11 11 11 17 17 18 18 19 21 21 21 22 22 22 23 23 24 25 26 27 27 28 29




DESIGN SAFETY CASES 5.1 Introduction 5.2 Risk and Operability Assessments 5.3 Helideck Assessment Strategy


5.4 5.5 6.0

Performance Assessment And Review Template for a Design and Operability Report

30 30 37 37 37 37 37 38 38 38 40 41 42 48 48 48 50 50 51 51 53 54 54 54 54 55 55 55 55 56 57 57 58 58 58 58 67 67 67 68 69

HELIDECK AND FACILITIES LAYOUT 6.1 Introduction 6.2 Developing a Helideck Design Specification 6.2.1 General 6.2.2 Reference Publications and Guidance 6.3 Installation / Vessel Layout Considerations 6.3.1 Main References 6.3.2 General 6.3.3 Helideck Physical Characteristics 6.3.4 Helideck Orientation 6.3.5 Assessing Suitability of the Proposed Helideck Arrangement 6.4 The Safe Landing Area 6.4.1 6.4.2 6.5 6.5.1 6.5.2 6.5.3 6.5.4 6.6 6.6.1 6.6.2 6.6.3 6.6.4 6.7 6.7.1 6.7.2 6.7.3 Main References General Helicopter Parking Facilities Introduction Main References Design Considerations Hangars Obstacle Free Environment Main References Obstruction Clearances Limited Obstacle Sector Falling Gradient Control, Access And Escape Main References Helideck Control Room Access and Escape Routes


FLOATING STRUCTURES AND VESSELS 7.1 Introduction 7.2 Mobile Drilling Rigs 7.2.1 Introduction 7.2.2 Main References 7.2.3 Specific Features to Consider in MODU Helideck Design 7.3 Floating Production Systems 7.3.1 Introduction 7.3.2 Main References 7.3.3 Specific Features to Consider in FPSO Helideck Design 7.3.4 Marine Operating Environment

7.3.5 7.3.6 7.3.7 7.4 7.4.1 7.4.2 7.4.3 7.5 8.0

Vessel / Helideck Classification / Verification Process Optimising Helideck Location and Layout Shuttle Tanker Operations Specialist Vessels Introduction Main References Specific Features to Consider in Vessel Helideck Design Motion Considerations And Operating Limits

70 71 71 72 72 73 73 76 77 77 77 79 79 81 82 83 83 84 84 85 85 91 91 92 93 93 93 93 95 95 95 96 96 97 97 97 97 98 99 99

OTHER INSTALLATION ARRANGEMENTS 8.1 Combined Operations 8.1.1 Introduction 8.1.2 Main References 8.1.3 Design Considerations 8.1.4 Safety Cases 8.1.5 8.2 8.2.1 8.2.2 8.2.3 8.2.4 8.2.5 Management of Combined Operations Helidecks Normally Unattended Installations Introduction Main References Definitions Seeking the Safest and Most Efficient Helideck Design Options for Operations to NUIs Equipment Design Considerations


HELIDECK STRUCTURES 9.1 Introduction 9.2 Main References 9.3 Landing Surface 9.3.1 Wood 9.3.2 Steel 9.3.3 Aluminium 9.4 Support Structure 9.4.1 Introduction 9.4.2 9.4.3 9.4.4 9.4.5 9.5 9.6 9.6.1 9.6.2 9.6.3 9.6.4 Materials Design Interconnected Modules Maintenance Appurtenances Load Combinations and Load Factors Introduction Emergency landing Normal Operations and Helicopters at Rest Design Loadings

9.7 9.7.1 9.7.2 9.7.3 9.7.4 9.7.5 9.7.6 9.8 9.8.1 9.8.2 9.8.3 9.8.4 9.8.5 9.8.6 9.8.7 9.8.8 9.9 9.9.1 9.9.2 9.9.3 9.9.4 9.9.5 9.10 9.10.1 9.10.2 9.10.3 9.10.4 9.10.5 9.10.6 9.10.7 9.11 9.11.1 9.11.2 9.11.3 9.12 9.13 9.13.1 9.13.2 10.0

Helideck Friction Surface and Landing Nets Friction Surface Main References Design Considerations Helideck Landing Nets Helideck Net Fixings Helideck Landing Net Removal Access and Escape Introduction Main References Access General Considerations Escape - General Considerations Platforms Walkways Stairways and Ladders Control of Personnel Access to Helideck Drainage Introduction Main References Environmental Considerations Operational Considerations Design Considerations Perimeter Safety Net Introduction Main References Design Considerations Areas to be protected by Perimeter Safety Net Combined Handrail and Safety Nets for Vessels Construction and Inspection Considerations Perimeter Safety Net Load Testing Tiedown Arrangements Introduction Main References Design Considerations Helideck Surface Trip Hazards Helideck Structural Maintenance Main References Introduction

101 101 101 101 102 103 106 107 107 107 108 109 109 111 111 112 112 112 112 113 113 113 115 115 115 115 116 116 117 121 121 121 121 121 124 124 124 124 127 127 127 127

HELIDECK ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS 10.1 Introduction 10.2 Main References 10.3 Background

10.4 10.4.1 10.4.2 10.4.3 10.4.4 10.4.5 10.4.6 10.4.7 10.5 10.5.1 10.5.2 10.5.3 10.5.4 10.5.5 10.6 10.7 10.7.1 10.7.2 10.8 10.8.1 10.8.2 10.8.3 10.8.4 10.9 10.9.1 10.9.2 10.9.3 10.9.4 10.9.5 10.9.6 10.10 10.10.1 10.10.2 10.10.3 10.11 10.11.1 10.12 10.12.1 10.13 11.

Design Issues Introduction Aerodynamic Issues and Criteria Plan Location of the Helideck Helideck Height and Air Gap under the Helideck Proximity to Tall Structures Temperature Rise due to Hot Exhausts Cold Flaring and Rapid Blow-down Systems Special Considerations for Floating Systems and Vessels General Wave Motion Characteristics and Criteria Sea State Characterisation Vessel Motions and Helideck Downtime Helideck Location Dependence Special Considerations for FPSOs and Dynamically Positioned Vessels Combined Operations Permanent Arrangements Temporary Arrangements Examples of Good and Bad Practice in Platform Helideck Location Fixed Installations Semi-submersible and jack-up drilling units Tension Leg Platforms FPSOs Methods of Design Assessment Introduction Wind Flow Assessment Wind Climate Prevailing Wind Direction Upwind Helideck Location Estimating Helideck Downtime Due to Wind Presentation of Wind Flow Assessment Results General Presentation of Flow Assessment Results for Design Presentation of Flow Assessment Results for Operations Wave Motion Assessment Wave Induced Motion Estimates Wave Climate Limiting Motion Criteria Estimating Helideck Downtime Due to Waves

129 129 130 131 132 134 136 139 140 140 141 142 142 142 145 146 146 147 148 149 150 152 153 155 155 155 161 163 164 167 169 169 169 176 179 179 180 180 182 183 183 183

HELIDECK SYSTEMS 11.1 Introduction 11.1.1 Hazardous Area Classification and Equipment Selection

11.2 11.2.1 11.2.2 11.2.3 11.2.4 11.2.5 11.3 11.3.1 11.3.2 11.3.3 11.3.4 11.3.5 11.3.6 11.3.7 11.3.8 11.3.9 11.4 11.4.1 11.4.2 11.5 11.5.1 11.5.2 11.5.3 11.5.4 11.5.5 11.5.6 11.5.7 11.5.8 11.5.9 11.5.10 11.6 11.6.1 11.6.2 11.6.3 11.7 11.7.1 11.7.2 11.7.3 11.7.4 11.8 11.8.1 11.8.2

Visual Aids - Markings Introduction Main References Helideck Markings Installation / Helideck Identification Obstruction Markings Visual Aids - Lighting Systems Main References Considering the Offshore Lighting Environment Specific Requirements for NUIs Perimeter Lighting Floodlighting General Lighting Obstruction Lighting Windsock Lighting Status Lights Electrical Power Supplies General Philosophy Design Considerations Fire Protection Systems General Main References Firefighting Safety Goals and Objectives Requirements of a Foam System Design Criteria for Foam Systems Design Considerations for Monitor Systems Water / Foam Systems Hydrant Systems and Equipment Complementary Media Helideck Fire Detection Rescue Equipment Provisions Main References Rescue Equipment Cabinets Rescue Equipment Inventory Helicopter Refuelling Introduction Main References Operational Considerations General Design Considerations Communications Equipment Introduction Main References

184 184 184 184 185 187 188 188 189 191 192 195 198 199 202 204 207 207 208 208 208 209 209 211 211 212 217 218 221 223 224 224 224 227 228 228 228 228 229 235 235 235


11.8.3. 11.8.4 11.8.5 11.8.6 11.8.7 11.8.8 11.8.9 11.9 11.9.1 11.9.2 11.9.3 11.9.4 11.9.5 11.9.6 11.9.7 11.9.8 11.9.9 11.9.10 11.10 11.10.1 11.10.2 11.11 11.12 11.12.1 11.12.2 11.12.3 11.12.4 11.12.5

Location of Equipment and Aerials Aeronautical VHF Radio Marine VHF Radio Helideck Crew Portable VHF Sets NDB Equipment Public Address and Alarm Systems Video Briefing System Meteorological Equipment Introduction Main References Equipment Requirements Wind Velocity and Direction Measuring Equipment Air Temperature Measuring Equipment Barometric Pressure Measuring Equipment Visibility Measuring Equipment Cloudbase Measuring Equipment Vessel Motion Measuring Equipment Automatic Meteorological Instrument Station Miscellaneous Helideck Equipment General Helicopter and Helideck Washdown and Cleaning Equipment Bird Control Devices Safety Signs and Posters Introduction Main References Specifying Safety Signs General Helideck Signs Heli-Admin Signs and Posters

236 237 238 238 238 239 240 240 240 241 241 242 245 246 247 248 248 249 250 250 251 251 254 254 254 254 255 256 260 262 269 273 275 277 279 281




283 285 287 289 291






These guidelines have been developed and published under the sponsorship of the Health & Safety Executive supported by the Civil Aviation Authority and endorsed by the Offshore Industry Advisory Committee Helicopter Liaison Group (OIAC-HLG) to provide technical information about the design and operation of helidecks and their facilities and to indicate current good practice. The OIAC-HLG membership is comprised of HSE, CAA, BHAB, UKOOA, BROA, IADC, IMCA and the trades unions TGWU and AMICUS (MSF). Since oil and gas exploration activities began on the United Kingdom Continental Shelf (UKCS), the Offshore Industry has been dependent on the efficient and safe use of helicopters for logistics and emergency support. The primary role is moving people to and from their workplaces on the offshore facilities. Other roles include freight movement, emergency evacuation and search and rescue. Over the thirty years or so since oil and gas activities commenced on the UKCS, helicopter travel has become the norm for the workforce. A measure of the scale of this vital activity since the early sixties is that there have been in the order of 6 million flights and 45 million passenger movements within the UKCS (1968 2002). The introduction of helicopters in the early sixties as a routine offshore workhorse has increasingly brought the associated operational support activities into sharper focus. The harsh operating environment, some serious and fatal accidents and the emergence of goal setting regulations offshore have all contributed to a greater awareness of the problems associated with operating helicopters in a marine environment. However, this greater awareness of operating problems has not always been matched by a full and clear understanding of requirements at the interfaces between aviation, oil and gas production and processing and marine operations. Helideck surveys carried out between 1992 and 1995 by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), on behalf of the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) [Ref: 34] revealed deficiencies concerning the physical layout of helidecks, helideck operations, maintenance, standards of equipment and the competence and training of helideck crews that were subsequently corrected. It is vital that the technical requirements for helicopter operations are properly identified during the conceptual design of an installation and given full consideration at all subsequent stages from detailed design through to fabrication,

construction, installation and commissioning, operations and any subsequent modification. Technologically, helicopters have improved significantly during the period they have operated on the UKCS. Aircraft designers, maintenance engineers, flight crews, Helicopter Operators and the Regulators continue to seek improvements to helicopter safety and reliability. Offshore Installation Owners and Operators, and vessel owners should similarly recognise the need to continuously improve the standards of helideck hardware and their operating management of helicopter facilities.


These guidelines are intended to: Assist those involved with the conceptual and detailed design of helideck systems to specify the equipment on offshore installations, MODUs and vessels, in order to provide suitable helideck arrangements that will ensure good availability under both normal and emergency operating conditions Assist onshore and offshore personnel responsible for the management of offshore helicopter and helideck operations to provide safe and efficient offshore helicopter services Provide Independent Competent Persons (ICPs) who are undertaking verification of offshore helideck and facilities design and operations inspections and audits with examples of good industry practice.


The guidelines are intended to comprehensively address the routine and key technical issues that are known to arise in the design and construction of offshore helidecks and the execution of UKCS offshore and helideck operations. In so doing, the guidelines should provide industry with advice and technical information on good helideck design and construction practices and the acceptable operating standards that duty holders and vessel owners are reasonably expected

to adopt. Duty Holders should be careful to use up to date editions of the reference documents mentioned herein. It is acknowledged that advances in technologies used in helideck design will continue as a result of ongoing research and development projects and will have occurred during the preparation of these guidelines. Therefore, under the sponsorship of OIAC-HLG, the content of this document will be reviewed and periodically updated to embody the latest information.





The offshore helicopter operating environment is viewed quite differently by the various organisations and people that are involved in the wide range of activities, from helideck design through to actual offshore helideck operations. The various parties include: Installation Operators / Vessel Owners Management (Duty Holders) Helicopter Operators (AOC Holder), Flight Crews and Maintenance organisations Helicopter Landing Officers (HLOs), Deck Crews and Service Providers Helideck Designers, Fabricators and Technical Support Specialists (Consultants) Installation / Vessel Project Engineering & Construction Management Regulators.

Several individuals and organisations will be involved in the lifetime management of a helideck design and its routine operation. It is the different perspectives held by these individuals and organisations that can, and often does, lead to inadequate helideck facilities and support arrangements being provided, particularly when they act or operate in isolation from one another. The following sections serve to offer an insight into the end users perspectives and thus provide a better understanding of the overriding operational requirements and outcomes that should be given priority consideration.



The helicopter crew, HLO and deck crews are the end users. They have to endure the day-to-day problems in operations caused by any errors and omissions during initial helideck specification, design and construction. The installation operator, MODU or vessel owner makes the capital expenditure (CAPEX) for the design and construction of a helideck. They also pay the operating expense (OPEX) during life of field helicopter operations.

Reductions in capital expenditure by economising on helideck design and construction costs may well prove very expensive in operating costs. Therefore, their primary objective should be to ensure that for a given CAPEX, the helideck and its systems give value for money over the life of the facility. This means ensuring that the helideck and systems design will provide for safe and efficient flight operations. Design deficiencies that increase OPEX should be avoided. The helideck and facilities designers (usually several discipline engineers) are tasked with developing the helideck structure and systems design for fabrication and construction. Simply following oil field tradition and practice during the design phase will invariably embody all the errors and omissions that have accumulated in helideck designs over the years. An integrated and well-informed approach by operations and project management and the discipline engineers is more likely to produce a good operational helideck and support systems.



Offshore flight operations are a highly complex and specialised process. It requires high levels of training, competence and skill to plan a flight, land and takeoff from an offshore installation and to consistently execute the task safely and efficiently under normal, good weather flying conditions. When a task is carried out in adverse weather (e.g. poor visibility), during night flying and when other predictable and / or unpredictable factors routinely found in and around the environs of an offshore installation or vessel are encountered, the skills of flight crews can be stretched. Unlike pilots operating from onshore airfields, offshore helicopter crews have relatively little ground-based technology and fairly limited information to assist them as they commence their final approach for a landing on an offshore helideck. It is much the same when taking-off. Despite the many advances in aircraft technology, navigation, landing and communications aids in recent years, there are currently no reliable and effective

electronic landing aids available for use on offshore installations / vessels. Therefore, offshore helicopter crews have to rely heavily on their acquired skills and experience when approaching, landing and taking-off from offshore installations / vessels. It is not necessary or appropriate to review the whole scope of helicopter flying in these guidelines. However, it is to essential to consider two important topics concerning flight crew activities that are performed within the offshore flight operations process. These are: 1. 2. pilot information, and approach, landing and take off manoeuvres.

Helideck Designers are recommended to acquaint themselves with these topics. They are covered in detail in the UKOOA Guidelines for the Management of Offshore Helideck Operations [Ref: 49].



In recent years, HSE and CAA have jointly funded a number of studies and research projects that have included analysis of incidents and other statistical data relating to offshore helicopter safety. CAA Paper 99004 [Ref: 41] provides two good measures of the extent of problems encountered by offshore helicopters due to adverse helideck environmental conditions. In 1997, a count of the BHAB Helidecks Installation / Vessel Limitations List (IVLL) now renamed the Helideck Limitations List (HLL) showed the following:

Restrictions referred to in the IVLL included notified non-compliances (e.g. physical obstructions in 210 sector and 5:1 infringements) and limitations / comments arising from flight experience (e.g. turbulent sectors and turbine exhaust effects). It is important to note that the restricted helidecks are not confined only to older Installations, MODUs and vessels (e.g. those built over 20 years ago or more). Restrictions continue to be established and imposed by the Helicopter Operators

Helideck Technical Committee for basic deficiencies on helidecks that have been more recently installed. In the same CAA Paper, an analysis of 18 accident reports (see following table) taken from the CAA SI&DD, Mandatory Occurrence Reporting (MOR) database shows that defects in Installation design can be cited as the cause for two thirds of the occurrences. This situation clearly suggests that helideck operability was not properly addressed during the initial design phase of the Installations concerned. Such design deficiencies can seriously undermine operational efficiency and compromise safety



9 (50%)

3 (33.3%)

4 (22.2%)


Further evidence to demonstrate the need for ensuring that design and operation of helidecks on the UKCS are properly managed, is illustrated in the following table. The table takes data from the CAA SI&DD, Mandatory Occurrence Reporting (MOR) database over the period 1975 to 2001 and provides a breakdown of nonfatal reportable accident causes.

In recent years, as a result of several flight safety initiatives, a significant reduction in the number of non-fatal reportable accidents on the helicopter side of the equation is noted. The number of non-fatal reportable accidents caused by installation / vessel deficiencies remain fairly constant, in line with flight activity levels.
NUMBER OF OCCURRENCES CAUSE Aircraft Related Incidents (e.g. Flight Crew, Operations, Weather, Manufacture, Maintenance, etc.) Installation / Vessel Related Incidents (e.g. Helideck Operations, Adverse Helideck Environment, Vessel Motions, etc.) 2 6 2 15 19 5 1975-1983 1984-1992 1993-2001

In addition to fatal and non-fatal reportable accidents the MOR Database also records other occurrences. These relatively minor occurrences take place in greater numbers but are equally as important from an offshore flight safety viewpoint. They require appropriate actions to be taken to prevent recurrence. From an aviation perspective the occurrences are typified by events such as engine and other component failures and operational shortcomings. Their effects are generally contained within the design and operating capability of helicopters. Other occurrences are helideck environmental issues, offshore helideck management and operational procedure violations. Avoiding these violations is part of the substance for these guidelines.






The purpose of this part of the guidance document is to identify the topics and expand the requirements that need to be properly considered in the design and fabrication of new helidecks and the modification of existing helidecks, regardless of the type of facility to which they are fitted.


Offshore helideck and facilities design can be broken down into a sequence of events within an overall project process. The process is illustrated in the following figures: Figure 3.1 Defining the Basic Requirements for a Helideck Figure 3.2 Verification / Classification Process and Selecting Design Codes Figure 3.3 Facility and Helideck Layout Considerations Figure 3.4 Specifying the Helideck and Support Systems.


Figure 3.1 - Defining the Basic installation What type of offshore Requirements for a Helideck
/ vessel / helicopter operations are envisioned?

Fixed ? Fixed? (e.g. manne d or (e.g. Manned or NUI) un - manned)

Mobile ? (e.g. FPSO, MODU, Vessel)

What is the Project Logistics intent ?

Is a helicopter landing area required? If yes,

Under what jurisdiction is the facility to operate ?

W hat is the Project Design Helicopter ?

Is a parking / laydown area required ?

What is the predicted meteorological operating environment ?

What is the predicted marine operating environment ?

Is helicopter refuelling required ?

Decide verification / classification process and establish project design codes

If yes, determine the operational fuel usage and fuel storage capacity required, including reserves

See See Figure 12 Fig. 3.2 .

See See Fig. 3.3.3 Figure 1

See See Fig. 3.44 Figure 1 .

Figure 3.1 - Defining the Basic Requirements for a Helideck


Fixed Installations (incl. FPSOs)

Mobile Installations (incl. MODUs)

Specialist Vessels (DSVs, etc.)

Figure 3.2 - Verification / Classification Process and Selecting Design Codes Figure 3.2 - Verificationdesignatedan / Classification Process and Selecting Design Codes (Also ififdesignated an (Also
offshore installation) Offshore Installation)

Offshore Health & Safety Regulatory Requirements

Aviation Regulatory Requirements

Flag State (Marine) Regulatory Requirements

All applicable regulations identified, advised to project and complied with Classification Society / Verification Authorities identified and appointed, where appropriate

Authority Jurisdictions for the operating location correctly identified and advised to project?

All applicable project helideck design codes (structures & systems) and operating procedures identified and advised to project

ICAO Annex 14 Vol 2

CAP 437 IMO MODU code SOLAS (Ships) Flag State Rules Ships Rules (Class) Industry Guidelines

Figure 3.2 - Verification / Classification Process and Selecting Design Codes


Project design helicopter established

Figure 3.3 - Facility and Helideck Layout Considerations

Determine maximum safe landing area Determine maximum required helideck size and shape Determine available helideck locations on the installation Assess all potential adverse helicopter environmental effects


Can the dead and imposed loads of the helideck and support structure be accommodated?

Can the full obstruction free environment be obtained without incurring operating limitations?

Can adverse environmental factors be minimised and helideck operability assured?

Have all the appropriate regulatory and code requirements been complied with?

Has the extent and operating impact of any potential flight limitations been properly considered and passed as acceptable by the helicopter operator or by an aviation specialist?




Reappraise design layout and find solutions

FIX helideck design layout

Figure 3.3 - Facility and Helideck Layout Considerations


Safe Landing Area (SLA) and overall helideck location, size and shape determined

(Sections 6 & 10)

Helideck design, material, surface, access & escape selected (Sections 6 & 9)

Refuelling system required? (Section 11.7)

Fire Protection systems requirements identified and capacities calculated

All visual aids (markings and lighting) properly identified and set out (Sections 11.2 & 11.3)

(Section 11.5)
Aviation Fuel storage and supply systems identified, located and sized (Section 11.7)

Communications and meteorological equipment requirements identified and properly specified (Sections 11.8 & 11.9)

Structural support design / material /construction requirements identified and satisfied (See Section 9)

Fire protection & rescue equipment properly specified (Sections 11.5 & 11.6)

Helideck, identification, installation side signage and obstruction markings properly specified (Sections 11.2)

Alarm & public address systems identified & specified (Section 11.8)

All miscellaneous helideck equipment, safety equipment and signs, etc. properly identified and specified (Sections 11.10 & 11.12)

Aviation fuel system and equipment properly specified (Section 11.7)

Protective clothing requirements identified and specified (Section11.6.4)

Lighting systems requirements specified & adequate electrical power (main & UPS) available (Sections 11.3)

Helideck motion recording system and equipment identified & specified (FPSOs, MODUs & Vessels) (Section 11.9)

Figure 3.4 - Specifying the Helideck and Support Systems (Section Numbers refer to these guidelines)







There are a significant number of regulations governing the use of helicopters and the provision of facilities for their operation on the UKCS. These Guidelines identify the regulations in force at the time of publication, but users of this document should always ensure that they refer to the latest issue of any regulation; particularly new or revised HSE Publications and HSE and CAA research and development papers (See Appendix 2). Over the years several documents have been published in the form of legal requirements, official notices, guidance and good industry practice for offshore helicopter operations. The essential elements of these documents will be found referenced in the text and appendices of these Offshore Helideck Design Guidelines. This section deals with the legislation and enforcement with respect to helideck design, construction and verification as two distinct subjects: aeronautical operations, and offshore helideck operations.

The offshore regulations do not apply to vessels that are not designated as Offshore Installations, UK or Flag State Marine Law applies to these vessels. Aeronautical operations regulations and guidelines make no such distinction on the UKCS: Aviation Rules always apply. It is, however, recommended that owners and builders of vessels with helidecks that will operate on the UKCS, in support of oil and gas operations, seriously consider the advantages of complying fully with the UK offshore and aviation regulatory requirements. There is considerable operational and commercial benefit to be obtained by employing the most rigorous design standards. This design guide is written with these standards in mind.



Aeronautical Legislation and Enforcement
As these Guidelines deal only with offshore helideck operations, it is not intended to detail the legislation and enforcement regime as it applies directly to the maintenance and operation of helicopters. Helicopter Operators are obliged to comply with relevant Aviation Law. The onus is on the Helicopter Operators, as holders of Air Operators Certificates (AOC) to ensure that any landing site meets minimum requirements. If a helicopter operator finds serious failings and deficiencies in the facilities, he may decide not to authorise the helideck for use. The primary instrument of civil aviation legislation in the UK is the Civil Aviation Act 1982 [Ref: 2]. Under the 1982 Act, CAA is responsible for operation of the Air Navigation Order (ANO). The legislation is supported by Civil Aviation Publications (CAPs). CAP 437 [Ref: 40] is the primary UK aviation standard for the design of offshore helidecks. This standard contains the criteria that an AOC Holder will use in order to authorise the helideck for use by Flight Crews. Offshore helidecks fall within the definition of unlicensed aerodromes and are outside the CAA licensing remit. However, the CAA will provide advice on any items of non-compliance with the helideck physical characteristics and emergency equipment requirements according to the guidance provided in CAP 437. Acting on behalf of the offshore helicopter operators, BHAB Helidecks assess and inspect helideck designs and apply appropriate operational restrictions where there are non-compliances. The CAA monitors the operational restrictions that are imposed by BHAB Helidecks through its regulation of the helicopter operators. It is therefore important to realise that non-compliance with design criteria of CAP 437 may result in significant loss of helicopter operational flexibility (e.g. reduction in available payloads or even a landing ban in certain weather conditions). Frequently found non-conformities during BHAB Helideck inspections are highlighted in the appropriate sections of these guidelines.



Offshore Helidecks Legislation & Enforcement

This section addresses the regulatory requirements and enforcement affecting Offshore Installation operators, mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU) owners and, where appropriate, vessel owners. The responsibility for regulating and enforcing the health, safety and welfare of employees offshore rests with the HSE Offshore Division (OSD). Health and Safety at Work Act The Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974 (HASAWA) [Ref: 1] is the principal legislation safeguarding the health, safety and welfare of workers in the UK offshore oil and gas industry. The Act applies to places and activities specified in the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (Application Outside Great Britain) Order 1995 (SI 1995/263) [Ref: 4]. This includes helideck activities on offshore installations, but not helicopters while in flight. Flag State laws and ICAO and IMO conventions may also apply to shipping activities (e.g. specialist vessels). MODUs may be both Installations and ships and, therefore, have to comply with both regimes. The Offshore Installations and Wells (Design and Construction, etc.) Regulations 1996 (SI 1996/913) (DCR) [Ref: 8] place responsibility for ensuring the safe design and construction of offshore installation landing areas on the installation duty holder. This generally means the operators of fixed installations and owners of mobile installations, floating production units and some vessels. Offshore Legislation The Offshore Installations (Safety Case) Regulations 1992 (Sl 1992/2885) (SCR) [Ref: 5] require Operators and Owners to submit a Safety Case (See Appendix 2) which demonstrates that they have an adequate safety management system, have identified major accident hazards, assessed the risks from those hazards, and taken the measures necessary to reduce the risks to persons to as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP).


In addition, the following regulations have relevance to offshore helicopter operations: The Offshore Installations and Pipeline Works (Management and Administration) Regulations 1995 (SI 1995/738) (MAR) [Ref: 6] The Offshore Installations (Prevention of Fire and Explosion, and Emergency Response) Regulations 1995 (SI 1995/743) (PFEER) [Ref: 7] The Offshore Installations and Wells (Design and Construction, etc.) Regulations 1996 (SI 1996/913) (DCR) [Ref: 8].

Designers should be aware that the above regulations may subsequently be modified by other enabling legislation which introduces new or amended requirements that may have an affect on the intent of the original regulations. Approved Codes of Practice (ACOP) that provide interpretation of these Regulations, along with other non-mandatory guidance are listed in Appendix 2. Duty holders who comply with ACOPs are deemed to comply with the pertinent regulations. The supporting guidance to DCR, Regulation 11 (Helicopter Landing Area) refers to the relevant CAA published guidance, CAP 437 [Ref: 40]. Duty Holders of Offshore Installations and owners of vessels having a helideck should always ensure that compliance with CAP 437 is established initially (subject to any declared non-compliance), and subsequently maintained. The CAA is in a position to enforce certain standards on helicopter operators. Essentially, this means that a helideck shall meet the minimum standards set out in CAP 437. Where these standards cannot be achieved in full, BHAB Helidecks apply relevant restrictions. The HSE regards CAP 437 as appropriate guidance regarding helideck standards. In extreme cases where CAP 437 criteria cannot be fully met, this could entail a landing ban on the installation, MODU or vessel in certain weather conditions and / or on night operations.




The selection of appropriate design codes at the commencement of design is essential to ensure that the helideck structure and support systems are fit for purpose and meet UK regulatory and operational requirements.


Fixed Installations
Generally, selection of appropriate regulations, guidance and design codes for design and construction of a fixed installation to be placed on the UKCS is a straightforward matter. These guidelines address many of the current requirements throughout the text and should therefore provide designers with a good appreciation of the standards to be adopted.


Mobile Installations and Vessels

The selection of appropriate regulations, guidance and design codes for MODU and vessel helidecks is a different and often more complex matter. Essentially, the starting point is the Owners specification for the MODU or vessel and this will dictate such things as the Country / Port of Registration, vessel class, operating regions, Classification Society, etc. If the MODU or vessel helideck is to be used operationally on the UKCS there are potentially a number of conflicts likely to arise between UK and International requirements and Classification Society Rules, particularly where the MODU or vessel is designed and constructed outside the UK. It is therefore the responsibility of the MODU or vessel owner to address and resolve all possible regulatory and code conflicts when writing the initial vessel specification if the helideck is intended to operate in UK waters without having severe operating restrictions imposed by BHAB Helidecks. Design areas where conflicts in the requirements generally occur are: Helideck structural codes and passive fire protection (particularly if aluminium helideck structures are specified) Helideck size, allowable mass and obstruction criteria Helideck and installation / vessel markings Lighting systems

Firefighting system selection, capacities and coverage Rescue equipment scales.

The above areas where potential MODU and vessel design and construction requirements may conflict are covered in more detail in Section 7.


The Offshore Installations and Wells (Design and Construction, etc.) Regulations 1996 (SI 1996/913) (DCR) have amended the Offshore Installations (Safety Case) Regulations 1992 (SI 1992/2885) (SCR) to replace the Certification regime established by the, now revoked, Offshore Installations (Construction and Survey) Regulations 1974. The Safety Case centred Regulations dispensed with the concept of a Certifying Authority and place sole responsibility for the development and ongoing maintenance of a safe Installation onto the Operator or Owner (Duty Holder). It is recommended that vessel owners operating in UK waters adopt a similar approach to that described below where they have an operational helideck installed. There is close correlation between the fundamental requirements of classification and that of verification. There is also the basic requirement to comply with CAP 437. For legal and practical reasons, therefore, it makes good sense to apply this design guidance to all helidecks.


Safety-Critical Elements
Operators / Owners are required to list the Safety-Critical Elements (SCEs), have them subject to independent review and develop a scheme for verification of their performance throughout the life cycle of the installation. UKOOA Guidelines for the Management of Safety-Critical Elements [Ref: 51] provide further detailed information. An Offshore Installation helideck is a collection of systems, some of which are safety-critical or have safety-critical sub-systems or components. This means that a failure in any part of its operation could cause, or substantially contribute to, a major accident at the installation with potentially serious consequences for installation, helicopters and workforce.


Sub-systems contributing to safety-criticality may include: Helideck Helicopter firefighting Escapeways Power Drainage Emergency Lighting

This list of items arises from the helideck function as a means for evacuating the installation / vessel in an emergency (where possible under certain defined scenarios). Also, failure of helideck safety systems (e.g. firefighting system) may prevent the on-board capability from limiting the effects of a helicopter accident on the helideck.


Performance Standards
Performance standards should be set by the Installation Operator, MODU or vessel owner to measure or assess the suitability and effectiveness of the helideck and to assure and verify that the helideck structure, systems and equipment are fit for purpose. Meeting the installation integrity requirements of DCR and PFEER performance standards also contribute to assuring the SCEs for the helideck. In setting the performance standards to comply with offshore legislation, it should also be recognised that the requirements of CAP 437 must be met in order to obtain BHAB Helidecks clearance for routine flight operations. Therefore, CAP 437 should be used as the basis for setting the relevant SCE performance standards. SCE performance standards do not cover the auditing of helideck operational aspects. These should be covered in the installation Safety Management System (SMS). However, they are equally important.


The Process
Having set the performance standards, independent and competent persons should be selected by the operator / owner to prepare, or be consulted on the verification scheme and to implement it. It is for the operator / owner to decide how this is to be achieved. The prime requirement of the verifying body is an adequate capability to assess the importance of defects. Independent in this context may include employees of the installation operator, MODU or vessel owner, provided they have not been involved technically in the design and planning of the relevant parts of the installation and that their management lines should be separate from those whose work they are checking.


It is also important to ensure that the objectivity of those undertaking verification works is not compromised. The scope and level of the verification scheme should define what parameters will be measured; equipment tested or designs reviewed. It should also define how these measurements will be undertaken. When, where and how often the performance standards will be measured or assessed during the life cycle should be specified. There should also be a system for verifying that the performance standards have been achieved. The personnel carrying out routine inspection and testing and the personnel who will independently verify this work may cover this.


Helideck Design Appraisal

During development of a new helideck or the modification of an existing helideck, independent and competent person(s) should conduct a design appraisal and fabrication survey to verify that the helideck and its systems meet the specified performance standards (see CAP 437) and is fit for purpose in respect of the following items, as a minimum: size and structural adequacy for selected helicopter orientation to prevailing winds gas / exhaust emissions and turbulence environment effects of vessel motions (if applicable) suitable helideck height clear landing approach and take-off paths obstructions within permitted limits falling gradient (i.e. 5:1) access and escape routes parking arrangements, if provided lighting markings friction surface tiedowns helideck net and perimeter safety net refuelling facilities firefighting equipment hardware aspects helideck details in the Operations Manual.


During the helideck design verification process, the appropriate design documents including drawings, wind tunnel test reports, etc. should be reviewed and verified by an independent competent person (ICP). BHAB Helidecks should also be notified at the commencement of new helideck designs or modifications to existing helidecks and, when appropriate, consulted on issues concerning potential non-compliances with CAP 437 requirements. At the conclusion of the helideck design and fabrication, a set of up to date design documents including drawings, wind tunnel test reports, etc. should be passed to BHAB Helidecks for their review, comment and retention. It should be clearly understood that modifications on installations, MODUs and vessels in areas off the actual helideck and some distance away can adversely affect helideck operations (e.g. the addition of new modules, repositioning of gas turbine exhausts and vent systems, etc.). Upon satisfactory completion of the helideck Hook Up and Commissioning, BHAB Helidecks should be notified in order for them to undertake an initial inspection of the helideck and its systems prior to the commencement of flight operations. The inspection will follow the approved Offshore Helideck Inspection Report (OHIR) format. This initial inspection, along with an appraisal of the relevant design documents, will highlight non-compliances and thus assist BHAB Helidecks with determining whether operational limitations should be applied.


Providing Information for Operating and Flight Crew Operations Manuals

One of the imperatives at the conclusion of helideck design and construction is to provide relevant and complete technical information for future use by the helideck and flight crews. As part of the inspection / acceptance process BHAB Helidecks require a full set of plans and documentation as listed on the Offshore Helideck Inspection Report (OHIR). Information to be gathered for inclusion in the installation or vessel operations manuals should be largely the same as that required to develop the Design and Operability Report (template provided in Section 5.5). In particular, it is essential to include any information to be provided in written instructions to flight crews, OIMs and helideck crews.


Vendor information, data sheets, operating instructions and maintenance and test manuals should also be obtained for each piece of procured equipment and provided for use on the facility.


Limited Helideck Operations

In the event that helideck operations are likely to be restricted as a result of design or construction deficiencies, the problems likely to be encountered and the likely costs incurred by the duty holder during operations should be clearly understood and justified to the helideck owner by the designers. Installation operators, MODU and vessel owners should instruct Topsides and Helideck Design Contractors to advise them formally of any helideck or associated system deficiencies arising from the overall installation, MODU or vessel helideck designs that may give rise to helicopter or helideck operational restrictions and / or additional operating expense.





The Offshore Installations (Safety Case) Regulations 1992 (SCR) (SI 1992/2885), among other things require installation owners and duty holders to identify all hazards which could cause a major accident, including helicopter accidents, and to take measures to reduce the risks to as low as is reasonably practicable (Regulation 8). The approach taken when making these Regulations was to set objectives. The objectives were then expanded further in guidance on the regulations. However, it is noted that, with respect to helicopter operations, the guidance on Safety Case Regulations is focused mainly on the hazards and risks to an installation and its personnel from impacts by aircraft. It does not specifically encompass the hazards and risks to a helicopter and its passengers from the installation and its processes. Duty Holders, including Designers, should adequately address the potential effects on helicopter flight operations caused by adverse operating environments created on and around offshore installations. These adverse effects may result from production and power generation processes and structures on the installation or from adjacent installations and vessels. When combined with local weather conditions the resultant effects can place helicopters in jeopardy, particularly during critical flight phases. Duty Holders including Designers should, in particular, assess any hazards due to hydrocarbon gas release, exhaust emissions, physical turbulence generation and lit flares. Failure modes of installation, MODU or vessel systems that have the potential to affect the safety of helicopters should also be assessed (e.g. loss of heading control on a vessel whilst a helicopter is located on the helideck). References to these studies should be made in the Design and Operations Safety Cases. HSE has recognised the need to consider the hazards to helicopters created by an installation, MODU or vessel. The joint HSE / CAA research project resulting in CAA Paper 99004 [Ref: 41] concluded (Conclusion No: 29) that guidance in the past has been solely and erroneously concentrated on the risk to the installation and has not explicitly encompassed the hazards the installation may pose to the helicopter. HSE Safety Notice 4/99 [Ref: 23] draws duty holders attention to the need to consider installation or vessel induced hazards for helicopters.




There are a number of situations where the actions of the duty holder could be prejudicial to the safety of helicopter operations. These include: 1. Poorly controlled activities which could adversely affect the wind flow over the helideck, such as design modifications to the topside layout or blocking air gaps under the helideck (where these are provided) thereby reducing the effectiveness of the design air gap. Combined operations (e.g. involving closely positioned workover rigs or flotels) where the effects of windflow, exhausts and proximity on helicopter operations have not been considered. There may be conflict between flights to adjacent installations, however, bridge linked units can make a choice of helideck available. Lack of awareness on the part of the OIM of the impact of routine platform activities on helicopter operations can also be important. Gas turbine exhaust plumes are largely invisible to a helicopter pilot but can be detrimental to helicopter handling and performance. Information on the operational status of such equipment should be made available to pilots. 4. Releases of hydrocarbon gas, whether due to an unforeseen accident, or as part of a controlled blowdown of process equipment, also represent a hazard to helicopters. Where a condition can exist which may be hazardous to the helicopter or the occupants, duty holders should install helideck status lights. Diesel exhaust emissions can also cause serious degradation to the quality of the flying environment. This is particularly so in respect of the fumes and airborne particulates associated with diesel exhausts. The thermal effects from diesel exhaust emissions on helicopter rotor, engine control and performance are generally less than from gas turbine exhausts operating at higher temperatures. The sample strategy, outlined in Section 5.3, is provided to maximise coverage of the helideck assessment.







