Would it be right though?
That’s the pressing question. That’s the question that begs to be asked – and should be asked – repeatedly by the media, the oil companies, and the helicopter operators.
Waiting for the findings of air crash investigations just shouldn’t matter anymore. There have been far too many incidences over the past decade or so to endear the offshore populace to the contraption.
Forget cost savings, forget the number of bums on seats, forget justifications based upon fairness of competition and comparisons between the safety records of differing types of chopper.
The truth, and I’ve flown on many Super Puma flights, is that sitting in one of them for a ninety minute flight out to a North Sea platform is a rollercoaster of emotions that takes on many facets:
Worry over the reliability of the craft, fear over one’s ability to escape from the thing should the worst happen, disdain at the oil companies persisting with a chopper that the workers on the whole do not want to fly in, and relief that you made it to the rig or back to land without ‘brace, brace, brace,’ being ordered by the pilots.
You can feel it with pretty much every news article that leaks snippets of information on the probability of a return to service for the Super Puma. You just know that there’s a gentle but persistent push from some entity to usher it back into the offshore fold. You know it’s imminent.
And when it comes, as happened before, oil companies and oil service companies will pretend to offer a choice.
Let us know, they’ll say, if you really don’t want to fly in them. Let us know and we’ll attempt to accommodate an alternative.
But offshore workers know the reality of that. They know the undertones to statements such as those. They know the end game.
“Get on the chopper son, or sling yer hook.”
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