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Merlin crash

Old 4th Apr 2004, 20:47
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While I have no first-hand intel on the crash myself, I was interested to see the Canadian DND report as early as last Friday that the UK crash investigation had homed-in on the tail rotor half hub assembly as its main focus: see Cormorant ops restricted

Glad there were no fatailities on Tuesday.

I/C
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Old 5th Apr 2004, 16:49
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Are the RAF 28Sqn Merlins grounded at the moment - i know i have not seen any in the Abingdon circuit on training or overflying where i work since the RN examples unfortunate crash??

I too think the Merlin is a great chopter, we always have had one at my annual Abingdon Fayre Air events & people love to see it in action.......i am quite amazed at its agility despite being a big helicopter..

BTW, - we had a Merlin that was 6 days old at the 2001 Abingdon Fayre and it went u/s cos of the tail rotor.
All part of being a new toy!!!
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Old 7th Apr 2004, 14:49
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In 20 years as an aviation journo I've found that aircrew are never backwards in coming forward with their gripes about their aircraft types, especially new aircraft types, and especially new aircraft types produced by UK plc. Even the enthusiastic supporters of the Tornado acknowledged that it wasn't an F-14/F-15E/F/A-18....

Except in the case of the Merlin, where the underlying attitude of the operators seems to be "this is a world-beater". And in the wake of what you might expect to have been a confidence shaking crash they pop up on PPRuNe full of support for the aircraft. Top marks, chaps!

And while the crash may give Sikorsky some ammunition, few are unaware that the S-92 is unproven, or that it is produced by the company that brought you the S-70 (which has had its share of problems - including many which affect those parts of the dynamics system 'borrowed' for the S-92).

Was anyone else interested to see a potential US101 driver 'stand up
to be counted' in Av Week on 8 March?

Major Regan Patrick of the 66th RS at Nellis thanked Av Week for its article on the EH-101. "I, along with many others in the rescue helicopter community, appreciate your efforts to highlight the capabilities and performance of this significant new aircraft."

Perhaps the Lockheed US101 has enough support over there to weather this storm?
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Old 7th Apr 2004, 15:35
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Would one of the Merlin drivers tell us why they cost so much please? What do they do that is so significantly better than say a Seahawk or Seaking.
Yes it's new, yes it's shiny and it has lot's of gizmos, BUT is each aircraft worth the oft quoted 40-50 million.
Could we have bought more of another proven aircraft for the same price, eg Super Puma, from our European neighbour and replaced the Pumas and Seakings?
I'm not anti Merlin, I just want my taxes spent wisely; such as buying lots of VFR Chinooks, now who authorised that cock-up?
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Old 7th Apr 2004, 16:51
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Oh yes it is.

Go and speak to 824 NAS, they will tell you what a massive increase in capability (ASW* and ASuW*) it is compared to the Sea King HAS6.

* Or whatever they're called now.

Last edited by WE Branch Fanatic; 7th Apr 2004 at 22:28.
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Old 7th Apr 2004, 16:57
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Bootneck - wrong forum to discuss capabilities of this helicopter. Just take it from me, it is better than the rest!.....

The Chinoock situation is a sad reflection of the way our armed forces are being run.
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Old 7th Apr 2004, 19:05
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OK ZH but it still seems an awful lot of dosh to let a Matelot play with..................... did somebody say something about incoming?
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Old 7th Apr 2004, 19:30
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Bootie

The MK3's are about 20 million and the asw/asuw all singin'n'dancin Mk1's are in the 40 million bracket.

Are they worth it? well yes, if you have ever had to sit in the back of a Sea King pinger, getting covered in OM15, doing grid sprints between the active sonar and passive sonar positions. Stripping sonarbuoys out of poly bags with your aircrew knife, with another grid sprint to ditch the thing over the side and back to the table to see if it works or not! (Don't forget to tidy up before you sit back down) With the new, easy care MK1, it's one chair with lots of screens and a 'scrinson' that ditches the buoys for you. It just has to be a winner!

The Mk3 is pretty much in the same vein. Lots of space and a nice clean interior; and it goes fast.

This dit is short on an explanation of capabilities, I know; just sticking up for the youngster!!
 
Old 7th Apr 2004, 19:44
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Lots of space and a nice clean interior; and it goes fast.
But does it make coffee?
If it's so chuffing fast, how come they keep throbbing around my place at somewhere between 40 and 45 knots? It's getting boring!! (I actually saw one cruising the other day, nearly had to sit down in shock)
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Old 7th Apr 2004, 22:05
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Bootneck, (i'm also in truro) i see them flying very low/slow over st clements hill. I'm happy to see any aircraft around really... I hear that they are grounded now(?) though so won't be seeing them for a while.
 
Old 8th Apr 2004, 00:13
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Hi Guy's long time no prune!!
Sorry to finaly hear about the Merlin down here, glad to hear all OK.
But, the fact that the Merlin is a major step forward and more capable then the Sea King etc. does not mean that it should be defended at all costs!! If something is wrong it should be fixed and waiting until the BOI comes out with their considerations is a little blind. The rotor brake tale should be warning enough! I don't know the details of the bits in question (still on SK here), so I'll stay out of the tech details, it's the principal of this dangerous sport of ours.
If something is broke....Fix it
If something is suspect ...Investigate it, don't go on until it does it again!
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Old 9th Apr 2004, 22:54
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Grrr Not Grounded !

Ssultana - a subtle correction to your post - the aircraft are "suspended from normal flying operations" - not grounded. It is a political statement"! Be careful not to give the wrong impression. Some EH101s will be available for "Emergency Operation".

To add to previous information and give Bootneck a response - the Merlin is a significant increase in capability over the Sea King in any role (although its downwash can be a hinderence in SAROPS if not used to it!). Admittably there have been teething problems with its introduction into Service and I for one have always said that you should never fly a Mk 1 aircraft if you can help it! But this aircraft IS a world beater and will prove its worth in the fullness of time. It is worth the 44m (accurate!) unit cost that we paid to develop and build it and the attrition rate is in line with the predicted rate (42 left out of 44 now after 3 years since In Service Date (ISD)). Give it a chance!
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Old 10th Apr 2004, 06:03
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I recall that the Italian prototype crash involved a rotor brake fire that caused the carbon-fibre control runs to lose integrity - something that occurs in that type of composite at >300deg C. Thereafter the control runs were re-engineered in metal.

Agree with the sentiments about not second-guessing the BoI. At least there appears to have been uniformity of action regarding suspension of normal flying - more than can be said of the Lynx Mk7 after one shed a main-rotor blade killing two friends. After that tragedy, the army had a shambolic lack of leadership and policy, with some grounded in front-line units, while others (both training and operational) continued to fly.

Hope the crew in Cornwall are recovering well.

PS: Didn't Wastelands test crews step out of one on the ground following an ACSR failure a few years back?
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