News

August 8th 2016

Taking the plunge

Military personnel taking part in the course

For most people the idea of having to escape from a helicopter that had plunged metres under the water would be a nightmare, but reservists from Nottingham have been putting their skills to the test by taking part in an underwater escape exercise.

The team of 18 reservists from 170 (Infrastructure Support) Engineer Group’s fuels team travelled to Aberdeen in May this year to take part in the specialist Helicopter Underwater Escape Training.

Reservists during the exercise

Reservists during the exercise

The training was designed to prepare participants to know what to do if they ever found themselves in a similar scenario when carrying out works on upstream infrastructure sites around the world.

Helicopter Underwater Escape Training Course

Helicopter Underwater Escape Training Course

 

 

Officer Cadet Andrew Henderson, aged 22, from Loughborough, who is a Student at Loughborough University in his civilian life, was one of the reservists taking part in the training.

Andrew explained: “The exercise took place over a two day period covering the theory behind helicopter escape as well as tuition on other areas such as life raft procedures and sea survival.

“The afternoon started with the donning of the survival gear including a respirator. My respirator was number 13 much to the amusement of the rest of the team!”

The group carried out a number of ‘dry runs’ of the exercises including exiting the crashed helicopter cockpit and boarding the life raft, as well as practising using the two breathing systems known as the compressed air system and the rebreather ahead of getting into the water.

Andrew continued: “The final part of the course started with a simple evacuation and slowly became more complex, adding in additional aspects to overcome such as windows to remove and life rafts to board. Arguably the most challenging part of the course was boarding the life raft after evacuating the helicopter cabin, but everyone completed the required training and felt like they had gained a lot from the exercise.

“Everyone taking part in the course successfully gained a Helicopter Underwater Escape Training Course qualification and felt the course had not only educated everyone taking part but it had also built team confidence applicable to wider military operations.”

"The final part of the course started with a simple evacuation and slowly became more complex, adding in additional aspects to overcome such as windows to remove and life rafts to board."