Helicopter grounded for inspection at offshore platform

Ashley Fitzpatrick
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Aircraft that brought technician to FPSO returns to St. John’s with passengers

A Cougar helicopter was kept at the Terra Nova offshore production vessel to await technical inspection after an indicator light came on inside the aircraft Wednesday. — Telegram file photo

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.


Organizations: Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board, Terra Nova FPSO

Geographic location: Terra Nova

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Recent comments

  • dan
    March 23, 2012 - 11:46

    at least they didn't cover it with a peice of black electrical tape like my dad does to his VCR to block out the blinking clock light because he doesn't know how to program it..

  • William Daniels
    March 22, 2012 - 18:28

    So if the warning light had gone off they would have flown in with passengers? When are we going to get an independent regulator? It is sorrily needed. If only our government hadn't sold us all down the river for a loan guarantee.