Emergencies happen no matter how much effort we invest into controlling risk. This is why planning strategies for the worst-case scenarios is important and practicing how we need to respond is vital for survival.
Rotor winged aircraft are a versatile tool and essential for many industries in New Zealand, but this versatility also has the helicopter as “aircraft of choice” when it come to the more difficult tasks. This has crews engaged in such activities as filling monsoon buckets, traveling to remote locations over water, winching from water and vessels etc.
Research of on-water helicopter emergencies has shown that occupants who survive the initial impact will likely have to make an in-water or underwater escape, as helicopters usually rapidly roll inverted post-impact. The research has also shown that drowning is the primary cause of death following a helicopter accident into water, so training and practicing escape technique becomes vital in any on water helicopter emergency. Helicopter Underwater Escape Training (HUET) is recognized globally as an essential skill for all people traveling by helicopter as part of their job, so it is exciting to see the major players in New Zealand’s Helicopter Industry very enthusiastic about HUET now being delivered to NZQA Unit Standard.
Remember, the worst emergency is the emergency we are not prepared for, so be safe out there.