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OPITO Helicopter Landing Officer (HLO) & Helideck Assistant (HDA) Initial Training Programs for Personnel to be Appointed for the Roles

hlo training

A Helicopter Landing Officer (HLO) is a person on an offshore facility responsible for landing incoming helicopters safely. HLO is responsible for the day-to-day management of the helideck, associated helideck operations and supervision of the Helideck Assistants (HDAs). There might be several duties and supporting personnel that may also be part of the landing sequence.

The HLO is responsible for leading the initial response to a helicopter emergency as Helideck Emergency Response Team Leader (HERTL). The Offshore Helideck Assistant (HDA) carry out routine helideck operations such as maintenance and testing of helideck systems and equipment. HDA will also perform the role as a Helideck Emergency Response Team Member (HERTM)

The aim and objectives of the Helideck Operations Initial Training Program are to equip the delegate with the initial knowledge, understanding and skills required to perform the roles of Offshore Helicopter Landing Officer (HLO) and Offshore Helideck Assistant (HDA) safely and effectively.

The target group for Offshore Helideck Operations Initial Training program is personnel who are to be appointed to the role of an Offshore Helicopter Landing Officer (HLO) and/or Offshore Helideck Assistant (HDA). Duty Holders will need to check the statutory, regulatory and company-specific HLO and HDA training requirement for the particular region of operations.

  • Duration: Approx. 18 hours (2.5 days)
  • Validity: No Expiry
  • Pre-requisites: As a minimum, delegates must have completed Dangerous Goods by Air training course in accordance with Part 1, Chapter 4 of the ICAO Technical Instructions and sub section 1.5 of the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations, Category 7, 8 or 9 or state aviation approved dangerous goods awareness training course


hlo hda training opito

HLO & HDA Initial Training

Offshore Helideck Regulations and Guidelines

Regulations and Guidelines

  • Relevant Guidelines for Management of Aviation Operations
  • Offshore Helicopter Landing Area guidance documentation (CAP 437)
  • ICAO Standards for recommended practices relating to offshore helidecks
  • ICAO/IATA dangerous goods regulations (DGR TABLE 11)
  • Offshore emergency response requirements (PFEER/Station Bill)
  • OPITO Helicopter Landing Officer’s Handbook
  • OPITO Helicopter Refueling Handbook
  • Helicopter Operator and Duty-Holder specific Helideck Operating Procedures
  • Helideck certification criteria

Helicopter and Helideck Hazards and Management Systems

Offshore Helideck Landing Areas

  • Helideck physical characteristics, to include: ‘D value’, MTOW, access and escape routes, friction properties across the helideck
  • Helideck visual aids, marking and lights, to include: Helideck landing lights are fully serviceable and emergency power back-up is operational, installation obstacle lighting
  • Obstacle-protected surfaces
  • Helideck landing and perimeter safety nets – purpose and requirements
  • Landing areas and winching areas on vessels

Helicopters, Helideck Equipment and Systems

  • Main aircraft types used in region of operations
  • Helideck systems
  • Helideck location and motion characteristics (floating installations)
  • Helideck certification limitations: (Helideck Limitation List - HLL)
  • Helideck standard plant and equipment - and uses
  • Meteorological systems and minimum meteorological equipment requirement for region of operations.
  • Typical helideck systems routine checks
  • Reporting helideck and systems defects to appropriate authority e.g. OIM, Helicopter Operator

Helicopter and Helideck Hazards

  • Human factors that may affect the safety of heli-operations, to include the following categories: the job/task, the individual and the organization.
  • Helicopter danger areas
  • Rotors running – personnel contact with main or tail rotors while on deck
  • Adverse weather effect on helicopter operations, to include: excessive wind turbulence, wave height, trigger lightning
  • Poor visibility effect on helideck operations
  • Process thermal affects e.g. turbine exhausts and normal or emergency process venting
  • Helicopter engine or cabin fire
  • Electrical hazards.
  • Mobile installations stability hazards during landing and take-off
  • Dangerous goods transfer to/from helicopter by the helideck team
  • Refueling operations: fuel spillages, faulty equipment
  • Loose items (baggage, freight, netting etc.) being sucked into rotor area or air intake
  • Flying debris e.g. disintegrating rotor hitting personnel following a crash
  • Crane operations: crane work to cease during helicopter operations
  • Obstacles on deck
  • Noise hazard – ear protection requirement
  • Aircraft shutdown and startup hazards
  • Unfamiliarity with helicopter type
  • Wrong deck landing
  • Downdraft forces an aircraft creates in and around the helideck areas

Helicopter Refueling Equipment

  • Typical hazards during helicopter refueling
  • Typical helicopter refueling equipment
  • Key roles and responsibilities relating to maintenance and quality checks

HLO and HDA Responsibilities during Helicopter Landing and Departure

The Roles and Key Responsibilities of HLO and HDA

  • The role, key responsibilities and accountabilities of the Offshore Helicopter landing Officer (HLO) during routine helicopter operations
  • The role, key responsibilities and accountabilities of an Offshore Helideck Assistant (HDA) during routine helicopter operations.

