Helitrans (Norway) AS-350 missing off coast of Germany
SAS Bloody hell you sounding like TSB ha ha, matter of fact, no all happened so quickly that after the yaw and it all went quite just switched to autopilot and self preservation mode....guess it worked, wasn't paying too much attention to pedal inputs at that time, Merry Xmas and New Year mate.......Newfie.
The photos that have been released have the look of an entirely survivable ditching which naturally draws attention to the survival equipment. No-one can predict when their aircraft is going to encounter difficulties but if inadequate regulations permit it, there will always be those who, for either commercial or other reasons, choose not to take what would ordinarily be considered sensible precautions. For a journey such as this across wide, freezing channels at night, lifejackets and liferafts would surely be absolute musts.
There have been many discussions on PPRuNe about whether regulation or training is more likely to prevent further tragedies, with many arguing against overly prohibitive rules and in favour of more training. That's understandable but when it comes to survival equipment, surely the regulations have to be designed for the lowest common denominator. Just like drivers with no seatbelt, there will always be those who think they know best.
Last edited by onesquaremetre; 27th Dec 2012 at 07:05.
It does not matter whether he needed to have a dinghi with him-it would not have prevented this accident
This statement seems a little short-sighted.
Who declared that fora such as these are exclusively for considering the cause of an accident. Airmanship is an equally if not more relevant point of discussion given that airmanship is the one factor within the pilot's field of response.
If this was a technical fault (which seems likely) then the pilot's response is where the only morsel of hope lay.
Your implication is that you seek to take on the role of adjudicator now insinuating that certain types of responses are associated with your definition of professionalism.
At which juncture of the posted conversations do you conclude (with certitude) that the poster has judged the pilot guilty?
I believe that anything which is likely to prompt a pilot (or crew) to take extra precaution as a result of reading this thread is a measure which reinforces safety and therefore, by association, professionalism also.
The apparent lack of survival equipment is an important consideration in this accident and if but one single helicopter crew somewhere in the world after reading this thread employ even one additional act of precaution (especially over icy waters) then the conversations herein have earned my respect and which in fact they already have.
I recall having a discussion about flying a single engined floatless helicopter over the Irish Sea one time (acutally it would have been twice....as it was planned to be a round trip).
My simple reply was "NO...Nope....Not me!".
It was done by someone else....but with a raft, suits, and life jackets aboard.
I don't swim nearly good enough with a helicopter strapped to my butt thus gladly give up those kinds of flights anymore.
Folks....every fatal crash needs to looked at, picked apart, studied, and discussed....to identify all the things that could have been done to avoid it happening and to find ways to mitigate those factors in the future.
It is not afixing "blame" but rather to embrace the right responses to mitigating risks while still accomplishing the tasks at hand.
If I ever died in a helicopter crash....I would want it to be no different. I would like to think in the end it was something besides my own doing that did me in but then don't we all.
These folks did not set out to wind up in the water that day.....but they did and they died as a result. If we do not seek the answers then all we do is write off two of our own for no good benefit. That would be the real tragedy in my view.
I did not question the need for survival equipment, didn't really see why that should matter day vs night either. It's just that when the next guy reads the thread and picks up on this being a nightflight, he starts making assumtions about all kinds of other stuff. And then the ball starts rolling on this. It has previous been stated that this happened at night in crap weather, and it derailed the whole thread. So nothing personal, and no hard feelings.
It was my mistake which if I'd read the earlier posts in the thread more thoroughly I wouldn't have made.
Had it been after dark the air temperature would have been colder, reducing survival times further and there would have been less of a chance of the incident being visible to local surface vessels that might have rendered assistance, as was seen in the 225 ditching in the North Sea recently. With this accident though, it appears that the apparent absence of some items of survival equipment significantly outweighs any aggravating factors associated with a night ditching, hence my snappy response. Sorry.
Last edited by onesquaremetre; 27th Dec 2012 at 15:32.
Thone1, thanks for clearing things up in your post on the previous page.
