5th Oct 2010, 12:53
This is the time of year when aircraft crash, I've been busy away on other things and this device has been at the doctor's for a month or so.
I get a chance to get back here and what happens? aircraft crashes all over. One in NZ today, the fatal one in the NT yesterday, another in the NT few weeks before that, then there is a rumour?? that no less than three R22's crashed in separate accidents in Queensland today.
I sure would like someone to tell me that this is all bulloney, one driver was airlifted to Mt Isa I heard.
In reality it is the time of year when the weather turns sharply hotter and the surface winds vary very unpredicably and gustily. Indeed I read somewhere of a recent coronial in Perth referring to another September accident of a few years ago and there are plenty others that I can think of.
Further back I remember that over a period of twelve or so years, the three largest northern Australian companies accumulating something like in excess of 300,000 hours on shooting operations, I.e two up and a big bucket of ammunition, right through September, October and November when it really got hot, with only two accidents in total for those operations.
Mentoring was the key then and maybe that is what is missing now, I wonder what the fabled safety committee are doing about it all?
5th Oct 2010, 22:18
It must be the mango's TET.
Arm out the window
6th Oct 2010, 09:56
Has there been much reported about these? Hadn't heard about them until reading your post, TET.
I've got a massive 5 hrs in the Robbie so I know f***-all about them, but there certainly wasn't a lot of spare MAP with me and another bloke in one in FNQ in summer. You'd need to be well aware of how to operate with marginal power to keep yourself safe, no doubt.
6th Oct 2010, 19:41
Mentoring was a really great way to operate in any operation such as feral animal control and mustering and still is. Times change and things evolve and it now turns out that a large part of the outback fleet is privately operated and a mentor is often not so readily available.
Graziers are looking to their options and it is a shame our esteemed regulator doesnít seem to survey them with the same zeal displayed toward commercial operations.
I will point out that the young pilot sadly lost recently in the NT on private operations had a large amount of commercial experience and was known to be a sensible self disciplined fellow.
I donít have those sorts of numbers to hand but I believe the big operators on BTEC work still had a fair share of accidents and donít believe that 2 accidents over 300,000 hours is right, although their approach to operations was usually better managed than usual. I have personally carried a Qld DPI officer who had been in 3 accidents that all crashed into water and as consequence Qld DPI helicopter marksmen were required to have HUET training. Big operators have been known to just keep rebuilding machines as required after accidents and as most are not hull insured and sometimes not reported the statistics are often not true. BTEC/shootout work does not have the same urgency as mustering and while the big days and long hours still had to be carried out it was never a problem to turn away and reposition for a more suitable shot. Tedium was often the biggest curse rather than commercial pressures.
6th Oct 2010, 19:49
I noticed there was a prang in Fiordland this week too, but haven't heard much about it. Anybody know any more?
7th Oct 2010, 11:11
Mangos all right, it's usually november that affliction strikes, people running around shooting each other and themselves. Helicopters are about to corner the market of the far side it seems.
Here in the latest crash comic ( as below) is the final of another story , previously spoken about on this forum. note the date of event but also the last safety recommendation.
silly me I darn well thought that we had pilots who could read the P chart that was located right above their mark I eyeball, the altimeter and OAT guage, had respect for the P charts, MAP, engine oil temps, and knew about simple things like DA Performance, load limits etc as a result of their PHL let alone their CHL qual.
Just what are we going to do at the operational level, bare the cost of teaching the basics to these gummpff's, tear their license up, or boot up the backjside a few of the flying schools that turn out these lack lustre performers???
On 14 September 2008, a Robinson Helicopter Company R44 Raven helicopter, registered VH-XXX,
was being operated on a series of scenic flights in the Bungle Bungle ranges area of the Purnululu
National Park, which was about 250 km south of Kununurra, Western Australia. At about
1230 Western Standard Time, the helicopter departed the Purnululu Aircraft Landing Area for an 18-
minute scenic flight with the pilot and three passengers. When the helicopter did not return by the
nominated time, a search was initiated. Shortly after, the burnt wreckage of the helicopter was located.
The four occupants were fatally injured.
The pilot had deviated from the regular scenic flight track, speed and profile to operate out of ground
effect (OGE) in close proximity to the terrain at a low airspeed or at the hover. The helicopterís
estimated OGE hover performance was marginal. It is likely that the high level of engine power
required to sustain a hover in the local conditions was not available, or not fully utilised by the pilot,
resulting in; an uncommanded descent, overpitching of the main rotor as a result of the pilotís attempts
to arrest that descent, and a main rotor RPM decay that significantly increased the rate of descent.
As a result of the investigation into this occurrence, two minor safety issues were identified:
There was no Australian requirement for endorsement and recurrent training conducted on
Robinson Helicopter Company R22/R44 helicopters to specifically address the preconditions
for, recognition of, or recovery from, low main rotor RPM.
There was a lack of assurance that informal operator supervisory and experience-based policy,
procedures and practices minimised the risk of pilots operating outside the individual pilotís
level of competence.
In response, the aircraft operator has since formalised the operating parameters applicable to pilots
conducting scenic flights. In addition, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority will be reviewing the
training requirements affecting R22/44 helicopters. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has issued
a Safety Advisory Notice to encourage operators to address the risk of their pilots operating outside the
individual pilotís level of competence.