OK Tough Guy! Think You Have What It Takes To Get Off An Offshore Turbine By Helicopter?
There are a great many things most people never actually think about. In fact there are more things we don’t know, or don’t want to know, than we actually do!
For example, when was the last time you wondered why Kim Kardashian advocated using her sister Kourtney’s breast milk to cure psoriasis? Or what about why we use the word ‘apartments’, when they are actually not ‘apart’, but all together in the same building? How do the guys who need to replace the ‘Keep Off The Grass’ signs, actually get to do their job without breaking the rule they are trying to enforce? And finally, when was the last time you thought about the rather amazing fact that the UK has more tornadoes per square mile of its territory than the United States!
For most people, one of the ‘never thought about it’ things that is right up there in this list is: ’How does a wind engineer/technician remove themselves, plus their kit, from an offshore wind turbine when the sea has become too choppy to use a sea vessel?
And then, once you think about the answer, you finally understand why these guys are made of slightly tougher stuff than the rest of us. They either sit and wait out the storm in the middle of a blustery sea or, far more likely, they jump on a helicopter.
This simple, but mesmerising, film by Siemens employee Samuel Hawkins shows the real world, almost everyday, process of getting off a wind turbine by helicopter on a windy November when the wind speeds varied between 15 and 20 metres per second, equivalent to 33 to 45 miles per hour.
The job takes pilots and winch operators with steady nerve, engineers and technicians with proper safety training, and a whole lot of balls.
HUET….for many, as awful to complete as it’s abbreviation sounds
Just to be in the position to wait on top of a wind turbine in a rough sea as though it was a bus stop you will already have had to do a whole lot of training, which, in this case, includes Tower Rescue Up and Helicopter Hoist Operator Training, plus the dreaded HUET. Which for many, is as awful to complete as it’s abbreviation sounds. For those unfamiliar with HUET, it stands for Helicopter Underwater Evacuation Training, which to undertake, will see you launched underwater in a capsule until you know how to safely get out of a downed and submerged helicopter in rough seas before drowning.
So, as wind power moves further out to sea and into other wilds of the Earth, we now see an industry that will ultimately be doing more dangerous tasks in more perilous environments than ever before. And don’t it look cool just how mundanely we seem to overcome these challenges!