HLO and HDA Checks, Procedures and Communications during Helicopter Operations

  • How the HLO is identifiable to the helicopter crew
  • Typical helicopter operational procedures prior to landing, helicopter-on-deck and take off (for region of operations)
  • Pre-flight weather report templates (typical) and standard weather report terms
  • Adverse weather helicopter operation limits
  • Floating installations and vessels data request by pilot, to include: inclination, heave-rate and heading

HLO Specific Practice

  • Ensuring HDA duties and responsibilities are clearly understood during helicopter landing and departure.
  • Briefing the HDAs prior to helideck operations, to include a tool-box-talk
  • Ensuring the HDAs are in the correct location and helideck stations during helicopter landing, take-off and preparing for helicopter emergencies
  • Ensuring HLO and HDAs are equipped with appropriate PPE
  • Helideck protocols e.g. safe-to-approach, helicopter anti-collision lights switched off and ‘thumbs-up’ from pilot (as agreed by operating company)
  • Effective communications
  • Helicopter type identification
  • Monitoring of environmental conditions and change in conditions
  • Radio communications system checks, to include two-way radio checks between HLO and radio operator and/or heli-admin.
  • Checking helideck equipment availability.
  • HLO to ensure that the helideck surface is free from any contamination, debris or damage after take-off

HDA Specific Practice

  • Identifying and reporting hazards that the HLO may not be aware of
  • Effective communications
  • Helicopter type identification prior to landing – for helicopter-specific passenger, cargo loading and emergency response requirements.
  • Assisting with monitoring of weather and environmental conditions
  • Assisting HLO with communications system checks
  • Assisting HLO with checking helideck equipment status and safety nets
  • Assisting HLO with security and stowage of equipment - helicopter and helideck
  • HDAs are in a safe location adjacent to the helideck during helicopter landing, take-off and preparing for helicopter emergencies
  • Ensuring appropriate HDA PPE is worn during helicopter operations

Cargo and Passenger Handling

Cargo Handling

  • Helicopter freight loading limitations and requirements and how these will vary for different types of helicopters
  • Underslung loads: hazards and typical procedures including risk assessment requirements
  • Importance of understanding and complying with company helideck-operations procedures
  • Helideck protocols including ‘safe to approach the helicopter’, anti-collision lights switched off and ‘thumbs-up’ from pilot

Cargo Handling - HLO Specific Practice

  • Checking freight manifests (inbound and outbound)
  • Preparing for, and supervising, correct loading and unloading of freight and baggage (HLOs should not become involved in manual activity, such as carrying bags, at the expense of their supervisory role)
  • Supervising correct manual handling techniques during freight loading and unloading
  • Supervising passenger baggage reclamation from helideck or designated area
  • Dangerous goods identification
  • Dangerous goods management; preparing for, and correct handling of dangerous goods according to IATA and ICAO regulations
  • Notification to Captain of dangerous goods – NOTOC

Cargo Handling - HDA Specific Practice

  • Responding to ‘safe to approach the helicopter’ from the HLO
  • Complying with helicopter danger areas rules
  • Assisting with preparations for, and correct handling of, freight and baggage
  • Correct manual handling techniques during freight loading and unloading
  • Asking for assistance from other HDAs with heavy cargo
  • Dangerous goods identification

Passenger Handling - HLO Specific Practice

  • Checking and interpreting information on passenger manifest and routing plans
  • Receiving incoming manifest from pilot and handing over outgoing manifest to pilot
  • Supervising passenger safe access and egress on helideck
  • Supervising passenger entry into helicopter
  • Supervising passenger exit from helicopter
  • Conducting passenger checks, to include: checking that passengers are wearing required transit suits and lifejackets for region of operations, ear protection and seat belt harnesses are secure

Passenger Handling - HDA Specific Practice

  • Interpreting information on passenger manifests
  • Assisting with passenger safe egress and access on helideck
  • Assisting with passenger entry into helicopter
  • Assisting with passenger exit from helicopter
  • Being alert to changing events and conditions while assisting passengers

HLO and HDA: Normally Unattended Installations

HLO and HDA Responsibilities on an NUI

  • Types of NUIs
  • Typical NUI-specific hazards, to include guano infestation
  • HLO first to disembark from helicopter
  • Disembarkation: NUI status check by HLO and decision to disembark helicopter passengers.
  • Embarkation: HLO responsible for ensuring that all passengers have boarded the helicopter prior to take-off and HDA to assist HLO in ensuring that all passengers have boarded the helicopter prior to take-off
  • HDA to assist HLO with the following, (where applicable) - Bird exclusion devices are switched on; and  All equipment (fire extinguishers, firefighting clothing, chocks etc.) positioned on the helideck and surrounding areas is correctly stored and secured.
  • The importance of understanding and following individual company procedures for individual NUIs

Disclaimer: For general information purpose only - please check with OPITO for the latest and accurate information on training standards

Last Updated: March 20, 2021