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SASless
24th Feb 2009, 19:08
Sooooooo.....if no requirement to show compliance with the original design criteria for plastic wind screens or any other STC'd component....who totes the bucket now?

Just how could the FAA approve an STC for a wind screen and NOT require proof it meets the same standard as the item it is replacing?

Did Sikorsky know of this problem before they issued their letter suggesting restricted airspeeds and NOT pass that bit of knowledge along to its customers?

Under the concept of "burden of knowledge" would they not be compelled legally to have done so?

If PHI installed the plastic wind screens knowing they had not been tested or had not been proven to be as strong as the glass screens they replaced, or were aware of the need to restrict the airspeed prior to the accident....what liability do they hold now?

unstable load
25th Feb 2009, 01:48
Weight is also a reason for fitting the acrylic screens.
The screens weigh less than the glass and then the AC generator becomes redundant because of not requiring it to heat the screens. A 3rd inverter can be fitted as electrical backup if desired.

Total wieght saving in the region of 50-ish lbs. Not a lot but it helps in hot conditions.

skiddriver
25th Feb 2009, 04:49
SASless - you're confusing design intent with design criteria. Just because Sikorsky designed their S-76 windscreens for bird strike resistance doesn't mean that the bird strike criteria applied to the S-76. That criteria had not been accepted in the US when the S-76 was designed and certificated.

My '65 Mustang did not have rear seat seatbelts. They weren't required when the car was delivered. The fact that they were required in later model years did not mean that Ford had to retroactively install them in their '65 models.

Proving that PHI knew that the cast acrylic windscreens did not meet the design criteria that the S-76 was NOT required to comply with and get a judgement against them for installing an FAA approved part is a stretch. The cast acrylic windscreens were allowed by the regulator. PHI won't be held to a higher standard than the FAA.

A better question, and one for another thread, is why critical design criteria are not applied retroactively to earlier designs.

ramen noodles
25th Feb 2009, 06:48
It is safe to say that NO civil helicopter is stronger than the S76 in terms of bird strike safety, except the S92, the EC225 and the AW-139, the only civil helos to meet the new bird strike standard.

Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for all of us who fly older, grandfathered machines. And it is not just windshields that are vulnerable, the drive shaft covers, blades, engines, and controls.

The same can be said of crashworthy fuselages, fuel tanks, turbine burst protection, flaw tolerant structure (note that the S92 and AW139 fully meet the new FAR/JAR, the EC225 meets selected paragraphs only).

It would be good for ppruners to learn the certification rules for their helicopter, and for the machines they are looking to buy, and seek machines that have the highest level of protection available.

Variable Load
25th Feb 2009, 13:31
What has been posted so far is mostly correct. The original S76 bird strike certification with the glass windshields was to BCAR (British) requirements that existed way back when. At the time FAR's did not require any bird strike capability of the windshield.

Subsequently stretched acrylic windshields were also STC'd and certified against the BCAR requirements, however it was found that the cast acrylic ones did not meet this certification standard.

This is where the Sikorsky 109 knot Vne comes into play. They have stated that to "meet an equivalent level of safety with cast acrylic windshields then a 109 knot Vne should be applied". Note the words "equivalent level of safety". As the FAR certification standard that applies to any S76 does not require this "level of safety" then the operator need not apply the speed limitation.

It's going to be interesting for the lawyers :eek:

SASless
25th Feb 2009, 13:43
it was found that the cast acrylic ones did not meet this certification standard.


How was this determined?

Was it the cast wind screen maker?

Who first went on record stating that?

When was that information made public or transmitted to the FAA, Sikorsky, and the operators?

Upon learning of this problem with meeting the "certification standard"....what did the FAA, Sikorsky, and operators do?

If PHI knew of this situation and installed a component known to fall short of the safety standard in place at the time....where does that leave them re liability?

I should have gone to law school after getting my helicopter ratings....and moved to Lafayette and gotten rich off the helicopter industry. It does seem to be a lucrative profession. (Suing helicopter operators....not flying for them!)

Variable Load
25th Feb 2009, 13:54
SASless, I wish I knew the answers to your questions. Me thinks being an expert witness could also be profitable :D

Maybe the FAA should be the ones asked to be accountable, as their standards had been proven to be lacking when other regulators had recognised the deficiencies?

However we are discussing a relatively new airframe here, not a 30 year old S76A. PHI must have some liability as well, assuming they knew about the lack of birdstrike protection!!??

SASless
25th Feb 2009, 14:02
If it was the OEM glass wind screen perhaps but it was an after market STC'd item thus I can see an out for Sikorsky in that regard. That being said, if Sikorsky knew of the problem and did not issue a letter pointing it out to the operators (as they did after the accident) then I can see a problem for them in that regard.

A collateral issue for PHI if examined closely by an attorney for the plaintiffs is the hard nosed...take it or leave management attitude that prevailed/prevails at PHI. Common talk amongst the pilots has long been the quickest way to find yourself looking for a job is to make any kind of noise that challenges the way business is done. No matter what PHI management wants to say about that, it is bound to carry over to the safety program and safety environment within the operation.

Where the dollar is King....safety will always be a Serf.

unstable load
25th Feb 2009, 14:02
SASless,
According to the AOL the difference is in the manufacturing process, where the cast screen is a piece of material that is heated and formed between 2 moulds to shape it whereas the stretched one was a thicker piece that was heated and stretched over a form to shape. Apparently the stretching imparts a sort of "pre-stressed" strength to the screen that makes it comparatively strong like the glass composite screens.

rotorbrent
26th Feb 2009, 04:44
You hit a 4lbs hawk at 120 knots you are going to have issues no matter what type of windshields you have and no helicopter is tested to that level

SASless
26th Feb 2009, 13:05
From a Sikorsky Press Release yesterday telling of PHI's 60th year of operation and telling of the long association of Sikorsky and PHI. Mentioned the PHI Fleet has 43 S-76's and 10 S-92's.

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture, and service. The company's long commitment to safety and innovation is reflected in its mission statement: "We pioneer flight solutions that bring people home everywhere ... every timeTM." United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., provides a broad range of high-technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.

helimutt
28th Feb 2009, 11:11
Funny how a car at 180mph can survive a seagull strike with limited damage but a helicopter gets downed!!!


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sox6
28th Feb 2009, 11:48
eddie

There is this: American Eurocopter - Improving flight safety: American Eurocopter to offer the ALERTS Vision 1000 system as standard equipment on AStar helicopters (http://www.eurocopterusa.com/news_features/2009/02-23-09-ALERTS-Vision-1000.asp)

magbreak
28th Feb 2009, 11:56
Sikorsky have a system that has been developed to bring the FDR up to EASA standards. It has I believe been FAA approved and the EASA approval is under way.

They are using three cameras in the glare shield.

Shell Management
28th Feb 2009, 12:14
The Sikorsky system is a fudge that only makes up for the fact the C++ FDR does not meet the JAR-OPS 3 requirements - they only realised there was a requirement after the first aircraft went to the UK.

ramen noodles
28th Feb 2009, 18:45
Shell Management said, "....the C++ FDR does not meet the JAR-OPS 3 requirements - they only realised there was a requirement after the first aircraft went to the UK."

Isn't that a self-serving piece of drivel, if you truly are a part os "Shell management"? You speak as if the aircraft made itself and flew to Europe, snuck into service and was then discovered to be sub-standard!

Was that aircraft bought, paid for, specified, built, delivered and introduced to service by operating dolts who opened the box in Europe, to discover it was wrongly built? Or did everyone in the chain allow a grand fathered design into service? Please do not tell me that a 332L has a compliant system and a new C++ does not!

SASless
28th Feb 2009, 19:11
Who spec'd the aircraft?

Last time I checked the guy who writes the check spells out how he wants the aircraft equipped and what avionics/electronic systems are to be installed.

Of course with the changes going on with CAA, JARs, and now EASA....why ever should there be any confusion?

Shell Management
28th Feb 2009, 19:46
Gentleman

I think you will find compliance with the regulations fairly high in most contracts. But reading the appropriate local regulations rather than assuming the FAA knows best does help achieve compliance.:ok:

In the case of the Amelia 76 assuming the FAA regs are sufficient is also rather relavent. Think on.:hmm:

And noodles - yes it does as does the EC155B1s serving Shell in the SNS.

ramen noodles
28th Feb 2009, 19:49
shell, I am curious, tell me the difference - seriously.

rotorbrent
1st Mar 2009, 07:27
Its all great reading but when put up againist the reality of some companies that take 4-6 months to repairs their AWOS machines on one hand, then complain about the reduced loads for additional fuel because thier WX machines are out. I doubt they could read or understand JAR-OPS

Others have helipads so poorly located that a performance 1 helicopter requirements would only be met on about 20% of the landings due to adverse winds or multiple obstructions . And they are not stopping the 80% of flights that are not able to have performance 1 .

Or the best one I have seen in a long time is Its a storm evacuation so all the "safety" rules are "waived"

So with companies like that its pretty easy that they can not keep all track of what they want againist what they are actually doing. When they write out specs.

Hilife
1st Mar 2009, 13:21
The Sikorsky system is a fudge that only makes up for the fact the C++ FDR does not meet the JAR-OPS 3 requirements - they only realised there was a requirement after the first aircraft went to the UK.

Not true Iím afraid. The operator queried the minimum requirements with the relevant AA and was informed in writing all was in order as specíd. I believe that as a result of the Copterline accident the requirements were changed - Post delivery. The operator was informed of this and a solution needed to be identified by the OEM.

Iím not aware of any platform manufacturer that builds CVRís or FDRís, so a vender unit that meets current airworthiness requirements is offered as a baseline or customer option. OPS regulations change over time, so what is good today might not necessarily be good tomorrow.

As has been suggested on this thread, there is a fix currently installed, although I believe the STC is still awaiting approval pending final tweaks?

JimL
1st Mar 2009, 13:41
The amendment date of JAR-OPS 3 that included the required parameters was Amendment 3 effective on April 4th 2004. At this time the parameters moved from being in guidance to being part of the rule.

Perhaps this problem occurred because the aircraft was spec'ed in the US when it was intended, eventually, to go on to the UK register.

Jim

zalt
1st Mar 2009, 14:06
So the cameras on the S76 are just being approved in 2009,
the rule was effective 2004 (before Copterliner) and
JimL please help me, the rule making started in 200x

Sound to me like the Type Certificate holder took their eye off the ball and missed something that would be a rule in a relatively large operating environment.

It also sounds to me like JAR-OPS 3 is enforced by toothless tigers.

JimL
1st Mar 2009, 14:29
Zalt,

The work started on the revision and the change of status from guidance to rule about 2001 - manufacturers were on the committee which had oversight of the work.

