Helicopter Landing Officer (HLO) Practical Module

Personnel who lack the experience or require additional or refresher practical training will be required to complete a separate module - the "HLO Practical Module.”

The HLO online ‘Practical Course Module’ is an effective method of fulfilling the OPITO practical requirement and is centred around the following Emergency Response Desktop Planning Procedure (ERP) process compiled by the Flight Safety Group which outlines in detail all aspects of the scope, planning and execution of an Emergency Desktop exercise.

Offshore vessels have differing ways in which they structure the order of command during emergency procedures, and which crew members are allocated to the various positions. For example, the Incident Commander may be the OIM, or Captain and the Emergency Commander may be the Safety Manager.

However, the common factor to all vessels is the appointed Emergency Team, consisting of the Emergency Team Leader (usually the HLO) and the Emergency Team Members (usually the HDA’s, including fire fighters). The Emergency Team will be responsible for the front-line operations during all emergencies.

The HLO online ‘Practical Course Module’ in accordance with the above is then set up as follows:

The online internet accessed Practical Course module is completed online in the same manner as, the Helideck Emergency Response Team Leader (HERTL) course.

The background methodology and associated material is provided covering each of the Emergency Response exercises listed above - each of these exercises is completed as a desktop exercise online by each candidate.

Once these exercises have been checked by the trainer, a Skype or Zoom meeting will be arranged between the trainer and the candidate, to discuss and provide an assessment of the outcome.

If the assessment identifies any areas of weakness this will be covered with the online assessment training as required.

The final component of the practical training is that a formal offshore Emergency Exercise must be carried out and documented by the Duty Holder and this will conclude the assessment process.

The value of this training process is that the practical exercises are carried out on the vessel applicable to the HLO or HDA and not in an onshore generic training facility that lacks similarity to the actual offshore environment.

In addition to the above a supplementary practical on-deck, under supervision element is required for personnel who have had no helicopter operational experience. This will involve a minimum of four helicopter landing and take-off events under the supervision of an experienced HLO.

This hands-on practical element is critical as it involves operations on the Helideck in question and is not just limited to an on-shore mockup that is irrelevant to the required operation.

To ensure compliance all of the following emergency response possibilities are covered:

  • Crash on the helideck: Low Impact Crash (fire) or with the potential for fire
  • Crash on the helideck: Low Impact Crash (no fire)
  • High Impact Crash
  • Emergency Landing (with no forewarning)
  • Emergency or Precautionary Landing (with forewarning)
  • Wrong Deck Landing
  • Wheels-up Landing
  • Evacuation by helicopter
  • Man overboard
  • Fuel or oil spill during refuelling
  • Rescue from overturned helicopter
  • Helicopter ditching in rescue range of the facility or vessel
  • Helicopter ditching beyond local rescue range, overdue aircraft, and loss of contact with an aircraft
  • Engine fire during start-up
  • Fire in helicopter cabin
  • Obstructed or damaged helideck
  • Medevac


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