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Section 2.  Special Operations 



1.  Offshore Helicopter Operations 

a.  Introduction 

The offshore environment offers unique applications 
and challenges for helicopter pilots. The mission 
demands, the nature of oil and gas exploration and 
production facilities, and the flight environment 
(weather, terrain, obstacles, traffic), demand special 
practices, techniques and procedures not found in 
other flight operations. Several industry 
organizations have risen to the task of reducing 
risks in offshore operations, including the Heli-
copter Safety Advisory Conference (HSAC) 

), and the Offshore Committee 

of the Helicopter Association International (HAI) 

). The following recommended 

practices for offshore helicopter operations are based 
on guidance developed by HSAC for use in the Gulf 
of Mexico, and provided here with their permission. 
While not regulatory, these recommended practices 
provide aviation and oil and gas industry operators 
with useful information in developing procedures to 
avoid certain hazards of offshore helicopter opera-



Like all aviation practices, these recommended practices 
are under constant review. In addition to normal 
procedures for comments, suggested changes, or correc-
tions to the AIM (contained in the Preface), any questions 
or feedback concerning these recommended procedures 
may also be directed to the HSAC through the feedback 
feature of the HSAC website (



b.  Passenger Management on and about 

Heliport Facilities 

1.  Background. 

Several incidents involving 

offshore helicopter passengers have highlighted the 
potential for incidents and accidents on and about the 
heliport area. The following practices will minimize 
risks to passengers and others involved in heliport 

2.  Recommended Practices 


Heliport facilities should have a desig-

nated and posted passenger waiting area which is 
clear of the heliport, heliport access points, and 


Arriving passengers and cargo should be 

unloaded and cleared from the heliport and access 
route prior to loading departing passengers and cargo. 


Where a flight crew consists of more than 

one pilot, one crewmember should supervise the 
unloading/loading process from outside the aircraft. 


Where practical, a designated facility 

employee should assist with loading/unloading, etc. 

c.  Crane

Helicopter Operational Procedures 

1.  Background. 

Historical experience has 

shown that catastrophic consequences can occur 
when industry safe practices for crane/helicopter 
operations are not observed. The following recom-
mended practices are designed to minimize risks 
during crane and helicopter operations. 

2.  Recommended Practices 

(a)  Personnel awareness 


Crane operators and pilots should 

develop a mutual understanding and respect of the 
others’ operational limitations and cooperate in the 
spirit of safety; 


Pilots need to be aware that crane 

operators sometimes cannot release the load to cradle 
the crane boom, such as when attached to wire line 
lubricators or supporting diving bells; and 


Crane operators need to be aware that 

helicopters require warm up before takeoff, a 

minute cool down before shutdown, and cannot 

circle for extended lengths of time because of fuel 


It is recommended that when helicopters 

are approaching,  maneuvering, taking off, or running 
on the heliport, cranes be shutdown and the operator 
leave the cab. Cranes not in use must have their 
booms cradled, if feasible. If in use, the crane’s 
boom(s) are to be pointed away from the heliport and 
the crane shutdown for helicopter operations. 


Pilots will not approach, land on, takeoff, 

or have rotor blades turning on heliports of structures 
not complying with the above practice. 

Special Operations