Harry Hockney: a North Sea offshore Portfolio

Harry was a pioneer of the provision of off shore ATS to helicopters operating to oil rigs in the North Sea. Harry has graciously provided us with his personal archive for publication on atchistory. Because the archive is so extensive it is being published separately from our other  North Sea Post at

North Sea Offshore Ops

HHY (1)

HHY1  An aerial shot of the accommodation barge Nortrol, our second home after the Nordrag.

HHY2, HHY3, HHY4 Looking down a leg, not exactly an inviting prospect for a swim.

HHY (5)

HHY5 Night shot of the Cormorant Alpha Platform, note the sea state.

HHY (6)

HHY6  Some of the enclosed lifeboats on the Cormorant Alpha Platform with the accommodation in the background.

HHY (7)

HHY7  The Cormorant flare through a helicopter window

HHY (8)

HHY8 The Deck is Clear for a Bolkow 106

HHY (9)

HHY9  Safely landed note the deck netting

HHY (10)

HHY10 Nearly down a S61 one of the Offshore workhorses (photo John Faulkner via Harry Hockney)

HHY (11)

HHY11 Harry’s Heli   “The only helicopter with my Call Sign HH, with yours truly”


HHY12  Taken at the time of the Chinook Offshore trials

HHY (16)

HHY13  No pictures would be complete without that other workhorse the Puma, later upgraded to the Super Puma with a range Aberdeen to East Shetland Basin,

HHY (17)

HHY14 Bristows Bell 212 mainstay of offshore shuttle operations bus runs and SAR operations.

HHY (18)

HHY15  Bristows dispersal area Aberdeen Airport

HHY16  A relaxing happy moment on the Cormorant Alpha, the men in orange survival suits ready for going home. (Harry in the check shirt centre back, Chris Stock in the brown sweater on the right).

HHY (21)

HHY17 THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVOURITES, believe it or not this was one of our early Control Operational Containers, which went under many names i.e. Strangeways, Pentonville, etc. You will see the windows were heavily protected this was because of our position over the freight and pipe deck where occasionally we took a severe bump from a container , freight, and pipe movements by cranes and climate (high winds, swinging movements of freight etc.)

HHY (22)

HHY18  An early transmitter and receiver on the Nordrag, our first base

HHY (23)

HHY19  An anemometer showing wind speed of 100 Knots (not unusual)

HHY (24)

HHY20 Equipment panel somewhat developed on the Nortrol our second home before the Cormorant Alpha.

HHY (25)

HHY21  Our Racal recorder

HHY (26)

HHY22  Yours truly on the Viking Approach desk at the end of a days flying totting up the movements, note the board on the bulkhead showing movement and routing with the Basin. The Flight Progress strips on the left are the next days Helicopter Beach Flights inbound.

HHY (27)

HHY23  Yours truly on Brent Approach on the Nortrol

HHY24 The Brent and Viking Approach consols on the Cormorant Alpha (which became our permanent home in 1978).

HHY (32)

HHY25 Harry (at right) and Kim O’Brien on the new consoles on the Cormorant Alpha, these consoles were the state of the art in 1980 and remained operational until the whole operation was moved to Aberdeen ATC.

HHY (30)


HHY (31)

HHY27  Photograph of the Plaque awarded to Harry for Technical writing at the Ceasar’s Palace Las Vegas. This was collected on his behalf by the Military Attaché Washington DC, as regrettably Harry was Offshore at the time. (we’ll be doing more on this story as this post progresses).

The version of this article we have had from Harry is we understand a review draft and does not reproduce well but  its a valuable historical record. I’ve given up on ATCA saying go ahead, no doubt as soon as I publish this it will prompt a (hopefully) positive response.

Harry Hockney article for ATCA Journal 1981

Here  is a cutting from a “25 years of CAA” review publication  from 1997. It was in the “I remember when column”.

HH I remember when

and another cutting

HH cutting









One thought on “Harry Hockney: a North Sea offshore Portfolio”

  1. wow, harry hockney – even though it’s been over 35 years since I left Shetland Radar, I still remember his name


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s