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Discussion Starter #1
why don't large cruise ships have proper helidecks ? In an emergency such as recent "Viking Sky" incident it would be much easier and faster to evacuate large numbers of passengers if the helicopter (s) could actually land on board. It would probably be a less daunting prospect for many of the passengers too.

Further thoughts thrown into the pot. Why not have a helicopter on board complete with pilot, aviation mechanic, hanger, refuelling capability, trained helideck crew etc? If the crew already has flower arrangers, art auctioneers, and spa masseurs why not a helicopter pilot? Cruise ships are ugly enough already so that this could probably be done without interfering too much with the aesthetic profile silhouette of water slides etc. If small warships like frigates can be so equipped I believe it could be done in a large cruise ship. I know of several large yachts which have helideck and chopper too.

In addition to emergency and medieval situations, I can think of many scenarios where having a helicopter on board would be useful.

Opened up for comments from the members.
 

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No.1 If you have a helicopter on board it would require frequent ie constant exercises. Would you the think the passengers would want to see or HEAR it every couple of days ago?

No. 2 The hanger would use up valuable of deck space.

No. 3 Aviation gas. Dangerous stuff. Serious fire risk.

No. 4 Not just a pilot yo would need a team to work with it in addition to specialist engineers for maintenance.

No. 5 How large of a craft? Even a medium craft would need to carry crew and two or three our four or more passengers.

No. 6 If the ship is near to shore it is more likely to be able to get the helicopter to the ship cheaper than having your own on board.

No 7. If you are in deep sea, what is the range capability? 500 miles? 1,000 miles? 2,000 miles? Better to call for a rescue ship.

You have to remember, if the helicopter can get it to the ship you don't need your own. If one cannot come to too you, your can't go either!

Stephen
 

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If my ship was in a gale and leaning...would I want to have a helicopter trying to land......all the many cruise ships I have been on have had very adequate helidecks.

geoff
 

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Most helicopters these days are powered by gas turbine engines which are fuelled with AVTUR/JET A1 which is basically kerosene. It has a relatively high flash-point and is not as flammable as AVGAS.

And, </pedant mode ON>, it's hangar, not hanger...
 

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It would also deplete your stock of WD40. The sea air goes for them and they are, I am told, virtually hosed down with the stuff before hanging them up.
 

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Then there is landing on a moving ship

I'm sure you must have to be a very experienced pilot to land helicopters in that situation
 

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I sailed on the Royal Viking Star for 3 years and we were doing World Wide cruises, in that time we had to have the use of a helicopter 3 times (only two of which were necessary), to get passengers off to hospital, so if we would have had an helicopter onboard it would not have seen a lot of use....

Frank
 

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It would also deplete your stock of WD40. The sea air goes for them and they are, I am told, virtually hosed down with the stuff before hanging them up.
When I worked for United Towing in the 1980's, we had a contract with the Government to search for and recover any crashed civilian aircraft in UK waters. I remember once we sent a tug and barge to recover a large helicopter which had crashed in the North Sea but which remained floating. The weather was such that the aircraft was covered in sea spray on the journey back to Aberdeen, and the crew reported that by the time it was lifted off the barge it was audibly fizzing! I am not sure if it ever went back in service.

Howard
 

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I sailed on the Royal Viking Star for 3 years and we were doing World Wide cruises, in that time we had to have the use of a helicopter 3 times (only two of which were necessary), to get passengers off to hospital, so if we would have had an helicopter onboard it would not have seen a lot of use....

Frank

No, but the Aquavit on board would have been lots of use... even to fuel the helicopter!

I still shudder at the stuff from one evening at table on the RV STAR.

Stephen
 

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Brittney ferries have a helo decks. plus the liners that went down to the Falklands. Passenger transfer in accession island took a very short time appox 800 in less then half a day. My feeling all liners should have helo decks from passengers transfers, crew transfers. stores and emergency.Just need a bit more on how to do it. helo pad can bu used by passengers for running tracks games etc. so it has many uses.
 

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Yes, but cruise ships are not always within distance to call up a helicopter.

Stores? Perhaps a couple of hundred of tonnes stores every week.

Transfers. Most passenger ships spend on short voyages but even a one day at sea would put the helicopter out of range.

Use of heli pad for use of passengers. They already have that but not a wide open space the space is needed for important things like pools and bars and BBQ. You wouldn't want open flames in the vicinity of the helicopter if it out on deck or inside the hangers.

All passenger ships have a heli pad. Well away from passenger areas, usually out on the bow.