When preparing risk and operability assessments the duty holder should particularly address the following issues by preparing a schedule of key factors likely to have an impact on the safety of helicopter operations. The schedule should include, but is not necessarily limited to: The maintenance of unobstructed air flow over and under the helideck Consideration of the likely impact on the airflow situation due to changes in the topside layout that could range for example from temporary storage under the helideck to more permanent changes such as the addition of cladding to the drilling derrick The operation of gas turbine units in situations where hot exhaust gasses may be emitted into the path of a helicopter Flaring and blowdown of flammable gas which may be prejudicial to helicopter operations The location, operation and maintenance of wind recording equipment Combined operations involving another installation or vessel in the vicinity of the installation with potential to disturb the airflow significantly or to emit hot exhaust into the flight path of a helicopter The Safety Management System for an installation should set the standards and monitor compliance against a set of established operational requirements designed to minimise environmental hazards to helicopter operations Standards to be attained and procedures to be used for monitoring the control of installation activities to ensure an acceptable level of safety for helicopter operations is maintained Ensuring procedures are in place for communicating relevant information to helicopter operators in a timely manner, including any departure from agreed operational practice, which may have an adverse effect on helicopter safety. Offshore safety requires co-operation between everyone who has a contribution to make to ensure health and safety on an offshore installation or the activities

involving the installation. The scope of Regulation 8 of MAR is, therefore, very wide and includes operators, owners, concession owners, employers, employees, managers and people in charge of visiting vessels or aircraft.



When reviewing the assessments, helideck design and operability and the intended arrangements for helicopter operations should be assessed against current guidelines and good industry practice. The overall scope of individual duty holder submissions will vary considerably, and the guidance given in this document may assist with assessing the completeness of the case for safety. It is also important for the duty holder to have a good measure of the operability of a helideck and facilities design in terms of the proposed operating arrangements and the predicted operational performance (e.g. availability). A performance assessment can be made using the template set out in Section 5.5.



Report Objectives
The objectives of a Design and Operability Report are: 1. To present an overview of the facilities design and the provisions being made for supporting helicopter operations to and from an installation or vessel. To provide relevant information about the helideck and support systems design and operability, to enable the verification process to be completed. To achieve acceptance for flight operations by the helicopter operators (BHAB Helidecks) with minimum operating limitations. To provide a document that interfaces with the Safety Case and provides relevant operating information for helicopter crews and helideck teams.






Suggested Report Structure Section 1 Introduction

Preferably limited to general statements about the facility and to report objectives.

Section 2 Management Summary

To include statements on the completion of design and operability assessment activities, completion of helideck hook-up and commissioning activities and overall conclusions on the helideck operational status and acceptability.

Section 3 Documentation
Provide listings of key helideck project and vendor design drawings, design specifications, data sheets and reports (e.g. helideck wind tunnel testing). The information that is provided for each document should include the Document number, Originator, Title, Revision and Approval status and date.

Section 4 Logistics & Operations Philosophy

Following a brief introduction, the contents of this section should address the installation, MODU or vessel operator's preferred or specific aircraft selection, routings and payload expectations. Diversion and adverse weather polices should be included along with relevant information on intended search & rescue provisions / coverage and a statement on adverse weather policy. The field operators requirements (taken from initial design specification) for the helideck and facilities should be noted along with any variations requested as design proceeds. Additionally, the installation / vessel operators requirements for helicopter refuelling, passenger and freight handling should be noted. Finally, a brief statement covering the installation / vessel operators existing facilities and operating experience should be included.

Section 5 Regulatory Requirements and Verification Process

This section should briefly set out the regulations, rules, codes and standards that are applicable to the helideck design, fabrication, construction and verification processes. It is also prudent to identify each of the official bodies concerned with the verification of the helideck, its support facilities and their areas of involvement. This process is usually simple for UK fixed installations but, in the case of FPSOs, MODUs and vessels, which may retain class for world-wide operations, it can be more complicated. It is therefore essential to identify the classification aspects,

which introduce the need to observe international conventions that may conflict with established UK offshore requirements. Verification meetings and the initial BHAB Helidecks review and inspection should be noted. Reference to the outcomes and outstanding work lists should be included.

Section 6 Design and Operability Review

This section should address the whole range of topics relevant to the helideck design and its future safe operation. Sub-sections should cover the following:

1. Production and Operating Environments

Includes field / operating location(s), environmental conditions, the facility layout and leading particulars, production processes and helideck / helicopter transportation risk assessments.

2. Aircraft Operating and Performance Considerations

Data relevant to helicopter types that may use the helideck, For example, motion limits imposed on FPSOs, MODUs and vessels.

3. Helicopter Landing Area Operational Standards

Information provided should include the landing area height (vessels should include variations to draught conditions AMSL), wind direction, frequency and velocity distribution, vessel motions affecting helicopter operations including a motion analysis (when applicable).

4. Helicopter Landing Area Physical Characteristics

This section should address the following list of topics and should clearly demonstrate that each element has been properly considered during the design phase. It is essential that any reduction or infringement of the dimensional or obstruction clearance requirements set out in CAP 437 is highlighted and full justification given for the anticipated operating limitations. Similarly where the requirements are exceeded these should also be stated. Helicopter Safe Landing Area size Overall helideck size (if larger than the basic safe landing area) 210 Obstacle Free Sector

0.12 D Limited Obstacle Sector (0.62 'D' from centre of D circle) 0.21 D Limited Obstacle Sector (0.83 'D' from centre of D circle) 5:1 Falling Gradient The adverse effects of combined operations on clearances (if applicable) Helideck and landing area design, materials, airgap, etc. Helideck friction surface / helideck net Helicopter tiedown points arrangement, fittings, etc. Perimeter Safety Net Access and Escape arrangements Routine or emergency parking and laydown arrangements (drawings to be provided showing locations and revised obstruction clearances) Helideck drainage.

5. Aerodynamic and Process Thermal Effects on the Helideck and Helicopters

This is a key section that deals with providing good information for flight crews on the likely adverse flying effects (aircraft handling difficulties and pilot workload) they may encounter from turbulence over the helideck and around the installation / vessel environs during approach, landing and take-off. Potential turbulence (from structures, etc.) and thermal sources (from gas turbines, diesel exhausts, process vents and flares, etc) that are identified during model testing (using physical or CFD methods) should be quantified and fully explained. Estimates of helideck operability should be provided and conclusions drawn in respect of flight safety and the potential for additional operating costs if accepting helideck operational impairment and landing limitations [Ref: 68].

6. Visual Aids
It should be demonstrated that helideck and obstruction markings fully meet CAP 437 requirements. Any deviation must be justified and accepted by a competent agency. This section should also address helideck and other associated lighting systems, their power sources and control. The lighting systems will include perimeter and surface lights, floodlights, general helideck and installation / vessel lighting, status lights, etc. Information should be provided on system design, equipment selection and lighting performance. Finally, statements should be made to demonstrate that the design and location of installation / vessel identification markings / signs have been properly addressed in

order to eliminate the potential for wrong deck landings. Reference should be made to CAP 437 (side signage) and HSE Operations Notices 14 and 39 [Refs: 24 & 26].

7. Firefighting and Rescue Facilities

This section should summarise the detection, protection and firefighting philosophy adopted for the helideck landing area (e.g. the identification and control of helideck emergencies) and its support systems (e.g. helifuel storage and supply). As a minimum, it should be clearly demonstrated that the systems design, equipment selection, operation and maintainability meet relevant offshore regulations and the requirements of CAP 437. Details of rescue equipment, helideck crew protective equipment and breathing apparatus should be included.

8. Helicopter Fuelling Facilities

Where helicopter fuelling facilities are provided, the following topics should be addressed: basic system requirements storage requirements bulk capacity and location fuel supply and dispenser systems design and locations.

9. Helicopter Operations Support Equipment

This section should summarise the many items of helicopter operations support equipment. Items will include, but not necessarily be limited to: Meteorological equipment Communications equipment Helicopter starting unit Safety and information signs and posters Aircraft tiedown equipment Aircraft chocks Windsocks Passengers, baggage & freight weighing equipment Helideck de-icing equipment Safety briefing system.


Section 7 Matters to be Provided for in Written Instructions

This section should include references and information specific to the helideck and its systems that should be embodied in the installation, MODU or vessel Operations Manual and Emergency Procedures. Also, where there is a need for notifications to helicopter operators, specific operating procedures or maintenance instructions to be written, these should be included. Details should also be included about Flight Information Reporting including meteorological reporting and vessel movement. A HORG or Route Guide plate will be generated for the installation, MODU or vessel based on information provided to BHAB Helidecks. This document is a summary of the key points about an installation landing site and is made available to flight crews. Ideally, a draft Plate should be prepared (with appropriate graphics and text) to include all the information that will be required in the formally published document. Ideally, the information should be accompanied by a threedimensional digital image. Examples of route guides are given in UKOOA Guidelines for the Management of Offshore Helidecks [Ref: 49].

Appendices should be used where considered appropriate to assist document readability. As a minimum, an A3 sized general arrangement drawing should be included clearly illustrating the installation / vessel plan and an elevation (showing the helideck arrangements), details of the helideck and its helicopter operating criteria and equipment layout.







The purpose of this section is to identify the topics that should be considered in the design and fabrication of new helidecks and in the modification of existing helidecks. It also identifies experience-based practical requirements for the operation and maintenance of a helideck, regardless of the type of facility to which it is fitted.



At the conceptual stage of an installation, MODU or vessel design, a firm commitment is required from the owner or operator to ensure that a good operating environment is obtained for safe and efficient helicopter operations. A positive management commitment at this stage should ensure that, at each stage in the design process, proper consideration is made for the future helicopter operations, alongside other competing priorities. The ideal helideck design can rarely be achieved due to an offshore installation, MODU or vessel's other activities and priorities (e.g. process, drilling, power generation, and diving operations), the working environment including vessel motions in the case of floating installations and vessels. Inevitably, the outcome will always be a compromise with the other activities. However, the designer should make every effort to ensure that the helideck is truly Fit for Purpose.


Reference Publications and Guidance

It should be noted there are only a few authoritative publications that provide general guidance for helideck designs e.g. the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) codes, CAA Standards, Mobile Offshore Drilling Units (MODU) codes, etc. These codes have been identified in Section 4.3 and in Appendix 2. It is therefore important to give careful consideration to the topics in the following sections. They are not in order of priority, nor exhaustive.




Main References
CAP 437, Chapter 2 is the starting point for helideck and facilities design in the UKCS.


The helideck is a vital support system for all offshore operations. Failure during design to maximise helideck operability may have far reaching implications during operations. These implications are typified by flight restrictions (sometimes severe), and have the potential for increased operating expense that may later lead to costly modifications. It s important that the design of the helideck is regarded as a key component of the structure, allowing for the safe transportation of personnel and equipment, as well as a primary escape route in an emergency. The design therefore needs to be integrated and not regarded as an appendage to the main structure. On fixed installations and some floating structures, helidecks are generally placed on top of an accommodation module. Vessels tend to vary quite a lot with bow helidecks either mounted above bridge level or above the foredeck, positioned aft and elevated above the main deck or accommodation block level and, in some cases, offset outboard. Layouts are invariably established following the basic published landing area dimensional minima (i.e. CAP 437). It is recommended the designer also give careful thought and attention to operational criteria. It is therefore essential whilst developing a specification and obtaining approval for construction to: 1. Clearly define the purpose and characteristics of the installation, MODU or vessel on which the helideck will be installed. Identify the operating intentions of the installation operator, MODU or vessel owner. Maintain flexibility of design as far as practicable, to cater for future changes of use. Identify all key features of the installation, MODU or vessel that may significantly affect helideck design.



For example a consensus decision is made to operate helicopters only by daylight (e.g. on a NUI) and therefore a decision is made not to install any helideck lighting. The CAA might point out that, since this is a design decision, they will not permit any emergency evacuation flights at night and the HSE will therefore need to see a Safety Case which does not involve helicopters for night use of any kind, routine or emergency. 3. Identify and eliminate, or reduce as far as possible, the hazards associated with helideck operations. These hazards may include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following: Excessive windflow turbulence due to adjacent structures or process thermal effects (e.g. turbine exhausts, normal and emergency hydrocarbon cold venting systems), which may cause helicopter handling problems Obstructions in the approach or departure sectors Emergencies such as helicopter crashes, fires or fuel spills requiring a rapid response and therefore unimpeded helideck access The potential for personnel contact with main or tail rotors whilst on deck The potential for loose items of equipment being sucked into rotors or air intakes by structure induced turbulent airflow or rotor downwash Consider provision of protected stations for helideck crews to avoid danger from possible crash debris or rotor plane movement after landing. 4. Consult competent aviation specialists, the aviation or logistics staff of the Owner or Operator, the CAA, BHAB Helidecks and helicopter operators as necessary.



Helideck Physical Characteristics

The helideck structure should be designed to accommodate a safe landing area (D circle) suitable for the largest and heaviest helicopter that it is anticipated will use the helideck. The operator or owners project and logistics staff should provide this information. This information is fundamental in any helideck design and will enable designers to determine the minimum overall size of the helideck and safe landing area and the required load bearing strength of the structure. The Safe Landing Area (SLA) is the actual area on a helideck enclosed and delineated by the Perimeter Line marking. D is the imaginary circle described on drawings to establish the SLA dimensions and clearances for a selected helicopter (See CAP 437). The operational needs of the installation, MODU or vessel and the helicopter crews, helideck crews and passengers should also be taken fully into account. To do this, it is prudent for the designer to explore potential opportunities for enlarging the shape of the helideck beyond the minimum safe landing area requirement. This obviously needs to be done whilst keeping in mind the ultimate weight, size, structural loadings and economics of the final structure. When selecting and fixing the final helideck size, shape and configuration, the following factors should be properly considered and mitigated: The safe landing area (SLA) should be positioned for optimum operational efficiency and clearance from obstructions (See Section 6.4). Also, the SLA should be positioned toward an appropriate outboard edge of the main structure so that overflying installation structures is avoided, and there are adequate clear landing and take-off sectors available Safe passenger access to and egress from a helicopter in both normal and emergency situations in all weather conditions Safely performing routine helideck crew activities such as refuelling, freight and baggage handling, fire fighting and rescue, and maintenance requirements The need to provide a parking area for an unserviceable helicopter to make the landing area available for a recovery aircraft should be seriously considered. This facility may be operationally desirable where alternate landing sites / arrangements cannot be easily obtained.


Doing this exercise properly will help to determine the overall helideck dimensions that are required, over and above the safe landing area. Simple examples for developing helideck configurations are given in Section 6.6 and a selection of actual helideck arrangements is illustrated in the following plates. The actual helideck arrangements shown are not necessarily optimum helideck designs without any operating restrictions. Figure 6.4 Figure 6.5 Figure 6.6 Figure 6.7 Figure 6.8 Figure 6.9 Figure 6.10 Fixed platform (NUI) with cantilevered helideck Accommodation vessel with helideck above buoyancy legs and anchor winches (also note the provision of 2 helidecks) FPSO with aft mounted helideck

Drilling / Production ship with bow mounted Helideck (above bridge) Seismic vessel with foredeck mounted helideck Seismic vessel with aft mounted helideck Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit (MODU) with helideck Inboard of the buoyancy legs and anchor winches Figure 6.11 Jack-up drilling rig with cantilevered helideck.


Helideck Orientation Fixed Installations The jacket, topsides, and riser strength and fatigue considerations for the chosen location of the facility will primarily dictate the orientation of fixed installations. Potential hydrodynamic and wind loadings on the structure have to be taken into account during design for the predicted oceanographic and environmental conditions likely to be encountered offshore. Reference should be made to Section 10 where this topic is discussed in detail with respect to helideck environmental effects. FPSOs and Vessels Ship-shaped FPSOs and Vessels generally have the ability to move their heading into the weather and, as a result, they have greater operational flexibility when optimising helideck orientation and movement for the prevailing winds. This feature is addressed in more detail in Section 7.

41 MODUs, Jack-Ups and other Semi-Submersibles MODUs and Jack-ups, when operating alone, are effectively the same as fixed installations when determining the helideck orientation. For example, in the Northern North Sea, the preferred orientation for a MODU is about 300 True because this is where the most severe weather comes from (e.g. winds and waves). When MODUs, Jack-ups and other Semi-Submersibles (e.g. Floatels) are positioned for combined operations there is a need to integrate several key marine (e.g. anchoring) and operating (bridging, etc.) requirements. The marine, drilling and other operational positioning considerations will take priority. This tends to cause some loss of flexibility for orienting the helideck to optimise wind flows. However, in this mode of operation there will usually be a choice of operational helideck. This situation is addressed in more detail in Section 7.


Assessing Suitability of the Proposed Helideck Arrangement Introduction Having decided upon the initial layout and before proceeding further with detailed design, the designer should examine operational effectiveness of the proposed arrangements with respect to both physical (space and other material aspects) and with respect to potential environmental effects. New Designs and Modifications to Existing Installations The following sections of these design guidelines address in detail operational considerations, helideck systems and support equipment. The designer may draw on this information for new installations in order to achieve a detailed design that follows good industry practice based on practical considerations that are supported by field experience. For existing installations that are being modified, a review may be necessary to assess the effects of any new plant and equipment on the operability of the helideck. Examples of modifications that could affect operability include the construction of an additional accommodation or other module and provision of satellite dish nearby.

42 Helideck Environmental Considerations Section 10 of these design guidelines deals with assessing the potential effects on helicopters from aerodynamic and thermal environments and wave motions that may be encountered around offshore helidecks.


(Photograph courtesy of John Burt Associates Limited)

Figure 6.1 Fixed platform (NUI) with cantilevered helideck

(Photograph courtesy of Shell Exploration & Production)

Figure 6.2 Accommodation vessel with helideck above buoyancy legs and anchor winches (note the provision of two helidecks and large hangar facility between)


(Photograph courtesy of Conoco UK Ltd)

Figure 6.3 FPSO with aft mounted helideck

(Photograph courtesy of Amerada Hess Limited)

Figure 6.4 Well test / production vessel with bow mounted helideck (above bridge)


(Photograph courtesy of Western Geco)

Figure 6.5 Seismic vessel with foredeck mounted helideck

(Photograph courtesy of Western Geco)

Figure 6.6 Seismic vessel with aft mounted helideck (note: the streamers are deployed and the helideck perimeter safety net is raised to act as handrailing with the handrailing in raised position the helideck is inoperative)


(Photograph courtesy of Dolphin A/S)

Figure 6.7 Mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU) with helideck inboard of the buoyancy legs and anchor winches (Note: this is a poor arrangement due to the significant 5:1 infringement, which will incur operating restrictions).

(Photograph courtesy of Maersk)

Figure 6.8 Jack-up drilling rig with cantilevered helideck




Main References
CAP 437, Chapter 2.


The safe landing area (SLA) must be big enough to accommodate the largest helicopter that the landing area is intended to serve. The SLA is the area of a helideck that is contained within the WHITE Perimeter Line. This does not necessarily mean that the SLA will be the largest possible D circle that can be accommodated within the overall structural dimensions of a helideck. Examples of helidecks with various Safe Landing Area arrangements are shown in the following figures 6.10 to 6.12 (see also previous sections that address the need to optimise helideck layout). The SLA should be given full and proper consideration from an operational perspective whilst laying out the helideck arrangement during the conceptual design phase of an installation or vessel. D is the largest dimension of the helicopter when the rotors are turning and in a conventional helicopter with an exposed tail rotor; it is the distance from the front of the main rotor tip path to the rear of the tail rotor tip path. The parameter D (overall length) for the chosen helicopter is found in CAP 437 D Value and Helicopter Type Criteria along with the aircraft weight data. Importantly, the SLA should be carefully positioned on the helideck to give an obstruction free environment (see Section 4.7 for details), which will provide adequate landing, overshoot and take-off paths, ample clearance from structures, etc. during helicopter manoeuvres and sufficient space for the helideck crew to operate and passengers to embark and disembark safely. Where the overall size of the helideck structure can be made larger than the SLA the designer is strongly recommended to take full advantage of any extra space that is available to maximise separation of the SLA from any adjacent structures and possibly to create a run-off (parking) area. Helideck enlargement is particularly important on vessels with forward mounted helidecks where any additional space gained to create more forward visual cues for landing is a highly desirable feature. Where helideck space is limited and the windflow is over the bow, the helicopter will land on the helideck with its tail rotor towards the Limited Obstacle Sector (e.g.

vessel superstructure) and the flight crew will be unable to see the helideck surface in front of the nose of the helicopter. Therefore, with more space behind the helicopter and thus, the provision of greater separation, there is less likelihood for an inadvertent tail rotor strike. This topic is covered in more detail in Section 7.


Boundary of Helideck Structure (excluding Perimeter Safety Net)

D Circle (= SLA)

Chevron located at this point

Limited Obstacle Sector

Figure 6.9 Example of a coincident safe landing area and D circle extending to the boundary of the helideck structure. Note: 'H' offset 0.1D towards outboard edge.


SLA = Whole Helideck

Boundary of Helideck Structure (excluding Perimeter Safety Net)

Chevron located at this point

Limited Obstacle Sector

D Circle

Figure 6.10 Example of a safe landing area extending to the boundary of the whole helideck structure. Note D circle only covers part of the helideck and 'H' offset 0.1D towards outboard edge.



Chevron located at this point

SLA is the area within white Perimeter Line

Boundary of Helideck Structure (excluding Perimeter Safety Net / Handrailing) Limited Obstacle Sector

D Circle

Figure 6.11 Example of a helideck where the structure is larger than the safe landing area thus providing additional clearance from obstructions and greater scope for personnel movement, etc. outside the rotor disc area. Note: 'H' offset 0.1D towards outboard edge.



In certain instances, helicopters visiting offshore installations may become unserviceable and have to shutdown. A helicopter transiting the general area offshore may have an in-flight emergency and be seeking an offshore diversion. Therefore, there may be good operational reasons for wanting to park a helicopter on a helideck but still be able to allow other helicopters to use the safe landing area (SLA). The ability to park a helicopter on an offshore installation and still be able to use the helideck for other helicopter movements gives much greater operational flexibility. For this reason a parking or run-off area should be seriously considered at the outset of conceptual installation / helideck design. Factors that may assist with decision-making on the benefit of providing a parking area are: The type of facility being designed (i.e. a small vessel or NUI may not be able to accommodate a parking area)


There may only be limited structural capacity and space options with the intended installation design and layout Capital cost implications may outweigh the potential operational advantages of having a parking area

Provision of one helideck with a parking area when operating several helidecks within an oil / gas field.


Main References
CAP 437, Chapter 3.


Design Considerations
A parking area should be regarded as an integral part of the helideck layout regardless of whether it is adjacent to the SLA or located some distance away with ready made access to and from the SLA. The parking area size, dimensions and layout will be entirely dependent upon the space that can be made available. Also, there is a need to ensure that: 1. A parked helicopter does not infringe the obstacle protected surfaces for the helicopter landing area (e.g. create an unacceptable obstacle environment for the helideck). The parking area can be clearly distinguished from the SLA. This is best achieved by painting the parking area in a contrasting light colour. In addition, the perimeter line marking and perimeter lights should clearly delineate the SLA boundary from the parking area. For night operations, perimeter lighting may be installed around the parking area outboard boundary but it should be a different colour (e.g. blue) to the SLA perimeter lighting. Similarly, the parking area should ideally be floodlit. However, it is important to note that all parking area floodlighting should be adequately shielded to avoid overspill onto the SLA with the potential to affect pilot's night vision. See also Section 11.3




Perimeter Safety Net Omitted for Clarity

Safe Landing Area (SLA) inside White Perimeter Line


Limited Obstacle Sector

Figure 6.12 Example of helideck layout with adjacent parking area


Perimeter Safety Net Omitted for Clarity

Safe Landing Area (SLA) inside White Perimeter Line


Limited Obstacle Sector

Figure 6.13 Example of helideck with remote parking area


The positioning of a parked helicopter does not create visual cueing problems for incoming flight crews (e.g. mask flood lighting and status lights).



The positioning of a parked helicopter does not impair access and escape routes, operation of firefighting equipment, etc The helicopter can be readily manoeuvred into the parking position. Parked helicopter clearances (for each type likely to use the helideck) can be properly demonstrated and verified. There are adequate tiedown points provided to ensure the parked helicopter can be properly secured. Structurally, the parking area is of adequate construction to support the imposed loads (static).

5. 6.




On occasion there may be a requirement to install a hangar offshore to accommodate permanently offshore-based helicopters (e.g. in-field shuttle helicopters and offshore-based rescue and recovery [OBRR] helicopters). Hangar structures will normally be associated with either a second helideck or an adjacent parking area. They should therefore be considered a functional part of an integrated helideck design. Consideration should also be given to providing two helidecks when hangar operations are planned so that one helideck can always be used in any weather scenario (See Figure 6.3). In addition to the general considerations to be taken into account when designing helidecks and hangars (see also Figure 6.3), it is essential to consider the potential for these combined structures to create adverse aerodynamic effects over the designated SLA. There is likely to be increased turbulent windflows in some sectors and these may seriously affect the overall aerodynamic performance of the helideck. Potential turbulence should be modelled and quantified to establish the full extent and effects of any adverse windflows from the structure. restrictions may have to be applied. Flight




Main References
CAP 437, Chapter 3.


Obstruction Clearances
Viewed in plan and all elevations, the helideck location and orientation in relation to the topsides configuration including modules and structures / appendages such as cranes, flare booms, turbine exhausts, radio antenna, lifeboats, etc. should maximise the obstruction free sectors available. A minimum 210 obstacle free sector is required. Its Point of Origin (PO) on the inboard side of the deck is the apex of the chevron (see CAP 437 Visual Aids). On an existing helideck that, by unusual exception, does not meet the normal obstacle free sector of 210, the accepted angle (less than 210) should be clearly shown. In this case, operability may be compromised. Where the minimum 210 obstacle free sector can be exceeded (e.g. on a NUI), the increased angle may be declared. In this case operability may be improved. By extending a line out from each leg of the chevron, a check is required to ensure freedom from obstructions within the 210 sector by identifying items that are above deck level. Such items may not exceed 250 mm in height, and even then must be restricted to specified essentials such as lighting fittings, safety net rails, etc. as specified in CAP 437. Generally, no obstructions of greater height are permitted within 1000 metres of the PO. However, in some operational circumstances it may be acceptable to permit obstacles within 250 metres of the PO, subject to CAA / BHAB Helidecks assessment and approval. Achieving the obstruction clearances can be a problem, particularly with floating installations (e.g. floatels), vessels operating adjacent to fixed platforms and during shuttle tanker operations to FPSOs. Where uninfringed obstacle protection cannot be achieved this is likely to restrict or preclude operations to that helideck. See also Section 8.1 - Combined Operations.


Limited Obstacle Sector

Permitted obstruction heights should be calculated for the largest helicopter that the helideck is designed to accommodate.


The obstacle height restrictions applied to helidecks are provided in order to maintain safe helicopter rotor clearances. The dimensions will vary according to 'D' size and helicopter type (e.g. single main rotor or tandem rotor). Refer to CAP 437 for specific details.


Falling Gradient
Strict control is required over the size of obstructions projecting from the side profile of the installation / vessel below the helideck. These obstructions are typified by lifeboat arrangements, communications antenna, laydown platforms, exhaust systems, buoyancy tanks and windlasses and anchor systems (on MODUs). Within an outboard arc of minimum 180 (preferably 210) centred on the centre of the landing area, and lying centrally within the 210 unobstructed arc, such obstructions must not penetrate an imaginary surface which extends downwards and outwards from the edge of the helideck at a gradient of 1 unit outwards for every 5 units of vertical fall. This is shown in CAP 437 Size and Obstacle Free Environment. This unobstructed space permits the helicopter to descend safely after take off in the event of engine failure, so as to pick up climbing speed. The 5 to 1 gradient is measured from the outer edge of the 1.5 metre helideck perimeter safety net.



Main References
CAP 437, Chapter 3.


Helideck Control Room

If project space / weight / cost controls permit, it is advantageous to provide a helideck control room adjacent to the helideck. Providing a helideck control room should: Assist with the efficient supervision of helideck operations Provide a good location for aeronautical telecommunications equipment

Provide a storage area to ensure crash / rescue equipment is readily available Provide a good location for meteorological and navigation instruments Provide storage for helideck crew personal protective clothing.

To be effective, the control room should have good all round visibility of the helideck and potential helicopter landing and take-off flight paths. The control room construction should take full account of potential exposure of the occupants (e.g. Helicopter Landing Officer) in the event of a serious helicopter incident on the helideck. Care is required when designing the control room to ensure that it does not encroach into the obstruction free sectors and that the height is within the height limitations in the limited obstacle sectors.


Access and Escape Routes

When deciding the normal access and emergency escape routes to and from the helideck, a safe and efficient route should be provided for passengers between the helideck and arrival / departure areas. The escape evacuation and rescue analysis for the Offshore Installation should be taken fully into account (see SCR and PFEER requirements). The potential orientations of a helicopter positioned on the helideck should also be considered especially with respect to prevailing winds, but also in consideration of all possible landing directions (See CAP 437). Access and Escape route design is addressed in greater detail in Section 9.0, Helideck Structures.





Floating Structures and Vessels account for a large proportion of the day to day offshore activities in UK waters. Floating structures comprise of the following: Floating Production and Storage Systems Mobile Offshore Drilling Units Accommodation Vessels (Floatels) Jack-ups on-the move and Specialist Vessels.

Specialist Vessels may include: Shuttle Tankers Diving Support Vessels Well Intervention Vessels Seismic Vessels Pipelay Barges / Vessels Crane Barges and others.

Many of these units will have helidecks where the design and construction of such helidecks (particularly on some vessels) tend to be less prescriptive than for fixed installations; the ships main functional purpose will sometimes inhibit helideck design. However, they are required to meet the standards set out in the relevant regulations, codes and guidance in order to undertake helicopter operations routinely in UK waters. Failure to meet the required UK standards will either exclude helicopter operations, or incur severe limitations requiring expensive rework to comply fully. Many MODUs and specialist vessels are foreign flagged and are certificated to operate on a worldwide basis. When they enter UK waters on contract they should meet the UK standards required for helidecks and helicopter operations otherwise they are likely to be severely restricted, until such time as they do. They will require inspection by the BHAB Helidecks before helicopter operations can commence on the UKCS.


Often there is a failure to comply fully with UK standards. This has the effect of reducing commercial value in the worldwide marketplace because many other countries are also applying the same or very similar standards. The following sections deal with the variations to helideck layout and systems that will be encountered when specifying the design requirements for floating structures, MODUs and vessels. These requirements (over and above those generally applied to a fixed installation) should be fully taken into account when the floating structure, MODU or specialist vessel is intended to operate in UK waters.



Invariably a MODU (a semi-submersible, jack-up on the move, or drill ship) will initially be specified using the IMO MODU Code [Ref: 70] as the basis for design. It should be noted that helidecks are covered in Chapter 13 of that code, and the basic deck specified is smaller than that required by ICAO Annex 14 Volume 2 and CAP 437 standards. However, where adverse climatic conditions are prevalent, as in the North Sea, the Coastal State may[specify a larger helideck] (MODU Code 13.2.3). The MODU Code specifications are still very brief and relying exclusively on Chapter 13 of the IMO MODU Code, could easily mislead a designer into producing an inadequate helideck facility for UK operations. Therefore, it is imperative that UK national codes and guidance for helidecks and helicopter operations are referenced alongside the IMO MODU Code.


Main References
CAP 437, Chapter 6. IMO MODU Code.


Specific Features to Consider in MODU Helideck Design

The following sections cover specific topics that are relevant to MODU structures (but differ significantly from fixed installations) and require specific consideration during the design of such MODU structures. They are not in order of importance.

58 Operating Environments Semi-submersibles The marine operating environment for a semi-submersible is similar to a fixed installation insofar as the helideck heading is generally fixed as a result of the anchoring arrangement or, if fitted, a dynamic positioning (DP) system. However, it differs from a fixed installation in that the helideck has a dynamic movement in roll and pitch axes, heave, surge and sway due to the vessels dynamic characteristics. In addition to wind speed and direction, helideck movement (velocity and accelerations as well as heave amplitude) induced by the floating structure should be fully taken into account during helideck and system design and helicopter operations. See Section 10. Jack-ups The marine operating environment for a jack-up on station is the same as a fixed installation. However when under tow, the helideck conditions are similar to a vessel under way. Vessels The marine operating environment for a drilling vessel on station is similar to a semi-submersible insofar as the helideck heading is generally fixed as a result of the anchoring arrangement or, if fitted, the dynamic positioning (DP) system. Similarly, the helideck has a dynamic movement in roll and pitch axes, heave, surge and sway due to the vessels dynamic characteristics. Anchoring Anchoring arrangements should be taken into account when locating a helideck. The locations of windlasses and anchor chains (above sea surface) should be checked to ensure they do not encroach into the obstruction free sectors and 5:1 falling gradient. Dynamic positioning Care should be taken to ensure correct positioning of the DP system heading control sensors, etc. that may be adversely affected by disturbances from helicopter rotor downwash during landing and take-off. In particular, anemometers can be greatly affected by spurious windflows.


Apart from spurious DP changes potentially causing severe problems for the vessel whilst performing its primary operating task, even small changes to vessel heading, etc. can induce increased helideck motions. These increased helideck motions may suddenly put the helideck out-of-limits for a safe helicopter landing and / or create serious stability problems for a helicopter parked on the helideck. Drainage Semi-Submersibles Despite the best efforts of the builders, steel plated helidecks rarely remain flat enough to be reliably drained by rig motion alone. Normal practice on such helidecks is to camber the deck about a centreline knuckle. Camber is generally between 1:100 and 1:50 (0.57 and 1.15). Vessels As a result of vessel trim and motions the helideck should drain naturally toward the drain holes and scuppers. Therefore the helideck does not need a built-in fall, as is the case with fixed installations. If a fall is built into a vessel helideck this effectively introduces a pre-fixed list onto the helideck relative to the vessel datum. This list has the effect of reducing motion tolerance at the helideck for helicopter landings and the degree of list must therefore be added to the recorded motion measurement in the relevant axis (e.g. roll or pitch). Helideck Location, Size and Obstacle Environment Helideck location on MODUs will largely depend upon the type of hull structure employed (e.g. Semi-submersible, Jack-up or Ship). Size is not normally a problem other than the structural and weight considerations associated for example with very large, elevated helidecks that may have an adverse effect on vessel stability. Fundamental to any helideck design on a floating structure is the achievement of an optimum safety performance for a moving helideck. A moving helideck requires the designer and the operator to take full account of a number of key issues that require proper resolution during design if the helideck is to offer good operability and safety. Depending on the helideck location, these issues involve providing:


Good tail rotor clearances from obstructions (e.g. vessel superstructure) for the helicopter to make a safe landing and take-off Increased space around the landing area to allow safe passenger and helideck crew movements

Proper provisions for safe personnel access and egress from the helideck irrespective of the rate of helideck movement An accurate means of recording and reporting the actual and predicted movements of the helideck during helideck operations.

Semi-Submersibles The helideck is typically located at one corner of the main deck (forward or aft) directly above one of the buoyancy columns and adjacent to the bridge / accommodation. In this location, the windlasses and winches for controlling the anchoring system will be directly below the helideck. It is therefore important to ensure there is sufficient cantilever of the helideck structure over the column and windlasses to avoid infringing the 5:1 falling gradient below the helideck surface. It is also essential to provide sufficient air gap below the helideck structure and above the winches and housings to avoid unfavourable aerodynamic effects over the helideck.


Helideck Overall Size

D Circle

White Perimeter Line (= SLA)

Additional 1500mm working space all round

Figure 7.1 Recommended dimensions for increasing helideck size to provide additional space for helicopter manoeuvring and personnel movement on moving helidecks.


Normally, the position of the helideck relative to the topside structure, potential obstructions and potential flight paths will provide adequate visual cues for flight crews and sufficient clearances for landing and take-off. Additional space around the helicopter landing area for safe passenger and helideck crew movements and during manoeuvring a helicopter for landing onto the moving helideck, is a prime consideration. As a guide, irrespective of the helicopter type for which the helideck is designed, it is recommended, where practicable, that the overall helideck size be increased by at least 1500mm around the perimeter of the D circle in order to provide additional working space (see Figure 7.1). In the case of small helidecks with a 'D' circle of 16 metres or less, the provision of increased working space around the perimeter becomes a necessity. This is because small helicopters (e.g. Sikorsky S76) generally have low rotor disc heights and in some wind conditions blade sailing below the height of an average person can easily occur. The provision of this extra perimeter space and with markings based on deck centre along with a minimum of three escape points from the helideck surface will facilitate safer personnel movements. Jack-Ups Helidecks on jack-ups, when on location, do not need special consideration for vessel movements because they are in effect fixed structures. However, when under tow they are effectively a vessel, and helicopters landing on the helideck (routinely or in an emergency) will require the same design considerations and operational aids as a mobile unit. In particular when under tow, the legs will be elevated to their maximum height and, as a result, they will be the dominant obstructions. This should be taken fully into account during helideck design. Vessels Similar to semi-submersibles, vessels require their helideck designs to take fully into account the additional measures needed to accommodate vessel movements, as noted previously. Much will depend on the location of the helideck on the vessel and the ability of the vessel to manoeuvre in order to gain favourable wind flows over the helideck during helicopter operations. A Drill Ship featuring a vessel type hull may be typically moored using a conventional widely spread anchor system. Alternatively, it may be dynamically positioned (DP).


Conventional anchoring means there is little, if any, scope for changing the helideck position relative to favourable windflows once the anchor pattern is set. DP may allow the vessel some heading adjustment into the prevailing wind, wave and current conditions, dependent entirely on drilling and marine safety priorities. A forward mounted helideck, either mounted on the foredeck or elevated above the bridge, presents the biggest problems for a helicopter pilot. This is because there are very few, if any, visual cues available to assist the pilot in making a safe approach and landing. Taking-off is less of a problem. The lack of visual cues means that manoeuvring space provided for the helicopter has to take greater account of the proximity of all likely obstructions. To do this, and in order to prevent inadvertent tail rotor strikes, the helideck and safe landing area layout should be very carefully designed to obtain maximum operating clearances see Figure 7.2. (See also CAP 437).

Helideck Overall Size


Additional 1500mm working space all round D Circle

Additional obstruction clearance = 0.5 D

Limited Obstruction Sector

Figure 7.2 Recommended dimensions for increasing overall helideck size on a vessel with forward mounted helideck to provide additional space for safe helicopter manoeuvring and personnel movement.

Important naval architecture considerations to be made when designing a forward mounted helideck are:


A large and therefore heavy helideck structure elevated above the bridge may adversely affect vessel stability A large foredeck mounted helideck (below bridge level) that overhangs the vessel bow will obscure the vessel forward section from the bridge, thus severely reducing visual references for manoeuvring the vessel when coming alongside

A helideck integral with the Foredeck may have the advantage of two access and escape routes toward the rear of the helideck past the natural protection afforded by the bridge structure. However, providing a third means of escape forward will invariably require a forward hatch to below deck. This hatch may constitute a structural soft spot and should be regarded as a restricted approach and landing sector which will then require suitable markings to inform the helicopter pilot. Materials of Construction It should be noted that where aluminium is chosen for the helideck construction, and the vessel is to be constructed to comply with SOLAS, then reference should be made to SOLAS Chapter II -2 Regulation 18.8 [Ref: 71]. Regulation 18.8 requires specific design considerations to be taken into account where the helideck surface is located above the bridge or accommodation areas. Generally, there will be a requirement for installing either passive fire protection measures beneath the helideck surface and on the support structure and / or installing fire shutters / doors to protect the bridge windows and any access points below helideck level. Firefighting When establishing a helideck firefighting philosophy and designing the fire systems, full account should be taken of the anticipated helideck manning and fire team composition / emergency response during helideck operations. This topic should be discussed at an early stage in the project with the MODU or vessel owner in order to obtain a clear understanding of the operating intent. Guidance on helideck manning issues is also provided in the UKOOA Guidelines for the Management of Offshore Helidecks [Ref: 49].


