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Firefighting plane down in NSW

Old 18th Nov 2013, 21:47
  #61 (permalink)  
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The Heff lashes out at RFS!

yr right:
RFS dont like aircraft cause they work its not a shinny red fire truck wake up smell the roses RFS is a mini emprire building place where the super heros live, sorry guys sad but true and once again im in the know here.
It would appear that yr right's above comment may be close to the truth and the RFS were definitely part of the causal chain for this tragic accident. Yesterday in Senate Estimates the Chair Senator Heffernan started the inquisition of CAsA with a passionate rant, although the Hansard is yet to be released the Murdoch press covered the moment and put out this article:Pilot 'taunted' before fatal crash
'I'm disgusted as I'm informed that on that day it was pretty rugged weather and ... (pilots) were taunted by the Rural Fire Service because these guys didn't particularly want to fly,' Liberal senator Bill Heffernan told a Senate hearing into operations of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

The NSW senator said another pilot reported that Mr Black was told 'real men and real pilots would be up there'.

Witnesses saw a wing snap off Mr Black's aircraft before it plummeted to the ground.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau is investigating the crash.
Senator Heffernan said the RFS's opinions are 'outside the ambit of safety guidelines of air safety' and asked CASA to clarify its working relationship with the fire authority during emergency operations.

The CASA boss John McCormick said pilots are contracted by the bush fire service during waterbombing.

'We do rely on the expertise of the people who are involved with the firefighting ... I think it's terrible if they gave him intimidation to fly,' Mr McCormick said.
Kind of reminds me of a certain SBP email..." toughen up princesses"...hmm Captain 49'er commenting on intimidation is definitely (Mc)Comical!

More to follow...
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Old 19th Nov 2013, 03:20
  #62 (permalink)  
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This post now looks a bit odd due to the previous thread it was responding to having been removed after the responce it received....

Its this kind of idiot mentality towards safety that make a difficult job that extra bit harder.

What a great little macho line that was. I hope their conscience haunts them for ever more.

And its this mentality that flows on through to other workmates, family and friends of those touting it. Simply because it is the big man attitude, I'm the hero calling the shots crap.

here are two quotes from the other fire bombing thread on here. Demonstrating how this pathetic attitude towards safety flow on.

decisions (for the fires surrounding Sydney anyway) were being made from Round Corner Dural upstairs HQ during the thick of the melee a few weeks ago. This from an involved family member...
note "involved family member"

and the clincher

and those moaning about being able to get into it early in the day with an aeroplane at that time would you like a cup of cement
People in positions of responsibility need to be active stamping out this behavior. Weeding out the pests that spread the disease.

Last edited by grug; 2nd Dec 2013 at 21:26.
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Old 19th Nov 2013, 14:18
  #63 (permalink)  
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Australian Bushfire Pilot 'taunted ahead of crash'

This one is a bit unusual, but he was a professional pilot:

AN experienced waterbombing pilot killed when his plane crashed fighting bushfires was taunted before take-off for voicing his reluctance to fly in poor weather, a parliamentary committee has been told.

David Black, 43, was killed when his fixed-wing Dromader aircraft crashed in Budawang National Park on NSW's south coast on October 24.

"I'm disgusted as I'm informed that on that day it was pretty rugged weather and ... (pilots) were taunted by the Rural Fire Service because these guys didn't particularly want to fly," Liberal senator Bill Heffernan told a Senate hearing into operations of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

The NSW senator said another pilot reported that Mr Black was told "real men and real pilots would be up there".

Witnesses saw a wing snap off Mr Black's aircraft before it plummeted to the ground.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau is investigating the crash.
Source: | The Australian
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Old 19th Nov 2013, 19:44
  #64 (permalink)  
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If the report is true, then there should be no further aerial firefighting in NSW until the culprits are sacked and an apology issued.
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Old 19th Nov 2013, 20:37
  #65 (permalink)  
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Let's not get too precious about this - some pollie is making political capital over an allegation about "taunting" - you can fill in the dots for yourself.

Without knowing what was said and the context, it is a bit rough to be calling "off with their heads" just because the flight ended in tragedy. I'm willing to warrant that there aren't too many professional pilots operating in the GA sector that haven't felt outside pressure to go and do a flight, dealing with that is part and parcel of the job and this pilot wasn't some 200hr hatchling.

