PPRuNe Forums - View Single Post - SAR S-92 Missing Ireland
View Single Post
Old 16th Apr 2017, 07:23
  #1040 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Canada
Posts: 105
Originally Posted by agirl View Post
I think you may be right in what you are saying about the route guide. It seems to answer a lot of questions as to why they ended up where they did.

Please excuse me if my questions sound silly but, as they were flying from the east coast, would there have been an option to enter "approach Blacksod east" and, if so, would that still have brought them out beyond Blackrock?

Also, the following is the conversation that some people are referring to when they say Capt. Fitzpatrick thought they were already at Blackrock when they were overflying the smaller islands near Blackrock:

Co-pilot : Ok so small target at six miles eleven o'clock Large out to the right there.
Commander: Just a small little island....that's BLMO itself.

To me it actually looks like the commander is responding to both parts of the statement as there is a pause within her answer - the small target is "just a small little island" and then possibly pointed to Blackrock as the large target.

Perhaps they did see a flash from the lighthouse in the distance just at that point in time and flew towards it without, as seems to be now apparent, knowing the height?
A girl...

It is a complex question on why they "...ended up where they did". I think that what some of us think about this "route" answers the question of why in hell a letdown procedure was "designed" around a 300 foot rock. It wasn't.

If the pilots of R116 though it was, something is badly wrong. However, there are some very qualified SAR people on this forum, and it seems that generally, a letdown out there doesn't need a procedure, it is something that the crew and aircraft can accomplish routinely. I think they just push a button with APP1 on it.

Once that is done, and they are at 200 feet, and they think they are on a procedure in which BLKMO is next, they are doomed unless the system gives them adequate warning of what is out there that they are unaware of and they can recover from the brink.

I don't know the answer to your question of Blackrock East. I expect Blackrock is a VFR only approach, while Blacksod obviously can be approached IFR in some fashion. My experience of autopilot coupled navs is that you set your destination and once nearby you call up the available approaches and activate one and the autopilot begins to fly that. I don't know how the S-92 system works, and most importantly I don't know if these homemade approaches become canned, i.e. programmed into the FMS.

However that may have come to be, it is clear that neither Captain Fitzpatrick or Capt. Duffy were aware of a 300 foot rock in what they were doing. It seems they were discovering things as they went, but as others have pointed out, some things said by Capt. Fitzpatrick don't make sense. Neither does the 200 foot altitude.

My background is in fixed wing supervisory management, safety systems, and some crash investigation supporting litigation counsel and testifying, including one accident in Ireland involving the IAA. I'm more a questions than answers person at this stage, but maybe somebody else here can answer your questions.

Back in the mid 90's I was having a pint with an Aer Lingus 747 captain in Willy Ryan's there by the Phoenix Park entrance and we were talking about competition for Aer Lingus and Ryanair. At some point he said, "Padraig, aviation over here is really a cottage industry."

I know that that cottage industry has a fine safety record, yet this accident has some features, such as this "approach" and two helicopters on the same mission not knowing where the other is, that indicate the CHC at least isn't running the tightest of operations. The questions being asked by the other lads are valid questions.

Last edited by cncpc; 16th Apr 2017 at 07:45.
cncpc is offline