Rather more complicated than it appears. The changeover to the glass cockpit required an interface and/or a bus that could make the parameters available.

Retrofitting, once the problem was brought to light, would have been an expensive proposition for what is to be a discontinued range and, where, for other than the JAA (the USA for example) no FDR was required (and if fitted would not have to meet the latest ICAO/JAR requirements).

Better then that the cameras provided recording of the flight instrument displays - particularly as they would also be of a type that could meet the (relatively new) ED112 requirements. A good solution all round.

Yes, the TCH holder took their eye off the ball - mostly because they lost their regulatory expert (committee member) to 'health issues'. Once the discrepancy had come to light (and it is not clear that there was any 'agenda') all had to work together to provide a solution in the shortest time possible. This involved the sourcing of relatively new equipment and trialling it to ensure it met the ED112 Standards.

All who have been involved in these types of issues know that it is better to all work to a common solution than to dig their heels in and ground aircraft.

Toothles tigers - probably not in this case.

Jim

SASless
1st Mar 2009, 14:33
I have head them called a lot of things but Toothless Tigers....never!


"Tigers".....isn't that a Bristow Trade Mark!

rotorbrent
1st Mar 2009, 16:06
yes

but to put teeth into just the basic of safety standards we are proposing the

Pilot Distraction Penalty Clause

Any distraction from the pilot from concentrating on just safely flying the helicopter has the following fines.

The rigs AWOS weather is OTC fine.

$1,000 fine, pilots gets $100 dollars each, Duty time is reduced by 1 hour

Your walking out the helicoter and the dispatcher runs out with a "Just One More" box, passenger,leg to your manifast.

$1,000 fine pilot gets $100 and duty day is reduced by another hour

Your fly out and try to make your 20 min call you make 14 calls, sat messages, your dispatch make several calls.

$1,000 fine pilots gets another $100 and another reduction of duty day.

You call at 5 mins and they are still not ready. Not like this flight has been schedualed for two days.

1,000, 100 another hour off

You find the wind is adverse not allowing a performance 1 or PC2 approach
another 1,000 100 and hour

you land and you have to pump your own fuel

another 1,000 100 and hour

Another manifest change distraction on the inbound

another 1,00 100 and hour

you fly back onshore. Your out of duty time fill out the report for the $7,000 in fines collect your additional $700 for the day and head home.

Intill the basic of safey distractions in communications, changing dutys from pilot, line service, manifest changes , are addressed with penalities having higher tech FDR's does not keep helicopters out of the water,marsh or dirt.

tottigol
1st Mar 2009, 20:47
Rotorbrent, would you mind posting that again?
This time in English for all to understand.
Thank you.

SASless
2nd Mar 2009, 04:36
How many times has PHI had a bird strike on the 76 that resulted in an engine or both engines to be knocked off line? Is this the first occurrence?

How about Air Log....do they use the cast or stretched acrylic wind screens as does PHI?

Has Air Log had any bird strikes on their 76's that had similar damage?

Bristow have any on their 76's?

Would Sikorsky have any data generated by the various operators that would answer those kinds of questions?

Another thought.....why did it take so long to find any bird remains on the aircraft? I would think there would be lots of feathers and other residue to be seen or was the aircraft in such a state that was not possible?

sox6
2nd Mar 2009, 07:14
How many times has PHI had a bird strike on the 76 that resulted in an engine or both engines to be knocked off line? Is this the first occurrence?

Rumour has it once (single lever, rapid recovery).

How about Air Log....do they use the cast or stretched acrylic wind screens as does PHI?

Has Air Log had any bird strikes on their 76's that had similar damage?

Bristow have any on their 76's?


I think you will find CHC and a few other operators have S-76s. So why the narrow questions? And isn't Air logistics a Bristow company?

Another thought.....why did it take so long to find any bird remains on the aircraft? I would think there would be lots of feathers and other residue to be seen or was the aircraft in such a state that was not possible?

I was wondering that myself. Perhaps it was washed off by the swamp water. What is strange is that bird debris was found much quicker on the Hudson Airbus, though they were looking for it in that case.

Geoffersincornwall
2nd Mar 2009, 08:02
(Apologies to Flight International for stealing their editors headline)

Seems to me that as a global industry we are never going to make any real progress until we take our heads our of our collective backsides and stop tracking the Lowest Common Denominator.

Using the regulations as the best guide to how we should go to work would see the demise of ABS, Stability Control Systems, Traction Control Systems etc in the motor industry none of which are mandatory but many of us would not put our precious family in a vehicle that did not have at least one of them.

If we used 'Best Practice' as a guide and stopped slavishly adopting a minimalist approach then we might make some progress. We put so much blame on the regulators but simultaneously claim to be professionals.

Parochialism - by anyone, but particularly in the US (FAA), makes us look unprofessional, uneducated, not willing to learn from others and totally focussed on short term gain over long term reputation. The quote from PHI's publicity material doesn't look so well informed when you realise that this company, a world player, DID NOT seek out the best practice in this case.

Remember the big difference between the UK CAA (hitherto a major player in the development of JAROPS) and other regulators (FAA??) is that the CAA can be sued for 'negligent regulation', so everytime there is a serious accident or incident they MUST consider additional regulations or changes to current regulations lest it happens again and leaves them open to legal action.

We are now a mature and global industry with enough accident data to know how our world works and what makes its people tick so surely can begin to act like grown-ups and take a lesson from the bloody bankers that 'short-term' gain can lead to long term pain.

G.

:ugh:

SASless
2nd Mar 2009, 12:36
Sox,

There was no intent to "limit" the companies....as I also asked whether Sikorsky might also have some data gleaned from reports from Operators.

I broke out Bristow and Air Log as though they are all part of one big happy family they are quite distinctly different in the locales they operate in and the regulations and SOP's they adhere to are quite different despite their being in the same "family".

It does make one wonder why an engine found at the bottom of a fast flowing river that had hit the water at a high rate of knots could have bird feathers and other residue and the 76 that hit on muddy ground and had not been submerged in moving water did not.

I wonder what the explanation for that might be?

I too have heard of a previous incident of a bird strike at PHI where an engine lever got knocked back.

I wonder what kind of wind screen was installed on that one? (....and what it was replaced by!)

Geoffersincornwall
2nd Mar 2009, 14:38
I have an old buddy who's a bit of a short-arse but by crikey he's proven to be an agile chap around his S61/Sea King cockpit. The first occasion was when his CoP shut the No1 Fuel Valve instead of the cross-feed sitting in hover at 40 feet with the dangly bits listening for Russian subs. With lightning reactions he got to the Fuel Valve before the donkey stopped. By all accounts his arms were'nt quite long enough to beat the sh** out of his (now cowering) cojo. I think they changed the design of the crossfeed switch after that one.

A more relevent occasion was when a duck came through the centre pane of the windshield and took both SSLs back, his agility and speedy reactions saved the day again. You know what they say,,,, if it can happen then one day it will!!

G

:eek:

Gomer Pylot
2nd Mar 2009, 20:12
SASless, the reason may be that the birds entered the engine of the airliner, while they apparently didn't enter the engine of the S76. They were producing power at impact, according to the NTSB. Those on the airliner weren't, which is why it went into the Hudson River. It's much harder for something to get into an S76 engine than a pure jet engine, because of the design differences. Not impossible, but harder.

tottigol
2nd Mar 2009, 20:51
I'm quite sure that SAS did not refer to the engines in his comment, rather to the cockpit environment, just for clarity.
The A-320 entered the water at a very smooth 150kts GS (great airmanship), friction with water being quite higher than with air, yet the NTSB/SNECMA/CFM were able to find consistent "organic" remains inside the engines and nacelles.
The S-76 apparently impacted the shallow water from 700' (?) with almost no forward velocity vector and was not even completely submerged.
99% of bird strikes involving windshield/chin bubbles failures have a considerable amount of gory/bloody/feathery stuff in the cockpit and do not require a CSI style investigation (of the type so visible on TV these days) to determine there was such an impact.
Just recently there was a bird strike reported on a 139 radome, and even though the bird did not actually penetrate the internal liner there were very visible remains, aircraft was @ cruise speed.

Gomer Pylot
2nd Mar 2009, 21:03
Perhaps, but that's the way I read it. If I'm wrong, I apologize.

I think it's entirely possible for a large bird to hit the windshield at or near the center post, knock in the windshields, and bounce off without entering the cockpit. The windshields can do a lot of damage inside by themselves. I have zero personal knowledge of what happened, but I see no reason to believe that the bird could not have possibly bounced off instead of coming in. Just because something usually happens, it's not proof that it always happens.

SASless
2nd Mar 2009, 21:22
A second photograph of the accident scene...very similar to that released by the USCG shortly after the crash.

http://cdnll-8.liveleak.com/s/16/media16/2009/Feb/23/LiveLeak-dot-com-6c0c5c995e00-large_coptercrash.jpg?h=98def5142532b5a2abe9c539338feb72&e=1236633439&rs=150

ramen noodles
3rd Mar 2009, 03:04
Gomer, Having reviewed literally hundreds of films and photos of bird strike tests, I think your "bounce" theory is for the birds. Seriously, the damage is created when the object forces itself in, and in doing so, deforms the structure. The penetration is not performed by force particles once the object has bounced off the structure.

Swamp76
3rd Mar 2009, 08:45
The incident I had a couple weeks ago was nearly identical the the PHI incident with the exception that I saw the hawk and, after a quick pull, hit it just forward of the windshield.

They don't bounce, they disintegrate, just like a big beetle.

The liquid bird was spread from the skytrac antenna, up the windshield, and all over the head. Only the bony bits stuck in windshield wiper (broken) were recognizable as bird.

tottigol
3rd Mar 2009, 16:13
With reference to the limitations of cast and stretched acrylic windshields as opposed to the glass ones, an internal memo is limiting VNEs on those '76s with stretched acrylic windshields to 123 KTAS, and 109 KTAS for those with cast acrylic windshields.
No speed limitations are imposed to those aircraft with glass windshields.
Following Sikorsky's bulletin regarding impact resistance speed limitations, was this bulletin just a recent afterthought or were those widely known limitations?
And if so who elected to take a shortcut on safety by not accordingly imposing airspeed limitations when replacing windshields?

Of course all this stands based on the validity of the bird strike theory.

David Stepanek
3rd Mar 2009, 23:10
Hey there JimL,
Jim is right about eye off the ball, but it didnít have anything to do with how the operator specíd the aircraft. The 76s does not have all the digital outputs to provide input to the FDR that JAR OPS 3 requires in the 2004 rule. As for dropping the ball well yes my recollection is that it was finally brought to the Sikorsky sales team attention by a very astute manager in Red Hill trying to convince a customer to use the 76 in the Southern North Sea.

