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Merlin crash

Old 31st Mar 2004, 19:28
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When I worked at Westlands in the late eighties/early nineties they were retailing at 50m for a copy - still thats inflation for you During its development it lost a couple of aircraft - I think it had a rather anoying habit of applying its rotor brake whilst in flight....My memory is a little vague but I seem to recall a crew of one prototype aircraft had to bail put, but sadly a second (I believe Italian) crew lost there lives due to this or a similar fault.
Still at the time I was involved with it a good aircraft, with a lot of potential, something I am sure the crews at Culdrose and Benson would go along with.
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Old 31st Mar 2004, 22:00
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RichiePAO - your memory is almost right (unless mine is wrong). Italian crew that died were in PP2 when the rotor brake thing happened, at low level I believe. The crew that bailed out were in PP4 when the tail rotor pitch control rod broke near the bottom of the fin (up at about 15000'), forcing the tail rotor to max pitch (weight of rod hanging on hyd actuator). That one was over Somerset, a large area of Somerset by the time it stopped.

They do appear to be having more than their fair share of problems, and I have to agree with the lack of value for money comment. RN 1 springs to mind as never going to get to 'mission capable' status.

Having worked on several variants of the big bus, I too think it had potential, maybe it was just poorly executed (I don't mean by the actual workers, the ones I worked alongside were excellent, professional guys and gals), which is a real shame.
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Old 31st Mar 2004, 23:17
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Glad to hear they all got out, even though not immediately.
Sounds like a concerning failure for the rest of the crews though.
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Old 1st Apr 2004, 10:56
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A quick update. Post fleet check of I understand 42 aircraft; they all have the same fault. Ooooops!
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Old 1st Apr 2004, 16:01
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I guess the Mk 3s at Benson have the same problem. Have they been grounded?
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Old 1st Apr 2004, 17:52
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Bootneck,

Isn't the first rule of accident investigation to NEVER jump at first conclusions.

If 44 aircraft have the same fault why did this not happen 4 years ago on an older aircraft.

I think as someone said before WAIT until the BOI/RNFSAIC have done ALL the investigation instead of jumping in with both feet.

By the way I am a Merlin Driver!
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Old 1st Apr 2004, 20:00
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Agree to the above; all will be revealed.

"Most tested, most safe and best value for money helicopter in the world today" (c) Westlands.

Nonsense. Very glad they all got out though. Hope they all fly again soon.
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Old 1st Apr 2004, 20:10
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Good to see Bootneck was standing alondside the rest of us watching it all happen (not) Evidently he must be on the BOI because he knows more than us giving statements. Just to put the record straight- everything is being considered - and we will find out idc. It is absolute B****cks and unhelpful to suggest anything else. Having flown the beast for the last 2 yrs and enjoyed every minute - most of my bethren will agree that we are anxious to find out the cause - get it fixed and get airborne again.
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Old 1st Apr 2004, 20:34
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Arrow

Air force grounds Cormorant copters


HALIFAX (CP) - Flight restrictions have again been placed on Canada's fleet of Cormorant search-and-rescue helicopters following the crash of a similar aircraft in Britain this week.

The air force said Thursday the Canadian helicopters will only be allowed to fly in emergencies until the tail rotors of each of the 15 aircraft can be inspected.

Lt.-Col. Charles Cue, commander of 413 Squadron in Greenwood, N.S., said the restrictions come following the crash of a Royal Navy Merlin helicopter on Tuesday.

Five people were injured in the crash in Britain.

It is believed the cause of the accident involved cracks in the aircraft's tail rotor.

Cue admitted cracks have been found in the same area on the Cormorants, but said they haven't caused any problems.

"We have had cracking in the tail rotor hub, but we check the hub on a daily basis," he said. "If we find a problem, we take the part off and put a new one on. So far, it hasn't been an issue."


He said the rotors on both the Cormorant and the Merlin are roughly the same.

It's the second time since the beginning of the year that the Cormorants have been placed under restrictions.

In February, concerns were raised about potential fuel leaks.