Where crew numbers may be at a minimum, yet consistent with safe helideck operations, having fire systems available that can be simply operated will be an overriding requirement. For example, when designing a foam system it should be ensured that the system can be operated from a single control point without having to set or actuate a lot of valves. MODUs and specialist vessels will, at times, operate in remote locations with infrequent vessel and / or helicopter support. This situation may mean that resupply of foam concentrate cannot be speedily undertaken. Also, it is probable that the storage of large quantities of foam concentrate is undesirable, with space at a premium. Therefore, the foam system(s) should be designed to ensure that it has maximum flexibility for foam sampling and systems testing without contaminating or using a full charge of foam concentrate. Specifying a one-shot system should be avoided at all costs. On vessels, particularly those with forward mounted helidecks (e.g. on the Foredeck), the design of fire protection systems should take into account the exposure of equipment to the effects of operating in heavy seas. All permanently fixed exposed piping systems, valves and supports, etc. should be robust. Where possible, equipment such as hoses and nozzles should be stored in cabinets that are adequately protected and preferably not placed in exposed locations. For example, equipment and hose cabinets may be located behind the bridge wings for protection, provided they are easily accessible during helicopter operations. Helicopter Fuelling Vessel motions constantly agitate liquids in storage tanks. If the owner specifies helicopter fuelling, the system will require proper consideration during design otherwise the fuel quality may be seriously affected during operations. Where aviation fuel storage tanks (fixed or portable) are installed on vessels and they are unlikely to be completely emptied it is highly recommended that the tanks be equipped with floating suction systems. This arrangement is designed to enable fuel to be decanted from the tanks above a level where disturbed sediments and other impurities may be present.


The use of floating suction systems in transportable tote tanks is not recommended. When empty and in transit the floating suction system becomes extremely vulnerable to damage due to unconstrained movement of the floating assembly (e.g. as a result of crane operations, wave motions, etc.).

(Photo courtesy of Shell Aircraft Limited)

Figure 7.3 - Example of damage to the floating suction system during transportable tank transit when empty

The locations for aviation fuel storage tanks, pumping and dispensing equipment should be selected to ensure that ingress of sea water into the aviation fuel system does not occur. Also, the system components (e.g. Tote Tanks) should be well secured to prevent damage in heavy seas. Air Gap on MODUs Too large an air gap under the helidecks of a MODU can be critical to vessel stability. This is due to the potential for airflows under a helideck to generate forces that may significantly increase the overturning moment of the structure for certain wind and ballast conditions. Therefore, when determining the optimum air gap for a MODU, the likely effect on vessel stability must be fully taken into account. Refer to Section 10.


(Photo courtesy of Transocean Inc)

Figure 7.4 Example of a fully clad drilling derrick with bluff sided module below. Note: there is little or no air gap beneath the helideck



Floating Production Systems (FPS), which include Floating Production, and Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessels, are classed, when on location in UK waters, as offshore installations. A FPS featuring a vessel hull (e.g. VLCC tanker) will be typically moored using a permanent, widely spread anchor system that is fixed to a turret arrangement situated forward of amidships. This arrangement tends to allow the vessel heading to weathervane naturally into the prevailing wind, wave and current conditions. (See Figure 7.5) A FPS based on a semi-submersible hull is moored using traditional anchor winches and chains located at each corner of the hull. The unit is generally held at the location on a fixed heading within the anchor pattern. (See Figure 7.6)


Main References
Lloyds Register of Shipping Rules for the Design, Construction and Classification of Floating Production Systems. [Ref: 72]


(Photograph courtesy of BP plc)

Figure 7.5 Schiehallion FPSO (turret moored with aft helideck)


Specific Features to Consider in FPSO Helideck Design

The following sections cover specific topics that are relevant to FPSO structures (but differ from fixed installations) and require specific consideration during the design of such FPSO structures. The requirements set out below are in addition to those applied to fixed installation helidecks and should be read in conjunction with the sections of these guidelines that deal with structures, equipment, etc. Features to consider in design are broadly the same as MODUs (covered in Section 7.2). These include: Operating environment Anchoring Dynamic positioning Drainage Helideck size, location and obstacle environment Materials of construction Helicopter fuelling Firefighting.

Parameters for the design of MODU helidecks that are specific to Floating Production Systems, and should be considered by the designer, are set out in the following sections.


(Photograph courtesy of Kerr McGee plc)

Figure 7.6 Janice A FPS based on a semi-submersible hull


Marine Operating Environment Semi-submersibles The marine operating environment of a semi-submersible is similar to a fixed installation insofar as the helideck heading is generally fixed as a result of the anchoring system. However, it differs from a fixed installation in that the helideck has a dynamic movement in roll and pitch axes, heave, surge and sway due to the vessels dynamic characteristics. In addition to wind speed and direction, the normal helideck movement (velocity and accelerations) induced by the floating structure must be fully accounted for during both helideck and system design and helicopter operations. See Section 10.

69 Vessels Taking advantage of the natural weathervaning characteristics of a turret moored vessel can help helicopter operations by keeping windflows at favourable angles over the helideck. This may not be the case for all wind, wave and current combinations. However, advantages with wind speed and direction across the helideck should normally be obtainable as a result of the natural weathervaning that usually holds the vessel heading within a few degrees either side of the vessels mean position centreline. This feature should be fully exploited by the designer during design, when optimising helideck location and orientation, so as to achieve the best available landing and take-off sectors. Additionally, where sufficient thruster power is available to move the vessel off head, the ships crew may be able to further improve helideck orientation into the most favourable winds for given approach and take-off sectors. This situation only applies where it can be clearly demonstrated that moving the vessel off head does not induce excessive adverse helideck motions (roll, pitch and heave), or compromise vessel stability. Such capability may also be useful in minimising potential hazards due to emissions and turbulence generators. As in the case of semi-submersibles, normal helideck movement (velocity and accelerations) induced by the floating structure must be fully accounted for during both helideck and system design and helicopter operations. See Section 10.


Vessel / Helideck Classification / Verification Process

The unique nature of an FPSO as a marine structure, which is classed as both vessel and an offshore installation, will invariably require close attention to be paid to the helideck classification and verification processes. Often the vessel or semisubmersible will retain its ship classification, therefore the hull and marine systems will be designed and built to ships or MODU rules. However, the design and construction of its production and utility systems will be subject to the offshore verification process only if designated as an Offshore Installation and deemed safety critical. The helideck structure will usually be regarded as part of the ships structure. Where this is the case, it is important to consult the appointed Classification Society Ships or MODU Rules for Design & Construction and any International


Rules (e.g. IMO and SOLAS) that have been included in the owners specification for the FPSO. When designing an FPSO that will be operated in UK waters, helideck certification will require compliance with CAP 437 and not the IMO or other national codes. Because there are currently some differences between UK and international maritime and offshore requirements, anomalies in the overall certification / verification processes may arise. These anomalies will need to be resolved with the appointed Classification Society and Verification Body, early in design.


Optimising Helideck Location and Layout

See Section 10, which deals specifically with helideck environmental effects.


Shuttle Tanker Operations

Helicopter landings on FPSOs during offloading operations may incur operating restrictions for both marine and safety reasons. Landings on bow mounted helidecks may be routinely permitted. However, where the helideck is located at the stern of the vessel, helicopter operations will probably be limited during shuttle tanker activities due to the shuttle tanker orientation and obstructions caused by loading hoses, etc. temporarily infringing declared obstacle free sectors. As a result of these operational limitations, shuttle tanker operations will have a direct effect on helideck availability and this should be taken into account when undertaking helideck operability analyses.


(Photo courtesy of Bluewater BV)

Figure 7.7 Shuttle tanker activity with an example of helideck approach paths impeded by the tanker, mooring line, loading hose and FPSO flare / exhaust plumes.


A whole range of specialist vessels of varying type, design, size, displacement and function work in the offshore oil and gas industry. Many are equipped with helidecks. These vessels include: Seismic vessels Diving Support vessels Well Intervention vessels Pipelaying vessels / barges Floatels / Accommodation vessels.

Each of these vessel types will have unique capabilities depending on their primary function. Additionally, there may be overriding constraints placed on the helideck design and its operation.


(Photograph courtesy of Technip Coflexip)

Figure 7.8 A typical well servicing vessel

Depending on vessel size, basic hull and superstructure design, it is normally the primary function of the vessel (in addition to maintaining good vessel stability at all times) that will dictate the vessel layout and thus the helideck location, size, shape and elevation. Space and weight considerations will also dictate the locations (and sometimes capacities) of the associated helideck support systems. The earlier, in conceptual design, these features are given proper consideration, the more likely the ship designer will be able to provide an efficient and operable helideck.


Main References
CAP 437, Chapter 9.


Specific Features to Consider in Vessel Helideck Design

The following sections cover specific topics that are relevant to specialist vessels (but differ from fixed installations) and require specific consideration during the design of helidecks on specialist vessels. The requirements set out below are in addition to those applied to fixed installation helidecks and should be read in conjunction with the sections of these guidelines that deal with structures, equipment, etc.

Potentially, specialist vessels can operate in many marine and meteorological environments. However, several of the parameters and features to consider in design are broadly the same as MODUs (See Section 7.2). These will include: Operating environment Anchoring Dynamic positioning Drainage Helideck size, location and obstacle environment Materials of construction Helicopter fuelling Firefighting.

In addition the following topics should also be addressed: Icing Conditions In UK waters icing conditions on Installations and vessels will occur occasionally. The potential for icing conditions to occur and the effects this may have on helicopter operations should be fully taken into account during design and vessel operations. The primary concern should be to ensure that helideck fire / safety systems susceptible to malfunction during low temperature operations are fully protected. A requirement of CAP 437 is to provide sufficient equipment to adequately deal with snow / ice / frost removal from the landing surface. It also prudent, when designing a helideck, to consider its location in relation to any superstructures that may be affected by ice accretion during low temperature operations. Ice falling onto helidecks from superstructures has been reported in the UK, in the past. This is a hazard to both aircraft and personnel safety and should be properly accounted for (See HSE Safety Notice 5/96 [Ref: 22]). Hinged Helidecks Some vessels are designed with a portion(s) of the helideck hinged to provide a helideck of adequate size or to make way for the primary vessel operation and for


coming into port. Examples of these arrangements include seismic vessels equipped with foredeck and aft mounted helideck structures. The primary concern for the helideck designer, from a helicopter operations viewpoint, is to ensure that hinge systems do not create a hazard for the helicopter whilst landing and manoeuvring. It is preferable to locate hinges on the underside of the helideck however, where hinge systems protrude above helideck surface level they should be kept to minimum height and be designed such that they offer as small an obstruction as possible. Apart from the obstruction hazard, the hinges should also be designed to avoid possible tyre damage. Where hinge systems are fitted and they protrude above surface level they should be clearly marked with rectangles of painted yellow / black stripes. Protruding hinges may significantly effect the operability of the helideck. Combined Perimeter Safety Nets / Handrailing Combined perimeter safety nets / handrailing are a common feature on specialist ships such as seismic vessels. The performance of these systems may often fall short both as a secure perimeter safety net and as handrailing. Section 9.10 covers, in more detail, the design and construction considerations for perimeter safety nets. Fore Masts At sea it is a maritime requirement for a vessel to have a foremast (e.g. to display running lights). Where a helideck is designed as an integral part of the foredeck structure the foremast will pose an obstruction to helicopter operations. Therefore, retractable foremasts are fitted to overcome this problem. Where a retractable foremast has been specified it is essential to consider and mitigate the following: The location of the assembly (when stowed) relative to the safe landing area The size and extent of the surface obstruction and potential structural soft spot to be avoided by a landing helicopter


Requirements for designation as a restricted sector which requires marking in accordance with CAP 437.



All floating structures will encounter motions at the helideck as a result of a vessels natural movement whilst afloat. The effects of any helideck motions (roll, pitch, heave, yaw, surge and sway) have a direct impact on a helicopter flight crews ability to make a safe landing and takeoff from vessel helidecks. Additionally, when stationary on a moving helideck, a helicopter is constantly subjected to complex dynamic forces (accelerations) that will have a direct effect on its stability, particularly when the rotors are turning. The effects of these forces on a helicopter can cause sliding and / or tipping which, if excessive, may cause the helicopter to overturn. Therefore, helideck motion effects and their potential amplitudes should be calculated during the design process and safe operating parameters established. The limits of safe helideck performance should be fully accounted for during operations. See Section 10 for further details.





Combined operations can take several different forms. Essentially, they are a situation offshore where there are two or more installations / vessels working alongside each other. Generally this will mean that, to some extent, the operational clearances and aerodynamics of the helidecks on each of the installations / vessels may be impeded in some way by positioning the additional structures alongside. In turn, this means that specific considerations have to be taken into account during helicopter operations. Consideration of the full implications of combined operations and the potential adverse effects on safe helideck operations will be required during design where it is intended to install (permanently or temporarily) an offshore structure (fixed or mobile) in close proximity to another. The operating aspects of combined operations are covered in detail in the UKOOA Guidelines for the Management of Offshore Helideck Operations [Ref: 49]. 1000 metres is the required horizontal distance to provide a clear unimpeded 210 Obstruction Free Sector for any operational helideck. Therefore, any structure located closer than 1000 metres in this sector will present an obstruction to potential flight paths. A structure located within approximately 250 metres of another installation with an operational helideck, and not necessarily within the obstruction free sector, also has the potential to create adverse turbulent and thermal conditions. These conditions can seriously affect helicopter handling, increase pilots workload and may impact on safe helicopter operations to that helideck. Adverse turbulent conditions caused by adjacent structures normally emanate from windflows over the structure, gas turbine exhausts thermal effects and process flares. Additionally, adjacent structures and vessels (e.g. shuttle tankers) may also cause hazardous flying conditions due to gas releases during process venting. The arrangements and configurations defined as Combined Operations can vary considerably and are typified by: 1. One or more fixed installations (manned or normally unattended) bridged to each other

2. 3.

A fixed installation (e.g. NUI) with a Jack-up rig alongside A fixed or floating structure linked to a nearby sub-sea anchored loading buoy (SALM) equipped with a helideck Shuttle tanker operations to FPUs, FPSOs and loading buoys A floatel bridge linked to an Installation (construction and operations support scenarios) Specialist vessel support operations adjacent to an Installation.

4. 5.


In all the above cases where there is a helideck intended to be used for routine operations, all potential effects on the helicopter operating environment shall be closely examined and the effects quantified and recorded.

(Photograph courtesy of British Gas Plc)

Figure 8.1 Example of complex Combined Operations

Notes about Figure 8.1: The Jack-Up and Floatel are temporarily located as part of production / drilling operations. Both the Jack-Up and Floatel helidecks are


accessible but the Installation helideck is inaccessible so it is NOT IN USE (Landing Prohibited Marker in position). Relative positions of each helideck 210 Obstruction Free Sector are shown approximately (dotted lines).


Main References
CAP 437, Chapter 6.


Design Considerations General Principles Achieving the optimal position for locating a structure adjacent to another and maintaining the required operational clearances for the helideck(s) may not always be possible due to overriding marine, safety and other installation operating constraints (e.g. anchoring dictates the position of MODUs working over a template). In such cases orientation of the structures should endeavour to minimise the potential obstructions to flight paths and to maximise the anticipated and most favourable prevailing winds over their helidecks. Bridge Linking When designing bridge links for a fixed or mobile installation to gain access to another installation the designer should take fully into account the positioning of gangway connection options and their likely effect on helideck operations in relation to impeding all or part of the host installation / mobile unit helideck 210 obstruction free sectors. In some cases it may be necessary to forego the use of one of the helidecks and to nominate the other as the primary landing site. In this case the closed helideck should display a Landing Prohibited Marker. In the case of two permanently bridged fixed structures, both with helidecks, it may be decided that the newer structure with a helideck is the operating helideck and the other becomes redundant or may be used as a secondary or emergency landing site if it remains accessible.


Clear 210 Sectors MOBILE UNIT

Bridge Link



Figure 8.2 Example of Bridge Link avoiding 210 sector physical obstructions.


Obstructed 210 Sector


Clear 210 Sector

Bridge Link

Figure 8.3 Example of Bridge Link causing a 210 sector obstruction. In this case the mobile unit would be designated the active helideck Environmental Effects around Helidecks The environmental effects around helidecks are a key consideration when designing and operating offshore installations in combination. See Section 10. Whether the combined facilities are permanent new build structures, an additional installation to complement existing field facilities or a temporarily located mobile unit, great care should be taken to assess the probable impact on helideck


aerodynamic performance and helicopter operations of one installation in relation to another. During initial design or subsequent modification of installations where additional structures are planned it is imperative that the potential helideck aerodynamic effects are modelled as a complete complex to ensure that any interactions between the installations are fully understood and quantified.


Safety Cases Permanent Arrangements The Safety Case developed during the initial design (or if later modified) should reflect all aspects of the combined facilities that will have potential impacts on helicopter operations and flight safety. Where it is intended that an additional permanent structure will be installed (within 1000 metres of the other), the effects on the helicopter flying environment around the combined facilities should be fully re-assessed (whether or not both structures have helidecks). The information in the Safety Case should also be passed to the Helicopter Operator / BHAB Helidecks in order for them to make an assessment of the extent and form of any operating restrictions or limitations that should be applied. Flight Crews will use the information for flight planning and flight management purposes. Temporary Arrangements Where fixed installations, floating structures (e.g. FPSOs and MODUs), Jack-Up Rigs and vessels are temporarily bridged together, linked by an offloading system (or other such mechanism) or are in close proximity to each other (1000 metres or less), a Safety Case is normally required to address changes to on-board processes and the management of operations, etc. The Safety Case should reflect all physical aspects of the combined facilities (including interim layout changes, e.g. helidecks out of use, vessel relocations / movements, obstructions), their operations, management organisation and responsibilities and any procedural changes that will have potential impacts on helicopter operations. This information should be passed to the Helicopter Operator / BHAB Helidecks in order for them to make an assessment of the extent and form of any operating


restrictions or limitations that should be applied. Flight Crews will use the information for flight planning and flight management purposes.

(Photograph courtesy of Shell Exploration & Production)

Figure 8.4 Example of a temporary combined operation arrangement with a NUI and accommodation vessel bridge linked. Note the NUI helideck is INACTIVE (Prohibited Landing Marker displayed).


Management of Combined Operations Helidecks

During the management of combined operations the potential may exist for more than one helideck to be available. Also, there is the possibility that a helideck(s) will be inaccessible due to the temporary physical arrangement of the facilities or activities taking place thereon. The Field Operator in conjunction with other Duty Holder(s) and the Helicopter Operator should: 1. 2. Initially decide which helideck(s) will be designated Active or Inactive If one or more helidecks will remain available, introduce a combined helideck management organisation in order to appoint the OIM, HLO and Radio Operator who shall act as co-ordinator for the combined operations helicopter activities



Agree any changes to normal operating procedures and, where appropriate, develop helideck management and emergency procedures that will properly accommodate safe helicopter operations during the temporary works Make provisions for the correct marking of Inactive helideck(s) Where appropriate, undertake a full assessment of any potential effects from combined operations on the helicopter flying environment (e.g. adverse aerodynamic and thermal effects on flight paths, obstructions, crane operations, vessel movements, fugitive gas emissions, etc.) Consider the possible effects on helideck management from increased helicopter movements and make suitable provisions to mitigate these effects. There may be increased passenger and freight flows through the designated heli-admin and increased number of refuels requiring greater fuel stocks to be held on board, etc.

4. 5.




NUIs are a unique type of facility that require considerable and proper thought when designing the installation for helicopter operations. To a large extent the design of the basic NUI helideck facility is little different from a manned installation and the sections dealing with structures, systems, etc. should be referred to. However, some readily accepted features that are provided on manned platforms to support routine helicopter operations are often not available on NUIs. The lack of, or severe limitation to, some of the services available to the flight crews and intervention teams on NUI operations should be fully investigated and accounted for during design. Where it is possible and economically viable to improve these features, it should be done. Common deficiencies include: 1. Limited or no water available in sufficient quantity / pressure for operating water / foam fire monitor systems to improve fire cover Ineffective bird exclusion devices (generally where there is an established guano problem) so that visual aids become obliterated, friction surfaces


are impaired, there is increased potential for bird strikes during helicopter movements and increased personnel exposure to guano raising health issues 3. Limited water available at the helideck for efficient guano washdown and disposal to retain efficiency of visual aids Poor installation (side) and helideck identification signage, often as a result of contamination due to bird guano.



Main References
CAP 437, Chapter 3.


Definitions Remote Installation An installation should be considered Remote if it is more than 40 nautical miles from the nearest manned installation or airport / heliport. The distance of 40 NM has traditionally been used by UK helicopter operators as the criterion for the definition of a Remote installation. Although recognised as arbitrary, factors taken into consideration in the definition are the approximate range of VHF radio, line of sight limitations and areas of similar weather conditions. Normally Unattended An installation that is normally unattended is defined as an installation where no personnel are permanently present (See also MAR Regulation 4 [Ref: 6]. Personnel attending the Installation and working as intervention or maintenance crews do so on a planned or un-planned basis for short periods (e.g. a working day). The exceptions to these short periods are events where personnel are compelled to remain on board because the means for their recovery to a manned installation or heliport becomes unavailable for any reason (e.g. rapid weather deterioration). This situation should be regarded as an emergency and therefore suitable temporary accommodation and provisions should be made available. In the event that personnel are to be continuously present on the installation (e.g. for a period in excess of 24 hours) and helicopter operations are to continue for


routine crew changes, etc. the installation should no longer be considered normally unattended. Therefore, the CAP 437 requirements for a normally attended helideck operation should be met in full.


Seeking the Safest and Most Efficient Helideck Design Options for Operations to NUIs
The helideck design for a NUI should adopt a similar approach to that used for a manned installation as noted in the general sections of these guidelines. Design considerations that are specific to NUIs, that normally have minimal facilities, are detailed in the following sections. Helideck Layout Considerations If a helideck on a NUl is of a size which does not allow a second helicopter to land in the event that the first becomes unserviceable, or the helicopter is unable to be re-started whilst on deck, shutdown is not normally permitted. If a crane is available on the installation that is capable of lifting an unserviceable helicopter onto the deck of a supply vessel, shutdown may be permitted. Shutdown is permitted on helidecks that are of sufficient size to allow a second helicopter to land using the special procedures for operations to obstructed helidecks in the helicopter operators Operations Manual. Helideck size should comply with the minimum requirements specified in CAP 437. BHAB Helidecks will not sanction operations to new-build helidecks that do not meet D size minima. Additionally, the helideck should be designed to accommodate the weight of the heaviest helicopter intended to land on the installation.


Equipment Design Considerations General The following are specific design considerations that need to be addressed when specifying systems and equipment for NUIs. The listed topics are in addition to or supplement the more detailed requirements covered in the general sections of these guidelines.

85 Helicopter Start Unit If helicopter shutdown is planned, external power start facilities should be provided. See Section 11.10. Lighting (helideck perimeter, floodlighting, obstruction) The design of helideck lighting systems is covered in Section 11.3. Helideck Net Under normal circumstances, helideck nets are required on NUIs. However, if due to special circumstances, there is good reason why a particular helideck net should be removed this may be done, provided the helideck friction requirements specified in CAP 437 are fully complied with and it can be demonstrated that the helideck can be kept free of guano contamination. Firefighting Equipment The following equipment should be available on the installation. 1. A dry powder fire extinguisher having a capacity of not less than 45kgs; and a carbon dioxide fire extinguisher with engine applicator having a capacity of not less than 22.5kgs Serious consideration should be given to the provision of a portable foam unit. Such a unit should be self-contained, with a minimum capacity of 90 litres and should be fitted with an aspirated branch.


Every effort should be made to select equipment that will require minimum maintenance. Firemans Protective Clothing Two sets of the following items of firemans equipment should be provided, and be readily available adjacent to the helideck, for the intervention crew members assigned to helideck duties: A protective outfit, including gloves, boots, a facemask or hood and a helmet A self contained breathing apparatus


A portable battery-operated safety lamp capable of functioning efficiently for a period of not less than three hours A firemans axe, safety harness and lifeline.

Serious consideration should be given to the protective clothing requirements for firefighting (EN469) and the survival suit requirements for helicopter passengers. Implicit in operating guidelines is the requirement to remove the survival suit to don protective clothing for RFF purposes. Whilst every effort should be made to obtain protective clothing that will meet the requirements of both functions, an acceptable compromise may be to allow the helideck fire crew to wear the survival suit under a suitable knee length fire fighting bunker coat. Crash Tools / Rescue Equipment As per the requirement for manned installations. Helicopter Operations Support Equipment The following equipment should be provided. 1. 2. 3. 4. Chocks and tie down straps Scales for baggage and freight weighing (if freight is to be carried) Equipment for clearing the landing area of snow, ice and other debris If helicopter shutdown is planned, a suitable power source for starting helicopters must be available. Status Lights For detailed information about status lights see Section 11. Weather Measuring Equipment For most NUls (e.g. satellite installations near to a manned facility) no weather measuring equipment is required provided that weather patterns do not generally differ from the master or nearest manned installation.


For Remote installations, equipment capable of providing the following automatically relayed information is required. Windspeed and direction across the helideck. Outside air temperature. Barometric pressure (QFE).

Consideration should also be given to the provision of cloud-base measuring equipment, but in the absence of practical automatic visibility measuring equipment, the visibility should be obtained from the nearest manned facility. A windsock, illuminated where night operations are planned, is an essential requirement for all NUIs regardless of their proximity to the nearest manned facility. Remotely Operated Television System On Remote installations when, for any reason, operations are permitted where a standby vessel is unlikely to be in attendance, full and serious consideration should be given to the provision of a remotely operated television system which is capable of monitoring the helideck and associated areas. Such a system would be of considerable value in the following respects: Surveillance of the helideck to confirm safe helicopter landing / departure Security of the installation when unmanned Reducing the possibility of wasted flights, if for some reason, the helideck is unsuitable for a landing Monitoring the build-up of guano accumulations where the NUI is used as a roost by seabirds. This has merit for maintenance planning and avoiding helicopter landing restrictions. Bird Exclusion Devices Bird exclusion devices are covered in more detail in Section 11.11. All NUIs should be fitted with an automatic bird-scaring device that may be manually switched off during periods when the installation is manned.

88 Tie Down Points Where insufficient tie down points are provided on the helideck, it will not be permissible to conduct operations where a planned helicopter shut down is required. This deficiency will obviously effect helideck operability and preclude flights during strong wind conditions.







This section indicates some of the structural considerations to be taken into account to achieve a satisfactory helideck structural design. The helideck is the foundation on which helicopter operations take place on an offshore installation, MODU or vessel. The helideck and its supporting structure are safety critical elements as a result of their role in emergency evacuation, as well as during normal operations. The helicopter facilities should have sufficient clear approach and departure paths to enable any helicopter intended to use the landing area to land and take off safely in any wind or weather conditions that permit helicopter operations. The landing area should be situated so that it is located on the installation with respect to prevailing wind conditions in such a position that structure-induced airflow and temperature effects are minimised. Designers should be aware of all of the types of helicopter likely to use the helideck, both normally and in an emergency. The helicopter landing and take-off area and parking area should be of sufficient size and strength and laid out so as to accommodate the largest size of helicopter to be used and to adequately resist impact from heavy and emergency landings. Helicopter parameters for all of the known helicopters that will operate to the helideck should be obtained from the helicopter manufacturers. It is recommended the designer compiles a database for the helicopters, noting dimensions, weights, contact areas etc. and reviews the data as necessary, including projections for likely future helicopter developments, to ensure the helideck design will remain suitable for use in the future. The helideck and supporting structure should be designed to withstand the worst likely emergency to be encountered. CAP 437 assumes that a single engine failure in the hover at 9.14 metres wheel height (30 feet) is the case among likely survivable cases which would generate the highest vertical rate of decent onto the helideck. The design engineer should consider all likely design loads and load combinations.


As well as helicopter landing loads, the helideck has to be designed to cope with imposed loads on the deck from personnel, freight, refuelling and other temporary equipment, as well as environmental loads from wind, snow and ice, rotor downwash, etc, and its own self weight. The design should also take account of wind turbulence and hot and cold gas thermal effects. Turbulent airflow across the landing area can be caused by wind flow around adjacent structures, including flare stacks and turbine exhausts (which can also cause temperature gradients). These effects can seriously influence helicopter landing and take-off performance characteristics. Modelling methods such as wind tunnel testing or computational fluid dynamics computer modelling should be used to determine suitable limits, on helicopter operational weights and directions on take-off and landing, that may be necessary for certain wind directions and installation operating conditions see Section 10. The supporting structure, deck plate, stringers and supporting beams should be designed to resist the effects of local skid or wheel loads acting in combination with other loads in the most severe location for the element of structure being considered. Helicopters should be considered to land anywhere within the designated landing area and parked or stowed anywhere on the helideck. Helideck loadings should be analysed to determine the distribution of forces and bending moments. The helicopter should be positioned to maximise the internal forces on the component being considered.


The codes and standards applicable to the structural design of the helideck will be determined by where the helideck is to be operated and the national jurisdiction governing the installation or vessel of which the helideck will become part. As a general guide, the following design codes may apply: ICAO Annex 14 Volume II Heliports ICAO Heliport Manual ISO 19901-3 Petroleum and natural gas industries Specific requirements for offshore structures Part 3: Topsides structure (currently in draft expected to be issued 2003) CAP 437 Offshore Helicopter Landing Areas Guidance on Standards


American Petroleum Institute - API RP 2L Recommended Practice for Planning, Designing and Constructing Heliports for Fixed Offshore Platforms Classification Society codes for the design of offshore structures from Lloyds Register, DNV, BV, ABS, etc.

International standards such as ISO Codes, Eurocodes, or national standards, e.g. BS5950, NORSOK N-004 or AISC may be specified for detailed design.


Hardwood (Greenheart timber) was used for some helideck surfaces constructed in the early years of UKCS offshore installations. These wood surfaces can still be found on a few of the oldest platforms in the North Sea.


Older installation and vessel helideck landing surfaces tend to be of traditional steel plated construction. This material is relatively cheap and simple to fabricate but the final assembly is relatively heavy compared with an aluminium or passive steel deck. Disadvantages of a steel panelled helideck in service are: The surface requires initial and periodic painting and may require the incorporation and maintenance of non-slip aggregate to provide a suitable friction surface, if this is specified The helideck surface may be subject to water and fuel puddling due to minor in-service deformation of the panels.


Since the 1980s, aluminium helideck surfaces have tended to be the norm for helidecks in the North Sea. This is because they have the advantage of being lighter in weight than a comparable steel surface. Normally, the aluminium surface is constructed from extruded planks which are locked into position to form a pancake assembly.

The planks have built in friction surfaces formed by ribs on the extrusion surface. Often, however, good friction values are only achieved in one direction (e.g. across the ribs). The designer should therefore specify a requirement for the extrusions to be milled across the ribs to obtain adequate friction properties in all directions.


Passive Helideck
A passive type helideck can be fabricated from aluminium or steel. The surface is perforated to allow liquid to pass through it into drainage trays beneath. There are two types of passive system. These are: With the void below the perforated deck surface partially filled with a metal matting material. This prevents any unburned fuel from igniting. See Figure 9.1 With a foam spray system installed in channels beneath the open mesh surface to extinguish any burning fuel.

The advantages of specifying a helideck design that offers passive fire safety features should be considered. Such helidecks can: Potentially reduce personnel, helicopter and installation exposure to a major helicopter fire, in the event of an incident Provide a highly effective built-in non-slip surface and eliminate the need for a helideck net (fixed platforms only) Significantly enhance the minimum fire safety provisions provided on normally unattended installations Reduce the slipping hazard effects of potential guano accumulations.

Potential disadvantages of perforated surface helidecks can be: Loss of performance in the hover in ground effect (HIGE). This tends to be more noticeable in some helicopters with small hover / thrust margins and this will result in a payload penalty The collection of dirt, guano and debris that falls through the perforations. This may be difficult to remove and periodically, may require the replacement of matting materials.


All helideck designs of this type should be fully assessed and tested to demonstrate their passive fire safety performance and structural integrity. A competent authority should verify them prior to acceptance as a design option.

(Photo courtesy of John Burt Associates Limited)

Figure 9.1 - Example of a passive helideck surface


The helideck support structure connects the helideck to the main structural steelwork of the offshore installation or vessel. It needs to be designed to transmit all the helicopter landing loads, environmental, and live and dead loads derived from the design of the helideck structure to the primary structure of the installation or the vessel.


It is quite common for the helideck support structure to be fabricated from carbon steel, whilst the helideck will often be fabricated from aluminium sections. Where an aluminium helideck is used in conjunction with a carbon steel structure, then adequate electrical isolation of aluminium from steel must be maintained.

Sufficient information on the materials and the isolation methods used, either in manuals, or by placards or paint schemes fixed to the structure, should be provided to users for subsequent operations and maintenance. The designer is advised to consult with corrosion experts to provide a connection that satisfies anticorrosion requirements, as well as providing a suitable structural connection. Materials used in the fabrication should conform to a suitable code. For example, carbon steel should conform to a code such as BS 7191 Weldable Structural Steel for Fixed Offshore Structures [Ref: 57], latest edition.


Helideck support structures should be designed to carry all the loads imposed on the helideck through to the primary structure of the installation or vessel. Helideck loads derive from the parameters of the helicopter for which the helideck is intended (landing impact forces and wheel spacing), the deck weight, plus environmental loads (wind, snow and ice), and inertial loads due to installation or vessel movement (where applicable). Additionally, the effects of live loads and loads arising from parked helicopters (tied down) should be evaluated (See also Section 9.6). The designer of the support structure should ensure that all appropriate load cases have been applied to the helideck, and that the resulting maximum load cases are used in the design of the support structure. Similarly, it is important that the load cases are accurately transposed to the design conditions for the primary structure to which the support structure will be connected. The helideck support structure will also be used as the supporting structure for appurtenances such as drainage and service lines to the helideck above. Therefore, the selection of section types, and acceptability of these, need to be considered in the design process.


Interconnected Modules
It will often be the case (and in particular on a fixed offshore installation) that the helideck support structure will be positioned above a module on the deck, usually the accommodation module. The designer therefore has to be aware of the integration of the helideck design with the module design, as the structural supports for both units may be common. As well as this, additional safety features


such as blast walls, etc., may form part of the module design and could also have a bearing on the design of the helideck support structure.


It is quite common that the helideck support structure will have limited access once installed. Therefore, the designer should ensure that the structure is as maintenance free as possible and, wherever possible, easy access should be designed into the structure to facilitate future planned inspection and maintenance. A large number of helideck support structures are propped cantilevers. The addition of purpose built anchor points for abseiling inspection access in the future is recommended.


In addition to the design of the primary steelwork of the helideck, the designer also has to consider loads from the appurtenances associated with the helideck. These appurtenances will include: Fire monitor / access platforms Stairways, ladders, walkways and handrailing Drains system Perimeter safety net General, perimeter and flood lighting fixings Tiedown fixings Helideck net fixings Refuelling dispenser skid (if fitted) Communications aerials and meteorological equipment (if fitted to the helideck structure).



Each design code recommends a particular set of load combinations and factors to be considered. The designer also needs to consider the load conditions that can occur during fabrication, lifting, loadout and transportation of the helideck, and both static and dynamic forces that will be encountered.


The designer may also be asked to design suitable lifting points and sea-fastening points. Any local strengthening should be considered as part of the overall design. The following design load combinations should be considered: emergency landing helicopters at rest.

Both combinations should include appropriate serviceability requirements. Helicopter loads should be treated as imposed loads and applied together with other variable loads, permanent loads and environmental loads. Under emergency landing conditions, local deformation of plate and stiffeners may be tolerated provided that the overall integrity and function of the helideck are not compromised. The designer should also give detailed consideration to the case where a helicopter becomes unserviceable (U/S) on the offshore helideck and there is no designated parking area for that helicopter. The U/S helicopter is then required to park on the safe landing area of the helideck which will then encroach on the available safe landing area for making a recovery helicopter landing. The designer should give consideration to the case where the design case helicopter is parked and recovery helicopter is required to land on the same helideck and develop suitable load combinations as part of the design exercise for the helideck. On completion of the design exercise, the information relating to the combinations of parked / recovery helicopters shall be included in the Design and Operability Report.


Emergency landing
Variable Loads Helicopter landing gear design collapse loads Structural response factor for supporting structure Area load Horizontal force as proportion of landing gear collapse load.

Permanent Loads Self weight of structure and fixed appurtenances.

Environmental Loads Wind, snow and ice, etc. Inertial loads.



Normal Operations and Helicopters at Rest

Variable Loads: Helicopter static loads (local patch loads on landing gear) Area load Helicopter tie down loads, including wind loads from a secured helicopter.

Permanent Loads: Self weight of structure and fixed appurtenances.

Environmental Loads: Wind, snow and ice, etc Inertia loads.


Design Loadings
The designer should consider the following design loadings within the load combinations described above for a fixed or floating offshore installation. Helicopter Landing Gear Collapse Loads The maximum dynamic loads from an emergency landing may be determined from the collapse loading of the landing gear. This should be obtained from the helicopter manufacturer. Alternatively, default values may be used for design by considering an appropriate distribution of the total impact load. A single main rotor helicopter may be assumed to land simultaneously on its two main undercarriages or skids. Local patch loads should be used in design corresponding to the configuration of the landing gear. The design landing load is the landing gear load based on a percentage of the helicopter's gross weight. The recommended percentage and helicopter gross weight should again be obtained from the helicopter operator or helicopter manufacturers supplied data. See also Appendices 4 to 13. Structural Response Factor The dynamic load determined as above should be increased by a factor for the structural response of the helideck. This factor will depend on the natural frequency of the deck structure. Unless values based upon particular

undercarriage behaviour and deck frequency are available, a minimum structural response factor should be used. Imposed Area Load To allow for personnel and cargo transfer and snow and ice (in locations where these are possible) for minor equipment left on the helideck, etc, a general area load should be included. The imposed load is uniformly distributed over the entire safe landing area including any solid safety shelves. Horizontal Forces A concentrated horizontal imposed action as a proportion of the MTOW of the helicopter, shall be applied at the main landing gear locations and distributed in proportion to their vertical loading. This shall be applied at deck level in a direction to produce the most severe loading conditions for the elements considered. Self Weight of Structural Members The self-weight of the helideck supported by the member concerned should be included with the appropriate load factor. The self-weight is the weight of decking, stiffeners, support structure and accessories supported by the member or substructure being considered. The designer is recommended to make a conservative estimate of this load at the start of the design process and to then confirm the dead load at the end of the detail design to verify the accuracy of the design. Environmental Loads Helidecks on mobile installations must be designed for gravity and inertial forces due to the units motions and accelerations. Additionally, sea pressure and green sea loads on the support structure may need to be considered. The designer should make reference to the loading criteria used for the design of the vessel to ensure that all loading resulting from vessel motions and external wave loading will be fully allowed for in the design of the helideck. The designer should take full account of wind loading on the helideck structure. Wind loading cases should include pressure, lift and side loads, helicopter landing side loads from Section plus wind load at the limiting wind speed for helicopter operation and, for the helicopter on deck case, side loads for deck and


helicopter at the maximum environmental wind velocity considered. Wind velocity should be taken as the 3-second gust at helideck elevation above sea level. Wind load may be determined in accordance with the guidelines set out in BS 6399 Part 1 Wind Loads [Ref: 58].



Friction Surface
An adequate non-slip surface should be provided for the whole of the helideck to ensure the safe movements of both helicopters and personnel. The designer should therefore properly consider the helideck surface materials of construction and specify the correct and most appropriate friction surface for the helideck as a whole and in particular the safe landing area, irrespective of whether a landing net will be fitted.


Main References
CAP 437, Section 3.8.


