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Fire Fighting 737 Crashed in WA

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Fire Fighting 737 Crashed in WA

Old 4th May 2023, 11:30
  #221 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Numpty
and yet you managed to....
That was yesterday, Numpty. ​​​​​​​
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Old 4th May 2023, 11:47
  #222 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by The Banjo
We must remember these pilots are not flying from ILS to ILS sipping on a cuppa tea in an airline. It is a very demanding job with low flying, heat and mechanical turbulence, wind shear, reduced vis in smoke and undulating terrain.
They survived in one piece. The jet is replaceable.
A good outcome in the circumstances.
So true. It was just a clapped-out old Boeing, not some super manoeuvrable squillion dollar tactical jobbie specially designed for the task. If it had been a fire truck that rolled over and burned, it would hardly have made the news, and the crew would have copped little criticism - more likely praise for doing such a dangerous job. But because it’s an aeroplane everyone gets their knickers in a knot.
Those of us (all of us at least once, surely?) who have screwed up and not crashed, had the luxury of a few more feet between us and the ground.
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Old 4th May 2023, 12:18
  #223 (permalink)  
 
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Need to stop using aircraft that aren’t purpose built!

Governments need to seriously look into other options for the long term like the De Havilland Canada DHC-515.
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Old 5th May 2023, 08:06
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DHC-515

Originally Posted by Badengo
Need to stop using aircraft that aren’t purpose built!

Governments need to seriously look into other options for the long term like the De Havilland Canada DHC-515.
You can't blame the aircraft for this accident. The DHC-515 is designed for areas with lakes. That excludes much of Australia. Jets are generally faster to get on task where distance is an issue. Old airliners are a cost effective choice. They just need to be manouvered judiciously and flown at a safe altitude for the task.
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Old 5th May 2023, 08:11
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DHC-515

Originally Posted by Badengo
Need to stop using aircraft that aren’t purpose built!

Governments need to seriously look into other options for the long term like the De Havilland Canada DHC-515.
You can't blame the aircraft for this accident. The DHC-515 is designed for areas with lakes. That excludes much of Australia. Jets are generally faster to get on task where distance is an issue. Old airliners are a cost effective choice. They just need to be manouvered judiciously and flown at a safe altitude for the task.
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Old 5th May 2023, 09:15
  #226 (permalink)  
 
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Lets get to the real problem here, and it's not the aircraft or the pilots skill. It's training and procedures.

The common thread in many of these LAT accidents and near misses is the procedure of 'tagging' the first drop. Dropping a line of retardant around a co-ordinate is one thing, along a fire line or such, but trying to exactly tag that first drop to precisely join the lines is where the target fixation and errors really creep in, especially in aircraft that can be a struggle to fly precisely in these scenarios. Remember the old rule about riding a bike or skiing, where you look is where you go, fixate on the tag line, that's where the plane goes, and realize too late you are past the point of recovery and it's over.

It really seems that not enough focus in training is spent on how dangerous 'tagging' can be, and really considering what we've seen, maybe they need to approach subsequent drops in another way.

Need to stop using aircraft that aren’t purpose built!

Governments need to seriously look into other options for the long term like the De Havilland Canada DHC-515.
Fire trucks and ambulances are the same, a mix of purpose built and stock chassis with stuff attached. I know Victoria has had some woeful fire trucks over the years, some country CFA trucks could not even handle an incline in hilly terrain as they were built on cheap Isuzu chassis and the brakes would not hold the load on an incline.

As far as the CL range of aircraft, they would make a great addition for a select area of Australia, mainly around the east coast where adequate water areas are abundant. But as said before they would struggle for sortie times away from these areas.
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Old 5th May 2023, 22:57
  #227 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by 43Inches
As far as the CL range of aircraft, they would make a great addition for a select area of Australia, mainly around the east coast where adequate water areas are abundant. But as said before they would struggle for sortie times away from these areas.
At 30 million each? The best job I've seen with both pilots and operational dropping has been the DC10, A load of 3 or 4 times more than a LAT. A lot of LAT lines have to be reinforced, never had to do that with a DC10 drop.
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Old 6th May 2023, 00:00
  #228 (permalink)  
 
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43" and others here make good observations, but this got me thinking:

Originally Posted by 43Inches
Lets get to the real problem here, ... It's training and procedures.
So what training and procedures are needed?

The 737 has only a two person crew. How do they allocate responsibility such that they don't both become fixated on the 'drop'? Should one focus on flying and drop timing while the other should have zero interest in the actual drop and only focus on overall safety of aircraft and its crew while flying at such low altitudes? Or do such operations actually need more than a two person crew?

As an alternative to more people in the cockpit monitoring the situation, how about incorporating more technology? After all, seemingly suitable technology has been around for decades already:
The lower selectable limit of terrain clearance shown in this video is 200', not bad for a high speed jet bomber!


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Old 6th May 2023, 01:27
  #229 (permalink)  
 
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Need to stop using aircraft that aren’t purpose built!

