“When it comes to passenger suits for helicopter transfer, there are a number of commonly used materials and features that are well-suited to the task,” says Jens Peter Kruse, Vice President, PPE at leading maritime and fire safety equipment manufacturer and service provider VIKING Life-Saving Equipment.
“We’ve taken this into account with our new suit, and we’ve made a tremendous number of comfort and safety improvements, too.”
Jens Peter is referring to VIKING’s latest addition to what is already the widest range of ETSO- approved suits on the market: the PS5040 suit, the newest in advanced PPE clothing for transferring personnel to and from offshore platforms.
“It may appear that this new suit has been designed from the ground up. In reality however, we’ve included materials and features that are popular in today’s suits. One of the most visible features of the new VIKING suit is the strikingly bright outer material in high visibility yellow aimed at making the chances of being noticed in even the most difficult sea conditions better than ever.”
Safe wearing was top of VIKING’s list for improvement in a market where many suits are unnecessarily bulky, trapping excess air and posing a threat to the ability of personnel to exit a submerged aircraft or swim without difficulty.
“PPE clothing varies from region to region. We constantly monitor the markets and have made it a priority to be the first to bring promising developments to our customers,” says VIKING VP, Jens Peter Kruse and continues: “The new PS5040 suit was specially designed for harsh weather conditions and icy waters – and therefore everything is fully integrated into the suit, so you don’t waste valuable seconds. For example, it comes with a gas inflated buoyancy system and optional Personal Locator Beacon (PLB). The suit can also be equipped with either Category A or B EBS systems.
Other highlights include integrated sprayhood, high-flexibility neoprene boots, easy-operation plastic zippers, sleeve-mounted magnets to keep gloves safely away when not in use, as well as high-visibility yellow outer material.
More comfort for increased safety
Comfort is at the heart of the PS5040, whose snug fit cuts down bulk, enabling the wearer to squeeze through windows as small as 43×35.5 cm (17×14 inches), and enhancing freedom of movement both in and out of the water. The thermal liner contains Phase Change Materials (PCM) i.e. it absorbs the excess body heat, and returns it again when needed, while an innermost layer reduces friction, making it far easier to don and doff the suit.
The suit’s physical design isn’t the only innovation, however. The PS5040 is available under a fully integrated leasing service where VIKING provides and services each suit, ensuring sufficient numbers are available whenever and wherever needed.
“We’ve been providing safety equipment in this way to the Danish, German and Dutch offshore sectors with great success,” says Jens Peter. “We understand the industry, and we know that if you don’t have a safety-compliant, serviced suit on hand at exactly the right time, no one can fly. So we have applied a lot of expertise to designing an equipment exchange system that can make both availability and high-quality servicing easier than ever.”
The VIKING PS5040 outperforms on the regulatory approvals front, too. Conforming to ETSO-2C502’s stipulations for in-flight comfort and form-fitting safety, it also complies with SOLAS LSA Code Regulation 18.104.22.168 requirements to provide six hours of thermal protection, offering the best chance of survival during an extended SAR operation. Additionally, compliance with EASA Part-145 service regulations at VIKING’s service stations in Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Germany and the UK enable the manufacturer to provide servicing and repair for the suits anywhere in the North Sea.
VIKING has long been a significant player in the offshore oil and gas sector, offering a wide range of safety equipment from PPE clothing to evacuation systems. With the VIKING PS5040, the company has completed its strong portfolio of ETSO helicopter transfer suits both with and without integrated lifejackets.
“We are now offering a 360° single source safety solution with a full range of ETSO suits and lifejackets; a unique ETSO compliant service set up and a leasing option”, says Jens Peter Kruse. “From an overall safety perspective, this is a real game-changer. Basically, we take care of all aspects of our customer’s safety equipment and servicing tasks for predictable, transparent prices,” he says.