Design Considerations
All materials, coverings or coatings used to provide a non-skid surface should be structurally fastened to the helideck or bonded with an adhesive agent that is not chemically altered in the presence of fuel, oil and the effects of guano. This includes both specialist paint systems used with aggregates and pre-formed / coloured non-slip tiling systems.


(Photo courtesy of John Burt Associates Limited)

Figure 9.2 Example of a tiled friction surface

In the case of extruded aluminium construction an adequate non-slip profile (effective in all directions) should be specified as part of the surface structure. Alternatively, a high friction paint system should be specified. It should be noted that where new, unpainted aluminium helidecks are exposed to prolonged periods of strong sunlight high surface temperatures are likely to be experienced. It is recommended that a high friction paint system be applied to mitigate these effects. The non-slip requirement for helidecks also includes all the helideck markings. Therefore, these should be applied using a specification similar to the helideck surface.


Helideck Landing Nets General Requirements Generally, helideck landing nets should be fitted on all helidecks on offshore installations and vessels operating on the UKCS. Exceptions can be made, subject to BHAB Helidecks acceptance, for some fixed installation landing nets to be removed where the helideck meets the ongoing friction requirements specified in CAP 437.


The removal of helideck nets is covered in detail in Section 9.7.6. Main References CAP 437, Section 3.8. Helideck Net Specification The helideck net should be manufactured from sisal rope (not nylon) and tautly stretched with knotted or locked splice joints. Rope and mesh dimensions are specified in CAP 437. It should be noted that, generally, helideck nets are initially manufactured as a square assembly. Sometimes it may be found that the helideck is of hexagonal shape and the position of markings prevents the setting down of a square net in a manner that allows proper positioning, fixing and the use of tensioning devices. Where this is the case, the shape of the net should be altered. To ensure that only proper modifications are made to the basic net construction, the supplier should make any changes to the shape of the net. Fitting and Routine Maintenance The net should be maintained in good condition, adequately tensioned, and positioned to cover the aiming circle completely, while leaving the name identification, helideck size and allowable mass markings outside the netted area. As a general guide, it should not be possible to raise any part of the net more than approximately 250 mm above deck level when applying a vigorous vertical lift by hand. The importance of maintaining adequate net tension, despite regular changes that occur due to water saturation and dryingout cannot be overemphasised. It is essential to ensure that it is never possible for the helicopters undercarriage to become trapped.


Helideck Net Fixings

When a helideck landing net is fitted, fixings should be installed to secure the net properly and an adequate net tensioning system provided. The fixings should be designed and dimensioned so that the tension strops lay flat on the helideck surface. The sole use of ropes is considered an inadequate means for tensioning the net.


It is preferable for the helideck net fixings to be fixed equidistant around the perimeter of the helideck, except where they would present trip hazards at the head of access stairways onto the helideck. Examples of different types of fixings are shown in Figures 9.3 to 9.6. They may be: Simple loop or hook bar fixings welded between the deck surface and upstand, or Purpose made pad eye or floating ring fittings welded to the deck.

Ideally the net should be capable of being positioned correctly (centrally over the landing circle) and evenly tensioned from all sides. Depending on the shape and size of the helideck, this may mean permanently securing the landing net on one or two sides and tensioning from the remaining sides.

(Photo courtesy of John Burt Associates Limited)

Figure 9.3 Tensioning system for net with perimeter hook system (arrowed)


(Photo courtesy of John Burt Associates Limited)

Figure 9.4 Pad eye type helideck net fixings welded to deck surface (arrowed)

(Photo courtesy of John Burt Associates Limited)

Figure 9.5 Floating ring type fixings welded to deck surface


(Photo courtesy of John Burt Associates Limited)

Figure 9.6 Hook type net fixings (arrowed)

It is best to avoid installing a helideck net fixing system: That has fixings on the helideck surface beyond the perimeter. These will be additional trip hazards. However, such an arrangement may be unavoidable on very large helidecks That does not allow adjustable strops to be used to tension the net routinely That relies on a rope tensioning arrangement. Routine tensioning will be very difficult and time consuming.


Helideck Landing Net Removal

The removal of helideck nets is not permitted on mobile installations or vessels save in exceptional circumstances and with BHAB Helidecks acceptance. To achieve this acceptance, an assessment may be required in order to demonstrate that the risks are acceptable. In the case of skidded helicopters, the fitting of nets is subject to the specified requirements of the helicopter operator. Nets may constitute a particularly serious hazard to skidded helicopters.

There are, however, operational disadvantages with installing helideck nets, such as passenger trip hazards, obscuring deck markings, and restricting the clearance of spilt fuel. These operational disadvantages have prompted owners of fixed installations to move towards providing and maintaining enhanced friction surfaces in lieu of helideck nets. The enhanced friction surfaces may include tiling systems that to some extent still provide visual cues for landing due to the grouting lines being visible from the air. From a flying perspective, there may be a case for retaining nets on some offshore helidecks. The appearance of the three-dimensional mesh from some distance above, when landing, provides flight crews with a good reference (visual cue) of the height above the helideck and the closure rate, particularly at night when many other visual clues are absent. Net removal will eliminate this valuable visual clue. Approval to remove the helideck net will only be given if the friction surface achieves average surface friction values (see CAP 437) using an approved testing device. This approval for net removal is generally limited to fixed installations. After approval has been given to remove a landing net, the surface friction will be subject to routine re-testing, the periodicity will depend on the results achieved from previous friction tests (See CAP 437 Friction Requirements for Landing Area Net Removal, CAA Paper 98002 [Ref: 42]).



Access to and from helidecks is a topic that requires proper and detailed consideration in order to avoid major problems arising during operations. When planning access and escape systems for the helideck during design, it is imperative that the designer fully understands the global picture and takes into account a number of general considerations.


Main References
CAP 437, Chapter 3.



Access General Considerations

Access considerations will need to take account of the helideck location relative to the accommodation areas or temporary refuge and whether the helideck is to be installed on: a fixed structure a mobile installation or FPSO a vessel.

Features to be considered in detail should include, but are not limited to: Limiting the steepness of accessways to assist safe personnel passage in high winds and where excessive motions are present Providing the most direct route for the primary access from the heli admin office Being able to secure the helideck properly from un-authorised or inadvertent access during helideck operations, etc Provision of efficient passenger controls Sufficient space for, and ease of laying of, fire hoses Easy and unrestricted access to rescue equipment Easy stretcher access Easy access for freight handling Easy access for baggage handling Separation of passenger movement from refuelling operations Provision of good clearances from helicopter tail rotor position for deck crew and passengers The need to accommodate aircraft positioning in various wind directions The need to avoid infringement of the 5:1 obstacle protected surface.



Escape - General Considerations

There should be minimum of two primary escape routes from the helideck and preferably three Escape routes should take into account fire monitor positioning and the likely effect of water blast impeding passenger escape Escape routes should be designed to direct passengers immediately away from the helicopter, in particular the tail rotor area Easy access and quick arrival at a place of safety below helideck level Positioning of escape routes so as not to impede rescue operations One escape route can be a ladder system if a platform and stairs proves to be an unworkable option Fireman and helideck crew escape from monitor platforms should access to the helideck be cut-off Vessels with helidecks on the foredeck may be unable to provide a tertiary escape other than via a hatch system to below deck. The designer should therefore consider what happens if a stricken helicopter compromises the hatchway and attempt to provide alternative options for the tertiary escape Vessels with forward helidecks will sometimes offer a very good escape route to protected areas behind the bridge. The designer should take advantage of this option.


Where possible, monitor / access platforms should be designed to provide protection for the helideck crew during aircraft movements Ensure monitor / access platforms are big enough for fire equipment and passenger access without impeding helideck crew working areas, and without exceeding the requirements for unobstructed falling 5:1 gradient as stated in CAP 437


To assist with safe passenger movements, provide collapsible handrails at the head of steps onto the helideck. The design should be kept simple and robust. See Figures 9.7 and 9.8 Ensure that monitor / access platforms are well lit.

(Photo courtesy of John Burt Associates Limited)

Figure 9.7 Folding handrail erected and locked with pins

(Photo courtesy of John Burt Associates Limited)

Figure 9.8 Handrail in lowered position



Walkways should be designed to provide maximum protection for helideck crew and passengers The design of access and escape routes should be to a recognised specification to ensure sufficient walkway width, ease of movement between different levels and to provide adequate personnel protection Where possible, the primary access route from heli-admin should be made as wide as possible (say 1.5 metres) to allow for easier baggage, stretcher and freight handling Wherever possible provide high sided, protected walkways to and from the helideck to assist personnel during adverse weather. Standard height handrailing is acceptable in benign weather conditions, but may not provide additional security for passengers in high wind conditions.


Stairways and Ladders

The primary helideck access stairways should be designed with extra width where possible All stairways and ladders should be designed in accordance with a recognised specification (See Section 9.7) Long, very steep stairways should be avoided. It is preferable to have intermediate landings The head of stairways onto the helideck should be provided with folding handrails Ladders for normal access are unacceptable Similar to walkways, where possible, stairways should have highsided handrail systems particularly where the outboard helideck access routes are likely to be exposed to high winds and on vessels subject to wave motions.



Control of Personnel Access to Helideck

Designers should provide a means to restrict unauthorised or inadvertent entry to the helideck. The system used should not be a permanent barrier so as not to impede or prevent personnel escape from the helideck in an emergency. A simple frangible chain (plastic) with a notice suspended in the centre stating Access Prohibited unless Authorised by HLO will suffice. One end should be permanently secured, with a hook allowing easy removal at the other end. Chains should be installed at each point of access to the helideck, preferably at the initial entry point (e.g. bottom of stairway).


Good drainage of helidecks is important. Water and aviation fuel puddling on the landing surface is to be avoided as it may have an adverse impact during operations, particularly in an emergency. A helideck with puddling problems can also directly affect the safety of aircraft and personnel and the operability of the helideck when icing conditions are present. Helidecks should therefore be designed to remain free from standing water and fuel accumulations at all times. On vessels, MODUs and floating structures drainage may be assisted by the vessel motions. This assumes that the scuppers are adequately designed to carry away any standing liquids. Low level, bow mounted helidecks may also be seriously affected by green water or spray. This operational feature should be taken into account.


Main References
CAP 437, Chapter 3.



Environmental Considerations
Discharging pollutants from offshore installations, MODUs and vessels is generally considered an environmentally unacceptable practice. It is therefore prudent to carefully consider helideck drainage and any restrictions that may be applied. However, there is currently no prohibition of draining pollutants (e.g. aviation fuel) to the sea in an emergency, as would be the case in the event of a helicopter crash, particularly if the event were to involve a fire. MARPOL Annex 1, Regulation 11(a) states that, Regulations 9 and 10 of this Annex shall not apply to: (a) The discharge of oil or oily mixture necessary for the purpose of securing the safety of a ship or saving life at sea;.


Operational Considerations
The helideck drain system should be designed with the following operational requirements in mind: Good containment (within the confines of the helideck) of burning aviation fuel Rapid and safe disposal of any liquids flowing onto the landing surface Potential for drains system blockages minimised Easy checking and maintenance of the system.


Design Considerations
The surface selected for the helideck will determine the likely effects on surface drainage. They are as follows: Steel plated - susceptible to puddling due to welded plate construction Aluminium Extruded - tend to remain relatively free of water providing the surface profile allows good run off to the scuppers Safedeck - very little surface water retention due to perforated surface design.


ICAO Heliport Manual [Ref. 54] recommends that a maximum camber of 1:100 be provided on a fixed platform helideck to facilitate drainage. In the case of MODUs, vessels and floating structures, see also Section 7 for further considerations when operating helicopters to moving helidecks. Whilst controlling a major helicopter fire and fuel spillage, monitor operations will lay down massive amounts of water / foam compound. Therefore, the large area of a helideck combined with the need to rapidly clear large fluid volumes from the surface requires a highly effective drains system. To ensure that the safety of an installation, MODU or vessel is not compromised, the scuppers and drain headers should be designed: For the worst-case event (all monitors operating plus maximum fuel spillage) to ensure that good drainage flow rates can be achieved With a good upstand around the perimeter of the helideck to prevent accumulations of burning fuel mixed with the water / foam overflowing onto areas beneath the helideck surface With adequately sized scuppers to collect and retain the liquids and then direct them into the drain headers With debris traps to ensure that blocking cannot occur. These are

essential and should be removable to facilitate cleaning and maintenance


Drain Holes in Upstand Drain Scupper

Helideck Surface

Debris Guard

Liquid Flow to Drain Header

Figure 9.9 - Typical view of a practical helideck drain construction


With effective flame traps incorporated to safely carry away ignited aviation fuel including the additional volume of liquid resulting from the use of firefighting media To discharge directly to the sea in a manner that provides adequate protection to the installation, MODU or vessel from ignited fuel residues on the sea surface.

Note: It is usually impractical to consider routing helideck surface drainage into the installation, MODU or vessel hazardous drainage system because it cannot accommodate the potentially high volume of fluid flow.



9.10.1 Introduction
The helideck perimeter safety net should provide a proper catchment for a person falling anywhere on the exposed perimeter of the deck.

9.10.2 Main References

CAP 437, Chapter 3. Other references can be found in the ICAO Heliport Manual, IMO MODU Rules, etc. In some jurisdictions there may be a requirement for the perimeter safety net not to exceed 150 mm above the elevation of the helideck surface. This requirement is included in the IMO MODU Rules for harsh environment, for example.

9.10.3 Design Considerations

The overall dimensions, strength and configuration of the helideck perimeter net should be adequate. The construction materials should be fire resistant or protected. The dimensions of a perimeter safety net: both the width and height above landing surface, are critical. This is because it is necessary for the helicopter to be able to clear the helideck perimeter net in the event of engine failure during take-off. See Figure 9.10.

The angle of the perimeter safety net relative to the landing surface is also important. Where the angle is less than 10 an individual falling onto the net is unlikely to be adequately restrained from falling overboard. Therefore, the net should be angled at approximately 10 from the horizontal.

Maximum Width (from edge of helideck) = 1500 mm Maximum Height Above Helideck Landing Surface = 250 mm Spacer to raise net above support. Net Panel Support Edge of Helideck Angle not less or greater than 10


Figure 9.10 - Typical details and critical dimensions for helideck perimeter safety net

9.10.4 Areas to be protected by Perimeter Safety Net

All areas of the helideck perimeter where a person may fall or be blown off the helideck surface must be protected by a safety net. This includes all the seaboard areas and all inboard areas not protected by handrails, with the exception of access and escapeways. Consideration should also be given to protecting the areas adjacent to fire monitor / access platforms, but not to the extent that efficient fire monitor operation may be impeded.

9.10.5 Combined Handrail and Safety Nets for Vessels

On vessels, helideck perimeter safety arrangements can be comprised of various systems. These may include: 1. 2. Permanently fixed safety net around the entire exposed area Part of the exposed perimeter equipped with a fixed safety net and the remainder with hinged panels The whole exposed perimeter equipped with hinged panels




In addition to the fixed perimeter safety net sections, removable handrail panels may be provided to give additional personnel protection when the helideck is not in use. This arrangement is seen on smaller vessels with helidecks on the bow section (not elevated) and some aft mounted helidecks.

Selection of the preferred arrangements to be used will depend on a number of factors such as: 1. 2. The extent of helideck use whilst the vessel is under way The degree of exposure to marine crew when they are working on a foredeck helideck area in heavy seas Exposure during routine activities (other than helicopter operations) taking place on the vessel / helideck for instance when rigging up and towing streamers on seismic vessels.


9.10.6 Construction and Inspection Considerations

The netting should be adequately supported and fixed around the perimeter of the frame(s) and have a good hammock effect, regardless of the selected mesh material.

Stainless Steel banding at approx. 150 mm spacing

Small gap between net panels (may also need to accommodate NDB Loop Aerial support system)

50 mm Grade A Plastic Coated Wire Mesh or equivalent.

15 x 3 mm Steel Stretcher Bar threaded through mesh

Section of net panel frame


Figure 9.11 - Typical details of preferred fixings for wire mesh (or equivalent) perimeter safety net panels.


Polypropylene netting should ideally be supported on all sides of a panel with a substantial stainless steel wire (plastic covered) threaded through the net mesh. The netting should either be wrapped or tied to the support wire at approximately 100 mm intervals. Wire mesh net specification and fixings should be as noted in Figure 9.11 above. Wire mesh should be secured at the outer edges with the wire tails turned back to ensure mesh integrity is fully maintained. There are several important things to look for when designing or inspecting the perimeter safety net. The example in Figure 9.12 includes the following acceptable and unacceptable features: 1. Perimeter safety net (polypropylene type) showing a good hammock effect and no supports intruding into the netting that might cause an injury when restraining an individual. ACCEPTABLE. The support angle is significantly less than 10. This suggests the net will probably provide only limited outboard restraint for an individual falling onto it. UNACCEPTABLE.


(Photo courtesy of John Burt Associates Limited)

Figure 9.12 Polypropylene safety net


The left hand NDB Aerial Support is, in this case, causing a 5:1 Infringement within the 180 5:1 falling gradient. UNACCEPTABLE.


This support must be modified so that the support drops straight down within the slope of the falling gradient over the edge of the safety net. Where a support cannot be immediately modified it will be declared as an infringement in the HLL and may lead to onerous operating restrictions, particularly on take-off. 4. The NDB Aerial Support is raised above the helideck support frame. This is generally an acceptable arrangement (a practical solution) on an existing helideck and will be needed in order to retrieve the loop aerial for maintenance. The preferred solution on a new build or during a major helideck re-work is to position the aerial supports inboard of the net and between the perimeter net frames. When laid down the supports should be below perimeter net level. Other unsatisfactory Safety Net features the designer should be aware of are: 1. 2. Mesh panel stretched too taut. Mesh panel fixed to frames by a single wire wrapped around the perimeter. Single point failure of the wire will render the net unserviceable.

NOTE: On helideck inspections, it is frequently found that the securing ties are too long. In the event of a tie breaking and unravelling, a large section of the net can separate from its frame. 3. Mesh panel intrusion by support members (no spacers to keep net mesh clear of supports). 4. Existence of large gaps at the points where safety net panels abut against each other. There should only be a small gap sufficient to provide a clearance between the panel frames and, when fitted, to accommodate NDB loop aerial supports. Any gaps in the panel system should not be of such size as to impair catchment of a falling individual. On vessel helidecks, equipped with hinged perimeter safety net panels that follow the bow line, provision should be made in the design to ensure that large gaps are avoided in both raised and deployed positions.




On square aft helidecks equipped with hinged perimeter safety net panels the design should also include an arrangement that ensures the corners are properly protected when perimeter safety net panels are in the deployed position.

(Photo courtesy of John Burt Associates Limited)

Figure 9.13 - Example of NDB aerial fixings installed onto an existing perimeter net

(Photo courtesy of John Burt Associates Limited)

Figure 9.14 - Example of unsatisfactory panel alignment. Quality should be monitored during fabrication process.


9.10.7 Perimeter Safety Net Load Testing

It is necessary to load test the constructed perimeter safety net system to ensure design and construction integrity. Generally, this test requires the net system to be strong enough to withstand, without damage, a 75 kg weight dropped from a height of 1 metre. Ideally, the initial test should be carried out on an identical test panel, not a section that is to be installed on an operational helideck. During helideck inspections, often the date of the last drop test cannot be confirmed. A copy of the test document should be kept readily available on the installation / vessel. The test can be achieved using a sandbag of suitable weight released from a suspension point above the panel.



9.11.1 Introduction
The tiedown fixings required on helidecks are an important and functional part of offshore helicopter operations safety. There may be occasions when it is imperative that a helicopter that is parked on the helideck needs to be properly secured to prevent damage to the airframe, due to high winds or excessive helideck motions.

9.11.2 Main References

CAP 437, Chapter 3. Helicopter Manufacturer Data Sheets.

9.11.3 Design Considerations Tiedown pattern Proper distribution of suitable tiedown fittings is essential and should comply with CAP 437. This arrangement ensures that the tiedown pattern required for securing different helicopter types is adequate for obtaining the correct distribution of loads through the aircraft picketing fixtures and for achieving the correct angles of tiedown strops relative to the helideck and aircraft.

Tiedowns should be designed to accommodate helicopters routinely using the helideck and for helicopters which may use the helideck in case of an emergency. Structural strength Where deck penetrations for tie-down points are located, adequate structural strength should be provided in the helideck surface and the tiedown fittings to accommodate the anticipated loads. Tiedown strops are normally rated in the order of 5000 kg (approximately 11200 lbs). Drainage Adequate drainage of the deck penetrations / tiedown fittings should be provided. The drainage holes should be of sufficient size to avoid blockages and where it is necessary to prevent fuel spillage etc. onto the areas below the helideck, removable plugs should be fitted to seal the helideck surface. Sealing the helideck surface is important where the helideck is mounted above an accommodation area or the bridge of a vessel. Tiedown fittings There are different designs of tiedown fitting and they may be permanent or removable. In both cases, the diameter of the bar or loop for attaching the tiedown strop should not exceed 22 mm. On an existing helideck where the bar or ring diameter exceeds 22 mm and is therefore too large for the tiedown strop hook capacity, D shackles or some other means will be required to provide the necessary connection. Proper storage and maintenance of these additional fixings in a location adjacent to the helideck will be an operational requirement. Permanent fittings The designs of permanent tiedown fittings are generally: A recessed box with a cross bar (See Figure 9.15), or A semi-recessed ring assembly.


(Photo courtesy of John Burt Associates Limited)

Figure 9.15 Recessed box tiedown fitting (iced up due to blocked drain)

Removable Fittings Removable fittings may be: Threaded rings, or Special block type fixings (normally used on perforated passive helideck surfaces. When using removable tiedown fittings, there will be an essential operational requirement to provide proper storage for the fixings in a secure location adjacent to the helideck. Also, an adequate number of replacements should be made available and the fixings (helideck surface attachment and the fittings) will require routine maintenance and checking. Additionally, where removable tiedown fittings are used, it is prudent to provide painted markings around the correct locations where the fittings are to be positioned, when in use. An essential design feature of any tiedown system and the fittings is to ensure that they do not damage aircraft tyres or cause a personnel trip hazard. Permanently fixed, surface mounted, tiedown rings are not acceptable. This type of fixing can easily damage aircraft tyres and cause a personnel trip hazard. Also, recessed boxes that are too large can cause an aircraft wheel to become lodged in them during routine helideck operations or in situations when manoeuvring the helicopter off of the landing area.


(Photo courtesy of John Burt Associates Limited)

Figure 9.16 Semi-recessed removable tiedown fitting. Note painted area to provide a reference for re-fitting after removal.



Where tie-down points, net tensioners, perimeter lighting fixtures, etc. have been located, proper attention should be paid to design and equipment selection to eliminate potential trip hazards.



9.13.1 Main References

Reference CAP 437, Chapters 5 and 7.

9.13.2 Introduction
The designer of a helideck should always take due notice of the requirements for future maintenance and inspection work on the helideck. It is recommended that the designer review historical statistical information from previous inspections to determine any causes and trends in maintenance and inspection work, and to allow for identification of any common factors.


The designer should also be aware that the helideck would be incorporated into a fully integrated schedule of inspection on the installation when it becomes operational. On fixed platform installations, it is common practice for a written scheme of examination to be in place. This document maps out a series of inspection tasks that are to be undertaken to a prescribed set of procedures on a similarly prescribed inspection schedule. The schedule is determined by a number of factors including the safety critical rating of the elements of the helideck in question. A structural integrity management contractor will use the output from the final design report produced by the designer to identify safety critical elements on the helideck. It is therefore the responsibility of the designer to ensure that the final design report takes due note of the above point and a paragraph or section is included in the design report which highlights specific areas / tasks recommended for future inspection. The structural integrity management contractor can use this in the future. Similar inspection regimes will be in place for helidecks on other installations such as drilling rigs, vessels etc. The detail design of the helideck structure should also allow for satisfactory access for all maintenance and inspection activities. Access should be considered for both inspection of the main structural elements of the helideck and 'local' access to facilitate removal of components if this becomes necessary during the life of the helideck. The designer should be aware of those helideck elements that will be subjected to detailed maintenance and inspection in the future. These include: The helideck -supporting steelwork etc Corrosion protection systems Fire protection systems Visual aids - markings and lighting Communications equipment Miscellaneous equipment, de-icing equipment etc Refuelling system (if applicable).

These topics are addressed in greater detail in Section 11.




10.0 10.1


The safety of offshore helicopter flight operations can be seriously affected by environmental effects that may be present around installations, vessels and their helidecks. These environmental effects are typified by structural turbulence, the thermal effects caused by gas turbine and diesel exhaust emissions, hot and cold gas streams and vessel motions. It is vital, in order to ensure the safety of helicopters operating to and from offshore installations and vessels, that the best possible flying environment (minimum turbulence and helideck movement) is maintained. Where, for operational and/or meteorological reasons, ideal flying conditions do not prevail, then flight crews need to have access to as much information as possible on the anticipated turbulent conditions and helideck movements in order to plan or abort flight operations. This section addresses, in detail, the environmental effects likely to be encountered, and provides information on how to identify problems during the design process and ways that these adverse effects can be mitigated.


CAP 437, Chapter 3. CAA Paper 99004 - Research on Offshore Helideck Environmental Issues [Ref: 41]. BMT Report - Helideck Design Considerations Environmental Effects [Ref: 68].


It is almost inevitable that helidecks installed on the cramped decks of offshore structures will suffer to some degree from their proximity to tall and bulky structures, and to gas turbine exhausts and flares. The objective of this section is to help platform designers to create offshore installation topsides designs, and helideck locations, that are safe and friendly to helicopter operations and, as far as possible, avoid the environmental effects (mainly aerodynamic, thermal and wave motion) which can affect helicopter operations. It is hoped that, if used from


day one of the offshore installation design process when facilities are first being laid out, this section will prevent or minimise many helideck environment problems at little or no cost to design or construction. Guidance on the design and placement of offshore helidecks has existed for many years in the CAA document CAP 437 [Ref: 40], which contains certain environmental criteria relating to the occurrence of downdraft and higher than ambient temperatures due to exhausts and flares. These criteria were set in order to ensure safe helicopter operations by avoiding these hazards. Where these criteria could not be met, or where pilots experienced other environmental phenomena, an entry has been placed in the Helideck Limitation List (HLL) (previously known as the Installation / vessel Limitation List - IVLL). These entries are specific to particular combinations of wind speed and direction, and either restrict helicopter weight, or prevent flying altogether in certain weather conditions. The HLL system operated by the British Helicopter Advisory Board (BHAB Helidecks) should ensure that landings on offshore helidecks are properly controlled when adverse environmental effects are present. On poorly designed helidecks, severe restrictions may be placed on operations resulting in reduced payloads or cancelled flights. This can lead to significant commercial penalties for the installation operator or vessel owner. Well-designed and helicopter-friendly platform topsides and helidecks therefore result in efficient operations, and a saving in cost for the platform operator. A survey based on pilot responses to a questionnaire on workload and safety hazards [Ref: 44] rated turbulence around platforms as the largest source of workload and presenting the largest safety risk of all aspects of offshore flight operations. A review of offshore helideck environmental issues [Ref: 41] pointed out that many of the decisions leading to poor helideck performance were made by designers in the very early stages of design, and recommended that it would be easier for designers to get these decisions right if comprehensive helideck design guidance published by industry was available to run in parallel with CAP 437.




10.4.1 Introduction
The design guidance in this section applies to all fixed installations (manned and normally unattended installations), floating installations (including semisubmersibles {e.g. MODUs, FPUs and specialist barges} and vessel hull based FPSOs) and any other specialist offshore support vessels with a helideck (e.g. seismic, diving support, pipelay). The environmental effects described in this section fall into two classes; aerodynamic effects, and wave motion effects.

All offshore installations experience the aerodynamic affects described in Sections 10.4.3 to 10.4.7 but only floating systems experience the influences of wave motions on the helideck as described in Section 10.5. Turbulent airflows and thermal effects are in effect 'invisible' obstructions in flight paths around installations and vessels. They can seriously affect flight operations onto a helideck. These effects must be identified, quantified and taken fully into account when establishing the operability of a helideck. The environmental issues described in this section are clearly not the only factors in the selection of the helideck design or location. It is also strongly influenced by other important practical, safety and regulatory factors. For example, on many installations the helicopter will be designated the primary means of escape, and so the helideck must be close to the temporary refuge. Selection of the best helideck location is therefore invariably a compromise between a number of potentially conflicting requirements.


10.4.2 Aerodynamic Issues and Criteria

Figure 10. 1 - Sketch showing the main elements of aerodynamic flow interaction

Helidecks are basically flat plates and so are relatively streamlined structures. In isolation they would present little disturbance to the wind flow, and helicopters would be able to operate to and from them in a more or less undisturbed air environment. Difficulties arise because the wind must deviate around the bulk of the offshore installation causing large areas of flow distortion and turbulent wakes, and because the installation is also often a source of hot or cold gas emissions. The effects fall into three main categories (see Figure 10.1). The flow around the bulk of the offshore installation itself. Platforms are slab-sided, non-streamlined assemblies (bluff bodies) which create regions of highly distorted and disturbed airflow in their vicinity The flow around large items of superstructure, notably cranes, drilling derricks and exhaust stacks. Like the platform itself, these are bluff


bodies, and it is the turbulent wake flows behind these bodies that are important Hot gas flows emanating from exhaust outlets and flare systems.

The current design criteria are based ultimately on achieving two objectives: The vertical mean wind speed above the helideck at main rotor height shall not exceed 0.9m/s for a wind speed of 25 m/s; this equates to a wind vector slope of 2 The maximum temperature rise, averaged over a 3 second time interval, in the vicinity of the flight path and over the landing area, shall not exceed 2oC.

These criteria are defined in CAP 437 [Ref: 40] and are taken to be the limiting conditions for safe helicopter operation. If they are exceeded under any conditions then the helicopter operator is to be advised, and in most circumstances an appropriate flight limitation should be entered into the HLL [Ref: 69]. It should be noted that, at present, there is no criterion for the severity of turbulence that can occur in the helicopter flight path. However, research is currently in progress to derive one and later versions of these guidelines are expected to contain such a criterion. NOTE: The issue arises of how high above the landing area these criteria should be applied. CAP 437 [Ref: 40] says at a height above helideck level which takes into consideration the airspace required above the helideck to accommodate helicopter landing and take - off decision points. The recommendation in [Ref: 41] is more specific, saying up to a height above the helideck corresponding to 30 feet plus wheels - to - rotor height plus one rotor diameter.

10.4.3 Plan Location of the Helideck

A key driver of the helideck location is the need to provide a generous sector clear of physical obstructions for the approaching / departing helicopter, and also sufficient vertical clearance for the helicopter to lose altitude in the event of a single engine failure. This requirement is for a minimum 210o obstacle free sector, with a falling 5:1 gradient below the landing area over at least 180o of this arc (see Section 6.4).


Figure 10.2 - Sketch showing the helideck installed over a corner with 50% overhang.

From an aerodynamic point of view the helideck should be as far away from the disturbed wind flow around the platform as possible. This objective, and the 210o obstacle-free sector, are most readily achieved by locating the helideck on a corner of the platform with as large an overhang as possible. In combination with an appropriate elevation and air gap (see Section 10.4.4), the overhang will encourage disturbed airflow to pass under the deck leaving a relatively horizontal and clean flow over the top. It is recommended that the overhang should be such that the centre of the helideck is vertically above, or outboard of, the corner of the installation superstructure (see Figure 10.2.

10.4.4 Helideck Height and Air Gap under the Helideck

The height of the helideck, and the presence of an air gap between the helideck and the supporting module, are the most important factors in determining wind flow characteristics. The helideck should ideally be located at a height above, or at least equal to, all significant surrounding structures. This will minimise the occurrence of turbulence and downdraft downwind of adjacent structures. An air gap, separating the helideck from superstructure beneath it, promotes beneficial wind flow over the helideck. If there is not an air gap under the helideck, then wind conditions above are likely to be severe, particularly if the helideck is mounted on top of a large multi-story accommodation block. It is the distortion of the wind flow around the bulk of the platform that is the cause.


Figure 10.3 - Sketch showing the flow passing under the helideck and clean flow over.

Based on previous research work [Ref: 41] it is recommended that the air gap on production platforms should be in the range 3m 5m. Helidecks mounted on very tall accommodation blocks require the largest clearance, whilst those on smaller blocks and with very large helideck overhangs tend to require less. For shallow superstructures of three stories or less, such as often found on semi-submersible drilling vessels, a 1m gap may be sufficient. In combination with an appropriate overhang (see Section 10.4.3), the air gap encourages the disturbed airflow to pass under the deck leaving a relatively linear and clean flow over the top (see Figure 10.3). It is essential that the air gap is preserved throughout installation operational life, and does not become a storage area for bulky items that might obstruct the free flow of the air through the gap. NOTE: However, it should be noted that CAP 437 recommends that the helideck height should not exceed 60m above sea level. Above this height the regularity of helicopter operations may be affected by low cloud base conditions.


10.4.5 Proximity to Tall Structures

Offshore installations topsides tend to include a number of tall structures (drilling derricks, flare towers, cranes, gas turbine exhaust stacks etc.), and it is usually impractical to mount the helideck at a higher elevation. All such tall structures will cause areas of turbulent, sheared or downdraft flow downwind that may potentially pose a hazard to the helicopter. The severity of the disturbances is greater the bluffer the shape, and the broader the obstruction to the flow. It is reduced the greater the distance downwind. It should be noted that the location and configuration of drilling derricks can vary during the field life. The derrick position over the well slots can change, and temporary work-over rigs may be installed from time to time. The assessment of the helideck location should take into account the various derrick configurations that are expected to occur during the life of the installation. Clad Derricks A fully clad drilling derrick is a tall and solid structure and generates a correspondingly significant wake. The important flow property of the wake is that it is unsteady and so, if it is upwind of the helideck, it subjects the helideck area to large and random variations in wind speed and direction. A general guide on wake decay from bluff bodies indicates that wake effects largely dissipate within a downwind distance of 10-20 structure widths. For a clad derrick 10 m wide at helideck level, this would correspond to a decay distance of 100-200 m (see Figure 10.4).


Figure 10.4 - Sketch showing plan view of flow behind a clad and an unclad derrick

Consequently it is best if the helideck is not placed closer than 10 structure widths from a tall solid structure such as a clad derrick. However, few offshore installations will be large enough to permit such a clearance to be included in the design, and so the specification of a clad derrick is almost certain to result in a significant operational limitation for helicopters when the derrick is upwind of the helideck. It will be particularly important to try to ensure that the installation is aligned such that this only happens in rarely occurring wind directions (see Section 10.9.4). Unclad Derricks and Cranes Unclad derricks are relatively porous. A wake still exists, but the turbulence is of much higher frequency and smaller scale due to the flow being broken by the lattice elements of the structure. An unclad derrick can therefore be safely located closer to the helideck than its clad equivalent. Ideally the separation between the helideck and an unclad open lattice derrick should be at least 5 times the derrick width at helideck height (see Figure 10.4). Separations of significantly less than 5 derrick widths may lead to the imposition of operating restrictions in certain wind conditions. Crane pedestals and crane booms are also usually of lattice construction, and the same approximate rule can be applied as for lattice derricks. Generally the disturbed flow region will be much less due to the smaller dimensions.

135 Exhaust stacks Gas turbine and other exhaust stacks, whether operating or not, also represent a physical blockage to the flow and create a turbulent wake (as well as the potential hazard due to the hot exhaust see Section 10.4.6). The same guideline as defined for the clad derricks is recommended, namely, a minimum of 10 structure widths between the stacks and the helideck. If there are multiple exhausts and these are located in close proximity to each other, then it is recommended that the structure width be considered to be the overall span of the group of stacks. Other Enclosed Structures Some offshore drilling rigs include large enclosed structures in close proximity to the drilling derrick (e.g. shaker house). If the height of these structures extends to helideck elevation, then they may give rise to large-scale turbulent disturbances downwind, and should be treated much as for a clad derrick. Lay-down Areas A lay-down area in the vicinity of a helideck poses a number of potential problems to helicopter operations. Bulky or tall items placed in a lay-down area close to a helideck may result in turbulence and or downdraft. The temporary nature of such lay-down areas increases the potential hazard because the helicopter pilots, though perhaps familiar with the installation, may not be expecting turbulence. The platform design should seek to ensure that lay-down areas are significantly below helideck level or sufficiently remote from the helideck to avoid such problems. If this cannot be achieved then it is essential that management procedures are in place to ensure that appropriate limitations are placed on flight operations.

10.4.6 Temperature Rise due to Hot Exhausts

Increases in ambient air temperature are a potential hazard to helicopters. Increased air temperature means less rotor lift and less engine power margin. Rapid temperature changes can also induce engine surge and even compressor stall or flameout.


It is therefore extremely important that helicopters avoid these conditions, or that the occurrence of higher than ambient conditions is foreseen and steps taken to reduce payload to provide an appropriate performance margin. Gas turbine power generation systems are usually the most important source of hot exhaust gases on offshore production platforms, but diesel propulsion or auxiliary power system exhausts on mobile units could also be significant. For certain wind directions the hot gas plumes from the exhausts will be carried by the wind directly across the helideck. The hot gas plume mixes with the ambient air, and the mixing increases the size of the plume, and reduces the temperature (by dilution). Evaluations of likely temperature rise, based on a Gaussian dispersion model and supported by wind tunnel tests, indicate that for gas turbine exhausts with release temperatures up to 500C and flow rates of 50 -100 kg/s, the minimum distance required before the temperature rise drops to 2oC rise above ambient is in range 130-190 m (see Figure 10.5). Some gas turbine power generation systems may include waste heat recovery systems that have lower exhaust gas temperatures of about 250oC, resulting in reduced minimum distances in the range 90 -130m.

Figure 10.5 - Sketch showing the hot gas plume dispersing, and 2oC rise 130-190m downwind

Except for very large platforms, this implies that regardless of design, there will always be a wind condition where temperature rise above the helideck exceeds 2oC. It is likely to be impossible, therefore, to design a helideck that is compliant

with the criteria under all conditions. The design aim becomes one of minimising the occurrence of high temperatures over the helideck rather than eliminating them. This can be achieved by trying to ensure that platform layout and alignment direction are such that these conditions are only experienced rarely (see Section 10.9.4). Many offshore installations have the power generation modules and exhausts located close to the accommodation modules and helideck. This is because the power generation is regarded as significantly less hazardous than drilling or production modules. This can be a good location provided that the stacks are high enough, are not wide enough to cause large amounts of turbulence, and do not impinge on the obstacle protected surfaces. The helideck should be located such that winds from the prevailing wind directions carry the plume away from the helicopter approach path. To minimise the effects for other wind directions, the exhausts should be sufficiently high to ensure that the plumes are above the helicopter approach path. To achieve this, it is recommended that the exhaust outlets be no less than 20-30 m above the helideck, depending on the gas turbine flow rates and temperatures. In the past, some platforms were fitted with downward facing exhausts so that the hot exhaust gases were initially directed down towards the sea surface. This arrangement is not recommended because the hot plume can rise and disperse in an unpredictable way, particularly in light wind conditions. NOTE: Where it is considered necessary to extend the gas turbine exhaust outlets, it is important for the design project team to consider early on in the project how the installation of extended outlets can reasonably be achieved. Ideally, the engineering requirement should be established before firming up the gas turbine prime mover specification(s). It is important to consider the potential effects on operating performance and extra maintenance requirements caused by extending the gas turbine prime mover exhaust ducts, particularly when they are used in conjunction with some waste heat recovery systems (it may result in an increase in back pressure on the turbine). A complete picture of the exhaust / flare plume and its potential extremities (i.e. under normal operating and maximum output conditions) for a full range of wind conditions is required. Test Houses will require project teams and manufacturers to furnish them with full details for the varying load conditions, mass flows and exhaust temperatures for all possible operating conditions.


