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An overhead crane that enables trainees to safely practice life-saving escape from a helicopter ditching into the sea is in daily use at the Fleetwood Nautical Campus (FNC) of Blackpool College. The fixed position goal post crane with a lifting capacity of four tonnes was installed by, Street Crane Company, Britain’s largest industrial crane maker. The Fleetwood centre is one of the few centres in the UK providing North Sea, military and emergency services personnel with vital marine helicopter escape training.

EDM, a company specialising in simulators for aviation training, was the main contractor for the safety systems. They made the helicopter under water escape trainer HUET, a mock up helicopter cab with realistic seating, seat belts, doors and glazing, just like a real helicopter. The rear of the simulator is open for access by divers who are in the water during the test should any trainee get into difficulty and the instructor can also auto release all seat belts from the console if needed.

“This must be the most unusual application that we have had for one of our cranes,” explained Andrew Pimblett, Street Crane managing director. “The engineering is straightforward, this is a fixed position, four tonne crane with only lateral and horizontal movement. A single beam, supported on A frames, has an underslung hoist to hold the HUET. The unusual item is a dual coil spring that controls the fall and enables the module to be suspended over the water before release at one metre above.”

FNC is a dedicated facility with a specially constructed pool where one metre waves, darkness and rain can be simulated. The crane spans the pool and side apron. Up to four trainees, with an instructor, strap themselves in before the simulator is hoisted and moved out to the centre of the pool. From this position the HUET can be lowered onto the water, immersed in the water or immersed and rolled over. Trainees then have to unstrap themselves, put on respirators and make a safe exit.

More information
Andrew Pimblett, Tel. +44 (0)1298 812456 Fax. +44 (0)1298 814 945
Street Crane Company, Chapel-en-le-Frith, High Peak, SK23 0PH, UK
E-mail: Web:

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