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Helicopters and North Sea Oil (ePub)

A Story of Service, Danger and Survival

Aviation P&S History > British History

By Peter Saxton
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
File Size: 20.3 MB (.epub)
Pages: 256
ISBN: 9781399060394
Published: 20th September 2023


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A series of personal accounts by highly trained helicopter pilots, including those with distinguished careers in the military and commercial flying, who with divers, ensured that essential staff could operate in North Sea oil exploration and oil supply. They were the vital link in the process and operated in the most challenging circumstances, often in high levels of danger and sometimes with loss of life, for example, the Piper Alpha Disaster which made national news. And the ferrying of essential personnel and supplies could involve rescues as well routine flying missions. The narrative is often technical but written to ensure good understanding for lay readers and it will, of course, appeal to the many with flying experience in the forces, in commercial flying and government service. Above all, it is a series of graphic personal stories as recounted by individuals faced with extremes of climate, weather, technical, engineering and aeronautical problems and often with human life at stake. The people come to life and with domestic and social concerns and interests are 'real' and believable people.

It is history of the North Sea oil episode in UK political and economic history and in conjunction with international oil politics is of huge importance to Britain's economy. This is a period of progress to domestic oil independence by about 1984 and so a key period with subsequent importance even to the present.

All aspects of the operations are covered within individual stories, and include the broader questions of company policy, regulation, and trade union involvement.

"It is a good read and also delivers many new facts about North Sea operations."

Aviation World - Summer 2024

"All-in-all there is a wealth of information in Helicopters and North Sea Oil...it’s a good read."

The Aviation Historian

"If there's one thing that's surprising about this book, it's the fact that it hasn't been written before...This is an excellent compilation..."

Aeroplane - January 2024

Article: Seeing a thing made out of solid steel Piper Alpha just melting, it was really horrendous

The Sunday Post (Dundee)

Article: 'The whole sky lit up' - How chopper crews faced 'blazing hell' in 1988 Piper Alpha tragedy

The Herald (Glasgow)

About Peter Saxton

Dr P J Saxton BA, MBA, DBA, is a unique mix of RAF officer, academic and business person. He has commissioned and edited the contributions and written key pieces. He learned to fly with his University Air Squadron, was commissioned in the Royal Air Force and graduated as a Pilot Officer from the RAF Training Unit at RAF Henlow where he was awarded the Sword of Honour. Jet training was followed by service with the ANZUK force in Singapore and Malayasia, NATO battlefield support helicopter squadrons and also peace-keeping support in Northern Ireland. He was Officer Commanding SD(H) Flight for special operations. His career turned to North Sea oil as line Captain with British Airways Helicopters - the subject of the book - and was followed by a succession of senior posts with British Airways.

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