Sunday, September 07, 2008

Kelly Asks Questions About Offshore Helicopters

Kelly wrote, Okay... time for some possibly "dumb" questions. Do you always use the same helicopter during your 14 days on? If so, I assume there is someone else who uses it the other two weeks.

Kelly, those aren't dumb questions at all. In fact, I'm the dumb one for not explaining more of the basics of my job.

Many of our pilots are "on a contract." They're employed by PHI, but they fly for one particular oil company, and usually in the same aircraft. Pilots normally have an "opposite" who is on hitch while he or she is on break, flying the same helicopter. Others are in the "pool;" they roam around to where they're needed, replacing pilots on sick leave or vacation, or doing ad hoc flights. The pilots on a contract usually fly the same aircraft, whereas the pool pilots may fly a few different aircraft in one hitch.

I'm on a contract now, but I volunteered to stay past my normal hitch for the evacuation(s) and remobilization(s), so for this week, I'm in the pilot pool. I've flown three different aircraft since Friday, but they've all been S-76's like the one in the photo on the previous blog piece.

Is there always at least one person per helicopter at the base in order to get them all moved to safe ground after all the people have been evacuated?

There will normally be at least one pilot per aircraft at a base. Anything holding ten passengers or more must, by regulation, be crewed by two pilots when carrying passengers for hire. However, those aircraft can be flown by only one pilot when not operating for hire, such as during an evacuation of a Gulf Coast base, maintenance check flights, or ferry flights from one base to another.

Thanks for the questions, Kelly. I feel important!

I think we're all sitting on pins and needles waiting to see where Ike's headed!

You can say that again.


Pam said...

Well, I for one, certainly learned something new I didn't know! Glad Kel asked and you responded!!

Yes, Ike looks like a really nasty dude!

Stay safe!!

Kelly said...

Thanks for answering my questions!

Donna said...

Thanks Kelly for asking, and Hal for answering! Now I know!

Ike was scaring us a few days ago, but then he moved south.

He's big. Be safe. Keep us posted.

Debby said...

Jees. And now we have Josephine to watch! Stay safe. And keep on posting. It's interesting to follow the stories from your vantage point.