As for the Bristow aircraft yes they were specíd in the USA, mostly in my office and in New Iberia. Bristow/Air log, (it was actually OLOG at the time as this was 2002), specíd the 76s with the intent that they would cross both Atlantic and Pacific. I note again it was 2002 before the JAR OPS 3 rule, but in the middle of the ruling discussion, still no excuse. Sikorsky and the customer did put a lot of thought on the proper kit to add/delete so the aircraft could go to different business units. Hence Iíll answer part of another question posed on this site, the Bristow C+ and ++s delivered since 2002 were delivered with glass windshields. Canít comment on what as occurred since but I understand they do remain that way.

Jim is also right about working to a solution and (I will say I am completely out of the loop with Sikorsky now) that is how the camera solution came about. Due to lack of digital outputs required, donít know which ones though.

I understand the D model with a new cockpit and flight control system will fix this issue.

And since this is a rumor network I will say one rumor I heard from reliable sources: the team sent in for the initial recovery did not have bio hazard suits so they sanitized the accident site. Only a rumor but does explain the delay in identifying the birdís remains.

SASless
4th Mar 2009, 01:19
Why would having Bio Suits not be a standard procedure?:ugh:

One would assume contamination of the scene as well as protecting investigators would necessitate the use of such garb.:rolleyes:

Boudreaux...get that hose and pump going....wash'er down good now ya hear!:mad:

Revolutionary
5th Mar 2009, 00:54
I have followed this discussion with great interest and I'm in awe of the technical expertise of many here on PPRUNE. However, when it comes to SASless' depiction of PHI's corporate culture:

A collateral issue for PHI if examined closely by an attorney for the plaintiffs is the hard nosed...take it or leave management attitude that prevailed/prevails at PHI. Common talk amongst the pilots has long been the quickest way to find yourself looking for a job is to make any kind of noise that challenges the way business is done. No matter what PHI management wants to say about that, it is bound to carry over to the safety program and safety environment within the operation.

I'm going to have to call shenanigans. Maybe you're describing PHI circa 1985 there, not the company as it is now. PHI pilots challenge the way business is done -and loudly- every day of the week. Just like any pilot group anywhere they are by nature not inclined to remain quiet when their lives or livelihood are at stake. And while the safety department sometimes seems somewhat removed from the daily goings-on on the work floor they are pretty easy to find when needed. We have as good a safety culture as any company, that is to say, far from perfect but pretty decent nonetheless.

tottigol
5th Mar 2009, 03:53
Sorry Rev, but I've spent quite sometime @ PHI Amelia and Boothville in the last four or so weeks (different color aircraft) and I can confirm SAS interpretation.
I also have several friends and colleagues working for PHI and their opinions coincide.
Perhaps is different in HEMS (I believe that's where you are flying).

The safety concept has always been very strong in the Pilots' group but somehow teeters on the way up.
Of course the official position differs.

rotorbrent
5th Mar 2009, 13:44
We even have issues with birds hitting cars over here.

Eagle survives crash through truck windshield (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090305/ap_on_fe_st/odd_eagle_truck_windshield)

SASless
5th Mar 2009, 15:39
In another life while taking a break from flying helicopters....I had invested some money in a Sawmill Plant in Washington State. Rather than take shares in the business I opted for rights of first refusal on all of their trucking with a thought I might wind up running six to eight big rigs hauling wood chips and sawdust. With that concept in mind and knowing how much truckers are like helicopter pilots I felt the need to be able to drive a big rig and went to work for an outfit driving one of theirs. (Shows how smart I can be when I am doing my "best" thinking!)

One afternoon heading south into California with a 40,000 pounds of Bog Rolls, I encountered a flock of large birds on the side of the highway....in an area known for the large number of wild turkeys that were prospering there.

The flock took off from the right side of the roadway and flew up diagonally across the front of the truck....all but the last one. He did a beautiful face plant square in the center of the radiator grill of the truck and hit with a heck of a wallop.

I pulled over at the first chance to check the damage....and it was considerable...lots of chrome missing, bent, and twisted about. I managed to recover one big feather amongst the other debris.

When I reported by SatCom to maintenance my need for a shop visit and the parts I would need...I got a return message that accused me of hunting turkey out of season. I assured them it was not a turkey.

When I pulled into the shop a few hours later....I was still being ragged about turkey hunting out of season, killing one of my relatives, and when I insisted it was not a turkey I was told I did not know Jack about identifying wild fowl indigenous to the locale. I continued to insist it was not a Turkey.

They continued to impugn my mental compentency and lack of truthfulness and described their evaluation of my general worth in view of my refusal to accept the truth of the matter at hand.

That is until I pulled out about a four foot long Peacock tail plume!

Revolutionary
5th Mar 2009, 16:21
tottigol, I know you and SAS are talking to your friends at PHI and I know there's lots of grumbling and griping about the company going on at sessions like that (heck I spent all of last evening talking trash about Company X, one of our competitors here in the GOM, with a friend of mine who is one of their employees -their Chief Pilot!).

But there's a difference between people grumbling about how their suggestions are never heeded and how the company only pays lip service to safety (stuff almost any pilot can say about their employer) and SAS's assertion that people within PHI are afraid to speak up about issues (the implication being safety issues) for fear of losing their job. That characterization is patently false. Period.

SASless
5th Mar 2009, 16:41
Rev,

If during these "discussions" we have with our PHI brethren....mine with a guy I have known since 1968, and who went to work for PHI upon leaving the Army and who has been there from day one of his commercial flying career, holds that view.....how can you say his perception based upon thirty years with the company is wrong...does not exist....and is without merit?

I posed the question.....if you recall my post.

I suggested the risk to an effective safety environment, caused by what we know in the industry as the "Bob Suggs School of Helicopter Management", had to be considered when asking how some safety related decisions are affected by management philosophy.

PHI has hollered about their amazing standards but I can assure you the way to failure in any endeavour is falling for the trap of believing your own propaganda.

I will give you a for instance to think about.

You remember the PHI method of moving the 206 Start Switch to the Cyclic stick.....so the pilot could always have his hands on the flight controls? Did you modify all of the other helicopters in the fleet as well?

My outfit purchased a used PHI 206 and discovered that interesting bit thinking....and kept it until the first maintenance in the shop and reverted to the Bell Standard layout. We found knees worked just as well as the PHI mod....and allowed two hands to control the start button and throttle vice a single hand. The worry on 206's was burning up engines on starts not having the rotor system flopping about the place.

You guys still fly around the GOM just before dark over cold water long distances off shore in single engine aircraft in the Winter and do not provide exposure suits to the crews.

I will bet you still not equip the pilot flotation vests with EPIRBS or Emergency Radio's....which is common kit for UK crews and has been since day one.

Excuse me if I sound like I think little of the PHI safety environment but it is based upon exposure to the UK system that for its faults is light years ahead of the GOM.

rotorbrent
5th Mar 2009, 17:51
Bob Suggs has been gone for a long time. We just had our 60th anniversity.

I logged over 2,000 hours with the start switch on the cyclic switch and was very glad that it was there many days. Never had a hot start and Never scratched a tailboom it was in the correct place for operations in the Gulf.

How many hours offshore in the GOM do you have in a 206?

Glad your "outfit" was good enough to buy our Old retired aircraft nice to see our old aircraft go to secondary cut rate "outfits" that you flew for.

No-One uses exposure suits here in the GOM the water is quite warm even in winter and if it is not flying is restricted.

Most of the divers here under 100' rarely wear more than just basic gear for barnacles protection only.

I wished you would have bet money. We all have Epirbs, most customers vest all have epirbs, Aircraft have Sat tracking, and Aircraft Epirbs. but I am sure your slandrous remarks will continue.

On my job down here in the GOM I wear helmets,nomex,epirb,spare air and Anvis-9 goggles at night.

Glad your view of PHI is second hand as your flying is in second hand PHI aircraft.

aclark79
5th Mar 2009, 17:54
My vest came standard with an EPIRB registered to me. It also included an exposure bag, the kind you would get into if you were in the water to heat up the trapped water next to your body. Not as good as an exposure suit, however is a full suit necessary in this environment?

tottigol
5th Mar 2009, 18:09
Oh do you?
What customer other than MMS or the USCG requires helmets, not to mention NOMEX and NVGs?:hmm:
I take it back, PHI apparently just started experimenting with the use of NVGs for night operations offshore by multicrew aircraft, that's why you wear the helmet, probably the nomex and personal air (we know you got plenty of that), but standard operations are not conducted like that.

And who said the water never gets cold below 57 or 50, we lost customers last year (to PHI of all companies, so much for their safety mentality) just because we stopped our single engines from operating in exactly those conditions.:=

Almost 1500 hours off shore in the GOM in the scooter (@ PHI), and I can tell you I hated every single one of them.

But we do get the EPIRBs and the "exposure bags" (even though nobody knows for sure how much of a surrogate they are for exposure suits).

Revolutionary
5th Mar 2009, 18:24
SAS I'm sorry but you're losing me... The sum of your knowledge of PHI's safety culture is based on the views of one single PHI employee? C'mon now...

And what does the start switch on a 206 have to do with the price of fish in China? PHI had too many instances of blades sailing around all over the place in strong winds offshore and decided to rig the thing so you could have one hand for the throttle and one to fiddle with the cyclic position. That setup still allows for two hands to control the start button and the throttle; the difference is only that one hand isn't on the collective. How is their setup more conducive to burned up engines? Do you need two hands to close the throttle? I don't get it.

If other helicopter types didn't get this mod I'm guessing it's either because their rotor systems were deemed to be less prone to sailing or because their starter/throttle layout allowed for a free hand. I see it as an interesting insight into PHI's thinking as well, but as an (admittedly minor) example of their willingness to tinker with the way things are done out here and find solutions to problems encountered in the field. How can you find fault with that?

When it comes to the exposure suits... you got me. I Totally agree with you that they would be a safety enhancement in winter but to date not a single GOM operator (as far as I know) has issued them. But we do all have an EPIRB in our jacket. Have had them for years. Didn't your friend tell you?

And then there's that old chestnut about the UK system being different from the way things are done in the GOM. Of course it is. The regulatory environment is different, for one. As is the weather. Many of the rigs are much closer to shore here and can safely be serviced by something as simple as a 206. People drive on the other side of the road here, too. About the only thing that's somewhat similar is how IFR medium and heavy ships are operated, and it is exactly in that area that the GOM safety record is about on a par with the UK.

