News: Blogs

21 January 2016


Blogs: Collaborating on eye-tracking research to enhance flight safety

pilot_cockpitWhen HeliOffshore members come together in the interests of safety, great progress is made! The latest example I want to share relates to a truly unique collaborative research programme that got underway this week.

A shared safety priority for our members is to optimize the training and tools provided to crews.   This is the focus of the eye-tracking research which started this month.

HeliOffshore has commissioned Jarvis Bagshaw Ltd to conduct the research, which has seen 26 pilots participate in the first phase of the observational study.

The research will reveal how pilots are monitoring instruments in the cockpit, for how often, and for how long. By understanding better how pilots monitor instruments during flight, we can improve training and standard operating procedures, and give feedback to the manufacturers about the design of automation and cockpits.

We will share anonymized results in May 2016 at our HeliOffshore Annual Conference in Prague, after which a working group will determine the best way to use the data to further improve safety; through pilot training, procedures, policy and even manufacture.

The study has only been possible thanks to contributions from, and collaboration between, our members. Airbus Helicopters donated time in their Aberdeen H225 simulator and pilots from Bond, Bristow and CHC Helicopter are participating.

I want to thank Andrew Dettl at Airbus for arranging the simulator, and Jon Hopkinson, manager of flight operations at CHC, and Robert Dyas, operations director at Bond, who have given significant support to the research. Thank you also to Tim Rolfe at Bristow for his work during the development phase and to Dr. Steve Jarvis from Jarvis Bagshaw for his expert support.

I am grateful to the crews, who have participated in this research.  Their efforts will inform enhancements to training, standard operating procedures, policies, and system design.

You can go to the News Section of our website for more details about the research programme:

By working together, we create positive change that is outside the control of any one of us; through HeliOffshore, we are bringing together design, operation, certification, regulation and customer requirements to improve safety in a faster, more effective manner.