Table of Contents
16.0 Aircraft
16.1 Risks and Hazards
16.2 Responsibilities (Due Diligence) Regarding Aircraft
16.3 Aircraft Charters
16.4 Safe Operating Guidelines for All Aircraft
16.5 Pilot Fatigue
16.6 Float Planes
16.7 Helicopters
   16.7.1 Safe Operating Guidelines for Helicopters
   16.7.2 Additional Safety Guidelines for Helicopters
   16.7.3 Guidelines for Hover and Toe-in Manoeuvres
   16.8 Safe Loading Guidelines for All Aircraft
   16.9 Transportation of Dangerous Goods
16.10 Training
   16.10.1 Aircraft Safety Induction Meetings
   16.10.2 Regular Pre-Flight Safety Briefings
   16.10.3 Safety Briefings for Special Operations
16.11 Responsibilities Regarding Aircraft
   16.11.1 Pilots
   16.11.2 Project Manager or Supervisor
   16.11.3 Passengers
16.12 Slinging
   16.12.1 Risks and Hazards
   16.12.2 Causes of Slinging Accidents
   16.12.3 Safe Slinging Guidelines
   16.12.4 Planning for Safe Slinging Operations
   16.12.5 Slinging Responsibilities
   16.12.6 Guidelines for Drill Slinging Operations
16.13 Temporary Landing Sites
   16.13.1 Helicopter Landing Sites
   16.13.2 Landing Strips
16.14 Commonly Accepted and Known Hand Signals
16.15 Emergency Procedures
   16.15.1 Emergency Guidelines for All Aircraft
   16.15.2 Ground to Air Emergency Signals
16.16 Resources


The mineral exploration industry commonly relies on aircraft to access remote exploration sites. Various types of fixed wing aircraft and helicopters are used depending on availability and what is most appropriate for the job. Mineral exploration often requires operating aircraft in a wide variety of remote and challenging conditions. Aircraft related accidents, particularly those involving helicopters, have accounted for more fatalities than any other type of accident in exploration. Some fatalities could have been prevented if safe operating procedures (SOPs) had been followed. Four ways to reduce the likelihood of aircraft related incidents and potential fatalities are:
(1) carefully select charter aircraft companies and pilots;
(2) do not accept unsafe practices by pilots or pressure pilots towards such practices;
(3) thoroughly train all employees at any project serviced by aircraft to work safely in and around aircraft; and
(4) provide refresher training for those who use charter aircraft on casual basis.