10.4.7 Cold Flaring and Rapid Blow-down Systems

Hydrocarbon gas can be released from the production platform process or from drilling rigs at various times. It is important to ensure that a helicopter cannot fly into a cloud of hydrocarbon gas because: concentrations above 10% of Lower Flammable Limit (LFL) might cause the helicopter engine to surge or flameout with consequent risk to the helicopter, and the helicopter poses a risk to the offshore installation because it is a potential ignition source for the hydrocarbon gas.

Consideration therefore needs to be given to ensuring that gas release points are as remote as possible from the helideck and helicopter flight path, and that any unforeseen gas releases trigger the automatic activation of the helideck status lights (flashing red). Planned gas releases should only occur when helicopters are not in the area. The blowdown system on a production platform depressurises the process system releasing the hydrocarbon gas. It will normally be designed to reduce the pressure to half, or to 7 bar, in 15 minutes (the API standard). For a large offshore installation this might require the release of 50 tonnes or more of gas. Once down to this target pressure in 15 minutes or less, the remainder of the gas will continue to be released from the system. A blow-down may be automatically triggered by the detection of a dangerous condition in the production process. Alternatively it may be triggered manually. The blowdown system should have venting points that are as remote as possible from the helideck and, in prevailing winds, downwind of the helideck. It is common to have this vent on the flare boom, and this will normally be a good location. However, it should be noted that dilution of the gas to 10% LFL may not occur until the plume is a considerable distance from the venting point. This distance could be anywhere between 200m 500m depending on vent size, venting rate and wind speed. Drilling rigs often have poor-boy degassers which are used to release gas whilst circulating a well, but a drilling rig is unlikely to release any significant quantities of gas without warning, unless there is a sudden major crisis such as a blow-out. As with production platforms it is unlikely to be possible to locate the helideck sufficiently distant from the potential gas sources to guarantee 10% LFL or less, and so the rig should not accept helicopter flights when well circulation activity is


going on, or when there are problems down the well. Helideck status lights should be connected to the appropriate gas detection systems and automatically initiated.



10.5.1 General
As well as experiencing the aerodynamic effects and potential hazards outlined above, floating installations and vessels experience dynamic motions due to the ocean waves. These motions (see Figure 10.6) are a potential hazard to the helicopter, and operational motion limits are set in order to avoid unsafe conditions.

Figure 10.6 - Vessel wave motions definition

The setting of these operating limits should involve consideration of two aspects: motion limits for executing a safe landing, and limits for safely remaining on the deck for the period necessary to effect passenger and cargo transfer (usually not more than 10 minutes). The former is mainly affected by the rate of the heave (vertical) motion, but also by the roll and pitch motions, and is relatively easy for the pilot to judge visually. The pilot can see the movements of the vessel, and can judge whether it is safe to make the landing, and can choose the appropriate moment to set the helicopter down.


The latter is mainly affected by helideck accelerations, which can be generated directly by the motion of the vessel (heave, surge and sway), and indirectly due to the inclination of the helideck (component of gravity due to pitch or roll angle). Limits for remaining safely on the deck are also much more difficult to judge because they should involve a prediction of the helideck motions over the next 10 minutes, and an assessment of the statistical risk of unsafe motions. Furthermore, the options available to the pilot in the event of excessive motions building up whilst the aircraft is on the helideck are limited.

10.5.2 Wave Motion Characteristics and Criteria

The setting of helideck performance limitations due to vessel motion is the responsibility of the helicopter operator as AOC holder. Currently in the UK offshore helicopter-operating environment the motions limitations for a variety of vessels have been agreed and set jointly by the helicopter operators, and these are published by BHAB Helidecks in the Helideck Limitations List. It is recommended that vessel owners and designers consult with BHAB Helidecks during conceptional design of new vessels or refits to determine the limitations that are likely to be applied to the class of vessel for given helicopter types. The limitations that currently exist apply to both the vertical linear motion (heave) and the angular motions (roll and pitch). Large accelerations can cause the helicopter to slide across the deck or tip over (though these do not at present form part of the limitations applied). The angle of roll and pitch experienced is the same for all points on the vessel or structure, but the amount of heave, sway or surge motion experienced can vary considerably, depending on the location of the helideck on the vessel. The severity of the helideck motions and the operational limitations will depend on: The wave environment (e.g. more severe West of Shetland than in the Southern North Sea) The size of the vessel (a small vessel generally tends to exhibit larger and faster motions than a large vessel) The vessels motion characteristics (certain hull forms exhibit larger wave motions than others, or are sensitive to particular sea conditions) Whether the vessel is moored, underway or under tow The location of the helideck (vertical motions tend to be greater at the bow and stern of a ship than at midships, and sway motions due to roll tend to increase with helideck height)


The design of the helicopter itself (different motion limits apply to different helicopter types) The time of day (more onerous motion limits are applied to helidecks on smaller ships in the hours of darkness due to the degraded visual cues available to the pilot).

NOTE: A new helideck motion criterion is currently under development (see Section 10.12.1).

10.5.3 Sea State Characterisation

Sea states are usually characterised in terms of the significant wave height, an associated wave period (usually either the mean zero up-crossing period or peak spectral period) and a wave energy spectrum. Standard wave spectral formulae, such as the JONSWAP or Pierson-Moskowitz spectrum, are commonly used in design to define the way in which wave energy is distributed across the wave frequency range. Wave spectra may be defined as either uni-directional or multidirectional, the latter describing the proportion of wave energy coming from each direction by means of a directional spreading function.

10.5.4 Vessel Motions and Helideck Downtime

The motions of a vessel or floating installation generally become larger as the significant wave height and period increase, but may be especially severe at certain wave periods (e.g. at natural roll or pitch periods), and may be sensitive to the frequency content of the wave spectrum. The motion characteristics of a vessel or floating platform may be reliably predicted by recourse to wellestablished computer models, or to physical model testing. Helideck downtime will occur whenever the motions of the vessel exceed the criteria (see Section 10.13 for an outline of a method to estimate the downtime.)

10.5.5 Helideck Location Dependence

The heave motions of the helideck depend on its horizontal location, and on how the vessels heave, roll and pitch motions combine at that location. The operability of the helideck therefore depends on its location on the vessel or floating installation, both longitudinally and transversely.


Figure 10.7 - Areas of larger wave motions on a ship-shaped vessel.

This location dependence is particularly marked for ships and ship-shaped installations such as FPSOs. The pitching motion of a ship is such that the vertical heave motion experienced by the helideck will generally be much greater if it is located at the bow or stern, and will be least if it can be located amidships. Bow mounted helidecks can also be particularly vulnerable to damage from green seas unless mounted high above deck level. Helidecks are also often located off the vessels centreline. In some cases they are cantilevered over the side (which provides the benefit of an unobstructed falling 5:1 gradient over at least 180o). In this case, downtime due to wave motions will generally tend to increase because of greater helideck heave motions caused by roll. Semi-submersible drilling or production platforms, tension leg platforms and spar buoys tend to have smaller motions at lower frequencies, and whilst the helideck location on a spar or semi-submersible will have an effect on performance, this is much less important than for a ship-shaped vessel. However, the location of the helideck is generally determined by factors other than the need to minimise heave motions. In the case of an FPSO or drillship, for example, the central deck area is generally occupied by processing or drilling equipment. The helideck also has to be conveniently located for access by personnel, who are generally accommodated either near the bow or stern. As the helicopter is likely to be the primary means of escape the helideck needs to be


close to the temporary refuge, which is usually incorporated into the accommodation.

Figure 10.8: Variation in helideck downtime with location along the length of a large FPSO.

Figure 10.8 illustrates how wave motion downtime for a helideck typically varies with its location along the length of a large ship (in this case: an FPSO) when operating in a reasonably harsh environment. Maximum downtime occurs when the helideck is located at the bow or stern, and minimum downtime when the helideck is amidships. Variations in downtime in this case are a direct consequence of variations in predicted heave motions. Figure 10.9 illustrates how the helideck location affects wave motion downtime on a small ship (e.g. a diving support vessel) operating in a moderate sea environment. Once again, downtime tends to be greatest at the bow and least amidships, although there is relatively little variation over the aft part of the ship. In this case there is a marked difference between levels of downtime occurring when the helideck is at the vessels bow and stern.


Figure 10.9 -Variation in helideck downtime with location along the length of a small ship.

This asymmetry in the downtime curve is not due to any marked difference between the vessel motions at bow and stern, but is rather a direct consequence of the more stringent motion limits for a helideck located at the bow of a small ship than for a helideck at the stern. This more stringent requirement is because both helicopter and ship will normally be facing into wind, and pilots landing on bow helidecks will therefore have poorer visual cues to assist their landing.



Most FPSOs operating in UK waters are turret-moored, and either weathervane naturally with the wind, waves and current, or use thrusters to control the vessel heading. A naturally weathervaning vessel has no control over its heading or motions, whereas a thruster-controlled vessel has the ability to choose its heading (within limits). For the latter, the heading is normally chosen in order to minimise the wave motions, and this normally means heading into the waves. Dynamically positioned drillships and other offshore construction vessels also often operate with thruster heading control, with the heading invariably selected to minimise the wave induced vessel motions (unless the drilling or construction task demands some other fixed heading). Whichever heading control strategy is adopted, the vessels wave induced motions (and therefore helideck downtime) are sensitive to variations in the vessels heading relative to waves. The heading of a naturally weathervaning vessel depends on the relative strengths and directions of the wind, wind-generated


waves, swell and current. Swell and wind-generated waves can come from very different directions, and especially complex heave, roll and pitch motions may occur if swell onto the beam of the vessel occurs at the same time as a windgenerated sea onto the bow. The vessel roll response in head-sea conditions is sensitive to the amount of wave directional spreading, and a multi-directional wave model may have to be used to obtain reliable estimates of maximum roll response in these circumstances. Despite the complexity, all these effects can be taken into account at the helideck design assessment stage (see Section 10.11). The ability of a thruster-assisted FPSO, or other dynamically positioned vessel, to turn to a desired heading can be used operationally to minimise helideck downtime due to both wave motions and aerodynamic effects. It can be used during flight operations to: ensure that wave induced motions at the helideck are minimised, and/or relative wind headings leading to downdraft, turbulence or hot gases over the helideck are avoided.

Consequently a thruster-assisted FPSO or dynamically positioned vessel with relatively poor inherent wave induced motions and helideck aerodynamic limitations may nevertheless be operated in such a way that good helideck operability is achieved. The benefit of this can also be taken into account at the helideck design assessment stage (see Section 10.9). However, it should also be recognised that a sudden loss of heading control during helicopter operations is likely to result in a rapid increase in vessel motions (especially roll) with potentially catastrophic consequences for a helicopter on the deck. This roll motion problem will be particularly severe for vessels with high-mounted helidecks. Consequently, heading control should not be relied upon unless the heading control system has adequate redundancy and capacity to bring the vessel back onto heading, and the risk of loss of heading control has been shown to be adequately low.



10.7.1 Permanent Arrangements

It is common for offshore installations to consist of more than one platform or vessel. In some cases fixed platforms are bridge-linked and in quite close proximity (e.g. Figure 10.10), and are close enough for the aerodynamic effects (turbulence, hot gases etc.) of one platform to be experienced at the helideck of the other when the wind is in the appropriate direction.

(Photo courtesy of BMT Fluid Mechanics Limited)

Figure 10.10 An example of bridge-linked platform.

In these situations the various effects considered in Sections 10.4.3 to 10.4.7 must be considered for the platform complex as a whole. It will normally be necessary for the helideck to be located on the platform corners remote from the other platform(s) in order to comply with 210o obstruction-free sector, and for best aerodynamic performance. In some cases the platform complex may include more then one helideck, and it will therefore be necessary to assess the design issues for each of these helidecks. However, operational limitations which have to be placed on an individual deck may cause little helicopter downtime if there is an alternate helideck that can be used under these conditions. All such limitations need to be fully investigated, documented, and communicated to the operators to ensure that the various management procedures to control the use of the helidecks are put into place.

10.7.2 Temporary Arrangements

Combined operations also refer to a temporary arrangement where one mobile platform or vessel (e.g. a floatel) is operating in close proximity to another permanent installation. In many cases there may be a gangway in place connecting the two.


Whilst the detailed arrangements for these combined operations may vary considerably from one circumstance to another (see Section 8.1), there are certain aspects of design and platform topsides layout that, if optimised, can minimise the need for helideck restrictions during combined operations. Certain types of mobile platforms (e.g. flotels) have gangways and/or gangway landing portals, and clearly this defines the side of the mobile platform that will normally be closest to the fixed platform when combined operations are in progress. Consequently the design of the floatel should have the gangway located as far away from the helideck as practicable in order to maximise the available obstruction free sector, and also to ensure that turbulence or hot gas plumes caused by the adjacent fixed platform are as distant from the mobile platform helideck as possible. Whatever considerations and choices were made at the fixed or mobile platform design stage, when combined operations are to be carried out, a helideck assessment should be conducted to evaluate the effect of one platform on the other, and determine any helideck restrictions that should be imposed. Apart from the physical requirements for an unobstructed 210o obstacle free sector and falling 5:1 gradient (over at-least 180o), this assessment should consider the effect of the turbulent wake from one platform impinging on the helideck of the other, and any hot gas exhausts from one influencing the approach to the other helideck. The helideck on a mobile unit is likely to be at a much lower level than the bulk of the fixed platform it is alongside, and is therefore likely to experience severe turbulence when downwind. These considerations are likely to determine that, under certain wind conditions, helideck operations to the mobile unit need to be curtailed. Where the combined operations have more than one helideck available and a gangway platform for personnel, it may be possible to switch from using one helideck to the other depending on the conditions. All such limitations need to be fully investigated, documented, and communicated to the helicopter operators to ensure that the various management procedures to control the use of the helidecks are put into place.



This section contains sketches of the main types of offshore installation (fixed jacket, semi-submersible, jack-up, tension leg platform and FPSO) with examples of each, illustrating good and poor practice in helideck location.

10.8.1 Fixed Installations

Good: Helideck is above the level of the surrounding main modules. Bad: Two large clad derricks present a major solid obstruction to the wind flow and the helideck will experience serious downdraft and turbulence when downwind. A set of four gas turbine exhaust stacks is also located close to the helideck. They are not high enough to prevent problems with hot gas exhausts, and are also a significant obstruction to the wind flow over the helideck at certain wind headings. The helideck has insufficient overhang and air gap. Good: The helideck is mounted significantly above the level of all the platform modules, and with an appropriate air gap beneath. The only structure above helideck level is the derrick, which is unclad, and therefore likely to produce little significant turbulence at the helideck. Bad: The installation has downward facing gas turbine exhausts, which may cause clouds of rising hot gas to envelop the helideck and helicopter approach path. This is particularly likely to happen in light wind conditions (when helicopter performance is inherently poor).


Good: Being mounted on the top of a separate accommodation platform and with a significant air gap and overhang, the helideck is unlikely to suffer from any significant turbulence problems.

10.8.2 Semi-submersible and jack-up drilling units

Good: All semi-submersible drilling units are good from a wave motion point of view unless they are floating at a very shallow transit draft. At operating or survival draft, motions are generally of low amplitude and low frequency. Bad: Helideck is in close proximity to a partially clad drilling derrick and other adjacent solid structures, which all extend to a height significantly above the height of the helideck. The helideck will experience significant shear turbulence and downdraft when the derrick is upwind. (The lack of an air gap is likely to be less significant due to the relatively shallow deck on which it is mounted.)


Good: Good corner helideck location with significant overhang and air gap. Structures close to the helideck are mainly open and porous to the wind. Flare booms for well-test operations are both reasonably distant from the helideck and should be visible when in use.

Good: The example jack-up drilling platform shown here has a helideck with large overhang and generous air gap, and it is located higher than most of the solid superstructure. Structures above the level of the helideck are generally porous. (Most jack-up drilling platforms have good helideck locations.)


10.8.3 Tension Leg Platforms

Good: This tension leg platform (TLP) has a high corner location helideck with an air gap. Also the generally open and porous design of the superstructure will reduce wind flow problems. Wave induced motions are generally small for a TLP. They are almost zero in roll, pitch and heave, whilst the larger surge, sway and yaw motions are normally at very low frequency. Bad: The downward pointing gas turbine exhausts directly under the helideck are likely to result in a cloud of hot gas enveloping the helideck in light wind conditions.

Good: Wave induced motions for this tension leg platform motions will generally be small. They are almost zero in roll, pitch and heave, whilst the larger surge, sway and yaw motions are normally at very low frequency. Bad: The helideck is mounted relatively low on the superstructure and is close to a large solid construction, which will cause significant downdraft and turbulence when up wind. Upward facing gas turbine exhaust stacks are insufficiently high to ensure that the hot gas plume will pass above the helicopter flight path.


10.8.4 FPSOs
Good: The high location of the helideck and generous air gap mean that it is very unlikely to suffer from any aerodynamic turbulence, particularly as the vessel usually operates heading into wind. Bad: The extreme forward location of the helideck means that vessel pitch will be experienced at the helideck as heave motion and acceleration. The high location of the helideck means that vessel roll will be experienced at the helideck as sway motion and acceleration. Pilots also dislike bowmounted helidecks because of the lack of visual cues when vessel is heading into wind.

Good: Helideck at the stern will experience lesser wave induced motions than if it were at the bow. It is also reasonably high compared with the bulk of the superstructure, and is unlikely to experience severe turbulence even though the helideck will usually be downwind. Pilots will have good visual cues for approach and landing. Bad: Gas turbine exhausts pointing down over the side may cause clouds of rising hot gas to envelop the helideck and helicopter approach path. This is particularly likely to happen in light wind conditions. If a shuttle tanker can connect to the stern of the FPSO, then the shuttle tanker may violate the helideck obstruction-free sector and the 5:1 falling gradient.


Good: The helideck cantilevered over the port side of the vessel gives a clear approach and overshoot path that is free of obstructions and should be largely clear of turbulence for head winds. There will also be good visual cues for the pilot. Bad: The highly offset or overhanging helideck location means that vessel roll motion will be manifest at the helideck as heave motion and, depending on the roll characteristics and wave conditions experienced, might severely limit helicopter operability. A shuttle tanker can connect to the stern of the FPSO, and when present is likely to violate the helideck obstruction-free sector.

Good: Good visual cues and clear approach path for head winds. Bad: The helideck is mounted relatively low, and in the wake of the main superstructure. As a result landing helicopters are likely to experience turbulence, and a sharp reduction in wind speed leading to loss of lift. Any shuttle tanker connected to the stern of the FPSO is likely to violate the helideck obstruction-free sector and the 5:1 falling gradient.




10.9.1 Introduction
The environmental effects described in this section are influenced by the wind and wave conditions experienced by the offshore installation. Clearly these weather conditions vary from day to day in a largely unpredictable way. However, wind speeds and wave heights are both amenable to statistical analysis, and data can be obtained which describe their statistical properties. These data can be used with information about the flow patterns around the platform, and the platform wave motions to: Estimate the likely helideck operational downtime Locate the helideck in the best location on the installation to minimise helideck downtime Determine the best compromises between conflicting requirements.

The following sections outline methods of assessing the installation properties (from experience, from wind tunnel tests and other modelling methods - see Sections and, the key statistical properties of the offshore ocean climate (see Sections 10.9.3 and 10.9.4), and how they can be used together to estimate operability and inform the design process (Section 10.9.6), and in reporting any likely operating limitations to helicopter operators (see Section 10.10).

10.9.2 Wind Flow Assessment Expert Visual Inspection The main factors that influence the wind flow conditions over the helideck are the prevailing wind direction and the location of the helideck relative to this direction. Ideally, the helideck should be located so that, for the prevailing wind direction, it is upwind of major obstructions such as drilling derricks and gas turbine exhausts. In this way, for the majority of the time, the turbulent wake flows and high temperature gas plumes will be blown away from the helideck and away from the helicopter flight path. Assessment can be made in a qualitative manner by expert review of the installation topsides and helideck design in conjunction with information on the prevailing wind directions. This may be appropriate in the very early stages of design, and it may be possible to make an upper estimate of the helideck

downtime on this basis. However, in most cases it is preferable to obtain a quantitative measure using flow assessment (Section, the wind climate (Sections 10.9.3 and 10.9.4), and a calculation of the helideck downtime (Section 10.9.6). Detailed Flow Modelling using Wind Tunnels and/or CFD Wind tunnel testing and CFD are the principal tools available for predicting the flow field around a helideck. Wind Tunnel Tests The main objectives of wind tunnel tests in the context of helideck design are to predict the mean velocity and turbulence intensity components as well as the mean and peak temperature rises for a range of wind angles and heights above the helideck. guidance. Comparison of the results can then be made with the design

The model scale should be sufficiently large to incorporate an adequate level of geometrical detail to reproduce the correct local flow features around the platform. Typical model scales that can achieve this are in the range of 1:100 to 1:200. At these scales the discrepancies in flow patterns between full-scale and model-scale are generally small. The model scale should, however, be sufficiently small to minimise the blockage of the model on the wind tunnel flow. A high blockage would result in the airflow over the platform being adversely affected by the walls of the wind tunnel. It is recommended that the frontal area of the model should not exceed 10% of the cross sectional area of the tunnel working section. The wind tunnel should accurately simulate boundary layer velocity and turbulence profiles representative of the full-scale marine atmospheric wind flow. Target profiles often used in offshore studies have been defined by NMD [Ref: 65]. Wind tunnels designed to simulate atmospheric boundary layers tend to have very long working sections to enable the boundary layer to be developed and controlled. Such wind tunnels should also have a reasonable length of working section continuing downsteam of the model to enable measurements of decaying temperature or turbulence to be made at least one platform diameter downwind. In modelling buoyant hot gas plumes, it is necessary to match the ratios of the exhaust density to ambient density, the exhaust velocity to wind speed and the plume inertia force to gravitational force to maintain similarity between the model scale and full-scale exhausts. The latter ratio links velocity with buoyancy and


implies that the model test velocities have to be scaled as the square root of the model scale (Froude scaling). For example, for a model scale of 1:100, a full-scale wind speed of 10 m/s is represented by a model test wind speed of 1 m/s. This scaling requirement imposes a practical limit on the model scale for a specific wind tunnel facility, and the ability to run at low speeds with good stability is often important. The correct density ratio can be achieved in two ways. Heated air can be used where the model release temperature is equal to the full-scale temperature. There are practical disadvantages associated with this method in setting the high temperatures of around 500C in a wind tunnel. A practical alternative is to release a buoyant gas mixture (e.g. helium-air) at ambient temperature with a density equal to that of the full-scale exhaust plume. The local density decay of the gas mixture is used as a direct analogue of the temperature decay. Any gas mixture can be used provided that there is a convenient way to measure its concentration. The measurement of wind speeds above the helideck should be carried out using instrumentation capable of resolving velocity and turbulence components. Hot wire anemometry is the most widely used technique although laser anemometry is an alternative. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) CFD methods allow engineers to model the behaviour of three dimensional, turbulent, fluid flows by computer. The fundamental aim of CFD is the solution of equations representing the conservation of mass, fluid momentum and energy, throughout a computational domain which contains a geometrical model of the object of interest (e.g. an offshore platform), and is contained within boundaries upon which known values or behaviours of the flow can be defined (boundary conditions). Solutions are achieved within a defined computational domain using numerical techniques. Among commercially available CFD computer programs, the so-called finite volume method has become the most popular, mainly for reasons of computational speed, versatility and robustness compared to other numerical techniques. As its name suggests, the domain of interest is sub-divided into many smaller volumes or elements to form a three dimensional grid. Volume averaged values of fluid variables are located at points within this grid, and local numerical approximations to the conservation equations used to form a very large system of coupled, simultaneous equations. When known boundary conditions are applied, these equations can be solved to obtain averaged quantities for each variable at every grid point in the flow domain.


The extents of the computational domain should be sufficiently large to avoid any numerical influence of these boundaries on the flow around the platform in accordance with best practice guidelines [Ref: 61]. Typically, this should extend several platform diameters away from the object of interest in all directions with an extended computational domain in the downstream wake region. A marine atmospheric boundary layer profile of velocity and turbulence should be generated at the upstream boundary and maintained throughout the computational domain using suitable roughness properties for the sea. To obtain good quality CFD solutions, a sufficient number of finite volumes (grid density) must be used, and their quality must be such that the numerical approximations used retain their formal mathematical accuracy. The grid density should be sufficient to fit both geometrical features and flow behaviour (such as shear layers and eddies). The overall aim is to achieve, as closely as practicable, so-called grid-independent solutions of the numerical formulations of the mass, momentum and energy conservation equations. This becomes more difficult, of course, as the Reynolds Number and the range of geometrical scales is increased. Many engineering flows, including platform aerodynamics, are dominated by the effects of turbulence. There is no single turbulence model that applies universally to all flows. However there are a number of approaches for engineering applications that have known ranges of validity and can be used with good judgement. It is, nevertheless, best practice to validate CFD results by comparison with physical measurements, or to follow procedures that have been established as valid in this way [Ref: 61]. Direct and Large Eddy Simulation techniques have shown potential to predict turbulence with reasonable accuracy but are not practical for helideck design due to the excessive computing power and simulation time required. The most common approach is to use a RANS turbulence model in which time averaged (or occasionally ensemble averaged, for transient flows) values of the flow quantities are solved. The role of the turbulence model is twofold. Firstly, it modifies the mean flow field velocities, pressures and temperatures, and secondly it provides a measure of the turbulence within the flow. Most commonly, this takes the form of the turbulent kinetic energy and the dominant length or time scale of the energy containing eddies. Both can be directly related to simple statistical properties of the turbulence. Strengths and Weaknesses of the Modelling Techniques Both CFD and wind tunnel testing can provide key information for the design of offshore helidecks. The main strengths and weaknesses of each can be summarised as (assuming best practice in each case):


On balance, wind tunnel tests can provide reliable flow data for the safe design of particular helidecks, whereas CFD is a tool best employed to provide guidance on the effect of design variations and local flow features Wind tunnel testing will give, directly, measured data for turbulent fluctuations, such as peak values, necessary for comparison with helideck design guidance

Extracting quality estimates for turbulence data from CFD requires specialist expertise in application and interpretation Wind tunnel tests for helideck wind flows are normally not affected by modelling at small model scale (Reynolds Number effects), but care should be taken to ensure that this is the case and to suitably condition the experiments if necessary

CFD can provide results at full-scale flow conditions and hence model consistently buoyancy (Froude Number) and turbulence (Reynolds Number) effects

Although some comparisons with full-scale measurements have been made, neither technique can be said to have been fully validated at full scale CFD results are available for the entire flow field. Wind tunnel data is available at the instrumented measurement locations, although a large number of measurements can be obtained in a relatively short period of time

Used without sufficient training and experience of the problem in hand, poor quality spurious results are easy to achieve with CFD, and the accessibility of this tool makes this, perhaps more likely, than with wind tunnel testing.

159 Helideck Environment Report Contents The helideck environment report should contain the following information as a minimum: Wind Tunnel Report Details of model design and construction including reasoning for the choice of model scale and associated scaling parameters for replicating full-scale flow conditions Details of wind tunnel set-up, instrumentation, instrument calibration, model set-up and data acquisition system Details of the atmospheric boundary layer simulation and comparison of mean velocity and turbulence intensity profiles above sea level with standard target marine profiles (e.g. ESDU, NMD [Ref: 65]). Measurements should be obtained at the model position without the model installed Details of scaling techniques used and experimental conditioning applied to achieve similarity with full-scale, e.g. enhanced model roughness to achieve Reynolds Number similarity Tabular and graphical presentation of measured data in accordance with the recommendations in Section 10.10 Conclusions and recommendations to mitigate any adverse conditions that may impact on helicopter operations Details of quality checks undertaken to ensure the accuracy of measured data and appropriate reference to guidelines on model scale experiments A statement on the estimated error and uncertainty in the experimental data.

Computational Fluid Dynamics Report Details of the CFD model with reasoning for the choice of computational domain, geometrical simplifications, computational mesh, modelling assumptions, sub-models (e.g. turbulence model, bulk resistance terms) and range of validity of the sub-models employed


Details of boundary conditions including the atmospheric boundary layer at the inlet, heat sources and surface roughness parameters (e.g. sea and platform surfaces) Comparison of the atmospheric boundary layer profiles of mean velocity and turbulence intensity above sea level with standard target marine profiles (e.g. ESDU, NMD [Ref: 65]). Data should be extracted from the undisturbed free stream at a location approximately the same distance from the upwind boundary as the model of the facility

Demonstration of adequate mesh independence through grid resolution sensitivity tests Demonstration of adequate convergence of the final steady-state solution or iterative transient solution at each time step Tabular and graphical presentation of the simulations in accordance with the recommendations of the helideck design guide (see Section 10.10) Conclusions and recommendations to mitigate any adverse conditions that may impact on helicopter operations Details of quality checks undertaken to ensure the validity of the computational results including comparisons with available experimental data or empirical methods and appropriate references to best practice guidelines

A statement on the estimated error and uncertainty in the numerical results.

10.9.3 Wind Climate

The wind climate is a description of the probability of experiencing certain wind speeds and directions. It can be used to determine quickly if the wind climate is benign or harsh, and if there are any strongly prevailing wind directions. The severity of the wind climate is important because, the more severe, then the more likely that turbulence and hot gasses from high exhaust stacks will be a problem. In benign climates turbulence is unlikely to be a problem but hot gases might still be a hazard, especially if downward facing exhausts have been utilised.


An example set of wind speed / direction frequency statistics is shown in Figure 10.11. The example is for a Northern European location, and it should be noted that different geographic locations are likely to have very different wind speed and direction distributions. The entries in the table represent percentage annual duration for each wind direction and wind speed interval. In this case, the most probable wind direction is south with a total duration of 16.5%. This means that for 16.5% of the year, or 60 days, the winds will be from the southern sector. The right hand column also shows that this is a relatively severe wind climate with the wind speed (expressed here as Beaufort number) being at Beaufort 7 or above for about 14% of the time.

Beaufort Number N 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Total

11.6 5.7 8.8

Wind direction (from)

NE 0+ 0.1 0.8 1.3 1.5 1.0 0.6 0.2 0.1 0+

E 0+ 0.1 0.7 1.3 1.5 1.8 1.6 1.1 0.5 0.1 0+

SE 0+ 0.1 0.6 1.5 2.0 2.3 2.1 1.3 0.5 0.1 0+

S 0+ 0.1 0.8 2.1 3.4 4.2 3.4 1.8 0.6 0.1 0+

SW 0+ 0.1 0.6 2.3 3.2 3.6 3.3 2.0 0.6 0.1 0+

W 0+ 0.2 1.2 2.5 3.0 3.4 2.7 1.4 0.4 0.1 0+

NW 0+ 0.2 1.0 2.4 3.6 3.5 2.5 1.1 0.4 0.1 0+

Var 0.3 0.5 0.2 0+

Total 0.5 1.5 7.0 15.5 21.1 22.5 18.0 9.8 3.3 0.7 0.1 0+

0+ 0.2 0.9 2.1 2.8 2.7 1.8 0.9 0.3 0+








Figure 10.11 - Example of wind speed / direction frequency table.

This information is sometimes presented graphically in the form of a wind rose (see Figure 10.12).


Figure 10.12 Example wind rose presentation of Table 10.11

10.9.4 Prevailing Wind Direction

The wind frequency table or the wind rose can be used to identify the prevailing wind directions. These may be defined as the highest probability directions with a combined probability of occurrence of approximately 50%. For example taking the data in Figure 10.11 we can rank the directional sectors as follows:

Wind Direction (from)

South (157.5 202.5) South-West (202.5 247.5) West (247.5 292.5) North-West (292.5 337.5)

16.5% 16.1% 14.9% 14.9%

16.5% 32.6% 47.5% 62.4%

Figure 10.13 - Prevailing wind directions.

The prevailing wind directions are therefore defined to be in the range 157.5 to 292.5 with a cumulative probability of 47.5% (or 173 days in the year).


NOTE: It should be noted that wind directions are invariably defined in terms of the direction that the wind blows FROM. However, occasionally such data may be presented as directions TO (often to be consistent with wave direction data, which is usually presented in this way). If there is any doubt about the direction definition then it is essential that the data be checked with the authority that generated or published it. An error of 180o in determining the prevailing wind directions is likely to be disastrous for helideck operability.

10.9.5 Upwind Helideck Location

When a pilot selects his approach direction to an offshore helideck he will take into account a number of considerations such as: Direct approach wherever possible Clear overshoot available Sideways / backwards manoeuvring minimised Turbulence effects Right versus left seat pilot.

The balance (or relative weighting) between these considerations will change depending on the wind speed. For example, if the turbulence is low, a pilot could prefer to make a straight-in approach downstream of an obstacle rather than fly a sideways manoeuvre. Hence there could be a trade-off between turbulence and sideways and backwards manoeuvring, related to wind strength. However, generally the helideck should be located such that winds from the prevailing directions carry turbulent wakes and exhaust plumes away from the helicopter approach path. To assess if this is likely to be the case, overlay the prevailing wind direction sectors onto the centre of the helideck. Figure 10.14 to Figure 10.17 give examples ranging respectively from most to least favourable helideck locations for a platform with prevailing winds from the southwest. Major items of obstruction, including drilling derricks and exhaust stacks should be outside the areas embraced by these sectors as shown in the figures. If they are, then conditions at the helideck are likely to be compliant for 50% of the time. If obstructions are located within the prevailing wind sectors, then the following options should be explored: Rotate the platform to adjust the prevailing wind sectors Relocate the obstructions Relocate the helideck.

If none of these are successful, then a more detailed assessment is required, and an aerodynamic specialist should be consulted. To minimise the effects for other wind directions, then obstructions should be located as far away as possible from the helideck. In the case of the exhaust stacks, these should be sufficiently high to ensure that the plumes are above the helicopter approach path. To achieve this, it is recommended that the exhaust outlets be no less than 20-30 m above the helideck.


EAST All obstruction locations acceptable WEST

292.5 degrees

SOUTH Prevailing directions

157.5 degrees

Figure 10.14 - Most favourable helideck location is at the south corner. Regardless of the location of the obstruction, the southwest prevailing winds will carry turbulent wakes and exhaust plumes away from the helideck. The location also allows intowind approaches to be flown by the Captain for most prevailing wind directions with minimum sideways manoeuvring and a clear overshoot path.



292.5 degrees WEST All obstruction locations acceptable


Prevailing directions

157.5 degrees


Figure 10.15 - Second most favourable helideck location is at the west corner. Like the south location, prevailing winds will carry turbulent wakes and exhaust plumes away from the helideck. However, the location will require extensive sideways manoeuvring on approach for many prevailing wind directions.

NORTH 292.5 degrees

Acceptable obstruction location

Prevailing directions WEST


157.5 degrees Unacceptable obstruction location SOUTH

Figure 10.16 - Third most favourable helideck location is at the east corner. About half the prevailing wind directions will carry turbulent wakes towards the helideck. The location permits clear into-wind approaches to be flown but many prevailing wind directions will have an obstructed overshoot path.


292.5 degrees


Prevailing directions Acceptable obstruction location EAST WEST

Unacceptable obstruction location

157.5 degrees


Figure 10.17 - Least favourable helideck location is at the north corner. Like the east location, about half the prevailing wind directions will carry turbulent wakes towards the helideck. The location permits clear into-wind approaches to be flown but many prevailing wind directions will have an obstructed overshoot path.

10.9.6 Estimating Helideck Downtime Due to Wind

The installation flow studies outlined in Section are likely to identify combinations of wind speed and direction which result in flow conditions over the helideck that do not comply with the guidance requirements (0.9m/s downdraft, 2oC temperature rise etc.). Ultimately the wind speed and direction conditions that lead to these will need to be communicated to the helicopter operator (see Section 10.10). However, in these circumstances it is important to estimate the likely severity of the flight limitations. It may be that they will be sufficiently limiting to operations that the cost to the field operator will be too high (this cost being experienced in terms of flights that cannot operate when required, and payloads that are less than maximum). This operating penalty may be avoidable if design changes are made to the helideck, its location or to other installation topside features (e.g. turbine exhausts). These changes may involve additional capital costs that need to be assessed against the operating penalty. A rational decision can be made about such design changes if a quantitative estimate of the helideck downtime is made and presented to the platform operator.


A wind speed and direction frequency table (see example in Figure 10.18) can be used to make the estimate of downtime. On the frequency table highlight all combinations of wind speed and direction that flow studies have indicated will not fulfil the guidance requirements. Adding up all the highlighted values will give the estimate of the total percentage of the time that the helideck will be unavailable for flight operations or where payload limitations may be imposed.

Beaufort Number N 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Total 11.6 5.7 8.8

Wind direction (from) NE 0+ 0.1 0.8 1.3 1.5 1.0 0.6 0.2 0.1 0+ E 0+ 0.1 0.7 1.3 1.5 1.8 1.6 1.1 0.5 0.1 0+ SE 0+ 0.1 0.6 1.5 2.0 2.3 2.1 1.3 0.5 0.1 0+ S 0+ 0.1 0.8 2.1 3.4 4.2 3.4 1.8 0.6 0.1 0+ SW 0+ 0.1 0.6 2.3 3.2 3.6 3.3 2.0 0.6 0.1 0+ W 0+ 0.2 1.2 2.5 3.0 3.4 2.7 1.4 0.4 0.1 0+ NW 0+ 0.2 1.0 2.4 3.6 3.5 2.5 1.1 0.4 0.1 0+ Var 0.3 0.5 0.2 0+ Tota l 0.5 1.5 7.0 15.5 21.1 22.5 18.0 9.8 3.3 0.7 0.1 0+
10.5 16.5 16.1 14.9 14.9 1.0 100

0+ 0.2 0.9 2.1 2.8 2.7 1.8 0.9 0.3 0+

Figure 10.18 Example wind frequency table showing estimation of total downtime.

In the example the total of the highlighted cells is 14.3% indicating that, on average, helideck restrictions may apply 1 day in 7. The direct cost and associated inconvenience of these flight limitations can only be determined by the field operator. If necessary similar assessments may be made on a seasonal basis.



10.10.1 General
The results of wind flow assessment are used at two quite distinct stages of the development of an offshore installation design. In the first instance the results are used in design. They may be used to justify changes to the layout to the installation superstructure and helideck location, and they may be used to estimate the future operability of the helideck. This requires detailed tabulations and plots of the aerodynamic features around the helideck, and Section 10.10.2 below contains recommended formats for the presentation of these results, and guidance on the range of different wind conditions and other parameters that should be covered. When the design process is complete, and any changes have been taken into account, there is a need to summarise and present the data to the helicopter operators and pilots through BHAB Helidecks. This ultimately needs to be a concise assessment of the flow modelling results, interpreted in terms of the restrictions that will need to be placed on flight operations. Section 10.10.3 contains recommended formats for the presentation of this summary information to operators and pilots.

10.10.2 Presentation of Flow Assessment Results for Design

Data on helideck flow assessment takes a number of different forms, those with defined limiting criteria being: Downdraft velocity data measured at 25m/s free stream velocity, and compared with a 0.9m/s recommended limiting criterion Air temperature data, compared with the 2oC above ambient

recommended limiting temperature criterion. In the future this is likely to be augmented by: Turbulence intensity compared with a recommended turbulence criterion.

Although no formal criteria currently exist, it is also sometimes helpful to present: Longitudinal velocity data at 25m/s free stream velocity (an indication of the extent of shear in the flow).