You say your friend has worked for PHI for decades? It couldn't have been that bad, then... He's not still going on about Bob Suggs is he? The man has been Gone and Buried for over a decade now, you know... Okay enough quibbling SAS. You've heard the point from your friend and now your online brethren Rev has provided a counterpoint. The truth can be found somewhere in the middle, as always. Happy sailing my friend...

rotorbrent
5th Mar 2009, 19:10
Tottigol yes I do. You need to get out more.

Come on by and get a education from the first to be certified to use goggles in the GOM

Aviation Specialties Unlimited completes NVG STC Project on Sikorsky S-76C++ for Petroleum Helicopters - Vertical Online (http://www.verticalmag.com/control/news/templates/?a=10067)

PHI has had goggles for over two years now and we do no "expermenting" with goggles. FAA certified aircraft, equipment,crews.

Here is a recent article and there is More to come.

Industry Leader Sets New Standard with Introduction of Offshore Air Medical Helicopter - Vertical Online (http://www.verticalmag.com/control/news/templates/?a=9955)






What kind of safety aircraft does your company have on 24/7 standbye from your company?

SASless
5th Mar 2009, 20:47
PHI Inc. is unveiling the first dedicated 24-hour offshore air medical helicopter. The new air medical Sikorsky S-76 C++ is specifically designed to serve the oil and gas industry. Its unique onboard medical capabilities and clinical expertise will bring a new level of care for those working offshore. This service is a joint undertaking between PHI's oil and gas and air medical group, which safely transports 30,000 patients per year in helicopters and airplanes across the country.

The GOM certainly can support such a service....I assume this is being offered much as a community based EMS service on a pay as you go basis or have several oil companies contracted for this level of care for Medical Evacuation flights of injured/ill workers from offshore?

Or....is PHI providing this thing as a marketing tool and picking up the tab all by itself?



Rev,

We flew ol' Whack and Clack for about a year, got her painted, cleaned up, installed some new components and doubled our money selling her. We then went on to buy some new aircraft for the operation....two 500E's, a LongRanger, Cessna 208, KingAir, and a Beech Jet. There is money to be made buying and selling aircraft as well as operating them.

I don't reckon you would make the same comment to the RLC guys that are flying ex-Air Log aircraft in the oil patch with you....or would you?

In the Summer the water in the GOM is fairly benign and as you say the rigs are quite close to shore in most cases. As the fields appear further out and some are now over two hundred miles from shore then "exposure times" will begin to be more an issue.

Winter time operations already show the need for exposure gear.

Depending upon the oil companies to make the needed changes will always be a problem in advancing safety no matter if it is the GOM, Nigeria, North Sea, or Australia. Their bean counters can be a very cold hearted bunch.

I mentioned one guy as an example but you know full well my comment was based on contact with far more folks than the one guy.

Again, the perception is the truth not reality but does become reality based upon perception. If a thirty year man felt it necessary to stay off the skyline then there is that perception amongst his peers. Times might be changing but that does not mean the perception is that "silence is golden" being the best policy is not the way business is done.

Revolutionary
5th Mar 2009, 21:52
SAS methinks you're getting my comments mixed up with rotorbrent's. You'll never hear disparaging remarks from me regarding ex-PHI aircraft. I flew one myself at a previous company.

You're quite right in pointing out that safety equipment (or lack thereof) is primarily driven by the customer. If they start asking for exposure suits for those long deepwater flights we do nowadays in the GOM then I'm sure exposure suits will be all the fashion down here in no time.

Perception may be the truth but the truth will set you free... (I have no idea what I mean by that). Ask yourself (or better yet ask all of your PHI friends) why they continued to work for so long (decades in the case of your sample PHI pilot) for a company that by their account shortchanges them in the safety department and would threaten to fire them for speaking out. Are they masochists? Curmudgeons?

Matari
6th Mar 2009, 03:55
SAS:

The worry on 206's was burning up engines on starts not having the rotor system flopping about the place.I always thought that moving the start switch to the cyclic was one of the slickest ideas ever. Who cares whether it was to prevent rotor flopping or hot starts...it was clever and worked fine, right? Same with pro-sealing the skin seams on a nude aircraft, plastic bathtub on the floor in the backseat, and the wood floor in baggage compartment etc. All good ideas born from years of experience.

Sorry for the thread drift but in my 10+ years in maintenance at PHI (including bouncing around the back seat of Maintenance One, behind my boss Chuckie) I always felt I could call BS and be listened to. Unlike a certain smaller operator I worked for down in Pearland, Texas....

Devil 49
6th Mar 2009, 16:29
SASless, and anybody else interested-
I can't speak to PHI's safety culture now, but I was there in the latter part of the Bob Suggs era, and stayed until 1997. I found their safety culture commendable. You're right that there was no official protection of a pilot's position when afoul of the company's interest. I saw good pilots 'run off' for pure personality conflict.
My opinion is that there was a strong unofficial pilot's advocate in the Training Department during those years. Opinion varied by individual, but largely, the Training Department was respected by the line pilots and management, knew the key contracts, and were the court of last appeal before the supposedly mandatory board (Not always implemented).
Training, at that time, required it's members to fly the line, so they were familiar with the real world. They were also actively involved in Safety, and were always willing to learn from whatever source about specific aircraft. When I butted heads with maintenance, management or contracts, taking the issue to the training department resolved it.
I took many maintenance, procedural, and contract issues up the chain to Lafayette and never had a problem. At various times, I was also the only PHI VFR pilot 'flying the job', or not flying, for weather- and was only questioned by management once. In that event, my call was supported with dissent, no repercussions.

Post script aside, on moving the start button to the cyclic- I wish the company had modified an existing grip button instead of grafting it to the control column. The only hot start I ever had resulted from the connection in the base of the button intermittently failing from the wire's stress from the pilot's manipulating it during starts. Against that, in some 20000 or so starts, in winds up to approximately 40 knots, that mod allowed better control of the Bell teetering rotor. I've done the 'knee thing' and it's not comparable in effect or ease of use...

tottigol
6th Mar 2009, 18:06
Oh good for you RB, so you want to tell us that you finally get to fly a medium ship at night over the water with night vision goggles and equipment the military forces of most modern countries have been using for years, I'm duly imprssed (not).
So how much flight time do you get, other than training?
What about the rest, water temperatures limitations, replacing glass windshields with inferior quality cast acrylics, not abiding by A/S limitations.
Let's bring this thread back on course.

rotorbrent
6th Mar 2009, 23:02
tottigol,

I flew over 600 hours in S-76's last year mostly in C++'s how much did you fly.

Looking at the FAA certified limitations sections of my flight manual.

Oh wow look no mentions of any Airspeed limitaions for any installed windshield. Sorta hard to "not abide" to a airspeed limitations if there is no Flight manual Limitation on airspeed.

I guess 98% of all helicopters and 95% of all airplanes should be grounded according to you since they has plastic windshields as well.

How much S-76 time did you do last year? ......thats what I thought


The common Red Tailed Hawk can weight up to 4lbs. which is far beyond that of what any standard for the S-76 with any installed windshield just look outside when flying you can see hitting one of those bad boys or larger pelicans and or eagles is not going to be a good day.


you hit a 4 lbs redtailed hawk at 140 knots in any aircraft its gonna leave a mark.

It was sobering circling overhead N748P waiting for the Coast Guard to arrive.

6 months of being parked and flying next to N748P Shell 2 is over, they will be missed. Knowing it was a bird strike that started their demise is information to consider , the official report will be out when it is done. Until then.

I can chose to launch into the sky with the best training and equipment known to date and do something productive with the skills and knowledge I have gathered ,from those who have gone before me. For I am a helicopter pilot.

Or I can be a cowardiace arm chair aviation expert posting streams of meanless retoric or post on the internet as a has been or a "used to fly".

I am launching as safely as I can and I will wait on the report from the real professionals in the field of accident investigation. There were whiney babies before the crash and there will be whiney babies when the report is released.

Whine on,

SASless
6th Mar 2009, 23:17
I was also the only PHI VFR pilot 'flying the job', or not flying, for weather- and was only questioned by management once. In that event, my call was supported with dissent, no repercussions.

Devil,

I think you are saying you made your own decisions re weather aborts or are you saying you were the only pilot to refuse to depart due to weather? Your post was a bit confusing.

Why would there be dissent but no repercussions?

Either you had the required weather and forecasts or you did not. Weather minimums are simple.

Marginal weather is where it gets sticky....and perhaps subject to differing opinions but I think a proper safety culture would support the "No Go" vote in those cases and challenge the "Go" vote if advancing safety was the basic issue.

Devil 49
7th Mar 2009, 02:13
I think you are saying you made your own decisions re weather aborts or are you saying you were the only pilot to refuse to depart due to weather? Your post was a bit confusing.

Why would there be dissent but no repercussions?

Either you had the required weather and forecasts or you did not. Weather minimums are simple.

Marginal weather is where it gets sticky....and perhaps subject to differing opinions but I think a proper safety culture would support the "No Go" vote in those cases and challenge the "Go" vote if advancing safety was the basic issue.

I was, at times, both: the only one flying; and the only one NOT flying. I had rational justification for both decisions. In 13 years I was questioned only once by management. That individual believed that the weather was legally flyable, he expressed that opinion, and that was the end of it. It was my call to make, I made it, and it was respected as such in all circumstances. The point is I could have it both ways, and that was the only time it was questioned.

Next, I'm reading a lot here about S76 windshield substitutions, limitations, etc. as a factor in this particular accident. I'd be very surprised if such is proven, based on my experience with PHI's Training Department. If a limitation existed, it was taught and adhered to. As an example of the company commitment to safety, for the first 5 or 6 years I was with the company, fuel minimums were "Beach and 30" at all times. Outbound, and/or local in the field, you had to keep sufficient fuel to return to land and then another 30 minutes- none of the competition did so, that was a significant competitive disadvantage.
At the time I was associated with the company, training was first class. At that time, small ship pilots in Bells were kept abreast of 7 variations of the 206- The B; BIII; 'B3' (a PHI mod bringing a B to BIII equip); any of these on fixed floats; 206L; 206L1; '206L-30' (PHI L1 to L3); 206L3- ALL the limits; all the differences; systems; normal and emergency procedures, not to mention 'green hubs' and 'grey hubs'.
A regular feature of a class was argument with the provided material by line pilots, new and old- to encourage a stimulating and professional environment, as well as add to the soundness of training material. If a line captain carried the point, the syllabus was changed immediately. You can bet the Training staff knew their aircraft very, very well- they knew they would be challenged, and would be an arbiter on all manner of issues that arose in the field between re-quals.
The medium/IFR side was run in similar fashion and as sound in training, in my limited experience of less than a year.
The company provided training on par if not better than any other I ever got- including the military and Flight Safety, although PHI and those others is apples and oranges.
No, PHI wasn't as well equipped as the North Sea- but the Gulf isn't the North Sea, is it? That comparison is, or was, unfair in several regards- how many North Sea pilots do 100-150 landings a day, routinely? It is a very different operation, but that doesn't mean it's a lesser operation in any fashion. I believe that the level of training and support for the line pilots promotes a very safe operation. At one point, for a year or two, PHI's fleet accident rate, based on landings, matched (or beat some) US Part 121 operators.

rotorbrent
7th Mar 2009, 03:51
Anoter bird strike to a plastic windshield today.

