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Leif Morten Ramberg, Director Sales & Marketing Energy at Jotron asks: "Should airport safety requirements also apply to offshore air traffic operations?"

A growing number of global authorities and offshore operators are realising the safety advantages of recording air traffic operations in the offshore market.

Read Mr. Ramberg's article in Offshore Europe 2015 Official Event Catalogue

Brazil starts the ball rolling

Effective as of 2015, recording of both audio and CCTV for offshore air traffic control operations under the new regulations (CINDACTA II & NORMAN 27) are mandatory in Brazil. More than 250 offshore installations operating in the Brazilian territory must install recorder solutions that meet International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) requirements for storage and traceability. These are the beginning of new global requirements which other geographical areas will follow. Installations in the North Sea, Asia and Africa will be required to comply with new safety recording requirements in the near future.

Jotron has supplied ICAO approved audio recorder systems to offshore operators for many years. Due to the new Brazilian regulations, we have experienced a growing interest in offshore air traffic control solutions. Offshore installation operators and vessel owners are typically more aware of safety and control operations, both in the air and on the platform. Earlier this year, Jotron launched SMART-OIL system. This new system adds the recording of CCTV operations to the existing solution for audio recording.

Audio and CCTV recording

Audio is radio communication between a helicopter, platform or vessel. Recording and replaying of audio is the most important element in an investigation. By tapping existing CCTV cameras using a video encoder, replay cameras and audio data through the same replay client, recreation of a chosen time period is easy and virtually instant.

Do not compromise safety

Offshore installation operators and vessel owners play a major role in ensuring offshore helicopter flight safety. The harsh operating environment and some serious incidents have strengthened the focus on the challenges of operating helicopters in a marine environment. New offshore constructions has increased focus on control of all operations. Audio and CCTV camera recordings between helicopters, platforms and vessels are crucial to maximising safety and avoiding accidents.

In some locations, air traffic recorders are already deployed at platforms where offshore recording is not yet required. Several of the platforms in the North Sea, for example Lundin’s Edvard Grieg, has installed a recording and fully integrated VHF/AM and FM communication system.

Recreating the total scenario

User friendly technology is key for a system designed for a small onshore and offshore air traffic control operation. Often, to simplify and cost-effectively operate such a system, the controller must be responsible for installing, operating, replaying and analysing recorded data effectively. Instant synchronous replay access, integrated replay and data management of the system is crucial. The total scenario must be available by the press of a few buttons, when reconstruction of an incident is imperative. For safety reasons, recorded data can be stored and made accessible online for 6-12 months. A benefit of recorded data is it can be used for quality improvement and training purposes.

When tracking and recreating an incident, synchronous replay of audio and CCTV channels is vital in an investigation. The operator will hear and see the exact scenario at any given time. An in-depth analysis of the situation is crucial for identifying the cause of an incident and to ensure improvements are implemented to avoid a similar incident in the future.

Link til Offshore Europe Official Event Catalogue