The Italian-built helicopters have already had problems with cracking windscreens and console brackets.
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Old 2nd Apr 2004, 10:47
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I too am a Merlin Driver, AND I saw the accident, but I believe it is pointless pontificating about what did or didn't happen, or how much the beast costs, or if any of the active fleet have any sort of defect. This fine NEW aircraft has a lot of potential and is certainly the best kerosene budgie I have flown but, unfortunately, its detractors now have even more ammunition to bitch about it.

Bootneck, please stop second guessing the AI/BOI (unless you really are on it - you seem to know more than them at present)

Fatman, I'll see you at the North Coast for 7 consecutive Check Test Flights.
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Old 2nd Apr 2004, 20:11
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Don't know who bootneck is and can't confirm all he says, but he is right about a half hub coming apart. Wether it was the cause is for the BOI to decide, but cracking half hubs is something wastelands were already aware of.
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Old 2nd Apr 2004, 23:06
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fish

I reckon the chances of the US Marines buying the US101 to replace their S-65's for the presidential fleet now must be about..........zero.
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Old 3rd Apr 2004, 01:31
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Ditto....Ivors crowd are rubbing their hands/wallets with glee Im sure.

My only concern is that all are ok! Good luck chaps with the RnR, hope your all back in the saddle soonest.

FAA (Rtd)
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Old 3rd Apr 2004, 05:08
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Snoop

S-65's?

Maybe there is a Presidential fleet we have never heard of?
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Old 3rd Apr 2004, 20:06
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Fatman, is what I wrote incorrect?
I don't think so.
Aviators live for the black arts of suspicion, suspense, scepticism and downright speculation. (Or have they all changed)
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Old 3rd Apr 2004, 21:37
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Was what I said incorrect?

Bootie

"A quick update. Post fleet check of I understand 42 aircraft; they all have the same fault. Ooooops"

- lucky we stopped flying then or they would have all fallen out of the sky at the same time wouldn't they?!?

I think Fatman and many other Merlin operators (like myself) would just rather you weren't so f***in' direct while our comrade lies in hospital being "patched up" as you put it in an earlier post.

Speculation and opinion is fine. Unequivocal 'facts' may give rise to some ill feeling.

By the way, I hope the journo who said on TV that it was "pilot error" has a good lawyer.
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Old 3rd Apr 2004, 22:45
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Let's talk facts!

Right its time to talk facts about this incident!

So what are the facts? We don't know. A few saw it happen and a few have participated in the investigation.

Those that saw it happen would be stupid to discuss it in this forum and those who investigate it would be sacked if they discussed it.

The facts are as follows;

1) A Merlin HM1 has crashed.
2) Five crew survived.
3) The cause is not yet known.

The impact to the EH101 has yet to be realised. What you should all remember is that helicopters malfunction - it happens - we try to prevent it but sometimes we fail.

Re: The US101 - if the most important man in the world has to fly in a helicopter which one would you choose? The S-92: unproven, low operationg hours, etc or the EH101: 100 examples flying; two losses and all survived. Igor might tell you about survivability but wastelands can prove it! Take your pick!

Last edited by ZH844; 4th Apr 2004 at 13:50.
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Old 4th Apr 2004, 14:27
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Facts

Well said ZH844
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Old 4th Apr 2004, 16:47
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fish

Can I just say how refreshing parts of this thread have been.

The refreshing support of the operators from the SW of this fine aircraft have shone a bright light on a potentially very dark incident for the fleet.

I for one have been banging the drum about the Merlin since I started flying it in 2000.

Lets hope we get it back in the sky soonest so we can continue to prove the ignorant wrong.

I'm just anoyed not to be there instead of shining my butt in VB.

Oh, and by the way I hope whoever is talking to Bootneck, stops and keeps everything in house until we KNOW the cause.

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Old 4th Apr 2004, 18:58
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Rod, your friend took my slot in theatre on Friday morning, I never felt happier knowing somebody else needed help more than I.
Melrin, the aircraft went through approx 180* and hit the deck, parts of the tail rotor detached. Is the truth to be avoided or covered up. Information from any accident can help the remaining crews. However there must be a speedy accurate flow; unfortunately this is invariably not the case in the services, hence the rumour mill.
It's not my intention to upset anyone, I'll leave Hoon to do that.
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