Duck strike grounds Shandscair helicopter (http://www.gainesville.com/article/20090306/ARTICLES/903060953/1002/news?Title=Duck-strike-grounds-Shandscair-helicopter)

the results were different. I am sure we will all hear from the Professional Truck Drivers/Amater Crash Investigators on this One as well. This is even one of the Thicker bird proof windshields that Agusta sells.

Duck strike grounds Shandscair helicopter

http://www.gainesville.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=GS&Date=20090306&Category=ARTICLES&ArtNo=903060953&Ref=AR&Profile=1002&MaxW=600&border=0 (http://www.gainesville.com/article/20090306/ARTICLES/903060953/1002/news?Title=Duck-strike-grounds-Shandscair-helicopter#)

Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun


By Diane Chun ([email protected])
Staff writer


Published: Friday, March 6, 2009 at 3:24 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, March 6, 2009 at 3:24 p.m.
Four people were flying aboard the Shandscair helicopter Thursday night when a duck shattered the windshield and entered the cockpit.

Quick thinking and the steady hands of the unflappable pilot, Don Irving, undoubtably saved the lives of everyone aboard, Shandscair personnel said Friday.
Irving was returning to Shands at the University of Florida carrying an unidentified trauma patient, flight nurse Marc Kazmierski and flight paramedic Ryan Fulford.
Irving is an experienced pilot. The 58-year-old has been flying helicopters for some 35 years.
The Shandscair emergency transport helicopter was a few minutes from the hospital around 8:10 p.m., preparing to land on the rooftop helipad, when it encountered the duck. The helicopter was flying at an altitude of 700 feet and a speed of 160 mph.
The duck shattered the windshield, then struck Irving, cutting his face and injuring one eye. The bird clipped off several switches on the overhead instrument panel before landing on the foot of one of the medical crewmen in the rear of the helicopter.
The crew reported that the collision sounded like an explosion, clinical coordinator Jim Howard reported Friday.
Irving remained calm, reporting to the Shandscair dispatcher that he would be making an emergency landing. He landed at the nearby Shandscair helipad, rather than on the hospital roof.
A rooftop landing might have put not only the crew and patient, but bystanders on the ground at risk, Howard explained.
The patient was transported by ambulance to the hospitalís trauma unit.
Following protocol after an incident like a bird strike, pilot Irving and the medical crew were not on duty Friday.
ďDon would never say so, but heís a hero, just like Capt. Sully Sullenberger,Ē said Shandscair medical director David Meurer.
Sullenberger was hailed as a hero last month when he put down a plane with 155 people aboard in the Hudson River, with no loss of life.
That U.S. Airways plane also struck one or more birds, disabling two engines moments after takeoff.
Inside a hangar, the helicopter was being cleaned. Blood spattered the concrete floor on one side. It was Irvingís, not the duckís.
Chief mechanic Michael Kelley was checking to be sure that beyond replacing several broken switches and one side of the windshield, there was no further damage.
The helicopter should be cleared to fly again Saturday, according to Howard.
The duck was DOA ... dead on arrival.

SASless
7th Mar 2009, 04:24
The helicopter was flying at an altitude of 700 feet and a speed of 160 mph.

The duck shattered the windshield, then struck Irving, cutting his face and injuring one eye. The bird clipped off several switches on the overhead instrument panel before landing on the foot of one of the medical crewmen in the rear of the helicopter.

Inside a hangar, the helicopter was being cleaned. Blood spattered the concrete floor on one side. It was Irvingís, not the duckís.



Visor not down on the pilot's Helmet?

They're Gucci Kit and look really grand and smart....but you need to use the safety kit or you might as well not have it.

Single pilot and no helmet (or without clear visor down at night)?

tottigol
7th Mar 2009, 15:00
RB, sorry for the delay but I was busy flying something faster than your 76, this one even has standard glass windshields and our company is not shortchanging its pilots with inferior quality cast acrylic stuff.
About 500 hrs of the faster heavier and more capable aircraft last year, and yes hitting a bird @ 150 kts TAS shall leave a mark anywhere it hits.
Believe me, we grieve our colleagues as much as you do as we know that something catastrophic had to happen to get two experienced pilots that quick.
I am glad you like your new "heroe" job, however I recommend you stay away from the coolaid, and I am shure you know what I mean.:suspect:

rotorbrent
7th Mar 2009, 17:24
This is my nineth year of a EMS assignment its not a hero job assignment, and I just finished 4 days of rig crew changes all over the Gulf as well and doing some friendly flying around as spring break is in full swing on the beaches.

Fying in the gulf has all about weight and the oil companies were happy with the weight carrying addition without glass and the A/C generator and they speced out offshore configured aircraft as such for their operations.

There have been far more fatal accidents for other causes than bird strikes.

Safety will increase with increase in technology. and Bird vs aircraft is always a ongoing study.

I am sure the NTSB will show that no matter what windshields glass or plexi that a bird strike of that size collapsed the "center post" into the throttle quadrant shutting down the engines. And the pilots were unable to recover.

Sikorsky is getting a lot of mileage out of the windshield letter but there are still no FAA fllight manual changes.
Cause the focus is actually the center post collapsing and not the windshields

A one in a million shot or to be exact many millions as PHI has over 10 million hours logged to date.

tottigol
10th Mar 2009, 01:34
SAS, the version I know did not involve cowboys and a far hotter and drier climate, great analogy nonetheless.
RB, I was just wondering of your origins because of the quality of your English, now you confirmed my doubts about both.
Nothing against PHI, remember the employees are the ultimate customer support image.

buckeem
10th Mar 2009, 07:21
Seems that all birds do not explode after impact?? Duck, Eagle, Hawk in the middle. Thanks for the post Rotor...

rotorbrent
10th Mar 2009, 16:41
You gentlemen and I use that term loosly just hate somebody pointing out that you are incorrect in your statements.

You would rather make your false assumtions than believe someone that is on the scene day in and day out with far greater experience in the aircraft, enviroment, and customer that you have and when that happens you then want to make it personal.

I do not have a degree in English but I am smart enough to let the professional accident investigators do their jobs and keep making my decisions on know facts rather than "news media" and "used to"and "has been" opinions.

I am sure that the NTSB and Sikorsky are just hanging on ever post of yours to run out and make the necessary modifications on your opinions.

tottigol said" and our company is not shortchanging its pilots with inferior quality cast acrylic stuff." And just what nameless company is that so we can comment on its long history?? embarassed to mention it I see.

If that is not a personal slam on PHI I am sure that 12 peers down here would say you have a axe to grind againist PHI.

The acrylic windshield is the standard offshore configuration of the S-76C++ just check Sikorsky website, And the Oil companys spec out the aircraft wanting the lessor weight of no glass windshields and no A/C generator. Some are changing because of the accident and others are not. Most are smart enough to see what all the facts are when NTSB releases the full report.

SAS less said "Single pilot and no helmet (or without clear visor down at night)?

Yes this pilot had a helmet on and visor down the media is usually wrong in its reporting and so are you on every one of your post.

Believing everything that the media prints will lead you down the wrong road every time.

buckeem
27th Mar 2009, 21:26
Associated Press - March 27, 2009 3:14 PM ET
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The lone survivor of a helicopter crash that killed eight people in Louisiana in January is suing the aircraft's manufacturer and two other companies.
The federal lawsuit filed Thursday on behalf of Steven Yelton and his wife seeks $22.5 million in damages from Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., PHI Inc. and Aeronautical Accessories Inc.
The suit claims PHI installed a defective windshield made by Aeronautical Accessories on the Sikorsky S-7C helicopter that plunged into a swamp near Morgan City on Jan. 4.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation, but the National Transportation Safety Board says the probe found evidence a bird may have struck the helicopter.

SASless
28th Mar 2009, 07:57
The NTSB has recommended the FAA make Bird Strike Reports Mandatory by operators. The FAA still allows the reporting to be voluntary. The AP news service has requested the full data base from the FAA under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and has not received that information.

The FAA is proposing to "classify" the data and thus prevent public access to the Bird Strike Reporting system and its data.

The FAA cites concerns the Reports could be mis-interpeted by Airline Travelers and other interest groups thus discouraging Operators from filing the now voluntary reports.

FAA Wants to Keep Bird Strike Records Secret - Presidential Politics | Political News - FOXNews.com (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/03/27/faa-wants-bird-strike-records-secret/)

outhouse
28th Mar 2009, 14:19
So make reporting mandatory and let the greater travelling public have information they may expect to have. Maybe the next move would be to make all data concerning aircraft safety restricted in case it affected the choices the public used when planning a trip?

Devil 49
28th Mar 2009, 15:31
No offense intended to those "Down Under", but the FAA seems to get further and further into Oz, if not cloud-cuckoo land...

Many of the birds I've hit in 40 years of flying are smaller than some of the bugs I've smashed. Are "bug strikes" next on the list of required reports?

SASless
28th Mar 2009, 16:17
Devil,

It is the logic (if you can call it that.....) the FAA uses for thinking they should "classify" the data that scares me!

The NTSB told them Bird Strike Reporting should be made mandatory with plenty of good reasons....which I agree with. If we are to use that data as compiled now, just how much faith do you have as to its value if it is only a limited sample.

As they noted the species of bird is seldom reported thus how can one tell if it is a migratory bird or a local bird population that is cause of the problem at certain airports or fly ways?

Passengers probably rate bird strikes somewhere about the absolute bottom of their concerns when choosing an airline, aircraft, or destination for their trips.....if at all!

I wonder if all of the known bird strikes that resulted in shattered wind screens on helicopters have been reported so analytical studies could have been done to document the lack of adequate testing and design of helicopter wind screens. Perhaps the FAA design critieria would have changed over the years if the studies had shown the weakness in the windscreens and certification standards?

Why would we not want to file a two minute report after a bird strike....particularly one that resulted in the loss of a windscreen or damage to an engine?

Gomer Pylot
29th Mar 2009, 02:52
The species is seldom reported because it's generally not known. I've hit probably a hundred birds over the past 30+ years, and I couldn't positively identify the species of any. Many of those were seagulls, but there are many species of seagulls, and I'm no ornithologist, and couldn't tell you the species of any of them alive, much less in pieces. Most of the ones I've hit were small birds, and there wasn't enough of them left to identify without doing a DNA analysis, which I'm not capable of doing. I've done a formal report on maybe 2 of those. I've always just considered it more trouble than it's worth. Getting the proper forms and getting them filled out is a major undertaking. The FAA does not make it easy, and they want a lot more information than I can give, or am willing to give. I don't know exactly what is in the database, but I have a strong feeling that it's pretty much worthless in any case, being far from accurate.

