Helideck Certification

Chris Wood, Operations Manager at Safeguard Helideck Certification (SHC) discusses the importance of thorough safety assessments and the correct certifications for helidecks

One helideck or two?
There is competition at the top end of the market with owners wanting to have the best and the biggest superyacht. This is forcing yacht designers to come up with fresh and innovative ideas in response. Naval Architects are working up concepts that see every bit of spare space on a yacht utilised and there is a trend at the top end of the market for superyachts to have two commercially certified Helicopter Landing Areas. The safety implications for this are considerable as the possibility of concurrent flying operations from the same vessel throws up numerous hazards that need to be carefully addressed.

From our experience of working with some of the world’s largest superyachts we can see more demand for duel flying capabilities going forward and this raises some interesting questions. Will there be a requirement to have an Air Traffic Control type function onboard when utilising the helidecks for concurrent helicopter operations? And how long will it be before we see a Tilt Rotor Aircraft onboard? Among other important topics, these are all things that will no doubt be a topic of conversation for future working groups and we look forward to being a part of those discussions.

The requirement for an AIB
SHC is an accredited Aviation Inspection Body (AIB) authorised to issue Helicopter Landing Area Certificates (HLAC), Helicopter Landing Area Inspection Reports (HLAIR) and Helicopter Landing Area Technical Certificates (HLATC) on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and Cayman Island Shipping Registry (CISR). This certification process enables commercial flying operations to take place onboard superyachts that meet the requirements laid down. If these certifications are not in place, or not kept up to date, then superyachts cannot operate commercial flights from their helideck.

Early engagement
Our involvement in the early stages of a superyacht design ensures that the proposed helidecks will meet the required regulations for commercial operations. We regularly advise shipyard teams on their early designs, sharing the team’s expertise gained from years of working in the superyacht industry and operating helicopters onboard Royal Navy ships. This enables us to advise on the design limitations of the helideck/s, ensuring the finished yacht will meet with current regulations and gain certification.

Although privately operated helidecks do not require a Helicopter Landing Area Certificate, it’s our recommendation and good practice to have the aviation facilities inspected by an Aviation Inspection Body (AIB) to ensure they can be operated in the safest possible manner.

Regulation and certification updates
The rules and regulations will have to evolve alongside developments in superyacht aviation and we are already working with the Cayman Islands Shipping Registry to help make updates and improvements to the REG Yacht Code Annex H and we look forward to participating in future aviation working groups. Whatever the future holds, Safeguard Helideck Certification is at the forefront of superyacht aviation, continuing our work as an Aviation Inspection Body (AIB) on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).

Our team comprises of Ex-Military Helicopter Aircrew, Flight Deck Officers, Survival Specialists, Safety Management Specialists, Helicopter Engineers and Naval Architects. We live and breathe maritime aviation and strive to ensure that superyachts can enjoy their helicopter operations in the safest way possible, whatever the future may bring! Scan the adjacent QR code to view the brochure.

For more details Tel: +44 (0)1326 317323

or visit www.helideckcertification.co.uk