I appreciate the comments by JimL about making a risk assessment and by Grenville about the importance of encouraging precaution. I will admit that for me this accident has renewed my commitment to track coastal whenever possible in singles and to carry sufficient safety equipment on SE over water flights - I don't mind admitting it.
This accident has happened in the middle of an assessment I am doing between the Bell 407 and AS 350 B3 and I have to say that the comments on PPRuNe in recent months on servo-transparency and hydraulic failures, plus now the threat of t/r driveshaft failure have slightly blurred my objectivity in the report and so in the new year I need to bring this [objectivity] back into focus.
The client was already leaning towards the B3 - mainly because his kids (who are young) like the open-form cabin but I am honestly conflicted (especially when I think about his family) as to which is the safer helicopter to recommend.
I know the 350 has heaps of safe flying hours to its credit but I'm concerned that it also has one or two quirks which I don't yet fully understand and which I need to make myself familiar with.
Because I don't want to induce a thread drift anyone with any fact based comments between the two types (for European based operations onshore mid-altitude range mainly private flying) please feel free to PM me.
I´m with you, survival equipment is essential, prolonged flight over water in a single engine helicopter should be avoided whatever the outcome to this investigation, but people will speculate and things will get confused and messed up.
I firmly believe that the BFU will publish their findings as soon as they can, that these findings will be correct and that those who act responsibly will take correct actions with regards to flight over water anyway (like @SASless said).
Until then, be sure that the SAR boys and girls are there to look for you potential customers who like to push it. The only thing that worries me is that most passengers will not have the insight that we have and therefor cannot distinguish between a responsible pilot and a risk-taker. That´s were rules and regulations come into play and need to be amended if deemed necessary.
Back to the cause. IF it was T/R driveshaft failure - and just that - anyone know, as SASless asked, whether you can maintain (lowish) altitude in a 350 given a failure when cruising at say 110kts plus? From distant recollection, the emergency procedure presumes one CAN land immediately, so should. Guess it's pretty hard to really simulate..... I suppose at a certain T/R pitch the effect on weather-cocking will be the equivalent of no spinning tail rotor, but it's surely an imprecise science. Any offers?
"Failure in Forward flight
In forward flight reduce the power as much as possible and maintain forward speed (weathercock effect), select a suitable landing area for a steep approach at a power enabling a reasonably coordinated flight.
-On final approach, shut down the engine and make an autorotative landing at the lowest possible speed."
What if the t/r driveshaft failure results in an overspeed. Can this be corrected manually with the fuel flow lever?
Based on Flyting's FM quote, you are going to be flying a low speed (sufficient to avoid weather cocking), you are going to be at the top end of a steep approach and then during the approach shut off the fuel!
Pray tell, how is one supposed to control yaw when selecting fuel off with low forward speed on final approach?
Thone 1 - define 'prolonged' - in this case the risk management is a case of 'how long is a piece of string'? since the emergency (whatever it was) could strike at any stage you are outside your ability to reach land (autorotative range?)
How far offshore do you have to go to consider that safety equipment is a good thing? Just how lucky do you feel?
Why on earth would you fly over cold water with no safety equipment? Better to take twice as long and follow the coastline.
I hope you haven't got the idea that I don't care about survival equipment. In Norway the rules are pretty straightforward (however cleverly consealed in law jargon), if you can't reach land in autorotation, you need floats. If you need floats, you need lifejackets. If you need life jackets and the sea temp is forecast to be lower than 10C, you need suits. Is this the same for performance class 3 in Germany? I have no information on the emergency equipment brought on this flight, except they did not have floats.
I totally agree on what you are saying about the customer not being able to judge good airmanship from bad. It is a problem. Especially when the pilot that gets you to your destination through the piss poor weather is often deemed the "better" pilot by the customer. While the pilot who makes the decision to turn back or land is not "good enough". This is a mindset that is very detrimental to safe operations.
I see that many discussions here are held between individuals that are basically in agreement. It is hard to convey tone of voice through text alone, especially for me. So I hope I am not misunderstood.