Jolly Green
4th Apr 2009, 18:12
What the NTSB wants, and what we all should want, is a reliable system in civilian world to catalog the species accurately. The Air Force sends the remains to the Smithsonian which catalogs and sends the data back. They are capable of DNA analysis, but also excel at match feet beaks and feathers with remains on file. The allows for accurate data for accurate birdstrike prevention. It's also used for civilian bird strikes, but the system for civilians just doesn't work yet. Take a look:

Feature - Snarge Busters (http://www.afsc.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123075681)

The current civilian data is voluntary, incomplete and inaccurate and therefore statistically invalid. If the data is used for any conclusions, it's likely to be wrong. The data on military airfields and airways is much more useful.

buckeem
9th May 2009, 20:36
Companies sued over fatal chopper crash (http://www.theadvertiser.com/article/20090508/NEWS01/90508003)
The Daily Advertiser - Lafayette,LA,USA
NEW ORLEANS (AP) ó A helicopter crash that killed eight people in Louisiana earlier this year has spawned another lawsuit. The federal suit filed Wednesday on behalf of crash victim Andrew Mauricio's wife seeks at least $13.5 million in damages from PHI Inc., Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. and Aeronautical Accessories Inc.

The suit claims PHI installed a defective windshield on the Sikorsky S-76C that crashed in a swamp near Morgan City on Jan. 4. The National Transportation Safety Board says investigators have found evidence that a bird may have struck the chopper before it crashed.

The suit is at least the sixth filed over the crash.
http://www.theadvertiser.com/article/20090508/NEWS01/90508003 (http://www.theadvertiser.com/article/20090508/NEWS01/90508003)

sox6
22nd Oct 2010, 15:44
Hot off the press.



By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN Oct. 21, 2010, 11:58AMNEW ORLEANS ó

The owner of a helicopter that crashed in southeast Louisiana last year, killing eight people, has reached settlement agreements with some of the victims' relatives.

Plaintiffs' attorneys and a lawyer for PHI Inc. said Thursday that confidential terms of the settlements will be filed. The deals are expected to be announced Wednesday during a hearing before U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier, who is presiding over most of the lawsuits in the deadly Jan. 4, 2009, crash.

The attorneys said PHI's agreements are with Steve Yelton, the lone survivor, and with relatives of four of the passengers who died: Andrew Mauricio, of Morgan City, La.; Allen Boudreaux Jr., of Amelia, La.; Jorey A. Rivero, of Bridge City, La.; and Randy Tarpley, of Jonesville, La.
Ross Cunningham, a lawyer for PHI, said the company "felt a moral responsibility to the families of those affected."

"PHI wanted to do what it could to lessen the burden on the families and sought out an opportunity to reach an early settlement with these families," he said in a statement.

Paul Sterbcow, a lawyer for Yelton, said the settlement begins the process of providing long-term security for his client, his wife and two children. Yelton suffered a severe brain injury in the crash and is living in a residential rehabilitation facility in Covington, La., Sterbcow said.

The agreements don't resolve any claims against helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. or Aeronautical Accessories Inc., which made the helicopter's plexiglass windshield.

The helicopter was carrying workers to a Shell Oil Co. platform in the Gulf of Mexico when it crashed near Morgan City, about 100 miles southwest of New Orleans. The crash killed both pilots and six passengers and critically injured Yelton, of Floresville, Texas.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation, but investigators suspect a bird struck the Sikorsky S-76C when it was about 850 feet above ground.

Investigators found the remains of a Red-tailed hawk on the remnants of the pilot's side windshield. They also found bird feathers under a windscreen seal and in an engine. A cockpit voice recorder captured a bang and a loud air noise about 17 seconds before the crash.
The National Transportation Safety Board hasn't released its final report on the crash yet.

"We have more than enough information ... to piece this thing together," Sterbcow said. "I think we pretty much know what happened here."

Thomas Ballenger, of Eufaula, Ala.; and Vyarl Martin, of Hurst, Texas; were the PHI pilots who died. The other passengers killed were Ezequiel Cantu, of Morgan City; and Charles W. Nelson, of Pensacola, Fla

zalt
22nd Oct 2010, 16:05
Ah shoot you pipped me to the post (no pun intended) sox!

For various reaasons I can't discuss I've got some insights to this accident.

However if you wwre to look at the court documents you would find that:

On November 13, 2009, PHI filed a cross-complaint against AAI alleging that the helicopter crash and resulting loss of the helicopter was directly, solely, and proximately caused by manufacturing defects and/or unreasonably dangerous designs of the helicopterís windshields, which were manufactured by AAI.

In its cross-claim, PHI seeks damages for the value of the helicopter, the loss of its use, search and rescue operations, and other relevant
expenses.

I would have expected that the familes would also have gone after Shell Oil as they all worked for Shell contractors and Shell selected the S-76C++'s with those windscreens when they contracted PHI to operate them.

As our 'PPRuNe Mate' Shell Management has pointed out elsewhere, oil companies have 'deep pockets' and Shell must faile their own 'red face test' in this case.

zalt
24th Nov 2010, 22:00
The report is out

NTSB recommends changes after deadly copter crash

The National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday recommended redesign and modification of some elements of the Sikorsky S-76C model helicopter, the type that was involved in the 2009 helicopter crash that killed both pilots and six of seven passengers aboard.

The NTSB sent 12 safety recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration as part of its report on the Jan. 4, 2009 crash of the dual-engine helicopter, operated by PHI, Inc., that was en route to an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico.

Investigators suspect a bird struck the helicopter when it was about 850 feet above ground. They found the remains of a Red-tailed hawk on the remnants of the pilot's side windshield. They also found bird feathers under a windscreen seal and in an engine. A cockpit voice recorder captured a bang and a loud air noise about 17 seconds before the crash.

The NTSB recommended that the FAA prohibit operators of helicopters with installed bird-strike resistant windshields from replacing those windshields with ones that have not been tested to withstand such strikes.

It also suggested that the company redesign the model to ensure that fire extinguishers do not inadvertently dislodge due to any external force on the canopy or windshields. The board recommended evaluating other helicopter models with engine control quadrant designs similar to the S-76C model and requiring modifications as necessary.

Other recommendations include:

-- evaluating the feasibility of retrofitting helicopters manufactured before 1996

-- and requiring manufacturers to equip new helicopters built under the old certification requirements with windshields that meet the current bird-strike requirements.

-- requiring manufacturers to develop helicopter-specific guidance that will help pilots devise precautionary strategies for minimizing the severity of helicopter damage sustained during a bird strike, should one occur.

-- requiring Stratford, Conn.-based Sikorsky to design an audible alarm system and master warning light that will alert the flight crew when there are low rotor revolutions per minute.

The PHI pilots killed in the crash were: Thomas Ballenger, 63, of Eufaula, Ala.; and Vyarl Martin, 46, of Hurst, Texas. The passengers were: Andrew Moricio and Ezequiel Cantu of Morgan City, La.; Randy Tarpley of Jonesville, La.; Charles W. Nelson of Pensacola, Fla.; Allen Boudreaux Jr. of Amelia, La.; and Jorey A. Rivero of Bridge City, La.

Steve Yelton, of Floresville, Texas, was the only survivor.



NTSB recommends changes after deadly copter crash - BusinessWeek (http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9JMIMC80.htm)

Hedge36
24th Nov 2010, 23:58
Final: http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/GenPDF.asp?id=CEN09MA117&rpt=fi

squib66
25th Nov 2010, 06:55
So this aircraft was ordered for a Shell contract after 7/7=1 was launched and had a glass winscreen replaced with an inferior to save weight.

212man
26th Nov 2010, 02:14
Is that the complete final report? I searched the NTSB site for a more comprehensive document but could find one.

Looks like too much emphasis on the windscreen to me. The ECL movement was not caused by the bird entering the cockpit, but by the force of impact being transmitted through the structure. By their own admission, the same thing happened to another 76C+ with a standard laminated windscreen, albeit only one ECL was dislodged. I know of the same thing happening to another type with switches rather than ECLs, and again only one was dislodged. I do accept that the disruption of the windscreen and subsequent wind rush would be disorientating and would have affected the crew's response, but it didn't materially cause the power loss.

So, maybe more attention should have been focused on the throttle quadrant design, and wear and tear tolerances?

I'm also very intrigued by the suggestion that the crew had 6 seconds to react before the Nr became unrecoverable. All you S-76 pilots who have done autorotations just sit and imagine - pull the ECLs then start counting, one thousand, two thousand, three thousand.....6 seconds is an eternity and I can't imagine where the Nr would be after it.

The report mentions the CVR, was an FDR fitted? If so, it would have been useful to know what pilot intervention actually took place and at what point. i.e. how it corresponded to the suggested reaction time available.

The 'report' (does it deserve that title?) makes no mention of what the effect of the coupled flight director might have been, or even if it was coupled at the time of the impact. Although I imagine they would have been 2-Cue if coupled, they could have been 3-Cue and it would have been pertinent to explore the effect that would have.

There are no recommendations that I can see, other than mention that a master caution or audio alert might have alerted the crew of low Nr.

All in all - if this really is the complete report - a very unsatisfactory publication :mad:

Hedge36
26th Nov 2010, 05:00
212man: A bit more detail... CEN09MA117 (http://ntsb.gov/ntsb/brief2.asp?ev_id=20090104X12037&ntsbno=CEN09MA117&akey=1)

212man
26th Nov 2010, 05:42
Hedge,
thanks, though I hardly call that a satisfactory report. Absolutely no discussion or investigation into the throttle quadrant design, or the wear and tear with subsequent reduced tolerances that may have been exhibited by the accident aircraft's quadrant. No discussion about survivability. No discussion about the aircraft flight path after the impact and the crew actions and aircraft response. No human factors discussion, no crew fatigue discussion etc etc.

One is left with the impression that 8 guys in a GoM helicopter don't warrant the level of respect they actually deserve.

By comparison, here's the latest report from the UK AAIB of an 'accident' involving a Super puma. No-one died, yet it generates 85 pages of detailed investigation, including extensive flight testing by the manufacturer.

Air Accidents Investigation: 7/2010 G-PUMI (http://www.aaib.gov.uk/publications/formal_reports/7_2010_g_pumi.cfm)

rotormatic
26th Nov 2010, 07:27
Here is the link to the rest of the NTSB reports...