Stephen
 

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Yes, but cruise ships are not always within distance to call up a helicopter.

Stores? Perhaps a couple of hundred of tonnes stores every week.

Transfers. Most passenger ships spend on short voyages but even a one day at sea would put the helicopter out of range.

Use of heli pad for use of passengers. They already have that but not a wide open space the space is needed for important things like pools and bars and BBQ. You wouldn't want open flames in the vicinity of the helicopter if it out on deck or inside the hangers.

All passenger ships have a heli pad. Well away from passenger areas, usually out on the bow.

Stephen
They have a spot for lowing by rope but not a landing area. reinforced like Brittany Ferries.
 

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It would also deplete your stock of WD40. The sea air goes for them and they are, I am told, virtually hosed down with the stuff before hanging them up.
Very true, plus the need for a regular compressor wash of the engines in order to remove salt crud from the internal workings.
 

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No, but the Aquavit on board would have been lots of use... even to fuel the helicopter!

I still shudder at the stuff from one evening at table on the RV STAR.

Stephen
Stephen you are right about the Aquavit, powerful stuff....

here are 2 photos from one of the helicopter rescues from the Roayal Viking Star. I was steering the ship and a waiter took the photos .....

https://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gall...834/title/royal-viking-star-2c-rescue/cat/520

https://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gall...810850/title/royal-viking-star-rescue/cat/520

Frank
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Re Frank P's post #15

The story of this medevac is a good reason for having a proper helideck. If the helicopter had been able to land and refuel on board the ship it would have greatly extended its range. Less diversion and quicker operation altogether. Less stressful for accompanying passengers too.

Super set of pics which thank you for posting.
 

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Helicopters & Helipads

It strikes me that the debate regarding having helipads on ships is, or should be, redundant. To my simple mind the attachment of lifeboats to ships, and the requirement for passengers to undertake lifeboat drills suggests that they are the principal method of evacuation. Or are lifeboats another conspiracy to lull the general populous into a false sense of security. If, as I suspect, in a real emergency they are of little use, having been told, on two occasions on, one cruise that the tenders could not be used due to a 5 metre swell it begs the question what would happen in the event of problems in really high seas. Perhaps it is time for shipping world to waken up to the fact that helicopters have limitations in terms of payload and operating conditions and that evacuating the mega cruise liners of today is simply a maritime disaster waiting to happen.
 

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I very much doubt that even the best military chopper pilots could have landed on the vessel given it was rolling heavily.

Offshore helicopter operations are conducted with some weather tight parameters, even landing on a jacked up rig, those legs look very close when you are on one coming into land.

They were very fortunate to be off Norway , a highly developed country, what are you going to do half way between cape town and walvis Bay?? if you have the same situation.

God forbid it happens, But in the event of a serious incident and abandonment, how exactly are you going to rescue 6,000 people, as there are on these larger vessels, when in the mid Pacific or other such remote area, should be an interesting time trying to recover them onto a large containership with a 12 metre freeboard, or a ULGC, not to mention where will you "store" everyone until more rescue ships arrive.
There is a complete lack of respct for the dangers of the sea, and designers who think they have the answer to everything with a computer programe.

As I used to try to impress upon my crews at drills, if the proverbial hits the fan, it wont be at 11 o clock Monday morning on a sunny day, but rather at 2 in the morning when its blowing a hoolie.
Thats my tuppence worth
Rgds Kev
 

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Referring to my post "The Devonport Ferries and the long Haul " on 19/12/2007 on the news and views of the shipping world thread when I described the drama of recovering the ship's life boat in heavy weather I made the following comment;

Quote


It is of interest to record that a 1994 survey into life boat safety by an international maritime forum revealed that life boats were launched for the following reasons;
Boat drill (82%) , maintenance and survey ( 16% ) , and emergencies (2%) and that 48 % of accidents occur during lifting recovery.
Unquote

Bob
 

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very interesting read guys, yes it does raise a few questions.
so helicopters and fighter jets on carriers suffer from sea spray badly i hear, so what do they do exactly when they land and shutdown and go back in the hangar?? they wash them down with clean water and say a salt dissolver to break down sea spray?? thats one thing id like to know more about.

helicopters can be very noisy i was once at a airport with the rural fire brigade and we were back up water supply to the urbans if a plane caught alight or crashed, but by the end of that day i had the worst damn headache from the noise but mainly from the jetfuel its ok at first but damn its smelly after a while and strong.
 
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