There are a number of key issues that should be appreciated when this data is presented, and is plotted or tabulated in terms of wind heading: The convention is that wind headings are always presented in terms of the heading FROM which the wind is blowing. Nevertheless, labelling of tabulations and plots should always include the words wind direction (from) in order to remove any chance of misunderstanding The heading reference being used should always be explicit on every tabulation and plot For fixed platforms in the early phases of design it may be convenient and useful to present results in terms of headings relative to Platform North. However, in later stages when data is being used in operability assessments, or is being prepared for the production of a summary for operations (see Section 10.10.3), then it is likely to be much more useful if presented in terms of True North Installations such as mobile drilling rigs and FPSOs that can change their heading as a result of the weather conditions or for operational purposes should have their wind heading data presented relative to their primary axis. Again the direction of this primary axis should be explicit In all the above, a small annotated plan view sketch alongside the table or plot should be used to avoid any possibility of misunderstanding by the reader. It is recommended that data is presented at two levels, firstly a detailed level which shows quantitatively the parameters of interest in relation to the acceptance criteria (see Figures 10.19, 10.20 and 10.21 below), and secondly at a simpler summary level, which illustrates the extent of non compliance with the limiting criteria as a function of wind speed and direction (see Figures 10.22 to 10.24). The tabular presentation of the data should comprise results from a polar survey taken above the landing spot together with results from lateral surveys. The lateral surveys should correspond to the worst-case wind directions identified in the polar surveys. Typical examples of a tabular presentation are shown in the tables in Figures 10.19 and 10.20. The tables show results for peak temperature rise at a wind speed of 5 m/s but a similar format should be used for other parameters. Empty cells evident in Figure 10.19 indicate where it was judged that measurements were not required. This is


often an easy judgement to make for temperature assessments but less so for downdraft and turbulence. Consequently for downdraft and turbulence measurements, a full range of wind direction should be tested. For temperature rise measurements, results should be presented for a range of reference wind speeds e.g. 5, 10, 15 and 20 m/s. This is because temperature rise has an unpredictable dependence on reference wind speed. In contrast, downdraft and turbulence can be re-scaled for any wind speed. For this re-scaling, a reference wind speed of 25 m/s, taken to be a practical upper limit for helicopter operation, is suggested. To supplement the tables, it is recommended that the lateral survey results be presented also as a contour plot as shown in Figure 10.21. To highlight the wind conditions in which design criteria are exceeded it is recommended that summary data be presented to provide an immediate visual indication. Examples of such presentations for downdraft, temperature rise and turbulence data are shown respectively in Figures 10.22, 10.23 and 10.24. In these figures, the radial axis is the reference wind speed and the circumference axis denotes wind direction (from), with respect to Platform North. The absence of shading indicates compliance with the criteria.


Wind speed at 10 m = 5 m/s

Wind direction (degrees from Platform N) 0 15 30 45 60 75 90 105 120 135 150 165 180 195 210 225 240 255 270 285 300 315 330 345

z (m) z (m) Z (m) z (m) z (m) z (m) 5 10 15 20 25 30 3 - second peak temperature C


5.2 11.8 9.7 3.4

4.3 8.3 8.3 2.2

8.6 9.3 8.8 5.1

5.9 4.1 5.5 2.2

0.1 0.1 0.3 0.3

0.1 0.1 0.4 0.2

8.6 11.8 9.7 5.1

0.5 1.9 1.1 0.9 0.0

0.4 1.5 1.1 0.9 0.0

0.3 1.6 1.0 0.7 0.0

0.0 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0

0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0

0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0

0.5 1.9 1.1 0.9 0.0

NOTE: Empty cells denote where measurements were judged to be unnecessary. For temperature rise data, similar tables would be included for other wind speeds e.g. 10, 15 and 20 m/s
Figure 10.19 - Polar Scan of 3 second peak temperature rise above landing spot


Wind speed at 10 m = 5 m/s Wind direction (degrees from Platform N) = 45

Y (m) -25 -20 -15 -10 -5 0 5 10 15 20 25

z (m) 0 0.5 0.5 0.7 2.2 4.1 5.8 2.3 1.9 0.7 0 0

z (m) 5 1.5 1.0 1.3 4.6 7.9 11.8 6.5 5.0 3.4 0.5 0.5

z (m) 10 0.2 0.8 3.2 6.7 7.4 8.3 9.1 7.7 5.2 3.8 0.5

z (m) 15 0.2 0.2 3.9 5.9 8.7 9.3 8.5 10.0 6.8 2.3 0.2

z (m) 20 0.1 0.1 0.2 3.5 5.2 4.1 8.3 5.4 2.7 0.7 0.2

z (m) 25 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.3 0.3 0.1 2.0 0.4 0.3 0.3 0.2

z (m) 30 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.4 0.3 0.1 0.3 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.3

3 - second peak temperature C

NOTE: For temperature rise data, similar tables would be included covering the other wind speeds and wind directions where any further local peaks were identified.
Figure 10.20 - Lateral scan of temperature rise across the landing spot


Figure 10.21 - Plot of 3 second peak temperature rise above landing spot; Wind speed at 10 m = 5 m/s; Wind direction (degrees from Platform N) = 45. For temperature rise data, similar charts would be included covering the other wind speeds and wind directions where any further local peaks were identified.

Figure 10.22 - Recommended presentation of downdraft data. The radial axis denotes reference wind speed in m/s. Shaded bands denote the reference wind speed at which the critical value is exceeded. The circumference axis denotes wind direction (i.e. wind from), with respect to Platform North.


2-5C 5-10C 15-20C

Figure 10.23 - Recommended presentation of temperature data. The radial axis denotes reference wind speed in m/s. The circumference axis denotes wind direction (i.e. wind from), with respect to Platform North.

Figure 10.24 - Recommended presentation of turbulence data. The radial axis denotes reference wind speed in m/s. Shaded bands denote the reference wind speed at which the critical value is exceeded. The circumference axis denotes wind direction (i.e. wind from), with respect to Platform North.


10.10.3 Presentation of Flow Assessment Results for Operations

This section contains recommended formats for the presentation of a summary of the helideck flow assessment interpreted in terms of the operational restrictions that will need to be placed on flight operations. This presentation should be prepared for each installation by a person competent in the interpretation of the wind flow data in terms of helicopter operations. It should then be submitted to BHAB Helidecks, together with the supporting detailed flow assessment results (presented as in Section 10.10.2). It is anticipated that BHAB Helidecks will then review the information, make any changes deemed necessary to the summary presentation, and then issue this summary to the helicopter operators. It is intended that the presentation should be complementary to the Route Guide (e.g. Aerad Plate), which currently provides the pilot with concise information on the physical layout of the installation, together with navigational and radio frequency information. The requirements for this information are somewhat different if the installation is fixed at a particular heading, as is the case for fixed jacket platforms, semisubmersible production or drilling platforms, tension leg platforms etc., or if the installation is an FPSO or mobile drilling unit which changes its heading according to the weather and/or operational needs. Consequently two examples are provided. In Figure 25 an example is given of a presentation for a fixed platform, whilst Figure 26 contains an example for an FPSO.


Figure 10.25 - Example summary presentation of environmental limits for a fixed platform.


Figure 10.26 - Example summary presentation of environmental limits for an FPSO.



10.11.1 Wave Induced Motion Estimates
The motion characteristics of a vessel or floating platform may be reliably predicted by recourse to well-established computer models, or to physical model testing. In either case the results are invariably presented in terms of linear transfer functions. The transfer function contains an amplitude and phase component, and the amplitude is often referred to as a Response Amplitude Operator (RAO). An example response amplitude operator is given in Figure 10.27.

Figure 10.27 - Example Response Amplitude Operator (RAO).

Provided that transfer functions have been derived for all six motion components (roll, pitch, yaw, sway, surge and heave) for a vessel at a defined reference point (often at the centre of gravity, or amidships at the waterline), then RAOs can be readily calculated for any helideck location on the vessel. Using specialist software this data can be combined with wave climate data (see Section 10.12.1) and limiting motion criteria (see Section 10.12) to derive quantitative helideck downtime estimates (see Section 10.13).



The probability of encountering a given combination of significant wave height and period is defined using a wave scatter table, which describes the proportion of time when the significant wave height and period lie within specified ranges. Wave scatter tables for open-water sea areas may be obtained from standard reference texts or computer databases (see example in Figure 10.28). Wave scatter tables for specific locations (especially local in-shore conditions) should be obtained from specialist metocean sources.

Wave Scatter Table

Worldwide Database , Sea Area 25, Jan - Dec , East
Sig Hgt (m) > 14 13 to 14 12 to 13 11 to 12 10 to 11 9 to 10 8 to 9 7 to 8 6 to 7 5 to 6 4 to 5 3 to 4 2 to 3 1 to 2 0 to 1 <4 Obs 28 167 323 278 140 49 13 3 1 1000

1 5 21 4~5

1 5 19 62 80

1 2 7 22 66 140 85 5~6

1 1 4 12 33 77 112 38 6~7

1 2 4 10 24 44 46 9

1 2 5 10 15 12 2

1 2 3 4 2 10 ~ 11

1 1

1 2 5 14 37 98 226 381 235 11 ~ 12 12 ~ 13 > 13

7~8 8~9 9 ~ 10 Zero Crossing Period (s)

Figure 10.28 - Example wave scatter table.

Wave scatter tables defined on an all-year, all-directions basis may be adequate for vessels that are to operate at all times of year and whose motions are relatively insensitive to heading (e.g. semi-submersible drilling vessels). Wave scatter tables for directional sectors are needed in cases where vessel motions vary with relative wave heading (e.g. ships), but the manner of analysis will vary depending on whether the vessel heading is fixed or varies with the direction of the weather. The vessel heading relative to waves should be considered in cases where the vessel weathervanes, or operates under heading control (see Section 10.6).

10.12.1 Limiting Motion Criteria

Limiting motion criteria for landing a helicopter on a floating platform are at present usually defined in terms of maximum heave, roll and pitch motions. Large heave motions can make it difficult for the pilot to control the final stages of landing and rate of descent at touchdown, and large accelerations can cause sliding across the deck or a tendency to overturn. The motions used in this analysis must represent the motions of the helideck (rather than the motions of the vessel at its centre of gravity).

The maximum motion experienced during a given time interval depends not only on the sea state, but also on the particular sequence of waves that occurs, and on the length of the time interval. Significant variations in maximum motions often occur between one sample time interval and another. The limiting motion criteria are therefore normally interpreted as specifying most probable or expected maximum values occurring in a 10-minute time interval (i.e. the most likely or average value of all maxima that can occur in different randomly-sampled 10minute intervals). Standard formulae for estimating the most probable and expected maximum motion in a given sea state are available, and are often incorporated into standard vessel motion prediction programs. Motion time series obtained from time-domain simulation programs or model tests should be processed statistically to obtain estimates of the most probable or expected maximum values. Special care should be taken to determine whether maximum motions represent single-amplitude (i.e. from the mean value to the maximum) or double-amplitude (i.e. from minimum to maximum) values. Standard helicopter landing criteria are usually defined in terms of maximum double-amplitude heave motions (i.e. measured from trough to peak), but maximum single-amplitude for roll and pitch motions (i.e. measured from the true vertical). A new approach to measuring helideck motion based on helideck accelerations is currently being developed [Ref: 65]. The measure of motion severity employed is simply the acceleration in the plane of the helideck divided by the acceleration normal to the helideck. This measure is monitored on a continuous basis over a 10-minute period and processed statistically to produce a prediction of the most likely maximum value for the next 10 minutes; the Motion Severity Index (MSI). When this is introduced the height of the helideck above the vessel centre of gravity will be of greater concern since the greater this distance, the greater the horizontal acceleration generated by a given roll motion. Maximum MSI values may be calculated and analysed using vessel motion models and procedures similar to those used to determine maximum heave, roll and pitch, together with the published MSI algorithms. NOTE: The single-amplitude roll and pitch motions must be measured from the true vertical in order that any vessel list or trim is properly accounted for.



Estimates of the likely helideck downtime can be made by combining the information about the helideck motion characteristics (RAOs) (see Section 10.11) with the expected operating wave climate in the scatter table (see Section 10.12), and the helideck motion limits (see Section 10.12.1). The process is similar to that described for wind in Section 10.9.6, but is more complex because it involves the three parameters (wave height, wave period and wave direction). The helideck wave motions in each of the seastates defined in the scatter table are estimated, and the sea state probability summed if the motions exceed the limiting operating criteria. This sum is the total probability that the conditions will be unacceptable. The analysis should take due account of vessel heading, which might be fixed, or may vary with changing wave directions. The process should be performed by a competent naval architect using the appropriate specialised software. Once the helideck downtime has been estimated, the vessel operator can decide whether it is at an acceptable level or not. Helideck downtime will lead to disruption of the vessel operations, and these will have a cost. Relocating the helideck to a vessel location with lesser motions and thus lower downtime may be appropriate, but it should be borne in mind that for smaller ships the limiting motion criteria vary depending on the helideck location on the vessel. Lesser motions are permitted for bow mounted helidecks, owing to the poorer visual cues available to the pilot.





The items that make up the whole helideck facilities package cover a wide range of individual systems and components. Each system and its components contribute to the overall serviceability of a helideck, which is a Safety Critical Element (SCE). Several discipline engineers, as part of their discipline responsibilities, will often manage the work associated with the helideck systems and components. However, there is a pressing need to ensure this work is properly co-ordinated to ensure that the final product is a fully certified helideck ready for flight operations, preferably with no operating restrictions. The following sections deal with the various systems and components in detail, to provide designers with practical guidance for optimising designs and operation.

11.1.1 Hazardous Area Classification and Equipment Selection

The helideck should be positioned at a safe location on an installation or group of installations, and under normal platform operating conditions be free from any potentially explosive atmospheres created by the platform drilling and production processes. In this respect the helideck should be located in, and classified as a non-hazardous area. However, in the event of a process upset condition and where potentially explosive atmospheres (e.g. gas release) may occur, the effects of these events on the safety of helicopters and helideck operations should be fully taken into account in the installation safety case. Helideck safety systems such as automatically activated status lights or, where appropriate, equivalent 'manual' alerting systems should be in place, along with adequate platform emergency and communications procedures. Although the helideck may be classified as a non-hazardous area under normal platform operating conditions, the specification and selection of electrical equipment used for helideck lighting systems, etc. should be suitable for use in potentially explosive atmospheres. This should ensure that the helideck could remain fully operational for evacuating personnel, providing prevailing conditions around the installation and at the helideck do not prohibit helicopter operations.


Additionally, the specification and selection of equipment used in aviation fuel pumping and dispensing systems should be suitable for use in potentially explosive atmospheres and is dependent upon the system design and where each part of the system is to be located on the helideck or elsewhere on the installation. When developing the design and preparing specifications for procuring helideck systems and equipment, reference should be made to the following: Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 [Ref: 12] Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres - Approved Code of Practice and Guidance (L138). [Ref: 19] HSE Operations Notice No. 58 (Jan 2003) - Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 - A short guide for the offshore industry. [Ref: 28] HSE Operations Notice No. 59 (Jan 2003) - The Equipment and Protective Systems Intended for Use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 1996 - A short guide for the offshore industry. [Ref: 29] HSE Operations Notice No. 63 (Dec 2003) - A Guide to the Equipment and Protective Systems intended for Use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 1996. [Ref: 30]



11.2.1 Introduction
Care is necessary to ensure that all markings on the helideck follow the guidance of CAP 437 precisely, except where otherwise agreed with the BHAB Helidecks. Where markings are found to be incorrect, this problem may have occurred during preparation of the initial helideck design drawings, whilst painting a new build helideck or as a result of repainting during helideck maintenance.

11.2.2 Main References

CAP 437, Chapter 4.

11.2.3 Helideck Markings

All helideck markings should be properly specified in accordance with CAP 437.


In particular, the offshore installation or vessel identification NAME should be adequately sized, unobstructed and clearly visible to flight crews approaching the helideck. The safe landing area should be identified as ONLY the area that is contained within the white perimeter line and within the 210 unobstructed arc, and does not include other adjacent helideck areas such as a parking area (the parking area should be painted in a contrasting colour). If there is any doubt about particular helideck marking requirements, or where it considered both appropriate and necessary to deviate from the markings specified in CAP 437, designers should first consult with BHAB Helidecks or other specialists.

11.2.4 Installation / Helideck Identification General The primary objective is to provide highly visible installation / vessel identification from the air during a helicopters final approach (by day and night) and thus minimise the opportunity for wrong deck landings [Ref: 32]. There is no requirement under aviation regulations that stipulates the use of block numbers or other designators. This is solely a marine requirement that comes under the jurisdiction of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency in the form of a Marking Schedule that was previously issued by the Department of Trade, Marine Division. These marine requirements still exist but do not have relevance to offshore helicopter operations. Therefore, installation side signage should be unambiguous and unique and should be located high up on the installation. For helicopter operations, ONLY the name should be used to identify the installation / vessel, and this should be consistent with the installation / vessel Identification Boards. Ideally, designers should consider locating installation / vessel name boards at high elevations where they will be more visible to an approaching helicopter at a reasonable range from the installation / vessel. Company logos and block numbers should NOT be used on helidecks and side signage so that opportunities for confusion are reduced.

185 Helideck The NAME should ideally be clearly displayed between the origin of the obstacle free sector and the touchdown marking. The identification NAME, should be the same as the installation or vessel AVIATION CALL SIGN and ideally this should be reproduced on the side identification panels. The identification marking letters / figures should clearly contrast with the background colour of the helideck surface. For greater effect, the white markings can be outlined in a contrasting colour (e.g. black) if it is necessary to highlight them against the helideck base colour. Particularly, this may need to be done on aluminium helidecks where the natural surface remains unpainted. Also, on passive design helidecks, the perforated surface will rarely provided sufficient contrast without highlighting all the markings. CAP 437 states a MINIMUM height of 1.2 metres for the identification marking letters / figures. Where space permits, consideration should be given to enlarging the markings to a height of 2.0 metres with a line width of 0.4 metres. It is essential to ensure the helideck net (when fitted) does not obscure any part of the identification NAME. Installation Identification Boards It should be recognised that the retro-reflective systems currently used for installation identification boards do not provide adequate long-range identification for pilots, particularly at night and in poor visibility. The use of advanced lighting technologies (i.e. high intensity, long life LEDs - Section should be considered for installation identification boards in order to enhance long range identification for pilots and mariners. See CAA Paper 92006 [Ref: 45]. Where possible, designers should consider placing the side signage panels that are used for helicopter operations at as high a level as possible on the Installation. Suitable locations may be found on drilling derricks and other elevated structures.

186 A Common Identification Requirement The installation identification boards, radio callsign and the helideck identification marking should all be the same to avoid any opportunities for confusion during operations.

11.2.5 Obstruction Markings

The objective of providing obstruction markings is to identify and highlight physical obstructions around the helideck and the installation environs that could present a hazard to helicopters. Designers should pay particular attention to identifying any physical obstructions that could present a hazard to helicopter operations and to specifying markings in accordance with CAP 437. Obstructions requiring marking may include: Cranes Drilling Derricks Burner Booms Flare Stacks Communications Towers Gas Turbine Exhaust Support Structures Any structures that infringe any of the obstruction free criteria and have been identified as a helideck restriction by BHAB Helidecks. Any other structures that are adjacent to potential flight paths where marking may provide additional and beneficial visual clues to flight crews. Paint Schemes The paint schemes selected for marking major structural obstructions should be properly specified including the use of special high temperature finishes for flare stacks and gas turbine exhausts. Gas turbine exhaust systems and their support structures often do not present a physical obstruction to helicopters due to their inboard location. However, there is considerable merit in marking these structures to highlight them to helicopter crews as the source of hot emissions that may affect helicopter performance and safety. Normally, the markings on main structural obstructions should be RED and WHITE bands dimensioned as noted in CAP 437. However, CAP 437 does allow alternate colour schemes.


Although CAP 437 makes no distinction between the types of structural obstruction and the colour schemes to apply, it is highly recommended that any structures that are cited as infringements to the obstruction free criteria should be marked with BLACK and YELLOW bands. In the case of gas turbine exhausts, BLACK and WHITE / SILVER is acceptable. High temperature paint systems suitable for gas turbine exhaust systems tend to have limited colour ranges.



11.3.1 Main References

CAP 437, Chapter 4. ICAO Annex 14, Volume 2 (Figure 5-9 for light isocandela diagrams). DERA Research Paper into Helideck Lighting [Ref: 66]. CAA Helideck Lighting Interim Guidance (Letter dated 17 November 2003) [Ref: 47] NOTE: The material contained in this section largely reflects the current standards. However, a UK CAA proposal to change the standards and recommended practices in ICAO Annex 14 Volume 2 was presented to the ICAO Visual Aids Panel (VAP) in December 2002 and these changes have been accepted by ICAO and will be adopted in the next update of Annex 14 Volume 2 and the Heliport Manual. CAA plans to implement the changes in two stages with absolute cut-off for compliance of Stage 1 by 1 January 2008 and Stage 2 by 1 January 2010. CAA intends to update CAP 437 starting with Stage 1, probably in 2004. CAA is conducting further trials prior to publishing a specification for lighting technologies suitable for the Phase 2 changes. CAA is encouraging the industry to implement the new Stage 1 standards as soon as practical. In essence, three main problems exist with current helideck lighting systems and they are:

The location of the helideck on the platform is often difficult to establish due to the lack of visual conspicuity of the perimeter lights.


Helideck floodlighting systems frequently present a source of glare and loss of pilots' night vision on the deck, and further reduce the conspicuity of helideck perimeter lights during the approach. The performance of most helideck floodlighting systems in illuminating the central landing area is inadequate, leading to the so-called 'black hole' effect.

Phase 1 changes comprise:

a change of perimeter light colour from yellow to green and revision of the associated lighting specification. added emphasis on ensuring that floodlighting does not present a source of glare to pilots if it is to be retained. In most cases this can be achieved by the deletion of existing deck level floodlighting possibly replacing it with a high mounted (0.05D) system located within the LOS. NB: There are exceptions to this solution and these are spelled out in the CAA interim guidance letter dated 17 November 2003 [Ref: 47].

Proposed Phase 2 changes are:

provision of a lit aiming circle (circle of yellow lighting) and heliport identification 'H' marking (green lighting). These lighting systems are likely to be LED light sources but other light sources with equivalent performance may be acceptable.

During this period of change and prior to updating CAP 437, interim guidance has been produced in the form of a CAA letter [Ref: 49]. However, designers who are currently designing new helidecks and constructors who are undertaking helideck refurbishment are strongly advised to contact the CAA or BHAB Helidecks for the most up-to-date information and advice.

11.3.2 Considering the Offshore Lighting Environment

Particular care should be taken to check that all lighting arrangements follow precisely the guidance of CAP 437, except where otherwise agreed with BHAB Helidecks. Designers of helideck lighting systems should be highly sensitive to the need to provide good quality and reliable helideck lighting in the offshore / marine


environment. Failure to do so can cause flight crew severe problems when landing and taking-off from installations and vessels at night and in poor visibility. Providing good helideck lighting on Offshore Installations, probably more so than on vessels, is made more difficult because of the background lighting environment. Light pollution from the vast array of general installation lighting will often compete with the helideck lighting and, in some cases, has the effect of overpowering the visual cues that have been specifically provided for flight crews. See Figure 11.2. When locating and specifying luminaires for helideck lighting systems designers should attempt to visualise the likely results (including probable background light pollution) from a helicopter flight crews perspective, both in the air on an approach to the helideck and whilst parked on the helideck itself. The key to this exercise is finding the right balance. The use of computer generated luminance diagrams (usually provided by specialist lighting supply companies) may help to establish correct levels of helideck lighting with respect to perimeter and floodlighting. Much of the light pollution can be physically shielded from the approaching or ondeck helicopter if sufficient thought is given to this problem during the design phase. The designer should always give consideration to the visual tasks to be undertaken by helicopter flight crews during approach to an installation or vessel and the associated visual clues and aids available during each phase of the operation. These are given in the following table, Figure 11.1.
Platform Location Platform Identification

Sensor Search Observe defining features


Contrast of platform against sea/dark background Position of platform in relation to others. Outline shape of platform Sign board. Shape of helideck. Colour of helideck. Luminance of helideck (floodlighting). Perimeter lighting.

Helideck Acquisition

Search within platform structure

Final Approach

Detect helicopter position in 3 axes. Detect rate of change of position.

Apparent size and change of size. Orientation and change of orientation of known features / markings/ lights. Known features / markings. Lights. Helideck texture.

Hover & Landing

Detect helicopter position and rate of change of position in 3 axes (6 degrees of freedom)

Figure 11.1 Visual Cues Summary (Source: DERA) 190

(Photograph courtesy of Institute of Petroleum)

Figure 11.2 Example of typical light pollution from an offshore installation

11.3.3 Specific Requirements for NUIs

If night operations are to take place, lighting, including floodlighting, must meet the requirements of CAP 437, in full. Consideration should also be given to the requirements for night emergency flights. If it is decided not to install lighting in compliance with CAP 437, no night emergency flights may be undertaken. Therefore helicopter evacuation or medivac night flights must not be part of the Installation safety case or the emergency procedures. Floodlighting of the structure, especially below the helideck should be seriously considered. The purpose of this floodlighting is to provide flight crews with good visual cues and to avoid the floating in space effect often experienced at night when approaching NUIs for landing.

Providing the NUI is in a condition which is safe to accept helicopter movements, the perimeter lighting and floodlighting MAY remain on. The system may be controlled via a light sensitive switch with a manual override operable locally, or from an appropriate manned installation or shore base.

11.3.4 Perimeter Lighting Objective The primary objective of perimeter marking and lighting is to delineate the limit of the SAFE LANDING AREA particularly on the Limited Obstacle Sector side of the helideck. A helicopter should be able to land within this area with adequate clearance from any obstruction on the Limited Obstacle Sector side of the deck. Equipment Specification To comply with the latest edition of CAP 437, perimeter lighting should not exceed 250 mm overall height above deck level and should exhibit yellow lights of 25 candelas or above at maximum three metre spacing. A full technical specification is given in ICAO Annex 14 Volume 2 (Note: CAA is in the process of proposing amendments to the current specification). Over the years, several types of light fitting have been used for perimeter lighting, some poor and others adequate. In recent years more specialised equipment has become available. Therefore, designers are now able to specify fit for purpose units that will comply with CAP 437 and will be robust, reliable, have extended life tubes / filaments and be relatively maintenance free. When required, perimeter light fittings suitable for use in hazardous atmospheres (Zone 1 and 2) are obtainable with IP Rated enclosures suitable for immersion in seawater (e.g. spray on vessel helidecks and fire monitor discharges). Perimeter lights can be obtained for surface fixing or semi-recessed applications. Where perimeter lights are used on helidecks that are likely to suffer from guano accumulations (e.g. NUIs), they can often be fitted with low profile bird spikes to deter seabirds from roosting on them.


(Photograph courtesy of Orga BV)

Figure 11.3 Typical Surface Mounted Perimeter Light with Bird Spike

(Photograph courtesy of John Burt Associates Limited)

Figure 11.4 Typical Recessed Perimeter Light Electroluminescent Lighting Panels (ELP) Electroluminescent lighting panels (ELP) offer another option for helideck lighting. These lighting panels are more suited to those applications where it is necessary to delineate the inner extent of the safe landing area on large helidecks with parking areas and where a surface mounted arrangement is the preferred structural option.


(Photograph courtesy of QinetiQ)

Figure 11.5 Electroluminescent (ELP) Lighting Panel

These panels have recently been demonstrated during a CAA Research Project lighting trial to provide a very effective illuminated H. In the future, such enhancements to offshore helideck lighting may become a requirement. When using these light fittings it is important to ensure that the construction is sufficiently robust for helideck applications (e.g. environmental effects) and they can withstand the weight and abrasive effects of anticipated traffic. Suitable power supplies and enclosure rating should also be fully considered. A technical specification for ELP lighting is given in ICAO Annex 14 Volume 2. Light Emitting Diode (LED) Systems A recent innovation when designing helideck lighting is the use of LED technology. Recent lighting trials during a CAA Research Project have established that this technology is probably superior to ELP panels because it provides clearer visual signals and has potentially longer operating life. The proposed future use of these systems for illuminating the 'H' and aiming circle awaits the development of practical equipment. Lighting Layout Spacing of the lighting units should, as far as reasonable practicable, be equidistant. To achieve a regular pattern it is preferred that more light units are added and the maximum spacing be slightly reduced. In the case of helidecks where the perimeter lights delineate a safe landing area that is less than the overall size of the helideck surface (e.g. there is passenger walkway, a parking or run-off area), semi-recessed fittings or ELP lights may be considered more appropriate. Placing this type of fitting across that section of the


helideck where personnel and aircraft movements may take place will present less obstructions and trip hazards. Power Supply and Control There is considerable merit in designing the supply system for perimeter lighting to operate from two separate power circuits. Alternate lights should be supplied from different power supplies. This has the effect of at least providing half the perimeter lighting if there is a malfunction circuit in one of the electrical supplies. Control of the perimeter lighting should be from a location convenient to the Helideck / HLO office. It may also be beneficial to have the lighting activated by low light conditions using an appropriately designed PIR system. If the helideck and / or installation is in an unsafe condition (i.e. not fit for helicopter operations), the helideck lighting system should be switched off.

11.3.5 Floodlighting Objective The objective with floodlighting on offshore helidecks is to provide flight crews with good visual cues during the approach and landing phase and to eliminate any black hole visual effects in the safe landing area. At night and in low light conditions the floodlighting also provides a safer work environment for helideck crews and for passenger movements. NOTE: During helideck lighting field trials, as part of a recent CAA research project, it has been noted that by making use of combinations of modern lighting systems (LEDs and ELPs) for the helideck markings and using green perimeter lights, good light levels and visual cues can be achieved with reduced use of low level floodlighting. Also, with floodlights positioned in a raised position (0.05D above the helideck surface) at the origin of the Limited Obstacle Sector and aimed toward the centre of the SLA, overall performance can be significantly improved. Data presented to CAA suggests that XENON floodlights now available for use on offshore helidecks may, in some cases (e.g. low cultural lighting), offer enhanced performance over the current generation of halogen systems. Trials have indicated that deck level xenon systems may have an application on NUIs, when to use elevated halogen floodlighting would create an obstacle in an otherwise obstacle free


environment. Duty holders who select xenon systems must be particularly careful to ensure that lights are properly aligned and adequately shielded to prevent glare to pilots. Therefore, designers should note that the current floodlighting requirements might change in the future. Such a change will not eliminate the need for general helideck floodlighting for the purposes of safe personnel movements around the helideck during on-deck operations. Equipment Specification & Layout The floodlighting systems should be designed and positioned to ensure adequate illumination without affecting pilots night vision. The spectrum of the surface lighting should be such that the colours used for the markings on the helideck can be interpreted correctly. The average light intensity on the landing area should be at least 10 lux. The maximum ratio between the average horizontal and minimum light intensity should be 8:1.

(Photograph courtesy of Orga BV)

Figure 11.6 Typical Helideck Floodlight

Helideck floodlighting suppliers should be requested to verify the required lighting levels from the layout specified and using the luminaires types supplied. Great care should be exercised in selection of the type of luminaire to be used. It should be noted that, generally, halogen systems would have the advantage of instant light whereas sodium type systems require time to warm-up before they reach full output. The use of sodium lighting in this application may be


problematical where the electrical system design does not make proper provision for loss of electrical supply (e.g. during changeover from main to emergency supply), however short-lived. Manufacturers of floodlighting should be asked to provide a methodology for initial setting up (the angle between fitting brackets and deck surface is critical) and subsequent regular checking once installed. Incorrect settings may dazzle the pilot or cause a black hole effect. For small installations, (e.g. satellite installations, etc.) particular attention should be paid to the floodlighting of the structure below helideck level with downward facing floodlights. This enhances the 'visual cues' available to pilots during night approaches to give depth perception. On vessels with forward mounted helidecks, difficulties may be experienced with exposed helideck fittings (such as floodlighting) being damaged or swept away by waves, when the vessel is underway in heavy seas. Combined Perimeter and Floodlights Combined perimeter and floodlights are, as their name implies, an integrated design.

(Photograph courtesy of John Burt Associates Limited)

Figure 11.7 Combined Perimeter and Floodlight

Powered by a fluorescent luminaire they offered designers (in the early years of offshore helideck designs) a compact helideck lighting solution. However, the extent of the beam cast by the floodlighting is very limited and will invariably give a black hole effect. Combined perimeter and floodlights do not meet the current ICAO uniformity and intensity ratio requirements and are therefore unacceptable and should no longer

be specified. When re-working or modifying a helideck they should be replaced or supplemented by lighting units complying with the appropriate ICAO specification. Floodlighting on Vessel Helidecks Floodlighting units are available with an IP Rating suitable for immersion in seawater. However, the fixings need to be very robust to withstand damage. In this case it may be considered prudent to locate some helideck floodlighting units at a higher elevation to protect them (e.g. on or under the bridge apron). If this arrangement is to be considered acceptable, the designer must be able to demonstrate to the BHAB Helidecks that the lighting will be able to cover the safe landing area without creating night vision dazzle problems for the flight crews. The positioning (direction) of the lighting units should also be fully adjustable and there should be proper provision (e.g. shutters or a deflector) to prevent unwanted light overspill above the units. Power Supply and Control Similar to perimeter lights, there is considerable merit in designing the supply system for floodlighting to operate from two separate power circuits. Alternate lights should be supplied from different power supplies. This has the effect of at least providing half the floodlighting if there is a circuit malfunction in one of the electrical supplies.

11.3.6 General Lighting Objective The objective of installing general lighting on offshore installations and vessels and their helidecks is to provide a safe work environment for personnel, helideck crews and for passenger movements at night and in low light conditions. However, providing this general installation and helideck lighting can present a flight safety problem. Therefore, the design, location and maintenance of general lighting requires great care in order that flight crew night vision is not affected and the helideck visual cues are not compromised.

198 Equipment Specification & Layout General Installation / Vessel The selection of Installation general lighting is normally carried out as a separate exercise to the helideck design. This will generally mean that selection and location of lighting units will simply take into account the need to illuminate the installations external walkways, stairways, work platforms, production and drilling areas, etc. It is important that the helideck designer influences the manner in which the layout of general lighting proceeds. Ideally, general lighting units, particularly floodlights, should be positioned and directed so that they cast their light INTO the installation thus avoiding unnecessary overspill that may pollute potential flight paths and the helideck. Where floodlights are directed outboard for specific purposes (e.g. lifeboat launching stations, installation signage, etc.) care should be taken to ensure that overspill is minimised, without compromising the intent of the lighting requirement. Helideck The general lighting around a helideck is normally confined to providing adequate illumination on walkways, stairways, monitor platforms and the parking area if one is provided. This lighting should ideally be to the same specification as the general installation / vessel lighting. The location and direction of the lighting units should be designed to minimise overspill onto the helideck yet, at the same time, satisfactorily meeting the primary objective. Power Supply and Control Where general floodlighting is used on helidecks the control of this lighting should be accessible to the HLO in order that it can be immediately switched off at the request of the flight crew.

11.3.7 Obstruction Lighting Objective Significant structures on installations and vessels that may pose a threat to helicopters in darkness and low visibility conditions should be clearly marked with appropriately selected and positioned obstruction lights rated as noted in CAP 437. Structures that may require obstruction lighting include:


Flare / Vent Towers and Booms Drilling Derricks Radio Masts Gas Turbine Exhaust support structures Legs on Jack-up Rigs Crane Jibs and A Frames. Equipment Specification & Layout As a general rule, obstruction lights are positioned at the highest point on an obstruction and, in the case of very tall structures (e.g. flare / vent towers and radio masts) additional lights are located at approximately 10 metre intervals over the length of the structure. Flare towers can be a problem for locating and maintaining obstruction lights.

(Photograph courtesy of Orga BV)

Figure 11.8 Typical 10 Candela Obstruction Light


(Photograph courtesy of Orga BV)

Figure 11.9 - Typical Twin Luminaire 50 Cd Obstruction Light

The obvious problems associated with high temperatures at the flare tip mean that placing an obstruction light where it is subject to extreme temperatures is not a realistic proposition. Also, with a permanently lit flare (pilot flare in operation), there is little to be gained by installing an obstruction light at the highest point because there should be sufficient illumination at the tip for flight crews to see and avoid. Therefore, if obstruction lights are to be fitted to the flare tower then the highest location should start at an elevation where the lights will be unaffected by radiated heat and at a point that is accessible for maintenance. An alternative to fitting obstruction lights on the flare structure is to flood light it from a lower elevation. For instance, on an FPSO, locating the floodlight on top of the Turret may provide both a convenient and effective position to achieve a good result.


Accurate sighting of the floodlight(s) is required to ensure that the structure is properly highlighted and that light overspill that may affect pilot night vision is avoided. Before proceeding with this alternate arrangement, it is prudent to consult with the CAA / BHAB Helidecks and to advise them of the design intent. Vertical Gas Turbine exhaust support structures should also be fitted with obstruction lights to give an indication to the flight crews of the origin of the heat source. Obstruction lights should be specified to provide an omni-directional light that is clearly visible to an approaching helicopter. Where there is significant light pollution from the installation / vessel general areas that may reduce the overall visual effects of obstruction lighting, it may be prudent to select higher-powered units. It is preferable to specify either dual filament light units or install the lights in pairs. This should ensure that the installation / vessel is not rendered non-compliant for helicopter operations at night or in low visibility conditions as a result of a filament failure in a single light unit. Irrespective of the type of obstruction lighting selected, it should be specified with enclosures consistent with the hazardous area classification for the area in which it is to be located. Power Supply and Control Power supplies to the obstruction lights should be connected to the emergency switchboard and ideally, to ensure the lights switch on automatically in low light conditions, they should operate via a PIR.

11.3.8 Windsock Lighting Objective The windsock(s) should be illuminated with white floodlighting (without impairing pilots vision) where the helideck is to be used at night or in weather conditions where visibility is less than 1500 metres. Internally illuminated windsocks are available and these are the preferred lighting option.


(Photograph courtesy of Orga BV)

Figure 11.10 Example of an internally illuminated windsock

Externally illuminated windsocks provide equally good lighting but tend to be more vulnerable to damage. In both cases the arrangement for elevating the windsock above helideck level should be designed to allow the windsock assembly to be safely lowered for routine maintenance, filament and sock replacement. See also Section 11.9.4 for details about the Windsock structure and its location. In some instances (e.g. due to its location and the available electrical power supplies), it may be considered desirable to illuminate a windsock from a remote light source. For this type of arrangement to be acceptable it should be clearly demonstrated that there is an overriding need to illuminate with a remote light source(s) and that the lighting is both effective and does not impair pilot night vision.

Figure 11.11 Example of external windsock lighting configuration


11.3.9 Status Lights Main References CAP 437, Section 4.3. CAA Paper 98003 [Ref: 46] Note this will be superseded by CAA paper 2003/6. CAA Status Light Interim Guidance (Letter dated 31 December 2002) [Ref: 48] General Requirements Provision should be made to visually warn helicopter flight crews when a helideck is unsafe for a landing, by activating a FLASHING RED light. In the aviation context, the internationally understood meaning of a flashing red light is: 1. To an aircraft in flight - DO NOT LAND: aerodrome not available for landing To an aircraft on the aerodrome - MOVE CLEAR OF THE LANDING AREA. For this reason, helidecks on offshore installations and vessels should be equipped with the means to indicate to helicopter flight crews when a condition exists on the installation that may be hazardous to helicopters and passengers. Helideck status changes may arise due to process upset conditions on the installation or vessel (e.g. impending gas release). NOTE: Recent HSE / CAA research into the environments around offshore helidecks has indicated that an appropriate hazard level for helicopters in respect of a hydrocarbon gas release should be set at a maximum limit of 10% LFL (Lower Flammable Limit) anywhere in potential helicopter operating areas. Requirements for NUIs All NUls should be equipped with Status Lights to indicate to flight crews when a condition exists on the installation that may be hazardous to the helicopter and its occupants or the installation. The status lights should be capable of being switched off with a manual override locally from an appropriately manned installation or shore base.


204 System Design Objectives The warning system should:

Be visible to the helicopter flight crew whilst in the air and on the helideck and preferably be located close to the helideck exits so as to be visible to Installation personnel

Ideally be comprised of a pair of high intensity flashing red beacons, (at-least one of which must be visible from all possible directions of approach). In the event that one main unit is sufficient to achieve this operational objective, the second unit may comprise a repeater unit suitable for local helideck status indication. (See CAA paper 2003/6 and CAP 437 for detailed lamp output specifications).

Normally be automatically initiated at the appropriate hazard level and have test and manual override functions available. The HLO should be able to manually operate the system, in particular, there should be an in-built facility for dimming the lights whilst a helicopter is on deck and a means of automatically returning the main lights to full intensity to eliminate inadvertent system operation at "dimmed" level.

