Old 26th Nov 2012, 07:10
  #66 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: On the move...
Age: 54
Posts: 359
Update from the ATSB,
Update 26 November 2012
The Global Positioning System (GPS) data that was recovered from the accident site indicates that the helicopter took off normally, before being established on a heading of 035 °M at 1,500 ft above mean sea level (AMSL). After maintaining 1,500 ft for 17 seconds, the helicopter commenced a gradual turn to the right and started to descend. The descending right turn continued for about 35 seconds until the last GPS plot at an altitude of about 728 ft, or about 725 ft above the elevation of the accident site. The location of the accident site was consistent with a continuation of the recorded flight path.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is examining various scenarios to explain the helicopter’s flight path, including spatial disorientation and pilot incapacitation. As part of these activities, the ATSB has arranged for simulations to be conducted of the flight by external agencies. Given the time required to conduct and analyse these simulations, the final report is now not expected to be released until the first quarter of 2013.
Although the reasons for the flight path have not yet been determined, the ATSB is concerned about the conduct of visual flight rules (VFR) flights in dark night conditions – that is, conditions with minimal celestial illumination, terrestrial lighting cues or visible horizon. The ATSB is reviewing the regulatory requirements and guidance for the conduct of night VFR flights, and the training and ongoing assessment of pilot skills to conduct such flights. The ATSB is also preparing an ‘Avoidable Accidents’ educational report focussing on night VFR accidents.
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