Introducing Well to the
Oil and Gas Industry
How can thoughtful design contribute to flight safety?
I was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. When I use 'beautiful,' I'm referring to natural beauty—its iconic beaches, curvy geography, the world's largest urban forest, and a heart-shaped lagoon.
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Rio International Airport, the beautiful Rio National, and Rio Regional have been part of my childhood and adolescence. Military Airbases, stories about jets and aircraft carriers were part of daily conversation growing up. Although my family greatly influenced my choice to become a pilot, aviation is not something one chooses inattentively.
The industry is so particular, and the schedules are so demanding; the stress is so massive that choosing and remaining in working aviation must involve passion. The offshore industry found its way into my life after the 9/11 aviation crisis, when a 21-year-old version of me needed to decide whether to wait a couple of more years for the airplane airlines to start to grow again or switch to helicopter flight school. Offshore aviation provides transportation, cargo flights, medical evacuations, and emergency assistance to the rigs and vessels.
Many people do not even imagine how big and important the oil and gas offshore industry is and how it affects the world daily, for example, gas, heating, electricity, plastic, paints, or a simple tape. The offshore sector creates millions of jobs around the world. From pilots to fancy engineers, geologists, medical evacuation doctors, or the rig's cookers and cleaners. I have transported people from multiple nationalities, from different realities and social backgrounds, all working together to produce energy for the world.
And although we are getting to a place where cleaner energy is getting more extensive and accessible, we still need oil and gas. The oil and gas industry still makes the world work. Approximately 60% of the world's energy consumption comes from this industry (35% oil and 25% gas).
The pandemic raised awareness of how workers were affected in their environments while dealing with a sanitary crisis that sadly killed millions worldwide. Thousands of articles were written about the workplace during and after the crisis. Much was discussed about the discomfort and exposure of health workers and how safe it would be for the world to return to their offices. While all that was happening, the world was working from home, and even the commercial flights had slowed down, offshore aviation never stopped. Offshore pilots evacuated entire platforms, entirely crushed by Covid-19, risking their lives and elevating their stress to unimaginable levels. After years of observing and feeling personal discomfort while working in this industry, I needed to research how stress and a poorly designed environment interact with pilots' lives.
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What can be done design-wise based on facts that can help minimize this audience stress that, when accumulated, are the leading causes of an accident? This thesis project is an open invitation to raise awareness of this population and understand their needs. And lastly, on a personal note, although I know the sensation of saving people's lives due to medical evacuations flights, knowing that I have impacted thousands of families positively, my hope now, as a designer, is to continue to make an impact on people's lives, but giving them comfort, functionality, beauty, and above all, dignity.