CD List Of Contents (http://www.ntsb.gov/Dockets/Aviation/CEN09MA117/default.htm)

212man
26th Nov 2010, 08:30
Thanks Rotor - I was all set to eat humble pie and edit my posts after ploughing through a thorough and comprehensive report. Sadly, I don't need to eat humble pie and I remain nonplussed by the lack of tenacity and rigour demonstrated by the NTSB in this case.

Just asking "why" a few times might have come up with some useful outcomes:


Why did the aircraft crash? Because it hit a bird
Why did hitting a bird cause a problem? Because the shock of the impact dislodged the ECLs
Why did the ECLS move aft? Because the trigger release was worn
Why was the trigger release worn? Because the design was inappropriate/the materials were too soft/ the pilots routinely move the ECLs without fully depressing the release causing excessive/unexpected wear etc etc


Then start a new line:

Why did the ECLs moving aft cause the accident? Because the Nr decayed to an unrecoverable state
Why did the Nr decay to an unrecoverable state? Because it's a low inertia head and the crew were disorientated by the wind noise
Why was there wind noise? Because the windscreen shattered on the right-hand side

And so it goes on

A few lines of inquiry like that and you might have something resembling a useful report, I'd have thought, that would cover the whole gamut of causes and effects and produce useful advice and recommendations to operators, regulators and manufacturers.

This might have well have been a minivan crashing off a highway, as far as the NTSB seem to be concerned.

Gomer Pylot
26th Nov 2010, 20:30
212man, the report was compiled by the NTSB, not the AAIB. What you read is pretty typical for a non-airline accident. Only Part 121 accidents normally get the attention to detail you want, and not always then. The FAA and the NTSB react primarily to the number of passengers killed, and less than 10 is minor, unless a well-known VIP is involved. That's just the way it is.

Brian Abraham
27th Nov 2010, 05:02
The 'report' (does it deserve that title?) makes no mention of what the effect of the coupled flight director might have been, or even if it was coupled at the time of the impact. Although I imagine they would have been 2-Cue if coupled, they could have been 3-Cue and it would have been pertinent to explore the effect that would have.One of our chaps had a bird hit the top of the windscreen divider (glass screens) which only knocked the fire handles out of the detents, of course that dropped both generators off line, which means no helipilots. I can only imagine having a cockpit full of flying plastic and bird remains, and perhaps a crew member knocked unconscious, as happened to a 206 pilot at night over Chicargo (had a stab system and woke up an unknown time later and able to resume control). Argument for helmets and visors "down" here?

Brian Abraham
27th Nov 2010, 09:50
Your mail box is full Shawn. No, a lowly A model. Bird went up into the rotor where a blade slapped it down through the roof alongside the race car cowl and into the cabin. Always wondered what the outcome could have been had it gone through the cowl and into the control runs.
Blue Skies,
Brian

sox6
27th Nov 2010, 14:10
Argument for helmets and visors

What is amazing to me is that there is no bird strike tests on small. FAR27, helicopters.

So this aircraft was ordered for a Shell contract after 7/7=1 was launched and had a glass winscreen replaced with an inferior to save weight.

So it seems. That is another 'why' question that needs to be asked.

The poor standard of NTSB 'reports' does call into question the validity of almost all of the conclusions made in these IHST JHSAT reports based on MTSB reports for accidents in 2000, 2001 and 2006:
http://www.ihst.org/portals/54/JHSAT_Report.doc
http://www.ihst.org/portals/54/2001_Report.pdf
http://www.ihst.org/portals/54/jhsat/safety_reports/CY2006_USJHSAT_Report_09132010.pdf
And no I don't know what happened to 2002-2005.

squib66
27th Nov 2010, 16:05
212man

You have to remember that the NTSB staff are not used to analyse and draw conclusions. The Board members do that, and they look at 30+ accidents per meeting. Unless a public hearing is called, discussion is very limited.


Sox6

There is the following conclusion in the JHSAT 2006 report:



Improve Quality and Depth of NTSB Investigation and Reporting

Many accidents are not receiving in-depth, onsite investigation by NTSB investigators. Investigations are being performed by telephone interview or by personnel whose primary function is not accident investigation. Increase the degree of Human Factors investigations to include detailed personnel information, and assess the extent of operator oversight.


This was related to 76 of the 152 reports analysed! The PHI S-76 suggests the rest aren't much better.

The punchline is that the FAA were on the JHSAT team (unlike the NTSB), but it is mostly FAA inspectors who are the "personnel whose primary function is not accident investigation".

zalt
27th Nov 2010, 20:23
In the three years the JHSAT looked at there were over 500 helicopter accidents in the NTSB database.

If you look at the actual ICAO Annex 13 reports the NTSB has published there are just nine, between Aug 2001 and August 2009 (so only 0.6% of helicopter accidents get a full report in the US):

Title: Aircraft Accident Report: Midair Collision Over Hudson River, Piper PA-32R-300, N71MC, and Eurocopter AS350BA, N401LH, Near Hoboken, New Jersey, August 8, 2009
NTSB Report Number: AAR-10-05, adopted on 9/14/2010

Title: Aircraft Accident Report: Crash During Approach to Landing of Maryland State Police Aerospatiale SA365N1, N92MD, District Heights, Maryland, September 27, 2008
NTSB Report Number: AAR-09-07, adopted on 10/27/2009

Title: Aircraft Accident Report: Midair Collision of Electronic News Gathering Helicopters KTVK-TV, Eurocopter AS350B2, N613TV, and U.S. Helicopters, Inc., Eurocopter AS350B2, N215TV Phoenix, Arizona July 27, 2007
NTSB Report Number: AAR-09-02, adopted on 1/28/2009

Title: Aviation Accident Brief: Crash into Potomac River, LifeNet, Inc., Eurocopter EC-135 P2, N136LN, Oxon Hill, Maryland, January 10, 2005
NTSB Report Number: AAB-07-04, adopted on 12/4/2007

Title: Aircraft Accident Brief: Crash of Sundance Helicopters, Inc., Aerospatiale AS350BA, N270SH, Near Grand Canyon West Airport, Arizona, September 20, 2003
NTSB Report Number: AAB-07-03, adopted on 10/30/2007

Title: Aviation Accident Report: Weather Encounter and Subsequent Collision into Terrain, Bali Hai Helicopter Tours, Inc., Bell 206B, N16849, Kalaheo, Hawaii, September 24, 2004
NTSB Report Number: AAR-07-03, adopted on 2/13/2007

Title: Aircraft Accident Brief: Weather Encounter and Subsequent Crash into the Pacific Ocean, Heli-USA Airways, Inc., Aerospatiale AS350BA, N355NT, Haena, Hawaii, September 23, 2005
NTSB Report Number: AAB-07-01, adopted on 3/5/2007

Title: Aircraft Accident Report: Controlled Flight into Terrain, Era Aviation, Sikorsky S-76A++, N579EH, Gulf of Mexico About 70 Nautical Miles South-Southeast of Scholes International Airport, Galveston, Texas, March 23, 2004
NTSB Report Number: AAR-06-02, adopted on 3/7/2006

Title: Aircraft Accident Brief: Uncontrolled Descent and Impact with Terrain, Eurocopter AS350-B2 Helicopter, N169PA, Meadview, Arizona, August 10, 2001 NTSB Report Number: AAB-04-02, adopted on 6/3/2004

The JHSAT approach has pulled some common themes together, but apart from highlighting the failings of the NTSB, the JHSAT conclusions have very little credibility.

Shawn Coyle
28th Nov 2010, 13:34
Agree that NTSB reports can be a mixed bag. I've seen some very good reports based on thorough research, and others that jumped to the wrong conclusion completely.

zalt
3rd Dec 2010, 23:07
It seems that offshore workers are not as inportant as firefighters.

http://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/338189-cnn-report-nine-people-presumed-dead-helicopter-crash-california-2.html#post6098206

I hear the USCG/USAF ARCC underperformed in a major way after the S-76 accident.

squib66
3rd Nov 2011, 22:10
Sikorsky have settles some of the claims but are still in dispute with PHI.

The manufacturer of a helicopter that crashed in Louisiana (http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/96443e9fc55f4294bd4ae99a6b718250/LA--Fatal-Helicopter-Crash/search/place/43fb970882b310048496df092526b43e/) in 2009, killing eight people, has agreed to settlements with families of several crash victims who sued the company and had a trial set for next month, plaintiffs' attorneys said Thursday.

Stratford, Conn.-based Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. has reached agreements with relatives of six victims who died and with the crash's lone survivor, according to the plaintiffs' lawyers. Many of those cases were resolved during a settlement conference Monday.

Paul Sterbcow, a lawyer for crash survivor Steven Yelton, said financial terms are confidential. Yelton suffered a serious brain injury in the crash and lives at a rehabilitation facility in Covington.

"We settled for an amount that will ensure Steven is fully taken care of, in terms of his custodial needs, for the rest of his life," Sterbcow said. "It's highly unlikely that he will ever live on his own again."

A federal trial in New Orleans (http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/96443e9fc55f4294bd4ae99a6b718250/LA--Fatal-Helicopter-Crash/search/place/535d132082b3100484b3df092526b43e/) was scheduled to start Nov. 7 for relatives' claims against Sikorsky, but Sterbcow said the trial won't be necessary if the company settles remaining claims. Other relatives' claims against Sikorsky are pending in Alabama and Texas (http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/96443e9fc55f4294bd4ae99a6b718250/LA--Fatal-Helicopter-Crash/search/place/6e92d9b882c7100488e5df092526b43e/) and would be tried separately from the cases before U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans (http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/96443e9fc55f4294bd4ae99a6b718250/LA--Fatal-Helicopter-Crash/search/place/535d132082b3100484b3df092526b43e/).

"We've settled the majority of cases and expect to settle the few remainders prior to the next scheduled court date," Sikorsky spokesman Paul Jackson said in a statement Thursday.

Investigators concluded a bird struck the Sikorsky S-76 before it crashed about 100 miles southwest of New Orleans (http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/96443e9fc55f4294bd4ae99a6b718250/LA--Fatal-Helicopter-Crash/search/place/535d132082b3100484b3df092526b43e/) on Jan. 4, 2009, killing both pilots and six passengers. The helicopter had been carrying workers to a Shell Oil Co. platform in the Gulf of Mexico.

Investigators found the remains of a Red-tailed hawk on the remnants of the pilot's side windshield. They also found bird feathers under a windscreen seal and in an engine.

Victims' relatives also sued helicopter owner PHI Inc. and windshield maker Aeronautical Accessories Inc. in New Orleans (http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/96443e9fc55f4294bd4ae99a6b718250/LA--Fatal-Helicopter-Crash/search/place/535d132082b3100484b3df092526b43e/), but those claims already have been settled.