Facts first.
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Old 19th Nov 2013, 21:30
  #66 (permalink)  
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A politician complaining about taunting??

Pot, meet kettle....
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Old 20th Nov 2013, 00:11
  #67 (permalink)  
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a bit more at stake when peoples home (and the people themselves) are going going up in smoke..
They chose to live there...
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Old 20th Nov 2013, 00:34
  #68 (permalink)  
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Charlie, you've got that bit right. Worse for this particular politician I'd have thought, being the one censured by the Senate for peddling untruths about a high court judge.
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Old 2nd Dec 2013, 02:10
  #69 (permalink)  
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Looks like metal fatigue. RIP David.

Crashed firefighting Dromader aircraft had 'fatigue cracking': report
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Old 2nd Dec 2013, 04:10
  #70 (permalink)  
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ATSB Prelim report

Preliminary report - AO-2013-187

Excerpts from page 5-6 of that report:
Wing attach fitting maintenance requirements

In 2000, investigations by the US National Transportation Safety Board into a number of US M18 accidents in which the wings separated in-flight discovered severe corrosion and cracking in the wing lower attach fittings, which led to fatigue cracking and failure of the fitting.3

On 3 August 2000, the aircraft manufacturer issued service bulletin (SB) E/02.170/2000, which provided procedures for dealing with corrosion of the centre wing-to-outboard wing attach fittings. The SB included a procedure for inspection of fittings found to be affected by corrosion and stated that:
• ‘the only acceptable inspection method is magnetic cracks detection’4 (original emphasis)
• ‘the critical area of the joints include the lower surfaces of the [main holes] in the wing lower attach joints’
• the inspections did not require outboard wing removal
• any cracked fittings and worn-out expansion mandrels were subject to mandatory replacement.

On 11 September 2000, CASA approved a procedure for inspection of the fittings using eddy-current testing as an alternative to the magnetic particle inspection required by the SB. This procedure provided information on preparing the area for inspection, instrument calibration, and other matters specific to the eddy-current testing method. It did not require wing removal and did not specify any particular critical area for inspection. Being a replacement for the inspection part of the SB, it did not provide repair instructions.

On 19 October 2000, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) issued airworthiness directive (AD) AD/PZL/5. It specified that the centre wing-to-outboard wing attach joints were to be inspected, using magnetic particle methods, for cracks in the lugs, corrosion in the main holes, and ovalisation of the main holes. The inspection was to be carried out in accordance with the manufacturer’s SB and was mandatory for all M18s5 after the fittings accumulated 2,500 hours service. Further inspections were required every 500 airframe hours or every 12 months, whichever came first.6

Aircraft maintenance information

Maintenance records indicated that the main spar attach point fittings on TZJ were installed new in 2004. The aircraft records indicated that since then it had accrued 3,980 flight hours, and 5,784 adjusted hours. A valid maintenance release was found in the wreckage.
The main spar attach fittings were last inspected on 8 August 2013, using the CASA-approved eddy-current procedure. Records indicated that since then, the aircraft had accumulated 120.1 flight hours and 154.7 adjusted hours, not including the accident flight.

Wreckage and site information

The on-site examination found that the left wing had separated at the attachment joint between the outboard wing and centre wing sections, about 6 m from the wingtip (Figure 6). Preliminary examination of the attach fittings indicated that the left outboard wing lower attachment lug had fractured through an area of pre-existing fatigue cracking in the lug lower ligament (Figure 7 and Figure 8). The fatigue cracking reduced the structural integrity of the fitting to the point where operational loads produced an overstress fracture of the remaining lug material. The detached section of lug was retained by the centre wing lugs and showed a matching fracture surface (Figure 8).

A number of aircraft components were removed from the accident site for further examination at the ATSB’s Canberra facilities, including:
• both sections of the separated lower main spar lug and the remainder of the lower main spar attach fitting (left wing)
• the entire upper main spar attach fitting (left wing)
• part of the rear spar attach fitting (left wing)
• the entire lower main spar attach fitting (right wing).
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Old 2nd Dec 2013, 04:40
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There is nothing much to like about the Dromader.

