NZ Investigators comment on over-water flying

NZ Investigators comment on over-water flying

26-Mar-2013 Source:

Technically not “safety recommendations” but the latter part of the investigation report into the accident of Bell LongRanger ZK-ISF in January 2011 pulls no punches on what helicopter pilots should consider when flying over water. The pilot was not wearing a life jacket, and was in the water over two hours before being rescued.

The TAIC (Transport Accident Investigation Commission) gave the following “key lessons”

* pilots should have a flight-following arrangement or submit a flight plan for every flight to ensure that a search is started without delay should the flight become overdue
* the occupants of single-engine aircraft operating at low level over water should wear, not just carry, life jackets when they plan to fly beyond gliding range of a suitable landing place
* when a forced landing appears likely, pilots should activate the emergency locator transmitter as soon as possible and make an emergency radio call
* helicopter pilots who frequently operate over water should undertake helicopter underwater escape training.

The data page for this accident is at 20-Jan-11 ZK-ISF Bell 206L3 Bream Bay, New Zealand

File photo

Jeremy Parkin –

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