In August, PHI asked a federal magistrate to sanction Sikorsky for allegedly hiding a damning internal report to conceal its liability. PHI claims Sikorsky withheld the report by one of its lead engineers because his analysis concluded Sikorsky's faulty design caused its helicopter to crash near Morgan City (http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/96443e9fc55f4294bd4ae99a6b718250/LA--Fatal-Helicopter-Crash/search/place/367eab0763aa4c23aaa3a42082beaf16/).

PHI said it wouldn't have paid as much last year to settle plaintiffs' claims if it had seen the report beforehand. The magistrate hasn't ruled on PHI's request for a court order requiring Sikorsky to reimburse PHI for 80 percent of its settlement payments to plaintiffs.

According to plaintiffs' attorneys, Sikorsky has settled with Yelton, who lived in Floresville, Texas (http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/96443e9fc55f4294bd4ae99a6b718250/LA--Fatal-Helicopter-Crash/search/place/6e92d9b882c7100488e5df092526b43e/), at the time of the crash, and with relatives of one pilot and five passengers who died: Andrew Mauricio, of Morgan City (http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/96443e9fc55f4294bd4ae99a6b718250/LA--Fatal-Helicopter-Crash/search/place/367eab0763aa4c23aaa3a42082beaf16/), La.; Allen Boudreaux Jr., of Amelia, La.; Jorey A. Rivero, of Bridge City, La.; Randy Tarpley, of Jonesville, La.; Charles W. Nelson, of Pensacola, Fla.; and Vyarl Martin, of Hurst, Texas (http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/96443e9fc55f4294bd4ae99a6b718250/LA--Fatal-Helicopter-Crash/search/place/6e92d9b882c7100488e5df092526b43e/).

"It's been a long process, but I think all the parties are satisfied that this has come to a just and reasonable resolution," said John Denenea, a lawyer for Rivero's widow.

Martin and Thomas Ballenger, of Eufaula, Ala.; were the PHI pilots who died. The other passenger killed was Ezequiel Cantu, of Morgan City (http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/96443e9fc55f4294bd4ae99a6b718250/LA--Fatal-Helicopter-Crash/search/place/367eab0763aa4c23aaa3a42082beaf16/).

A lawsuit over Cantu's death is pending in a Texas (http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/96443e9fc55f4294bd4ae99a6b718250/LA--Fatal-Helicopter-Crash/search/place/6e92d9b882c7100488e5df092526b43e/) state court. Chris Glover, a lawyer for Ballenger's family, said a lawsuit over his death is scheduled to be tried in December in an Alabama federal court. Glover said he has had settlement talks with Sikorsky, but not recently.


Sikorsky Corp. settles several claims over 2009 helicopter crash in Louisiana that killed 8 | The Republic (http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/96443e9fc55f4294bd4ae99a6b718250/LA--Fatal-Helicopter-Crash/)


From August:
Helicopter maker accused of hiding report on crash

MICHAEL KUNZELMAN, Associated Press http://analytics.apnewsregistry.com/analytics/v2/image.svc/AP/RWS/chron.com/MAI/2146966/E/prod/AT/A
Updated 08:42 a.m., Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The owner of a helicopter that crashed in Louisiana in 2009, killing eight people, is asking a federal court to sanction the aircraft's manufacturer for allegedly hiding a damning internal report to conceal its liability.

In a court filing last Friday, PHI Inc. claims Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. withheld a report by one of its lead engineers because his analysis concluded Sikorsky's faulty design caused its helicopter to crash near Morgan City.

PHI is seeking court-ordered monetary sanctions against Sikorsky, which faces a federal trial in November for a batch of consolidated lawsuits filed by relatives of crash victims.

PHI says it wouldn't have paid as much last year to settle plaintiffs' claims if it had seen Wonsub Kim (http://www.chron.com/?controllerName=search&action=search&channel=news&search=1&inlineLink=1&query=%22Wonsub+Kim%22)'s report beforehand.

"Sikorsky hid the existence of Dr. Kim's analysis because it was not helpful to Sikorsky. In fact, Dr. Kim's analysis undermines Sikorsky's entire defense," PHI attorneys wrote.

Sikorsky spokesman Paul Jackson (http://www.chron.com/?controllerName=search&action=search&channel=news&search=1&inlineLink=1&query=%22Paul+Jackson%22) said in an email that the company "strongly" denies PHI's allegation and is prepared to "defend against it strenuously." Jackson wouldn't comment beyond that statement.

Investigators concluded a bird struck the Sikorsky S-76 before it crashed about 100 miles southwest of New Orleans on Jan. 4, 2009, killing both pilots and six passengers and injuring a lone survivor. The helicopter had been carrying workers to a Shell Oil Co. (http://www.chron.com/?controllerName=search&action=search&channel=news&search=1&inlineLink=1&query=%22Shell+Oil+Co.%22) platform in the Gulf of Mexico.

Investigators found the remains of a Red-tailed hawk on the remnants of the pilot's side windshield. They also found bird feathers under a windscreen seal and in an engine.

PHI says Sikorsky has claimed PHI was responsible for the crash because it replaced the helicopter's original glass windshield with a plastic one that allowed the bird to penetrate the windshield and disable its throttle controls.
PHI, however, says Kim's November 2009 report shows Sikorsky's faulty design of the helicopter's canopy and throttle quadrant caused the crash. Kim concluded the windshield doesn't fail when a bird strikes a Sikorsky S-76 exactly where it did in this case, PHI says.

"Instead, the bird strikes causes the canopy to fail 'substantially,' which causes the throttles to disengage, turning off the engines, and leading to the crash just seventeen seconds later," PHI lawyers wrote.

PHI claims Sikorsky intentionally kept Kim and his analysis hidden before it turned over his report on March 14, 2011. A plaintiffs' attorney, Paul Sterbcow (http://www.chron.com/?controllerName=search&action=search&channel=news&search=1&inlineLink=1&query=%22Paul+Sterbcow%22), said they learned of the report's existence while questioning a witness in February 2011.

To support its allegations, PHI cited an email exchange between Sikorsky official Phillip Potts (http://www.chron.com/?controllerName=search&action=search&channel=news&search=1&inlineLink=1&query=%22Phillip+Potts%22), Kim and his boss, Michael Urban (http://www.chron.com/?controllerName=search&action=search&channel=news&search=1&inlineLink=1&query=%22Michael+Urban%22), in late 2009. In his email, according to PHI, Potts said the analysis wasn't complete even though Kim had signed his final report.

"Your stated conclusion related to the windscreen cracking is wrong!" Potts wrote.

"I strongly disagree with the reviewer's comments," Urban replied. "The statement that the results are wrong implies that a given result is known or desired. I cannot directly alter the results only the inputs and (accept) the outcome."

Helicopter maker accused of hiding report on crash - Houston Chronicle (http://www.chron.com/news/article/Helicopter-maker-accused-of-hiding-report-on-crash-2146966.php)

zalt
4th Nov 2011, 00:07
http://www.mscsoftware.com/Submitted-Content/Success-Story/PDF/UCS_Sikorsky_A4_w.pdf

The same Michael Urban has been working on a project to eliminate 'expensive' bird strike tests.

The Sultan
4th Nov 2011, 02:12
Zalt,

Their next AHS paper should be very interesting. Maybe they can get Linda (don't worry about a hole in the Columiba's wing) Ham to coauthor the section on risk management.

The Sultan

SASless
4th Nov 2011, 02:37
One of the other interesting facts about that crash investigation is the wreckage was pressure washed to clean it up for the investigators. I am surprised at there being any bird goo left for them to find. Must be they used a cheap washer!:uhoh:

Soave_Pilot
4th Nov 2011, 02:55
What's ECL?

Sorry but I don't know, and didn't find the meaning here.

thanks

industry insider
4th Nov 2011, 03:11
Apart from the two different spellings of Sikorsky and the referral to the S-92 the "Helibus", a nomenclature which is no longer used in Sikorsky, I would not be at all convinced of the integrity of analysis and modelling over empirical test data.

Didn't MSC Dytran peer review or proof read this before release? I hope the software is better than the the brochure.

212man
4th Nov 2011, 03:46
Soave Pilot - ECL = Engine Control lever. Throttle, or Speed Select lever as Eurocopter call it.


Instead, the bird strikes causes the canopy to fail 'substantially,

Surely that's the point - it DIDN'T fail substantially. that's why it took so long to establish the cause (hindered by most of teh bird remains having been washed off.) the ECLs were displaced by the shock transmittal through the frame and assisted by worn triggers.

squib66
4th Nov 2011, 17:28
It is amazing how poor the NTSB's procedures are if they destroyed key evidence by pressure washing. The fact they choose not to reveal that in their report also calls into question their own integrity and commitment to improving.

Surely that's the point - it DIDN'T fail substantially. that's why it took so long to establish the cause

I disagree 212man on two counts. Firstly it is more likely they spent too long looking for other reasons for a dual engine failure first and secondly, the damage was pretty substantial (see the photos in the public docket - and remember these are reconstructed windscreens).

I would not be at all convinced of the integrity of analysis and modelling over empirical test data.

Considering Sikorsky's past, very dubious record, of self-serving analyses (S-92 MGB failure analysis in particular) I also doubt their use of analysis in place of a test.

Disgusted_1
4th Nov 2011, 18:22
I'm not sure about you, but I'm confident that the reference in the title block on page 1 to a "Hellcopter" is completely correct.

I am, however, amused by the testing they brag of conducting cheaply on the "Tall rotor" and "Tall cover".

They seem to have realized that test costs are considerably lower on imaginary parts, and have apparently applied the concept to some effect in their marketing material.

When they did the reverse, in applying imaginary test results to real parts, in this case ballistic armor applied in the vicinity of the pilot and co-pilot seats in the UH-60, the US government has no such amusement. Sikorsky paid $2.9M to settle the matter.
Failure to test armor costs $1.2M - Connecticut Post (http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Sikorsky-subcontractor-pays-1-2-million-for-501114.php)

squib66
5th Nov 2011, 11:24
More marketing BS.

squib66
10th Nov 2011, 19:42
This report to EASA (http://www.easa.eu.int/rulemaking/docs/research/Final%20report%20Bird%20Strike%20Study.pdf) argues that the regulators should consider increasing the impact kinetic energy tested for Part 29 large rotorcraft certification to reduce the proportion of bird strikes occurring above the current certification value. This is because 5 to 8% are occurring above the current test criteria.

I wonder if Sikorsky would choose to take a lead in promoting a higher test value in the rule making process.

Shell Management
24th Nov 2011, 20:32
5 to 8 percent is pretty small considering the rarity of such strikes.