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Just seen pictures on Sky News of a spectacular (scary as fork!) crash in USA. Engaged in high alt winching op (top of mountain) pilot "appears to lose control", and heli hits mountainside, then rolls "hundreds of feet" down. Pictures show crew being thrown out on way down. Astoundingly, all survive, albeit with some injuries. All the best to the crew, wishing a fast recovery.
Location: Liverpool based Geordie, so calm down, calm down kidda!!
Rubbish!! We had a similar thing happen to a Sea King a few years ago when one of our pilots got a rotor blade in the face. Survival was pretty good then. In this incident the crashworthy seat wouldn't have made any difference with little vertical impact apparent. Still freakin scary though!!
Tricky to work out what happened there, but could be an engine failure - Any other ideas? It certainly looks as if he had no escape option as he appears to be facing into the hillside. All very lucky to get out alive even if they are injured.
Not so certain about an engine failure, tail rotor perhaps? He appeared to spin through 180 degrees and there was a definite downwards "jerk" as he tried to stop the rotation. With little or no forward airspeed, he was stuffed. If the cards are against you..... Best wishes to the crew.
Appeared to be dumping fuel prior to attempting pick-up, perhaps indicating they were very close to their limits? Maybe uneven ground effect, or loss of tail rotor effectivness. Then again, I know v little about such contraptions - and should know better than to speculate. Glad to hear that all are now expected to recover, even the guy who was thrown out and then had his machine roll over him - ouch! Beags, the probe struck once it all started going pear-shaped methinks. Not sure what the TV networks could do, apart from banning live pics. Actually I think some do now have 5 sec delay, after a nasty cop/robber chase which ended in a rather gruesome suicide on live TV a year or so ago.
Location: Grobelling through the murk to the sunshine above.
From the TV footage I suspect it was a loss of tail-rotor authority. It wouldn't take much of a gust at that altitude to set things going in the wrong direction. I think the aircraft shown dumping fuel was one of the subsequent rescue attempts displaying a bit of quick-learning.
CNN this morning said they had deposited a couple of mountian rescue guys first. Looks like some sort of loss of control, though as a fixed wing guy am able to tell little more. Were 9 climbers total of whom 3 were in the crevasse you see at the start of the footage.
Suggest from the altitude, the terrain and the the tricky hover situation that the crew were facing, the shear downdraft and subsequent rotor wash have sent them on a little excursion.....the Blackhawk is notorious for its rotor wash especially as its an extremely powerful helicopter. Once a chopper enters this envelope the chances of recovery are slim, especially once again in these extreme operating conditions. Vortex ring, a phenomena that is more common to some choppers than others, is another possiblity but only the rotor heads could offer more valuable input on this.
Zone hot, we have casualties....request dustoff...."Albatross 414 is up....call your location....".
There was an extensive thread on the Rotorheads forum about this crash with everything from LTE to vortex ring to engine failures suggested as the cause. A recent American visitor to our flight (and a blackhawk operator) was of the opinion that they just ran out of power and failed to execute a flyaway before hitting the mountain - apparently the latest models of Blackhawk are very powerful, even at 11000 ft but the one that crashed was an older and heavier model.