Governments need to seriously look into other options for the long term like the De Havilland Canada DHC-515
And how does a purpose built aircraft such as the Canadair provide greater capability than a 737? The accidents are caused by pilot error.

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Old 6th May 2023, 02:00
  #230 (permalink)  
 
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Cost versus reward….. a fire burning in the boon docks of bum f$&k nowhere costing mega bucks versus heavy plant which by all account was doing its job well.

we are becoming far too dependent on the aerial assets these days
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Old 6th May 2023, 08:42
  #231 (permalink)  
 
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Anyone have any info on total sorties flown for the last say, 5 years, nationwide, vs the loss rate? The C130 down Canberra way, the 737, a Dromader crashed about 8 or so years ago due fatigue while on a tasking, a Huey in Tasmania a couple years ago from memory and I have it in my mind there was another Huey that went down on a creekbed a year or three ago - but cannot remember if it was providing aerial support for the firies.

No argument from me that it is a risky business, but losing not one, but two LAT's plus a number of smaller aircraft for what is, quite frankly, a limited number of flights per annum suggests the risk v reward matrix needs to be reconsidered before we lose any more good aviators for jobs that aren't absolutely necessary...
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Old 6th May 2023, 10:03
  #232 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by helispotter
... As an alternative to more people in the cockpit monitoring the situation, how about incorporating more technology?​​​​​​...
Something like this perhaps?

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Old 6th May 2023, 10:23
  #233 (permalink)  
 
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The accidents are caused by pilot error???

Totally Incorrect due to the FACT that CASA forced Part 138 aerial work operators to mandated bucket loads of safety management measures for high risk operations…….🤬🤬🤬

A government contractor pancakes a 737 whilst doing 138 stuff and CASA recon the new regs are fit for purpose🤬🤬

And they have the audacity to scrutinise the hell out of other 138 operators who are doing very low risk operations in comparison to low level fire fighting operations. The 737 wasn’t designed to be a fire bomber, nor was the C-130.

Hope they can address the inconsistencies in the PIR🙃

Somehow doubt based on previous performance…
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Old 6th May 2023, 11:30
  #234 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by KRviator
Anyone have any info on total sorties flown for the last say, 5 years, nationwide, vs the loss rate?...
The ATSB seems to be on the case with a review currently underway:

https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications...ir/as-2021-015

The link to an earlier statistical report is broken at the above site but I have seen it before somewhere on the ATSB website.

As for the recent aerial firefighting related accidents in Australia, these are some I recall in chronological order (including cases listed by KRviator) with help of ATSB website:

08-12-09: AS350B2 (VH-NFO) & BK117 (VH-LXC) near Orange, NSW [older case of collision, fortunately not major]
....
23-10-13: PZL Mielec M18A VH-TZJ near Ulladulla, NSW
17-08-18: BK117 VH-JWB Ulladulla, NSW
28-01-19: S-64E N173AC near Jericho, VIC
07-12-19: UH-1H VH-OXI near Crawford River, NSW [fire control work]
09-01-20: UH-1H VH-ONZ Ben Boyd Reservoir, NSW [bushfire clean-up work]
23-01-20: EC130Q N134CG near Peak View, NSW
14-02-22: UH-1H VH-UHX near Launceston, TAS
06-02-23: 737-3H4 N619SW Fitzgerald River NP, WA

The UH-1 loss recalled by KRviator might be Garlick UH-1H VH-HUE which suffered an engine failure while conducting long-line ops in support of Snowy Hydro 2.0 some distance from Talbingo on 17 April 2018. It ended in a riverbed. I seem to recall a second UH-1 / 205 was also lost supporting Snowy Hydro (not the case of accidental load release from Bell 205, also VH-HUE, on 10 Jan 2019 listed on ATSB site, rather a further loss of a helicopter).

Last edited by helispotter; 6th May 2023 at 12:17. Reason: Added VH-ONZ & VH-OXI cases
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Old 6th May 2023, 22:46
  #235 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by helispotter
The ATSB seems to be on the case with a review currently underway:

https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications...ir/as-2021-015

The link to an earlier statistical report is broken at the above site but I have seen it before somewhere on the ATSB website.
Found it. Like CAsA, the ATSB screwed up their new website and there's dozens, if not hundreds of dead links on their own website yet alone everyone that had linked to reports there externally. Anyways, here's the report: A safety analysis of aerial firefighting occurrences in Australia
Originally Posted by helispotter
The UH-1 loss recalled by KRviator might be Garlick UH-1H VH-HUE which suffered an engine failure while conducting long-line ops in support of Snowy Hydro 2.0 some distance from Talbingo on 17 April 2018. It ended in a riverbed.
Yep, that's the one I was thinking of, but I had conflated it with the Ben Boyd prang, thanks for clarifying it.
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Old 7th May 2023, 02:18
  #236 (permalink)  
 