Comply with the operational requirements (minimum intensity and beam spread) set out in the Appendix to CAA Paper 2003/6 and CAP 437 (when revised). Main lights must have a minimum typical day viewing range of 900 metres (detectable) and 700 metres (conspicuous) based on the current minimum meteorological visibility of 1400 metres.

Be connected to the emergency switchboard (preferably an UPS) and have adequate in-built redundancy to cater for individual lamp failures along with appropriate procedures i.e. monitoring systems, in place to mitigate partial or total system failure.

Comply with helideck obstacle environment criteria. On normally unattended installations the system must be capable of being reset from an adjacent manned platform or a manned shore location.


Performance of status light units must have been verified using an approved test procedure (e.g. based on FAA AC 20-74) and been subjected to testing to validate the effective intensity of the flashing lights. Equipment Specification Development work has been undertaken by CAA to establish the standards to be used for specifying helideck status lights. A Technical Specification is available in CAA paper 2003/6 and CAP 437.

(Photo courtesy of Orga BV)

Figure 11.13a - Typical Helideck Status Light


(Photo courtesy of Orga BV)

Figure 11.13b Typical Helideck Status Light (Repeater)

Designers should note that normally there should be at least two lights fixed on the helideck perimeter or at locations nearby. However, to ensure the warning signals can be seen from a helicopter from all approach directions, in some cases there may be a requirement to install more than two beacons. Operational Requirements When status lights are installed and operational on an installation or vessel, the operator or owner should provide relevant information (e.g., switching logic, etc.) to the BHAB Helidecks for notification (in the HLL) to all the helicopter operators and their flight crews.



11.4.1 General Philosophy

The provision of electrical power to the various systems used on the helideck should fully take into account the requirement to keep the helideck operational at all times, day or night. This is because the helideck is normally identified as a functional part of installation or vessel emergency preparedness and as such is a Safety Critical Element.


It is also very important to note that once a pilot has committed to land on an offshore helideck, any failure of a helideck system intended to provide visual cues (e.g. helideck lighting) or safety information (e.g. installation to helicopter communications and status lights) will seriously compromise flight safety and potentially jeopardise a safe landing.

11.4.2 Design Considerations

NOTE: During helideck inspections it is generally found that the perimeter and floodlights are not connected to an UPS. Often the lights are connected to the emergency generator / switchboard and that may take 15 to 45 seconds to come on line. Load transfer for these systems should be immediate. It is recommended the critical helideck electrical systems should be designed: To be powered from an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) With two separate cable and supply systems for each of the lighting circuits.



11.5.1 General
The Offshore Installations (Prevention of Fire and Explosion, and Emergency Response) Regulations (SI 1995/7434) require in Regulation 5 the Duty Holder to perform an assessment which shall consist (to quote from the regulations): a) The identification of the various events which could give rise to: (i) a major accident involving fire or explosion; or (ii) the need (whether or not by reason of fire or explosion) for evacuation, escape or rescue to avoid or minimise a major accident. The evaluation of the likelihood and consequences of such events. The establishment of appropriate standards of performance to be attained by anything provided by measures for; (i) ensuring effective evacuation, escape, recovery and rescue to avoid or minimise a major accident, and

b) c)

(ii) d)

otherwise protecting persons from a major fire or explosion; and

The selection of appropriate measures.

With regard to helicopter emergencies, Regulation 7 requires the Duty Holder to ensure that equipment necessary for use in the event of an accident involving a helicopter is kept available near the helicopter landing area. The equipment provided will also need to comply with Regulation 19(1).

11.5.2 Main References

In addition to the PFEER requirements, detailed firefighting requirements for a helicopter landing area are also contained in CAP 437 and are based on international aviation standards and recommended practices contained in ICAO and IMO requirements. Further references are also provided by the following UKOOA Guidelines: Fire and Explosion Hazard Management [Ref: 52] The Management of Emergency Response for Offshore Installations.

11.5.3 Firefighting Safety Goals and Objectives

The goals of a helideck firefighting / hazard control system are to achieve the following: 1. The preservation of life and rescue of helicopter occupants in a fire or crash situation The containment and extinguishment of the fire within the crash area The minimisation of exposure of helideck crews to fire and crash effects The minimisation of minor incidents to prevent escalation.

2. 3. 4.

The means to be provided to achieve these aims, as far as is reasonably practical, should include equipment and facilities to allow: 1. Rapid control of running fires and pool fires in all helicopter operating wind conditions 2. Rapid control and smoke suppression during internal helicopter fires



Rapid control of other fires likely to be encountered, e.g. engines, avionics bays Containment and security of unignited (or extinguished) fuel Rapid escape from the helideck area irrespective of location of the incident Ready availability and adequate protection of crash rescue and personnel protection equipment from weather and fire/crash effects.

4. 5.


Achievement of the above objectives should be the prime consideration when selecting equipment. Proprietary equipment can, in most cases, meet objective 1 above, with either manual or remote operated equipment. This supposes that design, maintenance and operation are satisfactory. Typical methods of meeting 1, 2 and 3 are through manual intervention using portable equipment (complementary media) or by foam / water hand lines fitted with an adjustable nozzle. Technical advances and changes in international protocol are affecting the provision of complementary media and consideration should be given to proven alternates and replacements. All equipment should ideally have adequate capacity and discharge rates, whilst being flexible and easy to use and deployable for use inside the aircraft and in specialist areas such as engines. Sound design and layout of the helideck and its associated facilities will achieve objectives 4, 5 and 6. With particular reference to 5, failure to provide clear evacuation routes could result in trip hazards, or a compromise of escape arrangements. Good maintenance of equipment, adequate operating procedures and personnel training are necessary for continued achievement of the objectives. Helideck monitors may be positioned to allow them to cover adjacent areas of the installation, provided that this use does not inhibit their primary function of protecting the helideck.


11.5.4 Requirements of a Foam System

The need for a fixed firefighting system should be determined by assessing the risks to personnel, the practicalities of installing and operating the system, and the contribution the system makes to preserve life. The following factors should be considered: The crewing of the installation and the practicalities of operating the system if it is normally unattended The frequency of flights The firefighting infrastructure on the installation (firepumps) Legislation Refuelling operations.

It is generally agreed that foam systems are currently the best method of achieving rapid control of fires involving fuel spillage. The effectiveness of a foam system depends on five criteria: Speed of response Reliability Coverage Quantity Quality of the foam.

These requirements should be considered carefully when designing any system as well as during subsequent testing and maintenance. Weather conditions should also be taken into account. The possibility of a helicopter adopting a less than favourable final resting position after an incident should be taken into account. The incident may not remain confined to the landing area and it is always possible that the aircraft may not remain in an upright position.

11.5.5 Design Criteria for Foam Systems

Foam systems should be specified to achieve: Adequate coverage of the helideck safe landing area Adequate application rates and foam quality Adequate response time and duration of application

Suitability for the environmental conditions including low temperatures and strong winds.

For guidance to achieve these specifications see CAP 437 - Rescue and Firefighting Facilities. Lightweight foam branch lines should augment fixed systems.

11.5.6 Design Considerations for Monitor Systems General Monitors are the most commonly chosen method of foam application for installation / vessel helidecks, other than NUIs. However, Deck Integrated Fire Fighting System (DIFFS Pop-up foam head system) may also be considered. For further guidance on DIFFS consult the CAA. The following points should be considered in the design of any such monitor system: Manual monitors are generally more flexible than self oscillating types but serious consideration should be given to shielding the operators from crash effects. Oscillating monitors combined with remote actuation have the advantage of unmanned operation that enhances the safety of operations during take-off and landing. However, designs are unable to compensate for wind direction or the specific characteristics of a particular incident, and it is important that they be capable of rapid disengagement of the oscillating mechanism and reversion to manual operation.

(Photograph courtesy of Angus Fire)

Figure 11.14 Typical oscillating fire monitor arrangement

212 Numbers, Location and Operating Considerations Numbers The size of most helidecks will require a minimum of two monitors (if installed) but on larger helidecks three may be necessary. Calculations of monitor coverage and foam spread might suggest that two monitors would be sufficient for smaller helidecks, but when wind effects and escape route locations are taken into account, the optimum arrangement is three monitors unless other means of providing adequate foam cover are available (e.g. foam branch pipes or foam / water hosereels). Location Monitors (particularly oscillating types) should be located so that they do not inhibit access to escape routes from the helideck and should not be located directly at the exits. Operating Considerations Oscillating monitors are effective but do not always give a continuous rate of application. On spray setting, this is not critical, but monitors with excessive dwell times at the limit of their travel would exaggerate these effects. The monitor settings should be regularly checked. A nozzle pressure of less than 5.5 bar is not likely to be sufficient to overcome the worst weather conditions likely to be encountered. When designing a monitor system it is imperative to ensure that the overall height of the monitors relative to the helideck surface is adequate to ensure that the foam / water output can be properly applied to any part of the helideck. The height dimension should not exceed 250mm (see CAP 437). Where it becomes apparent that the height limitation may potentially be infringed, the designer should seek the advice of CAA or BHAB Helidecks. Consideration should be given to specifying self-inducing foam nozzles with top entry foam input. This arrangement should prevent contamination of the stored concentrate. Where adjustable inductor mechanisms are installed, it is essential to ensure the settings are correct for the percentage compound in use. This can be assured by fitting a locking system to the change lever.


Oscillating monitors should not be left pre-set on straight jet because of the hazards to escaping personnel and the relative ineffectiveness of the agent when applied in this manner. Operating levers are preferred to wheels for physically actuating the monitor controls. Monitors should be fitted with individual isolation valves suitably protected from potential crash damage. Foam Type, Supply and Storage Foam Type The preferred compound for the helideck foam system is a low expansion, high performance AFFF (Aqueous Film Forming Foam) which is freeze protected (to at least -3C, dependent on the operating region). NOTE: When selecting suitable 'Type B' foam concentrates, duty holders should consider the requirement stated in CAP 437 to conduct annual tests of all parts of the foam production system including the finished foam. The compound can be supplied in various percentages of concentration. 3% and 6% foams have a significantly greater range of acceptable operating tolerances when compared with 1% foams and, with this in mind, UK CAA recommends, where practical, that duty holders select a 3% or 6% Type B foam concentrate. Supply The system should be capable of continuously supplying foam (aspirated or nonaspirated) for at least 10 minutes at a rate not less than that prescribed by ICAO for Performance Level B standard foam (e.g. 5.5 litres per square metre per minute). NOTE: The performance standard is currently under review by European Aviation Authorities and may be subject to change in the future. During helideck inspections, the HLO should be able to identify whether the foam monitors supply aspirated or non-aspirated foam and be knowledgeable of the delivery rate of the system. Output of the monitors should be sufficient such that in the event of failure of one unit the remaining units can satisfy the helideck firefighting


requirements for the largest helicopter certified to use the helideck. Full details should be provided to operations. Where foam is delivered from the monitors non-aspirated, there must be a system for providing aspirated foam to the Safe Landing Area (SLA) at the prescribed minimum delivery rate. Proportioning accuracy of 0% and +0.05% should be specified, particularly when using 1% AFFF compound. Ensuring an immediate firefighting response at the helideck will require a readily available firewater supply at sufficient pressure to operate the monitors (e.g. a fire main with quiescent pressurisation). Storage Many installations and vessels have, in the past, specified central foam storage systems with either a pressurised bag tank or pumped supply system. The disadvantages of this type of system are: The helideck monitors rely entirely on a remote foam supply (some distance from helideck) The system will invariably suffer a time delay getting foam to the monitor nozzles Any contamination of foam concentrate in the central storage tank will render the helideck non-operational A one shot system should be avoided because the system cannot be operated without ruining the whole charge of concentrate. It also limits opportunities for taking foam samples for analysis. The advantages of a centralised system are: Less space required for equipment on the helideck monitor / access platforms Reduced foam storage tank system(s) maintenance.


Separate foam storage tanks located adjacent to each of the foam monitors are preferred because they offer: Quicker response times for foam production Any contamination of concentrate should be confined to one monitor. Thus if 3 monitors are installed and the helideck foam system is sized to provide coverage with any 2 monitors, the helideck remains operational Easier replenishment of foam tanks

Disadvantages of separate foam storage tanks are: More space required on helideck monitor / access platforms to house the equipment Additional equipment to maintain.

NOTE: A Certificate of Conformity should be available on the installation / vessel verifying the quality of the concentrate and foam mixture for the monitors and supplementary systems. The systems should be tested annually and finished foam samples should be analysed in a laboratory at regular intervals. Apart from the foam concentrate contained in the system(s) tankage there is a requirement to maintain on board, sufficient drum stock to re-charge the systems. The selection of an appropriate storage area for the back-up foam supply should take into account potential exposure to contaminants and to adverse weather conditions that may affect the product performance. Remote Operation Monitors should be capable of remote initiation if not manned during helicopter landings.


(Photograph courtesy of John Burt Associates Limited)

Figure 11.15 - Typical monitor control panel with properly identified operating valves for each monitor mounted externally

The controls, switches etc. for foam systems should be arranged in such a way that the foam supply starts automatically or can be initiated at the activation point for the monitors. With remote operation capability, the systems can be set up prior to use so as to avoid the necessity to operate each of the monitor valves independently before the system can be used. Remote activation is operationally advantageous where the number of helideck crew members are limited. Also, if the monitors are correctly set to douse the fire area, helideck crewmembers are potentially less exposed to the fire hazard.

11.5.7 Water / Foam Systems

The provision of a water / foam hosereel system, in addition to the monitors, provides greater operational flexibility when dealing with an aircraft fire or aviation fuel spillage.

Compact, self-contained, skid mounted units can be obtained which provide the designer with flexibility for locating the unit on the perimeter of larger helidecks, outwith the zones that have a height restriction.

(Photograph courtesy of John Burt Associates Limited)

Figure 11.16 - Typical helideck foam / water hosereel cabinet

These units are supplementary to the main system, and their output is significantly less than a monitor. The foam making capability (supply time) will be entirely dependent on the size of the storage tank and the foam fill. Normally, these units come fully equipped with a jet / fog nozzle and branchpipe and approximately 30 metres of 1 hose. It is essential to ensure there is sufficient hose length available to reach around the helideck easily. On very large helidecks hose length may need to be increased.

11.5.8 Hydrant Systems and Equipment

Hydrant systems, hoses, in-line foam inductors, foam branch pipes and nozzles are normally provided as supplements to the foam / water monitor system. NOTE: On helideck inspections it is sometimes found that there are insufficient hand hose lines to reach all parts of the helideck. For ease of use the hand lines should be approximately 1 diameter.


Hydrants and Hoses Hydrants with flaked hose lines are often specified as supplementary equipment to the fire monitors. Serious thought should be given to the practical use and application of this type of equipment if it is being considered for new build or modified helidecks. On older installations and vessels 2 diameter units were often specified. Nowadays, the designer should consider the operational benefits of using a 1 system. It should be noted that under normal operating conditions it takes two people to control a 2 hose which would give the greater discharge for directing the nozzle stream at a fire. The positioning and selection (e.g. straight or 45 angled couplings) of hydrant outlet types on helidecks (that are normally located on the monitor platforms) must take into account the available space and the lay and curvature of fire hoses when they are under pressure in a confined space. When hydrants are specified for use in conjunction with an in-line foam inductor (with standpipe inserted into foam drum stock) and a foam branch pipe, proper consideration should be given to the time and effort required to assemble the equipment and for it to be used effectively. Flaked Hoses, nozzles, etc., should be properly stored in easily accessible, weatherproof cabinets adjacent to the hydrants. Foam Inductors Foam inductors are used to proportion foam concentrate correctly into the fire water stream. They can be mounted in a fixed position on foam storage tanks supplying concentrate to monitors or hosereel systems. They can also be portable, for example when used with drum stock. NOTE: Whichever system is used it is vital that the settings are fixed to the correct concentrate percentage (e.g. 1, 3 or 6%) to avoid inadvertent adjustment that will inevitably degrade the quality of delivered foam.


(Photograph courtesy of Angus Fire)

Figure 11.17 Typical example of In-Line Foam Inductors (Note stand pipe for use with foam drum stock)

Foam Branch Pipes Foam branch pipes (low expansion) can be used in conjunction with both hydrant and hoses or hose reel systems. Their purpose is to generate aspirated foam to assist with good fire control. Branch pipes offer a flexible solution for gaining access to the seat of a helicopter fire where monitors may not be able to direct their foam streams effectively. Ideally, the branch pipes should be equipped with a shut off valve.

(Photograph courtesy of Angus Fire)

Figure 11.18 Typical examples of low expansion foam branch pipes (Note: these examples are not equipped with integral shut-off valves) 220

NOTE: During helideck inspections, this equipment is not always found available at the helideck. When they are located on site, they are often poorly maintained. Proper storage should be provided adjacent to the helideck. Nozzles A variety of jet / fog nozzles are available for firefighting duty. The primary consideration when specifying them for use offshore is their ease of use and durability.

(Photograph courtesy of Angus Fire)

Figure 11.19 Typical nozzle for water / foam jet or spray application

11.5.9 Complementary Media

A variety of minor fire incidents can be encountered during helicopter / helideck operations. These incidents may include: Engine fires Avionic bay fires Transmission and hydraulic area fires Minor fuel leaks / fires.

To deal readily with such incidents, suitable and sufficient extinguishants should be provided as noted in CAP 437. The media commonly used are dry powder and CO2.

221 Specification Complementary media are readily available in portable form either hand carried and / or trolley mounted. For the helideck, trolley mounted units provide the quantities specified in CAP 437. However, hand portable units can be more useful in some minor firefighting applications (e.g. within a helicopter). It should be noted that when specifying media for engine etc. bay fires, an extendable lance applicator should be included. However, it is essential to check that the design of the locking ring to extend the lance is both secure and easy to operate. This is to ensure that, when in use, failure or inadvertent operation of the lance extension is avoided. NOTE: During helideck inspections, it is commonly found that fire extinguishers are poorly located and their test dates have expired. Location One of the main problems with trolley mounted extinguishers on helidecks is finding good storage locations where the equipment does not infringe height restrictions, is both accessible and easily moved onto the helideck, and can be properly secured (particularly on moving helidecks).


Height of Perimeter Safety Net Trolley Mounted Fire Extinguisher

h not to exceed 250mm

Helideck Surface

Figure 11.20 Example of recessed platform for trolley mounted extinguisher

Recessed platforms can be built into the helideck perimeter at appropriate locations, coincident with the perimeter safety net. They should be capable of restraining the trolley when stowed but should not be too deep or too steep to

prevent easy manhandling of the trolley by one person. Platform width should be kept to the minimum required for the trolley(s) in order to reduce loss of the Perimeter Safety Net coverage.

11.5.10 Helideck Fire Detection

There is no stated requirement in CAP 437 for providing fixed fire detection on the helideck. The assumption is that during helicopter operations the HLO and helideck crew will be in the immediate vicinity of the helideck and they are responsible for ensuring an initial emergency response to fire and crash scenarios that may affect a helicopter. After the initial helideck crew response, back-up can be obtained from the installation / vessel fire and emergency teams, if required. From an offshore installation / vessel operations viewpoint, the management of all emergencies that have potential for jeopardising the safety of the installation / vessel, must immediately be identified and centrally co-ordinated. Therefore, providing helideck fire detection and surveillance arrangements would be consistent with normal installation / vessel emergency control philosophies. Consistent with normal installation and vessel fire detection and protection practices, the helideck should be designated a fire area and be assigned an area on the Central Fire Control Panel. Equipment Specification Strategically located Manual Call Points (MCPs) should be installed on the helideck. Normally, these will be located at each fire monitor / helideck access platform. Where an aviation refuelling facility is installed, MCPs should also be located strategically by the dispenser, pumping unit and bulk helifuel storage areas. The MCPs should be connected to annunciators on the Central Fire Control Panel. Helideck Surveillance Helideck surveillance both during helicopter operations and at other times is prudent installation or vessel management and can be achieved in a number of ways. Methods currently used are as follows and the option selected should be based on a practical assessment of the helideck location and the installation or vessels role, etc.


Visual monitoring from a permanently manned control point (CCR, Bridge or HLO Cabin) through a window overlooking the helideck. Closed Circuit Television panning the helideck with a monitor at a permanently manned control point. unattended installations. See also Section 8.2 for normally



Helicopter crash rescue equipment is a fundamental component of a properly prepared and certified offshore helideck, ready for operations. NOTE: During helideck inspections, it is often found that the crash rescue equipment is incomplete and in poor condition. Also, access and lighting at the storage locations is often poor.

11.6.1 Main References

CAP 437, Chapter 5.

11.6.2 Rescue Equipment Cabinets

The provision of at least one set of helicopter crash rescue equipment is required in order to support helideck firefighting and rescue activities. The equipment must be easily accessed by the helideck / fire crew, kept in complete and serviceable condition, and be ready for use in the vicinity of the helideck. On larger helidecks it may be considered appropriate to provide more than one set of crash rescue equipment. This case may arise if gaining quick access to a single set is difficult or, if it is likely that a single set of equipment could be compromised as a result of a helicopter crash. Location An ideal location for Crash Rescue Equipment on installations is on the monitor / access platforms providing there is sufficient space available and the cabinet or chest can be protected from a conflagration on the helideck. On vessels, location can be slightly more difficult and is dependent on helideck location (e.g. bow or stern mounted, elevated or at main deck level) and the


availability of suitable adjacent space. On foredeck-mounted helidecks, there may be space available behind the bridge wings. Alternatively, the cabinet / chest can be located in close proximity to the helideck on an adjacent access walkway or stairway platform. In this case it is imperative to consider the location very carefully so as to avoid hindering personnel escape from the helideck and causing problems for the helideck / fire crew in retrieving the equipment when needed. Placing the cabinet / chest where several stairs have to be negotiated is not acceptable. Wherever the Crash Rescue Equipment Cabinet(s) are located, the designer should ensure that the internals can be illuminated by some form of local lighting (e.g. by placing the cabinet adjacent to general walkway lights or vice versa). Equipment Specification Helicopter Rescue Equipment cabinets should be robustly constructed and suitably protected from the marine environment. Normally the cabinets are manufactured from high quality GRP (glass re-inforced plastic) supplied ready coloured in RED. The cabinet door / lid design should incorporate a storm proof seal, robust hinges and secure locking arrangements. Door / lid stays should be provided. Drainage / ventilation holes should be incorporated into the cabinet or an alternate means employed to prevent condensation. Inside the door / lid a suitable arrangement should be provided to hold the inventory checklist. Ideally, the internals of the cabinet should include hooks and clips to secure each individual piece of equipment and silhouettes to assist with easy location, keeping the equipment in good condition and for easy inventory checking. The choice of either a cabinet or chest will be dependent upon available space to meet the basic requirement for good, long-term equipment storage. A cabinet style arrangement is the preferred option because it provides easier access to the equipment.


(Photograph courtesy of John Burt Associates Limited)

Figure 11.21 Typical chest type crash rescue equipment storage

(Photograph courtesy of Bristol Uniforms Ltd)

Figure 11.22 Typical cabinet type crash rescue equipment storage


11.6.3 Rescue Equipment Inventory

CAP 437 lists the minimum emergency rescue equipment that is required to be located in the vicinity of the helideck. The largest helicopter for which the helideck is certified determines the scale of equipment. Equipment Specifications Historically, the provision of crash rescue equipment has often resulted in individual pieces (e.g. tools) being incorrectly selected and frequent replacement in the field due to poor quality. Should the designer be required to procure the crash rescue tools and equipment, consultation with the installation operator, MODU or vessel owner is strongly recommended in order to establish the preferred suppliers. Detailed specifications for this equipment can be found in the UKOOA Guidelines for the Management of Offshore Helideck Operations [Ref: 49].

11.6.4 Helideck / Firefighting Team Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE) Introduction The PPE for helideck crews is sometimes specified and procured by the Facilities Design Contractor or it may be sub-contracted to a helideck equipment supplier as part of the overall helideck miscellaneous equipment procurement. It is strongly recommended that prior to specifying any helideck crew PPE, contact is made with the installation, MODU or vessel operating company Safety or Aviation Department to establish whether they employ standard equipment throughout their operations and whether they use a preferred supplier. Regardless of who is responsible for specifying helideck crew PPE it is essential that the correct items be procured. Detailed specifications can be found in the UKOOA Guidelines for the Management of Offshore Helideck Operations [Ref: 49].




11.7.1 Introduction
The decision to include a refuelling system in the facilities design is purely an operational one. A decision should only be made after consultation with either the installation operating company aviation or logistics representative, helicopter operator or other specialist. There is no legal requirement to hold and dispense aviation fuel but if a system is provided it must be guaranteed to produce clean fuel.

11.7.2 Main References

When designing, maintaining and operating a helicopter refuelling system reference should be made to CAP 437, Chapter 7 Helicopter Fuelling Facilities.

11.7.3 Operational Considerations

Consideration to provide Jet-A1 refuelling facilities should be given where the distance from shore to an installation or vessel (with an operational helideck) exceeds 50 nautical miles. The potential uplift of aviation fuel during operations should be properly calculated and the results used to dictate minimum system sizing. Allowances should be made for unusable fuel, potential re-supply problems (e.g. weather delay), emergency reserves, etc. It should be noted that the CAA also imposes requirements on helicopter operators when planning offshore fuel diversions. Therefore, it is important to discuss nonprovision of refuelling facilities on an offshore installation or vessel with the installation operator, MODU or vessels owner and helicopter operator. If intending not to provide on-board refuelling on a fixed installation or floating structure, the following factors should be properly evaluated and mitigated: The ready availability of alternate refuelling options within a short distance of the installation or vessel The increased risks likely to be incurred when alternate offshore refuelling sites have to be used (i.e. risks associated with increased take offs and landings)

The increased cost of using alternate offshore refuelling sites. Potentially, these costs can be very high over the life of installation due to the additional flying time involved The potential for increased operating expense due to logistical delays.

11.7.4 General Design Considerations General The design and construction of an aviation refuelling system requires careful consideration to ensure that the equipment can be safely and efficiently operated and maintained. System components such as the storage tanks and skid mounted pumping, metering and dispenser units are generally designed, fabricated and supplied by specialist manufacturers. The connecting pipework and storage tank areas are usually the domain of a vessel builder / module fabricator. Aviation Fuel Storage Aviation fuel storage areas on offshore installations and vessels require considerable thought during their design. There may be one or more areas and they may contain fixed or transportable tanks or a combination of both. The number of tanks and their capacities will be dictated by the aviation fuel requirements calculated for the operation. Aviation fuel tankage should be located where potential fire risks do not imperil the installation / vessel. It is particularly important to note that the storage facility will require an adequate fire detection / protection system (all round deluge coverage is the preferred solution) and adequate containment and drainage systems. This system should be an integral part of the installation / vessel loss control specification. It is equally important that aviation fuel transportable storage tanks are located where they are easily accessible by the installation or vessel cranes to facilitate resupply. Also, the storage tanks should be in an area where they are free of dropped object risks from routine crane operations. Aviation Fuel transportable tanks should be located in a bunded area separated from other bulk liquid supplies. The bunded area should be sized to contain at least 110% times the volume of the largest sized transportation tank used.


Generally, these tanks are supplied with either 600 imp. gallon capacity.

gallon or 1000 imp.

(Photograph courtesy of John Burt Associates Limited)

Figure 11.23 Typical aviation fuel transportable tank in bunded area

To assist with locating the transportable tanks during loading or back loading, the bunded area should have a substantial purpose made steel frame around its perimeter to act as a guide and buffer system. This is particularly important on floating structures and vessels where restraining the tanks from movement due to vessel motions should be fully taken into account. A suitably specified, rigid pipe system will normally be installed for interconnecting fixed aviation fuel storage tanks to the pumping system (skid mounted). The supply to fixed aviation fuel storage from transportable tanks, or where no fixed tanks are used, will normally be achieved by using flexible hoses from each transportable tank coupled to a rigid piped gallery. It is imperative that the flexible hose, coupling and tank are all properly bonded. Aviation Fuel Pumping System The aviation fuel pumping system and ancillary equipment (normally skid mounted) should be designed and located to achieve good operating efficiency with easy access for routine maintenance.


(Photograph courtesy of John Burt Associates Limited)

Figure 11.24 Typical aviation fuel pump skid Aviation Fuel Dispenser The aviation fuel dispenser, ancillary equipment, supply system, stand-by and manual systems should be designed and located to achieve good operating efficiency.

(Photograph courtesy of John Burt Associates Limited)

Figure 11.25 Example of aviation fuel dispenser skid with low overall height


(Photograph courtesy of John Burt Associates Limited)

Figure 11.26 Example of aviation fuel dispenser with high overall height. Positioning adjacent to the helideck is critical to avoid infringing obstacle clearances

Locating the fuel dispenser skid on the helideck, adjacent to the safe landing area needs to be well thought out to ensure safe and easy access for refuelling operations, routine maintenance and annual strip down, inspection and recertification. The skid should have a steady red light mounted on the top and connected to the system to indicate when the system is in operation. The light should be visible from all areas of the helideck. Skid positioning on the helideck along with layout of the skid system components and any access panels should fully take into account routine and annual maintenance programmes (e.g. filter pack removal). Routine fuel system and fuel quality checks should be capable of being carried out simply and easily without risk of contamination (e.g. water / rain ingress). Miscellaneous Provisions Fuel Quality System design and quality control procedures should be stringently followed in order to ensure that fuel dispensed is fit for aviation purposes.

Materials of Construction Material selection is very important to ensure that system integrity and aviation fuel cleanliness is always maintained. For this reason stainless steel piping and components are used throughout. Aircraft Bonding Cable and Reel The dispenser must be equipped with a securely mounted, retractable bonding cable (hand, pneumatic or electric powered) with a substantial insulated crocodile clip and quick disconnect plug incorporated into the cable at the aircraft end (in the event that the helicopter departs with the bonding cable still attached). See Figure 11.27. Refuelling Couplings Pressure and open line fuel delivery nozzles should be provided. System Colour Coding and Identification Markings Jet-A1 fuel system components should be correctly marked with the appropriate vessel and piping product identification codes. Additionally, appropriate Hazchem labels should be sited at fuel storage and dispenser locations. See Figure 11.28 and 11.29.

(Photograph courtesy of John Burt Associates Limited)

Figure 11.27 Interior of Dispenser showing securely mounted, hand retractable bonding cable (quick disconnect plug arrowed) and pressure refuelling coupling fitted 233

(Photograph courtesy of John Burt Associates Limited)

Figure 11.28 Typical aviation fuel identification markings used on pipework with flow arrow incorporated

(Photograph courtesy of John Burt Associates Limited)

Figure 11.29 Typical aviation fuel identification markings used on major components. Note also specification plate and inspection labels




11.8.1 Introduction
Communications equipment is a key part of helicopter operations in an offshore environment. In the UK, there are specific radio and navigation equipment requirements for supporting offshore helideck operations. Meteorological data (See Section 11.9) is also an essential part of the information communicated to flight crews during offshore helicopter operations. The procedures and practical mechanisms for helicopter communications should be considered in conjunction with the equipment arrangements provided for aeronautical communications. During a design and construction project aeronautical communications equipment will often be specified as part of a total package for the installation or vessel. It is therefore important for helideck designers dealing with the aeronautical communications requirement to liase with project and / or company communication specialists. This should ensure that efficient and approved system coverage is obtained. Guidance and approval for all items of air-band radio equipment, etc. should be obtained from the Air Traffic Safety Standards Department (ATSSD) of the CAA at Gatwick. It should also be noted that all aeronautical frequencies (NDB and R/T) are subject to international protocols and are controlled in the UK solely by ATSSD. Applications to CAA ATSSD will be required for using the specified equipment and for frequency allocations. This procedure requires completion and submission of official forms to CAA ATSSD and the process takes a considerable time to conclude. This time period should be built into the project programme. The designated radio callsign must be the same as the helideck and installation / vessel identification markings. Callsign approval is also required.

11.8.2 Main References

CAP 437, Chapter 6.


11.8.3. Location of Equipment and Aerials Equipment Location Locations for the aeronautical communications and weather information control equipment can vary considerably depending on the designated command and control points of an installation or vessel. This may include locating the aeronautical communications in a purpose made radio room or helideck control cabin, the Central Control Room (CCR), on the Bridge of a vessel or in an area adjacent to heli-admin, etc. Wherever it is decided to locate the aeronautical communications, they should ideally be grouped together in an ergonomic manner. This will allow the Radio Operator / HLO to effectively make contact with helicopter flight crews during flight to pass relevant information during helideck operations and to record routine communications (in the radio log). Background noise can seriously affect good radio communications, so providing a low noise area should be the objective. Meteorological information is a key item during communications with offshore helicopter flight crews, therefore the communications equipment and weather station instrument indicators are best sited adjacent to each other, where practicable. The use of a PC based system (e.g. Weather Windows) for recording and displaying the full range of meteorological measurements in a single package should be seriously considered, in order to provide good operating efficiency. On floating structures and vessels it is important to include the motion recording equipment (whether PC based or analogue instrument system) into the basic design considerations for aeronautical communications. Similar to meteorological information, vessel motions are part of routine communications with flight crews and the information should be readily available at the aeronautical communications control point. Aerials and Sensors The siting of all types of communication aerials (usually whip aerials) is often a source of problems for helicopter operations (e.g. causing infringements in obstruction free areas). The NDB aerial is often a loop type and is strung around the perimeter structure of the helideck (See Section 9.11 for more details).


Finding suitable aerial locations for good equipment performance and access for maintenance can be difficult and areas around the helideck perimeter are often chosen as a matter of convenience, particularly where there is no purpose built radio tower on installations and floating structures. Vessels pose less of a problem because often there is a suitable platform on the bridge top. It is imperative that helideck designers in conjunction with communications specialists plan the siting of aerials to ensure that they do not adversely impact helideck operations. Equally, remote sensors for meteorological instruments should not be sited where they may adversely impact helideck operations. Also, the environment around an offshore helideck during helicopter movements can seriously affect the operation and accuracy of remote sensors (anemometers in particular) as a result of the rotor downwash, so this should be fully taken into account.

11.8.4 Aeronautical VHF Radio

Two main VHF aeronautical radio sets are required on installations and vessels operating in the Central and Northern North Sea. Elsewhere on the UKCS a single main set may be acceptable. The purpose of installing two VHF sets for the Central and Northern North Sea is to separate air and logistics communications flow onto separate frequencies, thus reducing interference and overloading the air traffic channel. In the event of failure of either unit, the remaining set can be used for both purposes by switching frequencies. Where only one main VHF set is required to meet the area requirements, it is prudent to consider installing a second, standby aeronautical VHF set. Failure of a single main unit can seriously limit helicopter operations. The aeronautical band VHF radios should preferably have synthesised frequency control. All VHF sets must be ATSSD approved. See Section 11.9.11 for power supply specification.


11.8.5 Marine VHF Radio

All ships must carry a marine VHF installation (see SOLAS chapter IV). The purpose of providing a marine band radio is to provide communications between vessels at sea (e.g. Standby Vessel) and for helideck crews to communicate with crane operators in order to control their operation during helicopter movements around the installation or vessel and whilst helicopters are on the helideck. The HLO and appropriate helideck crewmembers should have the means to communicate readily with crane operators and standby vessel crews, preferably using a headset. See Sections and for information about locating the equipment and aerials.

11.8.6 Helideck Crew Portable VHF Sets

Portable VHF radios that can operate on aeronautical and marine band frequencies should be provided in sufficient numbers for the HLO and members of the helideck crew. Operation of the radios should ideally be hands free; therefore a headset system is the preferred option. During helideck operations the HLOs set will be used for both transmitting and receiving messages to flights crews, helideck crewmembers and the radio operator. To reduce unnecessary r/t traffic, the helideck crew sets should be used for receive only unless it is necessary for a helideck crewmember to transmit a message whilst acting in a safety capacity. The HLO and helideck crew portable VHF radios, spare batteries and the charging equipment should be kept in a safe storage area in heli-admin or the helideck control cabin (if provided).

11.8.7 NDB Equipment

The Non-Directional Beacon is a basic navigation aid used on the UKCS by offshore helicopters. The HLO (or Radio Operator) switches on the equipment when requested to do so by the helicopter flight crew. This will probably be during an approach to the installation or vessel.


There may be a number of installations in an area with the NDBs operating on the same frequency, therefore switching arrangements and their location should be kept simple and easy to operate, to avoid spurious use. Application for frequency allocation and equipment approval is required from ATSSD. See Sections and for information about locating the equipment and aerials. NOTE: During helideck inspections the use of single frequency NDB sets tuned to 410kHz has been noted. These are unacceptable to the ATSSD.

11.8.8 Public Address and Alarm Systems

An effective system of loudspeakers and telephones should be provided to ensure good communications in the helideck environs. The arrangements should comply with the requirements of PFEER Regulation 11. Helideck public address and alarm systems are generally an extension of the platform or vessel general alarm and PA systems. The exception to this is the Status Light system specifically installed on helidecks to warn helicopter flight crews that it is unsafe to use the helideck. Details of the helideck Status Light system are given in Section 11.3.8. Equipment Specification The helideck PA and alarm system equipment is normally confined to extending the systems of platform PA speakers and telephone handsets to the helideck to ensure that adequate coverage is provided for raising alarms and for hearing platform alarm signals. Platform alarm beacons / lights may also be installed to comply with the need for visual signals in high noise areas. However, this should no longer be necessary where the helideck is equipped with Status Lights. The PA speakers are normally located on the access monitor platforms and on larger helidecks, additional speakers may be required in other locations (e.g. on access walkways) to achieve good coverage. It may not always be considered appropriate to locate PA telephone handsets on the monitor / access platforms. Instead it may be preferable to locate them at


access points to the helideck (e.g. base of stairways) to provide better general coverage and to place them in a less noisy environment.

11.8.9 Video Briefing System

Facilities for providing pre-flight briefings to helicopter passengers should be provided in the flight departure area or another suitable location. The screen should be located and positioned such that it can be easily viewed and the sound system should be adequate to ensure that the instructions given can be seen and heard by all persons in the briefing / departure area. The equipment usually comprises a simple monitor screen and a remotely located (e.g. in HLO office) VCR or DVD type player. Equipment Specification The established installation operator or vessel owner will probably have a contract in place with an approved video briefing service provider to generally provide the playback equipment and briefing media that meets the legal requirements of the contracted helicopter operator(s). The media may be video laser disc (DVD) or videotape. Helideck designers should establish with the installation operator or vessel owner which briefing system and equipment should be provided. Where the installation operator or vessel owner has a number of established facilities / vessels and uses a particular helicopter operator and helicopter types to support his operation, this will dictate the media and equipment to be specified.



11.9.1 Introduction
Flight crews involved in all types of aviation activity are heavily dependent upon comprehensive and accurate meteorological information to properly plan their flights and to maintain a high level of flight safety, whilst on the ground and in the air. Offshore helicopter operations are equally as dependent, if not more so, on acquiring good meteorological information. It is because of the hostile environments that offshore helicopters encounter at sea and the remote locations of the landing sites; accurate information is required for the onshore departure

airfield, for the general navigation area and at the offshore installation or vessel destination. Historically, probably with the exception of those facilities equipped with automatic weather stations or staffed by meteorological specialists, offshore weather reports from installations and vessels have generally been of poor quality, often grossly inaccurate. Therefore, properly calibrated instrumentation to enable accurate meteorological and flight information to be given to helicopter flight crews is an essential feature of helideck systems design for offshore operations. NOTE: During offshore helideck inspections it is often found that meteorological instrument calibration certificates (e.g. anemometers and barometers) are unavailable or out of date. It is essential the initial calibration documents be passed to the Operators Maintenance Department to establish a suitable record keeping process during operations. A copy of these records should also be available on the installation or vessel.

11.9.2 Main References

CAP 437, Chapter 6.

