In one of the pics the T/R looks fairly intact, maybe that wouldn't be the case if it hit the water turning at some 2000 RPM? Maybe the investigators have used indicators like that to suspect t/r driveshaft failure. I'm guessing it would be relatively easy for investigators to determine if it was turning or not on impacting the surface.
Apologies if this has already been asked but is it known if they had a raft aboard?
Given the sea temperature this was probably the only thing (and survival suits) that might have protected them against the effects of the cold water (for a bit longer at least). Presumably the raft would have carried flares which may also have helped?
What were the requirements for survival equipment on this flight? Did they require a raft or lifejackets? If not, someone needs to have a very close look at the rules with a view to a re-write. Ignoring the fact that the accident happened quite close to the departure airfield, the island hop between Fehmarn and Lolland is about 12 miles and would have been significant over a warm sea by day in the middle of summer. I can't swim that far.
Last edited by onesquaremetre; 22nd Dec 2012 at 20:12.
If this flight was not carrying fare-paying pax, ie. that he was paying for going form A to B, there is not a requirement for floats from the regs. as far as I know. It might be in the company's Operating Manual, but if this was a ferry with two crew, then it is up to the pilot to choose the route that he will be comfortable with. Now, how smart it is to fly over large bodies of (freezing) water without suits,dingy and floats are a different discussion, but that it's illegal is unlikely.
It looks like really bad luck, having to fly (further) out over open water due to the exercise, and then have an emergency which dictates a forced landing. What are the odds of that?!
Let's get back to the issue of Life Jackets, Raft, Exposure Suits and a planned overwater flight for a bit.
How much of the flight was over +4C water?
Did the Regulations require Survival Gear (Jackets, Raft, Suits)?
Did Company Policy require such gear?
If not....what was the actual reason none was carried?
Did the Bodies show any evidence of Jackets being worn?
Did the wreckage contain any Life Jackets?
What was the weather in the area of the crash at the time....anyone have the TAF or other source of information? In the US EMS crash thread someone almost immediately posts the weather data. Did I miss that here?
Has anyone posted a full list of photos and attempted to point out any abnormalities or unusual evidence of a failure of a component, perhaps some of missing components?
A few answers to these sorts of questions would seem to be in order long before all and sundry attempt to determine the reason for the crash by peering into their own Tea Cup.
Stick to the Known and work towards the Unknown shall we?
The one thing I think you can say about this accident is that it is very bl**dy confusing.
First we have this:
Wx on departure (Lubeck) was CAVOK, but weather in Copenhagen area was shite with snow and low VV.
It puzzles what they were doing over the bay of Lübeck on a flight from Lübeck to Halmstad. It doesn't seem to be the most direct route either. Moreover, in a single-engine helicopter in the winter, wouldn't one choose to remain over terra firma up to Fehmarn and then have the shortest possible Baltic crossing over to Rødby in Denmark (with ferries departing every 30 minutes below you)?
Maybe that's what he tried to do but Weather might have been an issue. We had some snow moving in from the west heading eastbound.
There was no poor weather.
And that's just to do with weather. Everything from CAVOK to impending snow showers!
Regarding equipment on board we have been told there was nothing, nowt, zero!
No dingy, floats ect.. There has been a discution in the norwegian media about required equipment for this flight..
I admit that I have it easier to keep up with the details covered in german news as a native speaker, but @AS, you´re absolutely right.
It´s a small gap between "flying hyds off in an AS350 in poor weather is hard" to "they had horrible weather and their hydraulics were off" and some like to criss-cross it regularly.
Facts: There was a police exercise "nearby". They chose to fly over water rather than over land to avoid. This is all the influence this exercise had on this flight. Weather in the area was CAVOK. Copenhagen is not even near and therefor not a contributing factor in the accident. SAR Sea King and several ships were on scene quickly but didn´t find anything. The initial report of a SARBE near Fehmarn was false. Both bodies were discovered 50 m away from the wreck. The wreck was found by a german minehunter. The bodies were found by police (?) divers. Initial inspection by the BFU (german accident investigation branch) pointed towards a tail rotor drive shaft failure.
That is it. Everything else is speculation and guesswork.
And by the way: I´ve flown the AS350 BB (single hydraulic system) hyds off on almost every dual sortie during DHFS, it is very manageable if you practice it.
Long time ago on a powerline patrol southbound on the right side of the line in a 350D a friend had a tail rotor drive shaft failure at 150 ft and as I recall about 70 kts so he had low power to begin with. He did a 30-40 foot run on landing on a very near-bye frozen lake off to his right ( high skid gear with skis 3 pax and full fuel). I am not sure if he retarded the throttle in the air but I seem to recall that he did not. It was a good bit of aviating on his part. I do recall he said it was not a problem. -40C and a 10-20 kt wind from the west. He had secured the aircraft, put on the blade and body covers by the time some kind soul came to pick him and his pax up about 25 minutes later. He even took off the drive shaft cover to ascertain what the problem was - Shaft had sheared at the bearing 1/2 way down the tail boom. We flew down with a heater and a new drive shaft 2 days later in the morning and were back with the machine by 1500 hrs.
Helitrans (Norway) AS-350 missing off coast of Germany
I had an overspeed followed by engine quiting in a SD2 couple years ago. Turns out it was a bearing in the governor let go, but first indications due the engine overspeed were of a tail rotor driveshaft failure....made for interesting times on the way down. Successful Mayday and landing and p/u an hour later due a good floatplane buddy. Oh yeah upon flare and landing, took the driveshaft out so yep lucky.....but we were thinking tail rotor driveshaft Until bench test on engine a la Honeywell confirmed failure was due Governor bearing failure, first indication was a huge yaw before N1 et al started winding down. Was my third engine failure in over 12000 hrs but didn't even get an indication before it all went pair shaped .....beer and smokes went down really well on recovery to camp......ha ha