I am always interested in learning from other peoples mistakes or tech failures. This is an interesting accident because it happened at night in an area with little environmental backlighting. There are plenty of rumours about what happened and I would like to see the official report. I don't understand why it is taking so long to appear unless there was a very complicated cause which has not yet been investigated to a satisfactory conclusion. The company concerned has many single pilot operations and I am sure that they would want to discover what caused the accident.
Helicopter crash probe calls for night vision goggles
EXPERTS investigating the crash of a police helicopter in Ayrshire have recommended that pilots on such operations should have night vision goggles and a higher level of training.
The accident happened in atrocious weather near Muirkirk, in February 2002, as a Strathclyde Police Eurocopter 135 was searching woodland and fields after reports of a child's cry in the area, which turned out to be a false alarm.
The Air Accident Investigation Branch report concluded that the problems started when the aircraft encountered heavy cloud. But it said that the flight would still have been uneventful if the pilot had had more experience of operating the autopilot system.
However, it pointed out that, although he had no experience of flying helicopters with autopilot, he was trained to a level above that required, and the industry norm.
After the crash, the pilot and Constable Kenneth Irvine, 36, from Hamilton, braved a possible fuel explosion to free Constable Neil McIntosh, 41, from Bishopbriggs, near Glasgow, who lay trapped in the wreckage with a broken leg.
The conclusion of the investigators is that there were no defects on the £2.5m helicopter and the events were consistent with the pilot's inadvertently pressing a switch on his cyclic control - although the pilot has no recollection of that happening.
They say his actions when he unexpectedly encountered poor weather conditions were reasonable and the flight would probably have been uneventful if the pilot had had better appreciation of the autopilot system.
The report recommends that pilots operating in support of police operations at night should be equipped with helmet-attached night vision goggles.
It also suggests that the Civil Aviation Authority should review the Police Air Operators' Manual to ensure that training in the use of autopilot systems is required to be covered by the operator during initial and recurrent line training.
It's as easy as pressing the "dump the AP and SAS all at once" button. Which is what, in a moment of stress, he did. What he should have/wanted to do, was press the "decouple" button to switch off the Hdg and Height holds. Different type/size of button on a different part of the cyclic.