11.9.3 Equipment Requirements

A windsock, airspeed indicator, air temperature probe, and barometric pressure instrumentation are the minimum equipment requirements for providing flight crews with essential offshore meteorological information. Suitable equipment should be provided and the sensor / read out locations optimised to provide an accurate means for ascertaining: Windspeed and direction (at the general location and over the helideck) Air temperature (ambient air temperature and at the helideck location) Barometric pressure (ambient pressure and at the helideck elevation).

In addition to these basic meteorological parameters flight crews also require accurate measurements of:


Visibility, and Cloud base.

Observation and estimation can be used to obtain visibility and cloudbase readings, however the results are often poor. Ideally, specialised equipment should be provided as part of a total aeronautical meteorological measurement, recording and data transmission package. See also Sections and for information about locating the meteorological equipment and sensors.

11.9.4 Wind Velocity and Direction Measuring Equipment

Obtaining the wind velocity and direction for the general area around the installation or vessel and over the helideck is achieved by installing windsock(s) and anemometer(s). Essentially, windsock(s) give flight crews an instantaneous visual clue of the immediate wind environment during approach, landing, shut down, start-up and take-off. Anemometers provide an accurate means for the HLO (or Radio Operator) to transmit wind velocity and direction to the flight crews prior to departure and at any stage during the flight. Windsock(s) At least one, preferably two windsocks should be installed on all installations and vessels. The windsock(s) should be of suitable size and located in optimum location(s) to ensure they can operate efficiently and do not provide spurious wind speed and direction indications. Location One windsock should be located in free air at a high point on the installation / vessel where it can operate in windflows unaffected by the structure of the facility and is easily visible to approaching helicopters. Another windsock should be located in the vicinity of the helideck, without infringing the obstruction free area, to provide an indication of local windflows at the landing site.


(Photograph courtesy of BP plc)

Figure 11.30 Windsock in highly visible location on NUI (only one windsock required in this case)

Equipment Specification Purpose built equipment should be specified that incorporates: A folding mast (to assist with maintenance of the swivel assembly, sock and lighting) A swivel assembly (designed for long life and low maintenance) A windsock (say, 2 metres long x 600mm diameter - coloured international orange) A lighting system (to illuminate the sock either internally or externally).

Windsock lighting systems are discussed in more detail in Section 11.3.7. Where integral lighting systems are employed it is imperative that the specification takes into proper account the rating and security of any electrical slip ring arrangements. See Figure 11.31 for the mechanical components of a typical windsock arrangement.


Swivel Head Assembly

Approx. 2 metres

Sock Support Ring Sock Restraint Cage / Cables

Sock Envelope (Approx. 600 mm Diameter)

Support Mast with Folding Arrangement (Overall Height determined by location) NOT TO SCALE

Figure 11.31 Typical windsock mechanical assembly (lighting omitted for clarity) Anemometers At least one fixed anemometer should be installed on all installations and vessels. In addition, a hand held anemometer should be provided to allow the HLO to acquire actual helideck deck wind velocity readings, when required. The instrument should be located at a convenient control point adjacent to the helideck. Sensor Location A fixed anemometer should be provided and located in free air at a high point on the installation or vessel where it can operate in windflows unaffected by the structure of the facility. Locating anemometers on DP (Dynamically Positioned) vessels is a particularly important exercise because the outputs are often linked to the DP system. It is vital to pick sensor locations that ensure an accurate readout of the wind conditions over the vessel but at the same time the sensors do not pick up helicopter downwash, etc. that may spuriously affect vessel heading control. Indicator Location The wind speed indicator should be located at a suitable control point where the HLO and / or Radio Operator can easily obtain readings to transmit to the flight crews (See Sections


(Photograph courtesy of John Burt Associates Limited)

Figure 11.32 An example of a good folding mast system with a poorly installed windsock (windsock too small and restraint cables too long)

11.9.5 Air Temperature Measuring Equipment

Ambient air temperatures taken at least 10 metres above sea level and the air temperature immediately over the helideck are required by the HLO to pass operational information to flight crews. The ambient air temperature is required for flight crews to compute aircraft payload, etc. Any significant temperature variation (from ambient) over the helideck (e.g. resulting from exhaust plumes) should be recorded and the information passed to the flight crews by the HLO. Either digital or analogue readout systems are acceptable. To be effective, the sensors and temperature indicator should provide a rapid response to temperature changes.

245 Sensor Locations Locations selected for the sensors should take full account of the operating conditions likely to be experienced on the installation or vessel with respect to obtaining accurate and steady readings. In particular the sensor for obtaining ambient air temperature should be sited where it is unaffected by transient operating conditions. Indicator Location The temperature indicator(s) should be located at a suitable control point where the HLO and / or Radio Operator can easily obtain readings to transmit to the flight crews (See Sections

11.9.6 Barometric Pressure Measuring Equipment

Barometric Pressure is used to provide information to flight crews for them to accurately establish their correct altitude relative to the fixed elevation height of the helideck at the destination installation or vessel. It is imperative that the information (QNH is essential, QFE is optional), when given to the flight crews, is both accurate and current. Sensor Location Where the equipment has a remote sensor then its location at helideck level (as near as practical to the helideck height) will follow the same principles used for locating other meteorological equipment in respect of security from damage and maintenance. The instrument is sensing ambient air pressure so a remote sensor is unlikely to be adversely affected by ambient conditions around the helideck environs. Where the equipment is an integrated unit located in the radio room or helideck control cabin, care must be taken to ensure that the air conditioning / ventilation system does not pressurise the location to a value different from the ambient air pressure. Indicator Location The barometric pressure indicator(s) should be located at a suitable control point where the HLO and / or Radio Operator can easily obtain readings to transmit to the flight crews (See Sections

246 Equipment Specification A twin altimeter kit (the preferred option) or a precision aneroid barometer should be specified. Initial calibration should be done at the manufacturers facility and a check calibration carried out following installation at site. Thereafter, the instruments should be calibrated every twelve months.

11.9.7 Visibility Measuring Equipment

Visibility information is a key meteorological parameter in all types of aviation for good flight planning and safe flight management. The Aviation Companys Operations Manual sets the operating minima for public transport operations that comply with aviation regulations. For helicopters operating to offshore installations and vessels, particularly in hostile environments such as the North Sea, the final approach to the helideck is flown under visual rules. Therefore, it is crucial for flight crews to receive accurate visibility information at the destination installation or vessel. For many years, visibility information that has been passed to flight crews by personnel (who generally have limited meteorological training and competence) is based on observation and estimation. Sensor Location The equipment sensor should be located on the installation or vessel according to the manufacturers instructions (normally somewhere around the helideck environs with unobscured outboard views for the range finder). The equipment should ideally be set-up and calibrated by a competent specialist familiar with the type of equipment procured. Indicator Location The visibility indicator should be located at a suitable control point where the HLO and / or Radio Operator can easily obtain readings to transmit to the flight crews (See Sections


11.9.8 Cloudbase Measuring Equipment

Similar to visibility measurement (See Section 11.9.7), accurate cloudbase measurements are required by flight crews for the same operational reasons. This information is in addition to the observations of cloud formations and types that are a fundamental part of meteorological forecasting in an offshore environment. Sensor Location The equipment sensor should be located on the installation or vessel according to the manufacturers instructions (normally somewhere around the helideck environs with an unobscured overhead view for the range finder). The equipment should ideally be set-up and calibrated by a competent specialist familiar with the type of equipment procured. Indicator Location The cloudbase indicator should be located at a suitable control point where the HLO and / or Radio Operator can easily obtain readings to transmit to the flight crews (See Sections

11.9.9 Vessel Motion Measuring Equipment

CAP 437 requires all floating structures and vessels equipped with helidecks and operating on the UKCS to provide fully operational and serviceable equipment for measuring helideck motions. To comply with current requirements, floating offshore installations and vessels with helidecks should be provided with equipment for ascertaining the vessel roll, pitch, heave, yaw and heading. Ideally the system that is provided should be automatic and should read and record the actual motion at the centre of the helideck surface (in real time), forecasted (10 minutes look ahead) and log the historical data electronically (recorded at 10 minute and 1 hour intervals). NOTE: In the relatively near future CAP 437 will recommend the provision of MOTION SEVERITY INDEX (MSI) in addition to vessel roll, pitch and heave for a helicopter to land and remain safely on the helideck. Although the MSI algorithms could be implemented in existing motion sensing systems on vessels, it is likely that it will be provided by dedicated motion sensing equipment. This will normally comprise an accelerometer package which, ideally, is mounted under the centre of the helideck and a remote PC-based processing and display package.


The single number MSI produced by processing a 10 minute moving window of helideck motion data. This number is reported to the helicopter flight crew who will compare it with the limit of operability for their aircraft. The limits will vary with wind speed, and a wind speed input to the motion sensing system may also be required in connection with determining deck handling procedures. Designers are advised that either new vessels or vessels undergoing re-fit that are currently in design or under construction for operations in the UKCS should automatically be specified and equipped with helideck motion sensing equipment that is at least capable of being modified to produce the MSI. See also Section 10 Location Sensors normally located beneath the helideck at the centre of the safe landing area are used to provide motion information at a control point where it is processed to give readout on a PC. Equipment Specification The equipment should be capable of recording the maximum pitch, roll and heave prior to a helicopter landing (recorded at 1 hour and 10 minute intervals) and the measurement of heave should accurately reflect the motion being experienced at the helideck. Alternatively, where a vessel is already equipped with a motion sensor as part of the basic vessel specification (e.g. dynamically positioned vessels) algorithms can be developed (to give a correction for the centre of the safe landing area) which can provide the same motion information.

11.9.10 Automatic Meteorological Instrument Station

The provision of an on line, fully automated and integrated meteorological instrument package should be seriously considered for offshore installations, particularly on floating installations During operations, if a helicopter operator is able to obtain on line, full and accurate weather data combined with vessel motions, etc. for an installation or


vessel, this can greatly assist with more accurate flight planning and establishing payloads. It should also reduce the opportunity for expensive overfly flights where landings have to be aborted on arrival at the installation due to the pilot encountering excessive helideck movements that are outside the limits prescribed in his company Operations Manual, thus preventing the execution of a safe landing.

11.9.11 Communications and Weather Equipment Power Supplies

Power supplies for the helicopter communications and weather equipment should be taken from the emergency switchboard, supported by an un-interruptible power source (UPS), where practicable.


11.10.1 General
Where the helideck designer is required to specify miscellaneous helideck equipment, reference should be made to CAP 437 to establish the minimum requirements. Also, the UKOOA Guidelines for the Management of Offshore Helideck Operations [Ref: 49] provides details of the equipment, appropriate specifications and locations. The installation operator, MODU or vessel owner should also be consulted because often they may wish to specify scales of miscellaneous equipment required specifically for their operations. The equipment provided (where appropriate) will generally include the following items: Aircraft Chocks Tie-down Strops / Ropes Scales for Baggage and Freight Weighing Freight Loader Helicopter Start Facility First Aid Equipment Helicopter Ground Handling Equipment Landing Prohibited Marker De-Icing Equipment.


All helideck miscellaneous equipment with electrical power sources should be specified in accordance with the installation hazardous area classification.

11.10.2 Helicopter and Helideck Washdown and Cleaning Equipment

A readily available supply of fresh water should be available at the helideck in order to washdown helicopters if they are doused with foam or seawater as a result of an inadvertent fire monitor discharge. Helideck wash down is a routine activity carried out in order to maintain the helideck in a clean and serviceable condition. This activity is particularly important: When aviation fuel is spilt onto the helideck surface during helicopter refuelling When guano accumulations need to be removed, particularly on Normally Unattended Installations (NUIs).

An adequate supply of seawater should be provided at sufficient pressure to effectively clean the helideck surface and any surrounding equipment. In the case of removing guano accumulations this may require the addition of a high pressure pumping system in order to be totally effective. Equipment Specification Either a fixed mains water supply (manned installations and vessels) or a portable pump and transportable tanks (for NUIs) can be provided.


11.11.1 Introduction
Bird / guano infestation problems are routinely encountered on installations in some areas on the UKCS, in particular when the installations are normally unattended. The effects of bird / guano infestation on the safety of offshore helicopter operations, personnel health and the additional maintenance costs incurred, cannot be ignored. A measure of the importance attached by helicopter operators to properly managing the problems caused by bird / guano infestation (e.g. obscured helideck markings causing wrong deck landings, cancelled or aborted sorties, bird strikes or

near misses, etc.) is the helideck monitoring and reporting co-ordinated by BHAB Helidecks. If a helideck fails to meet an acceptable level of cleanliness then landing restrictions will be applied by BHAB Helidecks, thus limiting helideck availability. The levels of operational acceptance of helideck guano infestations by BHAB Helidecks are shown in Figure 11.33. Any reporting above level 7 will incur flight restrictions. A significant part of the work to combat a bird / guano infestation problem will be handled during operations by employing a management system to monitor helideck condition and by building routine helideck cleaning into the maintenance programme. During a helideck design project, it should be established whether the potential for bird / guano infestations exist. If there is likely to be a problem then provision should be made for the installation of bird exclusion devices along with efficient helideck cleaning / wash down systems. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Clean Small isolated bird droppings Noticeable, but not operationally significant bird droppings Markings beginning to be degraded Obvious bird usage Noticeable degradation of markings Bird usage causing operational problems Substantial degradation of markings No night operations Totally obscured - Daylight cleaning operations ONLY

Figure 11.33 - Levels of operational acceptance of bird guano infestations by BHAB Helidecks

It should be noted that individual bird exclusion devices are reported to have only low to moderate success on most installations. Combined systems have been more successful.


11.11.2 Main References

1. Operations Notice No: 39 - Guidance on identification of offshore installations, Issued by HSE OSD December 1997. [Ref: 26]. Bird Guano Infestations and Their Effect On Offshore Helicopter Operations [Ref: 31]. A Review of Wrong Deck Landings, Status Lamps and Signalling Devices (HSE Task No: B\0015) - Issued by BOMEL Consortium June 1999. [Ref: 32].



11.11.3 Design Considerations

Installing specialised equipment onto NUIs is generally a requirement to combat the problem of sea birds on helidecks. When the equipment is fitted it also needs to be maintained. There are three classes of mitigation systems that can be used for dealing with the bird problem - proofing, scaring and control. Control (culling) is not a realistic option in the offshore environment and would also be publicly unacceptable. Proofing is used but this is generally limited to fitting bird spikes on the perimeter lighting. The offshore industry has generally accepted bird scaring as the principal means of dealing with the problem. Audio bird scaring systems are the most commonly employed devices and these reproduce bird distress and predator calls through loudspeaker systems, controlled by microprocessor to randomise various characteristics of the sound. Such an arrangement produces a constantly changing audible hostile environment which, although disliked by the birds, is harmless to them. The effect of bird decoys static models of predators - is very short-lived. However, where they can be installed, water-spray systems have been found effective but require constant surveillance and system activation from a remote location to control the problem. Current methods have only partially solved the bird / guano problem offshore therefore, the search for new and innovative methods of exclusion should continue.



11.12.1 Introduction
A proliferation of random, irrelevant or ill conceived safety signs and posters on and around the helideck and in heli-admin will serve little purpose. A complete lack of good signs and posters is equally as bad. Getting the balance right should be the primary aim. NOTE: On helideck inspections safety and emergency notices are generally found to be missing, inadequate or damaged. Essentially there are two objectives for having helideck signs and posters. They are: To clearly inform embarking passengers of the potential dangers and to give specific instructions during helideck operations To provide safety and general instructions to all personnel, including the helideck crew.

11.12.2 Main References

CAP 437, Chapter 6.

11.12.3 Specifying Safety Signs

When specifying signs and posters for use in the helideck environs it is imperative that: 1. 2. The instruction or advice is briefly, clearly and unambiguously stated The signs follow EC shape, symbol and colour conventions for prohibition, warning or advice, where appropriate Signs are properly constructed in robust materials and fixed to robust frames and secured to suitable hard points Signs are placed clearly in the normal line of sight of embarking and disembarking passengers and other operational personnel taking into account the normal routes taken to and from the helideck from heli-admin.




11.12.4 General Helideck Signs

General helideck signs should include: 1. 2. 3. No unauthorised entry (Prohibition) Tail Rotor hazards (Warning) Anti Collision Light (Advice).

These signs are best grouped together and positioned on robust frames at all the entry points to the helideck. See Figure 11.34. Preferably they should be located at the foot of the stairways or landings leading to the helideck surface. If possible, the signs should be located in a relatively unexposed position to avoid potential mechanical or wind damage.

(Photo courtesy of John Burt Associates Limited)

Figure 11.34 Example of helideck safety signs securely mounted on a robust frame


11.12.5 Heli-Admin Signs and Posters

Helicopter operators generally provide the signs and posters to be displayed in heli-admin directly to the Installation operator, MODU or vessel owner. Further information on this topic can be found in the UKOOA Guidelines for the Management of Offshore Helideck Operations [Ref: 49].




1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. Contributors References List of Abbreviations Bell 214 ST Design Information EH Industries EH 101 Design Information Eurocopter EC155 - Design Information (Incomplete) Eurocopter EC255 Design Information (Incomplete) Eurocopter AS332 L/L1 Design Information Eurocopter AS332l2 Design Information Eurocopter AS365n Design Information Sikorsky S61N Design Information Sikorsky S76 Design Information Sikorsky S92 - Design Information




HSE and the Author wish to express their thanks to the following for their individual contributions during the preparation of these guidelines.
Dr. Shane Amaratunga Dave Andrew John Bartovsky Ruth Bemment Duncan Bliss Ian Bonnon John Burt Dave Casson Mike Crabb Ian Evans Peter Garland Dr. Paul Gallagher Willie Hacking Erik Hamremoen John Hopson Dave Howson Davie Hunter Dr. Rob Johnson Derek Martin Bob Miles John Monaghan Dr. Wim Morris Graham Morrison Capt. Steve O'Collard Kevin Payne Bill Quinn Tony Read Des Richard CBE Brian Robertson Steve Rowe Roy Singer Dr. Bob Standing Capt. Tony Steel Capt. Brian Teeder Capt. Adrian Thomas Martin Wheeler Jim Williams BMT Fluid Mechanics Limited Bristow Helicopters Limited / BHAB Helidecks Westland Helicopters Ltd. BOMEL Limited PGS Geophysical / IAGC BOMEL Limited John Burt Associates Limited Shell Aircraft BHAB Helidecks Stena Drilling / IADC & BROA CHC Scotia Helicopters / BHAB Helidecks W S Atkins BHP Billington / UKOOA Statoil AS Civil Aviation Authority (Retired) Civil Aviation Authority Shell Exploration & Production / UKOOA BMT Fluid Mechanics Limited Atkins Consulting HSE BHAB Helidecks BOMEL Limited HSE CHC Scotia Helicopters / BHAB Civil Aviation Authority HSE Intl Assoc. of Marine Contractors (Retired) BHP Billington / OGP Technip Coflexip / IMCA BMT Fluid Mechanics Limited Wood Group BMT Fluid Mechanics Limited Civil Aviation Authority Shell Aircraft Limited / UKOOA Bristow Helicopters Limited / BHAB Helidecks BP Sikorsky Aircraft Corp





Throughout these guidelines references are made to Regulations, Codes of Practice and relevant official papers and reports. Where specific references are applicable to a particular topic these are given at the end of the relevant paragraph for quick reference. At the time these guidelines were published the following list of publications were current. It is strongly recommended when making reference to any of these documents that the most up to date revision is obtained and used.

1. 2. 3. Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974. The Civil Aviation Act 1982 Merchant Shipping Act 1995 ch. 21. HASAWA

Statutory Instruments
4. Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (Application Outside Great Britain) Order 1995 (SI 1995/263) Offshore Installations (Safety Case) Regulations 1992 (SI 1992/2885) Offshore Installations and Pipeline Works (Management and Administration) Regulations 1995 (SI 1995/738) Offshore Installations (Prevention of Fire and Explosion, and Emergency Response) Regulations 1995 (SI 1995/743) Offshore Installations and Wells (Design and Construction, etc.) Regulations 1996 (SI 1996/913) The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992 SCR











10. 11. 12.

(SI 1992/2051) Noise at Work Regulations 1989 (SI 1989/1790) Air Navigation Order 2000 ANO

Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations DSEAR 2002 (SI 2002/2776)


13. A guide to the Offshore Installations (Safety Case) Regulations 1992. A guide to the installation verification and miscellaneous aspects of amendments by the Offshore Installations and Wells (Design and Construction, etc.) Regulations 1996 to the Offshore Installations (Safety Case) Regulations 1992. A guide to the Offshore Installations and Pipeline Works (Management and Administration) Regulations 1995. Prevention of fire and explosion, and emergency response on offshore installations. Approved code of practice and guidance. Manual Handling. Guidance on regulations. A Guide to the Integrity, Workplace Environment and Miscellaneous Aspects of the Offshore Installations and Wells (Design and Construction, etc.) Regulations 1996. Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Approved Code of Practice and Guidance L30







17. 18.

L23 L85




20. How offshore helicopter travel is regulated. IND(G) 219L, 4/96



21. Mobile installations and vessels: movement of helidecks. Revised and reissued January 2002. Falling ice from installation structures - potential hazards. Revised and reissued January 2002. Offshore Helideck Design and Operability. Issued September 1999. No: 1/94


No: 5/96


No: 4/99


24. 25. Marking of Offshore Installations. Reissued January 2002. Status of technical guidance on design, construction and certification. Reissued January 2002. Guidance on identification of offshore installations. Reissued January 2002. Offshore Helidecks - Advice to Industry. Issued December 1999. No: 14 No: 27


No: 39

27. 28.

No: 47

Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations No. 58 2002 A short guide for the offshore industry. Issued January 2003. The Equipment and Protective Systems Intended for Use in No. 59 Potentially Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 1996 A short guide for the offshore industry. Issued January 2003. A Guide to the Equipment and Protective Systems intended for No. 63 Use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 1996. Issued December 2003.




31. Bird Guano Infestations and their Effect on Offshore Helicopter Operations OTO 00:131



A Review of Wrong Deck Landings Status Lights and Signalling Lamps A Study into Onshore and Offshore Based Rescue and Recovery (OBRR) Helicopters HSE / CAA Inspection Project Offshore Helidecks 1991-1995 Helicopter Offshore Safety Helideck Structural Requirements

OTO 00:067


OTO 01:039

34. 35. 36.

OTO 98:088 OTO 00:089 OTO 01:072


37. 38. 39. 40. Air Navigation The Order and The Regulations Aircraft Refuelling: Fire Prevention and Safety Measures. Aviation Fuel at Aerodromes Offshore Helicopter Landing Areas: A Guide to Criteria, Recommended Minimum Standards and Best Practice, 3rd Edition October 1998. Research on Offshore Helideck Environmental Issues. August 2000. Friction Characteristics of Helidecks on Offshore Fixed-Manned Installations Motion Limits and Procedures for Landing Helicopters on Moving Helidecks A questionnaire survey of workload and safety hazards associated with North Sea and Irish Sea helicopter operations. June 1997. Offshore Platform Identification Signs CAP 393 CAP 74 CAP 434 CAP 437


CAA Paper No: 99004 CAA Paper No: 98002 CAA Paper No: 94004 CAA Paper No: 97009





CAA Paper No: 92006



Specification for an Offshore Helideck Status Light System

CAA Paper No: 98003 CAA Letter 17/11/2003 CAA Letter 31/12/2003


Helideck Lighting Interim Guidance


Status Light Interim Guidance


United Kingdom Offshore Operators Association (UKOOA)
49. Guidelines for the Management of Offshore Helideck Operations Guidance for Offshore Personnel Handling or Using Tote Chemical / Fuel Transportation Tanks Guidelines for Management of Safety-Critical Elements Guidelines for Fire and Explosion Hazard Management Issue 4, 2003.


Issue 1, 1996

51. 52.

Issue 1, 1996 Issue 1, 1995

International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)

53. 54. 55. Annex 14 Volume II and Heliport Manual Heliport Design Manual Performance Level 'B' Standard - Firefighting Foam Specification. Doc. 9261

British Standards
56. 57. 58. Structural Design Code Weldable Structural Steel for Fixed Offshore Structures Structural Design Wind Loads BS 5950 BS 7191 BS 6399 Part 1



Classification of Hazardous Areas.

BS5345 Part 2

European Standards
60. European Research Community on Flow, Turbulence and v1.0 Combustion (ERTOFAC) Best Practice Guidelines Jan 2000 Special Interest Group on Quality and Trust in Industrial CFD v1.0 (ERTOFAC) Best Practice Guidelines Jan 2002


International Standards (ISO)

62. Design Guidance for Offshore Structures: Topsides Structures 19901-3

American Standards
63. American Petroleum Institute Recommended Practice for API RP 2L Planning, Designing and Constructing Heliports for Fixed Platforms.

Norwegian Standards
64. 65. DNV Design of Offshore Structures Norwegian Maritime Directorate: Wind Tunnel Test Procedure, Regulations for Mobile Drilling Platforms, 1999

Miscellaneous Papers
66. DERA - Research Paper into Helideck Lighting (Maycroft, Annette, Smith, Flight Management and Control Department) Helicopter Operations to Moving Helidecks: RAeS Conference Proceedings, London, March 2001 (P Gallagher) BMT Fluid Mechanics Ltd. - Helideck Design Considerations 43251/00 Environmental Effects, February 2003 Helicopter Limitation List BHAB Helidecks





International Maritime Organisation (IMO)

70. 71. Mobile Offshore Drilling Units Code Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS)

Lloyds Register of Shipping

72. Rules for the Design, Construction and Classification of Floating Production Systems




Air Accident Investigation Branch Association of British Certification Bodies Approved Code of Practice All Engines Operative Aqueous Film Forming Foam As Low As Reasonably Practicable Above Mean Sea Level Air Navigation Order Air Operators Certificate American Petroleum Institute Air Traffic Safety Standards Department British Helicopter Advisory Board British Helicopter Advisory Board (Helideck Sub-committee) British Rig Owners Association British Standards Civil Aviation Authority Civil Aviation Publication Capital Expenditure Central Control Room Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations Overall length of Helicopter (See also CAP 437 definition) Design and Construction Regulations Defence Evaluation Research Agency (now QinetiQ) Deck Integrated Fire Fighting System Det Norsk Veritas Norwegian Classification Society Diving Support Vessel Evacuation, Escape and Rescue Analysis Electroluminescent Lighting Panels Floating Production System Floating Production, Storage and Offtake Floating Production Unit Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 Helicopter Liaison Group (OIAC) Helideck Limitation List (previously known as IVLL) Helicopter Landing Officer Helicopter Operational Monitoring Programme Helicopter Offshore Route Guide Health and Safety Executive Health, Usuage Monitoring System



International Association of Drilling Contractors International Association of Geophysical Contractors Indicated Airspeed International Air Transport Association International Civil Aviation Organisation Independent Competent Person International Marine Contractors Association International Maritime Organisation Ingress Protection International Standards Organisation Installations and Vessels Limitation List (superseded by HLL) Landing Decision Point Lower Flammable Limit Limited Obstacle Sector Management and Administration Regulations Maximum All Up Weight Maritime & Coastguard Agency Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit Manufacturing, Service and Finance Union Motion Severity Index Maximum Take Off Weight Non Directional Beacon Nautical Mile Norwegian Maritime Directorate Normally Unattended Installation Outside Air Temperature Offshore based Rescue and Recovery Offshore Contractors Association One Engine Inoperative International Association of Oil & Gas Producers Offshore Helideck Inspection Report Offshore Industry Advisory Committee Offshore Installation Manager Operations Notice (HSE) Operating Expense Offshore Petroleum Industry Training Organisation (Now COGENT) Offshore Safety Division of the HSE Hazardous Industries Directorate Prevention of Fire and Explosion and Emergency Response Regulations Emergency Response Regulations Passive Infra-Red



Point of Origin Persons on Board Personal Protection Equipment Indication of height above a set datum (e.g. and airfield or helideck) Indication of altitude above mean sea level Response Amplitude Operator Rescue and Firefighting Rescue and Fire Fighting Facilities root mean square Receive / Transmit Safety Critical Element Safety Case Regulations Safe Landing Area Safety Notice (HSE) Safety Regulation Group (of CAA) Semi Submersible Crane Vessel Take-Off Decision Point Transport & General Workers Union United Kingdom Continental Shelf United Kingdom Offshore Operators Association Un-interruptable Power Source Very High Frequency Aircraft Performance Curve (Weight, Altitude, Temperature)





GENERAL DESIGN DATA (See Reference 49 for Additional Operational Data)
Overall Length (= D) Max. All Up Weight 0.83D Obstacle Limit Dimension 0.62D Obstacle Limit Dimension 0.12D Inner Obstacle Limitation 0.21D Outer Obstacle Limitation Minimum Foam Application Rate (where D equals SLA) RFF Category Landing Net Size Passenger Access Refuelling Method Refuelling Point Locations H1 / H2 Medium, 12m x 12m Sliding Main Cabin Door Both Sides Gravity only Single point to rear of Starboard Cabin Door Jet A-1 2840 lbs (2271 ltrs) Tricycle 18.95 metres 7936 kg (t = 8.0) = 15.73 m = 11.75 m = 2.27 m @ Height 948 mm = 3.98 m @ Height 948 to 2938 mm 1552 ltrs per min

Fuel Type Max. Fuel Load (Standard Tanks) Undercarriage


Nosewheels: Contact Area (each): 123 cm Loading: 22 %



Mainwheels: Contact Area (each): 290 cm Loading: 78 %





(Aircraft data supplied courtesy of Westland Helicopters Limited - See Reference 49 for Additional Operational Data) GENERAL DESIGN DATA
Overall Length (= D) Max. All Up Weight 0.83D Obstacle Limit Dimension 0.62D Obstacle Limit Dimension 0.12D Inner Obstacle Limitation 0.21D Outer Obstacle Limitation Minimum Foam Application Rate (where D equals SLA) RFF Category Landing Net Size Passenger Access 22.8 metres 14600 kg (t = 15) = 18.93 m = 14.14 m = 2.74 m @ Height 1140 mm = 4.79 m @ Height 1140 to 3534 mm 2246 ltrs per min

H1 / H2 Large, 15m x 15m Starboard Sliding Main Cabin Door and Port Forward crew Door Gravity and Pressure 4 Gravity Fill Points on Starboard Side Pressure Fill Point on Port Side

Refuelling Method Refuelling Point Locations

Fuel Type Max. Fuel Load (Standard Tanks) Undercarriage

Jet A-1 3360 kg (with 4 tanks) Tricycle


Nosewheels (at max fwd C of G): Static Load on u/c Gear: 44944 N Static Contact Area per Tyre: 178.0 cm Dynamic Load on u/c Gear: 73041 N Dynamic Contact Area per tyre: 241.2 cm



4.3 m

Mainwheels (at max aft C of G): Static Load per u/c Gear: 57045 N Static Contact Area per Tyre: 337.9 cm Dynamic Load per u/c Gear: 73943 N Dynamic Contact Area per tyre: 410.3 cm



Note: Values are given for the twin main wheel option at touchdown vertical velocity limit of 2.0 m/s - some variants may be equipped with single main wheels.

GENERAL ARRANGEMENT (Courtesy of Westland Helicopters Limited)



GENERAL DESIGN DATA (See Reference 49 for Additional Operational Data)
Overall Length (= D) Max. All Up Weight 0.83D Obstacle Limit Dimension 0.62D Obstacle Limit Dimension 0.12D Inner Obstacle Limitation 0.21D Outer Obstacle Limitation Minimum Foam Application Rate = (where D equals SLA) RFF Category Landing Net Size Passenger Access Refuelling Method Refuelling Point Locations Fuel Type Max. Fuel Load (Standard Tanks) Undercarriage H1 / H2 Small, 6m x 6m Sliding doors on both sides Gravity Filling point on port side. Jet A-1 1257 ltrs (332 US galls) Tricycle 883 ltrs per min = = = = = = 14.30 m 4800 kg (t = 4.8) 11.87 m 8.87 m 1.72 m @ Height 715 mm 3.00 m @ Height 715 to 2216 mm


Nosewheels: Contact Area (each): ? cm Loading: ? %

3.91 m

Mainwheels: Contact Area (each): ? cm Loading: ? %


1.90 m




GENERAL DESIGN DATA (See Reference 49 for Additional Operational Data)
Overall Length (= D) Max. All Up Weight 0.83D Obstacle Limit Dimension 0.62D Obstacle Limit Dimension 0.12D Inner Obstacle Limitation 0.21D Outer Obstacle Limitation Minimum Foam Application Rate (where D equals SLA) RFF Category Landing Net Size Passenger Access Refuelling Method Refuelling Point Locations H1 / H2 Medium, 12m x 12m Sliding doors on both sides Pressure and Gravity Gravity filling point at each side. Pressure connection on starboard side. Jet A-1 2020 ltrs (535 US galls) Tricycle = = = = = = 19.50 m 10400 kg (t = 10.4) 16.18 m 12.09 m 2.34 m @ Height 975 mm 4.09 m @ Height 975 to 3022 mm

= 1643 ltrs per min

Fuel Type Max. Fuel Load (Standard Tanks) Undercarriage


Nosewheels: Contact Area (each): ? cm Loading: ? %

5.25 m

3.00 m

Mainwheels: Contact Area (each): ? cm Loading: ? %





GENERAL DESIGN DATA (See Reference 49 for Additional Operational Data)
Overall Length (= D) Max. All Up Weight 0.83D Obstacle Limit Dimension 0.62D Obstacle Limit Dimension 0.12D Inner Obstacle Limitation 0.21D Outer Obstacle Limitation Minimum Foam Application Rate (where D equals SLA) RFF Category Landing Net Size Passenger Access Refuelling Method Refuelling Point Locations 18.7 metres 8599 kg (t = 8.6) = 15.52 m = 11.59 m = 2.24 m @ Height 935 mm = 3.93 m @ Height 935 to 2898 mm 1511 ltrs per min

H1 / H2 Medium, 12m x 12m Sliding Main Cabin Door Both Sides Pressure and Gravity 2 Gravity Fill Points on Starboard Side Pressure Fill Point on Starboard Side

Fuel Type Max. Fuel Load (Standard Tanks) Undercarriage

Jet A-1 4180 lbs (2406 ltrs) Tricycle


Nosewheels: Contact Area (each): 290 cm Loading: 35.5 %



Mainwheels: Contact Area (each): 452 cm Loading: 64.5 %





GENERAL DESIGN DATA (See Reference 49 for Additional Operational Data)
Overall Length (= D) Max. All Up Weight 0.83D Obstacle Limit Dimension 0.62D Obstacle Limit Dimension 0.12D Inner Obstacle Limitation 0.21D Outer Obstacle Limitation Minimum Foam Application Rate (where D equals SLA) RFF Category Landing Net Size Passenger Access Refuelling Method Refuelling Point Locations H1 / H2 Medium, 12m x 12m Sliding Main Cabin Door Both Sides Pressure and Gravity 2 Gravity Fill Points on Starboard Side Pressure Fill Point on Starboard Side Fuel Type Max. Fuel Load (Standard Tanks) Undercarriage Jet A-1 4180 lbs (2406 ltrs) Tricycle 19.5 metres 9300 kg (t = 9.3) = 16.19 m = 12.09 m = 2.34 m @ Height 975 mm = 4.09 m @ Height 975 to 3022 mm 1643 ltrs per min


Nosewheels: Contact Area (each): 290 cm Loading: %



Mainwheels: Contact Area (each): 452 cm Loading: %





GENERAL DESIGN DATA (See Reference 49 for Additional Operational Data)
Overall Length (= D) Max. All Up Weight 0.83D Obstacle Limit Dimension 0.62D Obstacle Limit Dimension 0.12D Inner Obstacle Limitation 0.21D Outer Obstacle Limitation Minimum Foam Application Rate (where D equals SLA) RFF Category Landing Net Size Passenger Access Refuelling Method Refuelling Point Locations Fuel Type Max. Fuel Load (Standard Tanks) Undercarriage 13.68 metres 4250 kg (t = 4.3) = 16.19 m = 12.09 m = 2.34 m @ Height 975 mm = 4.09 m @ Height 975 to 3022 mm 808 ltrs per min

H1 / H2 Small, 6m x 6m Cabin Door Both Sides Gravity only Port side to rear of Cabin Doors Jet A-1 3184 lbs Tricycle


Nosewheels: Contact Area (each): 123 cm Loading: 22 %



Mainwheels: Contact Area (each): 213 cm Loading: 78 %





GENERAL DESIGN DATA (See Reference 49 for Additional Operational Data)
Overall Length (= D) Max. All Up Weight 0.83D Obstacle Limit Dimension 0.62D Obstacle Limit Dimension 0.12D Inner Obstacle Limitation 0.21D Outer Obstacle Limitation Minimum Foam Application Rate (where D equals SLA) RFF Category Landing Net Size Passenger Access Refuelling Method Refuelling Point Locations Fuel Type Max. Fuel Load (Standard Tanks) Undercarriage H1 / H2 Large, 15m x 15m Starboard Side Front and Rear Doors Pressure and Gravity Starboard side adjacent to Sponson Jet A-1 4350 lbs (2475 ltrs) Tailwheel 22.2 metres 9298 kg (t = 9.3) = 18.43 m = 13.76 m = 2.66 m @ Height 1100 mm = 4.66 m @ Height 1100 to 3431 mm 2129 ltrs per min


Mainwheels: Contact Area (each): 374 cm Loading: 85 %


Tailwheel: Contact Area: 277 cm Loading: 15 %






GENERAL DESIGN DATA (See Reference 49 for Additional Operational Data)
Overall Length (= D) Max. All Up Weight 0.83D Obstacle Limit Dimension 0.62D Obstacle Limit Dimension 0.12D Inner Obstacle Limitation 0.21D Outer Obstacle Limitation Minimum Foam Application Rate (where D equals SLA) RFF Category Landing Net Size Passenger Access Refuelling Method Refuelling Point Locations Fuel Type Max. Fuel Load (Standard Tanks) Undercarriage H1 / H2 Medium, 12m x 12m Central Cabin Door on Both Sides Gravity only Both sides to rear of Cabin Doors Jet A-1 1850 lbs (839 kg) Tricycle 16 metres 5307 kg (t = 5.3) = 13.28 m = 9.92 m = 1.92 m @ Height 800 mm = 3.36 m @ Height 800 to 2480 mm 1106 ltrs per min


Nosewheel: Contact Area: 115 cm Loading: 25 %

2.44m 5.0m

Mainwheels: Contact Area (each): 107 cm Loading: 75 %





(Aircraft data supplied courtesy of Sikorsky Helicopters - Please note that helidecks designed to facilitate S92 operations should use the higher MAUW to accommodate planned future growth. All other dimensions remain the same) GENERAL DESIGN DATA
Overall Length (= D) Max. All Up Weight (current certified) Max. All Up Weight (planned growth) 0.83D Obstacle Limit Dimension 0.62D Obstacle Limit Dimension 0.12D Inner Obstacle Limitation 0.21D Outer Obstacle Limitation Minimum Foam Application Rate (where D equals SLA) RFF Category Landing Net Size Passenger Access Refuelling Method Refuelling Point Locations = = = = = = = = 20.88 m 11859 kg (t = 11.9) 12837 kg (t = 12.8) 17.33 m 12.95 m 2.51 m @ Height 1044 mm 4.39 m @ Height 1044 to 3236 mm 1883 ltrs per min

H1 / H2 Large, 15m x 15m Starboard Side at Front Pressure and Gravity Gravity filling point at each sponson. Pressure connection on port sponson. Jet A-1 2877 ltrs (760 US galls) Tricycle

Fuel Type Max. Fuel Load (Standard Tanks) Undercarriage


Nosewheels (at max fwd C of G): Static Load per u/c Gear: 4592 kg Static Contact Area per Tyre: 265.0 cm Dynamic Load per u/c Gear: 5970kg Dynamic Contact Area per tyre: 323.3 cm Mainwheels (at max aft C of G): Static Load per u/c Gear: 4453 kg 6.20 m Static Contact Area per Tyre: 258.0 cm Dynamic Load per u/c Gear: 5788 kg Dynamic Contact Area per tyre: 316.7 cm

3.18 m


GENERAL ARRANGEMENT (Courtesy of Sikorsky Aircraft)