If you’re real, not everyone will like you.
But if you’re fake, eventually YOU won’t like you.
Which one do you want to BE?
Real or fake?
I still remember the words spoken by the Navy commando during our HUET certification.
Being a civilian, it’s a lifetime experience to get HUET certification.
But if you are a helicopter flight crew, working in an offshore oil and gas industry, law enforcement personnel, and military personnel who are regularly transported by helicopters over water, you must take this HUET course.
HUET is Helicopter Underwater Escape Training.
Fortunately, I am a HUET certified engineer, worked in ONGC’s Mumbai High oil and gas fields.
Bombay High (now Mumbai High) field is an offshore oilfield located in the Arabian Sea, approximately 160km west of the Mumbai coast, India. Discovered in 1974, the field commenced production in 1976 and is operated by the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC).
The oil field consists of two blocks named Mumbai High North (MHN) and Mumbai High South (MHS). The blocks were divided based on shale barriers, assisting in the independent exploitation of reserves at both sites.
Mumbai High field currently holds 1,659 million metric tonnes (MMT) of oil and is producing approximately 12MMt a year.
When I was called for an official duty for Bombay High’s underground umbilical cable laying activity in the month of November 2005, I was too excited as I could work in the mid-Arabian sea.
More excited when we were called to take this HUET course before going to sea. It’s a must training to be attended and you can go for offshore duty into the sea once you got successfully certification as HUET.
HUET-Helicopter Underwater Escape Training name itself is adventurous.
As the name implies, the purpose of this training is to prepare passengers and crew for an emergency evacuation or egress in the event of a crash landing on water.
The training was done in a big swimming pool with a mock-up Helicopter floating in the swimming pool.
Initially, in the theoretical part, previous ditching events, the hazards of helicopter operations (e.g., main and tail rotors, engine exhausts, and external antenna locations), the available safety equipment carried onboard the helicopter (external floatation devices, emergency egress lighting, crash attenuating seats) as well as personal protective equipment (PPE), and the procedures needed to safely operate the equipment were taught.
Of course, with video footage of the world’s renowned helicopter disaster, you will make a feel how important the training is.
This theoretical component specifically outlines the three phases of ditching (pre-impact, post-impact, and rescue) to ensure that individuals can complete tasks that will improve survivability.
And, then the most exciting part is the practical component.
The practical training component includes the opportunity to use personal protective equipment.
A complete underwater egress skills training is done in a big swimming pool from an underwater egress simulator (UES) which is generally a dummy helicopter.
The dummy helicopter is so designed that it can turn 360° in both horizontal and vertical planes. The underwater egress practical component is designed to simulate real-world environmental conditions by completely inverting 180˚ (or in some cases slightly off-angle to simulate that the external floatation devices have failed on one side of the helicopter) and flooding the UES in a pool. It even uses environmental elements such as wind, rain, sound, and simulated lightning depending on the training program. The training is as if you are in a real-life helicopter accident place and your only purpose is to survive from the situation.
You may be asking why this underwater escape training in a helicopter?
The offshore duty you have to go via a helicopter over the sea to the destination. The helicopter’s center of gravity is so designed that when some mishap happens over sea and helicopter accidents take place, the helicopter falls on seawater in reverse position and generally floats in water rather than get drowned immediately. Through this training, one can escape out from the submerged helicopter to the seawater and get floating till the rescue team comes.
During my HUET training with the navy commander in Mumbai before going offshore of ONGC jobs, we had to take 15 days of rigorous training to deal with adverse situations in the sea.
Even, one has to deal with seasickness.
This HUWET was one of the most important training you have to cover.
It’s supervised by an experienced and already trained sea commando.
Though it seems real adventure during training, it’s too tough.
Especially under a helicopter submerged into the water in a reverse position.
It’s really tough.
Because you have to do so many things underwater like the opening of the buckle of the safety belt, pushing the emergency door within few seconds, holding your breath and you have to come out of water.
Otherwise, you will..
Yes, simply die!
During the training itself.
Though the trained sea commando would be always there to supervise and monitor your activities and would help you to come out from underwater of swimming pool in case of any mishap you would feel the Goosebumps!
The same was not the case with me. I could not just come out of the swimming pool water doing all those activities smoothly. I failed 4 times. Every time, I failed either to unbuckle my safety belt or push the emergency door within seconds and the surveillance navy commando helped me to come out of the swimming pool water before I lost my breath.
Although I am an expert swimmer and used to swim even in the mighty river Brahmaputra in Assam something wrong happened with me that day.
I was drowned inside swimming pool water with that dummy helicopter four times but I could not pass the test as per requirements.
My case that day was something bizarre. Every time, the dummy helicopter was drowned reverse inside swimming pool water, I simply could not come out from the reversed drowned helicopter. Every time, the dummy Helicopter was drowned reversely inside the swimming pool water, either I took more time to unfasten the seatbelt or struggled to pull out the emergency door to come out from the submerged helicopter to the top of the water level of the swimming pool.
My action was closely monitored by the attached navy commando and every time, he helped me to unfasten the seat belt and pull off the emergency safety door to pull me out of the drowned helicopter before my breathing stopped inside swimming pool water.
The Navy commando Vijay took me to one corner of the swimming pool. Asked me to get relax.
Then, Vijay asked me what was my position in the company. I said the manager.
He told that you seemed to be of good physique and well built and I observed you could swim too. Then, what s your problem that he could not pass out this HUET test.
I was also surprised.
What’s wrong with me?
Why I could not pass out this test when I am very familiar with swimming pool and river swimming.
The navy command Vijay observed me keenly and tried to console me to his best.
Vijay looked straightway into my eyes and said, Look at me and tell me that you can do it.
You can do it whatever the problem may be.
But I was so nervous and depressed that I thought I couldn’t pull myself through the HUET test. Simply I couldn’t do it as I failed four times already.
Vijay asked me some different questions. What happened to you today morning before coming for the test or what incidents or memory you remember before coming for the test.
That time, I remembered the early morning phone call I received from my wife, and total scenery came to my mind instantly.
My wife telephoned me that our son had been suffering from Haematuria ( presence of blood in the urine, either visible seen by the naked eye or non-visible, confirmed by urine dipstick or urine microscopy) for the last three days. Blood going profusely with his urine and there was no improvement.
I explained the same to coach Vijay.
Vijay asked me, that’s bizarre. But what could you do think about that?
Think about what best you could do now instead?
Your wife is smart enough to take care of your son, Don’t she?
I nodded my head.
Vijay said, Oh, come on! You are a manager and your job should be: To manage any crisis situation!!
Then, the Navy commando Vijay said to me like an Expert that just reframe your emotional worry about your son to how best you can pass out this HUET test?
That simple questions helped me to overcome my emotional distress and on my 5th. attempt, I could easily come out from the underwater drowned helicopter and Vijay uttered: Excellent.
That day, I realized why you need a mentor, a life coach in your life!
For many, we have life experiences that shape and mold who we have become. We can use these experiences, both good and bad, to find our meaning in the world to excel.
A life coach can help you unlock this potential for a meaningful purpose. They can help you process your past and find the meaning and purpose of your life. It can be something positive. That day, I realized that sometimes your expertise like an expert swimmer would not be of any help unless you are coached by some mentor, some expert on how to instantly get a breakthrough to overcome a dilemma!
That’s the role of a mentor, a life coach.
So, to get extraordinary life, I always prefer to have a life coach. Like now, I am being coached by world-renowned speaker, strategist, and consultant Arfeen Khan!
What about you??
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