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The 737 wasn’t designed to be a fire bomber, nor was the C-130.
With the exception of the Canadair and Be-200 I'm hard pressed to think of any aircraft designed with water bombing in mind. Personally can't see what difference it makes as to the airframe used, the catalogue of aircraft used is long, Neptune, B-24, DC-7, Catalina, Electra, Avenger, Mars etc etc The 747 and MD-87 are now used as well.
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Old 7th May 2023, 12:56
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Originally Posted by megan
With the exception of the Canadair and Be-200 I'm hard pressed to think of any aircraft designed with water bombing in mind. Personally can't see what difference it makes as to the airframe used, the catalogue of aircraft used is long, Neptune, B-24, DC-7, Catalina, Electra, Avenger, Mars etc etc The 747 and MD-87 are now used as well.
Of course at the other end of the scale are all the fixed & rotary wing aircraft now used for firefighting. For fixed wing, most are purpose built aerial agriculture aircraft adapted to fire-fighting. While looking through recent "Aerial Work" related accidents on ATSB site, it was apparent that there were at least as many accidents during aerial application tasks as those related to firefighting. Low level flight is clearly more risky, regardless of the role.
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Old 7th May 2023, 13:09
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Juan Browne (blancolirio) has provided a good review of ATSB's preliminary report with his own observations:


One of the main points he makes is that it always takes time for turbofans to build up thrust after throttles are increased and the lag between throttle-up and response is shown in one of the ASTB figures.

I wonder how many more metres may have been enough to just clear that ridge and avoid the accident?

He discusses the altitudes in the ATSB data plots from about 22:55. At 23:16 he mentions an apparent discrepancy between Corrected Altitude and the Radar Altimeter plot. But I see on the ATSB plots, they refer to "Radio Height Left (FEET)" and "Corrected Altitude (FEET)". Dumb question but is the "Radio Height" a distance to the actual ground as opposed to height above sea level of "Corrected Altitude"? *

* Seems so, since this all roughly lines up in the report: (Corrected Altitude) - (Radio Height) = (Terrain Altitude)

Last edited by helispotter; 7th May 2023 at 15:07. Reason: Added question re altitudes.
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Old 9th May 2023, 02:02
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Further to the question I asked in post #238, the Cambridge Aerospace Dictionary defines "Radio Height" as "Height above ground measured by radio altimeter". So it occurred to me that given ATSB presented synchronised plots of Corrected Altitude and Radio Height in Figure 8 & 9, then it is possible to work back and also estimate the terrain altitude as derived from the flight instruments. Furthermore, since the ground speed is also plotted in Figure 9, it is also possible to convert from a time series x axis in Figure 9 to a distance over ground.

Also, Figure 6 in the report, showing the terrain profile in the area of the impact is not to scale but it does provide five key track and corresponding ground elevation points. So if we (boldly) assume the point at which the Radio Height has dropped to zero equates to the initial impact point with the ridgeline, we can overlay a semi-scaled version of Figure 6 over the converted flight path and terrain elevation derived from Figure 9.

Starting with the semi-scaled version of Figure 6 (x and y both in metres), it might look something like the following plot, with (1) being ridgeline impact, (2) being second impact and (3) being main wreckage locations:



Then merging this with the derived flightpath and terrain (again both x and y in metres) from Figure 9 as outlined above:


The pink lines represent the estimated start and end of the second retardant drop shown in Figure 9 of ATSB's report. Red lines are again as indicated above. The terrain as shown in the brown line has been 'massaged' to reasonably align with that derived from flight instruments (green line), but is still consistent with the information provided in Figure 6. The radio altimeter would in part be measuring the height to the top of the scrub whereas Figure 6 elevations appear to be measured at ground level.
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Old 9th May 2023, 04:11
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That video explains a lot about what happened. A few key points like, the captain was concerned with using all retardant to it's maximum effectiveness. This had two results, 1 he pulled out of the first drop to save some retardant for a second go on a more favorable line, and 2, once on that line he was very concerned with ensuring the retardant 'tagged' or continued to first drop for maximum effect. That then gets anyone in the mindset of fixating on the second drop point to ensure it's all worthwhile. The fixation is evident when the pilot bunts the nose down late in the approach probably to follow the target in the windscreen and that small change in such a large aircraft resulted in a combination of very low thrust and high rate of descent. Everything is out of whack now and in what would be a normal recovery is now low, and with a full spool up required for any performance, by the time you realize what has happened you are flicking the hilltop.

I can see a few ways to reduce it happening again. PM needs to be drilled on watching all parameters, IAS and ALT are obvious, but power and attitude and descent rate as well, what would be called stable approach criteria. Set drop points to overlap, and not tag, yes you waste a little bit of retardant, but if you start to miss you are less likely to push the nose down subconsciously (or just can tagging and drop the retardant without target restraints). Also given the response time of the engines would it be better to have these aircraft fitted with modified spoilers so that they can use significant power against drag, if performance is required, ditching the spoilers with 80%+ N1 would be much faster response than spooling from idle, but then I supposed the cowboy operators would use them to dive bomb canyons or something....
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