A Cougar Helicopters technician was given a special flight out to the Terra Nova offshore oil production vessel Wednesday afternoon to check a helicopter that had been grounded on the ship’s helideck.
The aircraft was held on the vessel, and kept from flying back to shore because of an illuminated onboard indicator light.
The helicopter successfully landed on the production vessel Wednesday morning. It was the only destination for the flight. However, while on approach, the indicator light — an “input module chip light” — was activated.
“On deck the crew discussed the matter with Cougar's maintenance control centre,” stated an incident bulletin from the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board, issued the same morning.
“It was decided to shut the aircraft down and complete a restart. After restarting the light was still illuminated.”
Responding to questions, a spokeswoman for Cougar confirmed a company technician had been flown to the oil platform, operated by Suncor, by a second helicopter.
The vessel, about 350 kilometres off the coast, has one helideck.
However, “there is a parking area where an airframe can be safely parked and secured, allowing for a second airframe to land safely on the helideck,” Cougar explained.
The helicopter that transported Cougar’s technician then returned to St. John’s with passengers, according to the company spokeswoman.
Turn-arounds and machinery checks due to indicator lights have been reported before by the company. An incident in April 2011 involved the restart of a helicopter at the Terra Nova FPSO.
That flight, while raising some concern among workers, returned without incident following a diagnostic check.