Since 1st of April 2015, all passengers travelling offshore by helicopter will be required to sit in a seat where the nearest push-out emergency exit is compatible with their body size/ Passengers who are Extra Broad (XBR) will be required to sit in the seats or rows with direct access to a Type IV emergency exit or larger. This is not necessarily a window seat. The minimum diagonal on a Type IV exit is 27.75”.
To classify people we measure their bi-deltoid (shoulder) width. This is relatively easy to do and people’s size has been defined as you can see from the image with people larger than 22” being defined as XBR.
XBR passengers will be required to wear an armband similar to the green armband used for new-starts. They will be directed to suitable and easily identifiable seats by ground crew and helideck crew.
Different helicopters have different seating configurations and the number of seats per airframe and seating configuration has been agreed with CAA. The CAA have advised that the minimum number of seats suitable for those categorised as XBR is 31.5% and most aircraft have more than this.
The calculations of size and window size take account of EBS life jacket, bottle and hose. Passengers tend to leave a window in a ‘Superman’ position which reduces their shoulder width, allowing room for the survival equipment. In the CA-EBS approval process, test subjects covering a representative range of body sizes successfully exited through a 17” x 14” window with their survival suit and CA-EBS on.
In addition, the European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) is currently reviewing the regulations relating to ditching and survivability. The CAA is playing a major role in that exercise.
The Waterloo Health Clinic has a number of staff who are certified to provide this service and it can easily be added to the routine OGUK medical on request.