I might be wrong but I was led to believe the outer wing section is little more than a reverse engineered Ayers Thrush wing and the attach points are much the same.

If that were the case it would be a big ask to see them in service on an aircraft with significantly higher TOW.

Their original saving grace was that with the 1000hp radial they were under powered (IMO) so had to be flown with a degree of care. They were also extremely heavy on the controls, especially the A models, abrupt or full control deflection was difficult. Basically they flew like a pig.

When the turbine retro fit came along servos were placed on the control surfaces so you could fly the damn things. That then made them fairly light on the controls.

More than one industry wise person has commented over the years that the turbine Dromader is an airframe at the very limits and requires very judicious operation, fire bombing stretches that somewhat.

I don't know what the answer to the Dromader issue is but i would personally like to see them phased out sooner than later.

Surprised the NDT done 120 hours earlier didn't pick an underlying issue on David's machine.

Another very sad loss to the industry, and I feel for his widow who has been close the industry all her life and witnessed this loss and sadness with others many times, now she has to struggle through it.

Nothing much to like about the Dromader.
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Old 2nd Dec 2013, 12:02
  #72 (permalink)  
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Could we please note that whatever the circumstances of this tragedy, this man, this pilot was a hero; like ALL fire-fighters he put himself in harms way and was unfortunate to have made the ultimate sacrifice as a result. While not glorifying or detracting from what happened, I hope his wife and children can take some comfort that he died trying to protect others.

David Blake, a true HERO!

My sincerest condolences to his wife, children, family and friends. I truly wish I could swap places with him.
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Old 2nd Dec 2013, 22:09
  #73 (permalink)  
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It looks like the pilot was a passenger in this accident. This was an avoidable accident and very, very sad.

The failed attach point shows classic fatigue cracking followed by brittle fracture. I would like to think that this crack was detectable when the inspection was done 120 flight hours earlier. In fact I'm a little surprised it wouldn't have been visible to the naked eye or with simple dye penetrant. I hope CASA's specification of eddy current detection vs the manufacturers recommended magnetic particle inspection gets proper scrutiny.

I don't understand the overload concessions either. The original (radial engine) airframe is rated by the manufacturer for a MTOW of 5,300 kg in "overload operations". Without some sort of mechanical strength augmentation I don't understand how this can be extended by CASA to 6,600 kg., especially since operation at those weights for firefighting by definition involves operation in turbulent air and with significant aircraft manoeuvring.
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Old 3rd Dec 2013, 01:44
  #74 (permalink)  
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To my way of thinking the AD/PZL/5 should have required the wings were removed for the inspection. It is hard to imagine that crack was not there 120hrs prior when the NDT was carried out, possible but....and there is nothing quite like physically eye balling the components particularly given their history and the overload allowance.

CASA and the manufacturer get around the over weight operation by simply fixing a sticker to the instrument panel stating overweight operation can reduce fatigue life and lead to structural failure.

I often wondered how seriously pilots took this warning and whether many made a conscious effort to modify the way they flew the aircraft.

Aside from the inherent increase in low level turbulence associated with fire bombing consider the lot of the Dromader airframe. It is a budget airframe with a low G envelope it also has a low speed envelope and low Vfe speed. Now combine that with a more aerodynamic engine install, greater power and potential for higher speed and a significant uplift approval lighter control forces and the fact that many likely use first stage flap running into and during the dump while flying very near or at Vfe limit speed, it all sounds like a recipe for a problem. My memory of the Vn envelope with first stage flap was something like +2.5/-0.5 G, not much

If the AAAA hasn't already I see a good case for a very sobering education program for the operators/pilots and engineers of these aircraft.
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Old 3rd Dec 2013, 07:08
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To my way of thinking the AD/PZL/5 should have required the wings were removed for the inspection.
I agree that unless you see the front face of the attach bracket, the chances of picking up a crack are greatly diminished. But I guess it may be possible to unbolt the wing and either slide it outboard 50mm or raise it 50mm to gain access to the attach fitting without technically removing the wing.

Its been many years since I've done eddy current or magnetic particle inspection, but the small amount of refresher reading I did this morning suggests that eddy current is not recommended for detecting cracks within bores (holes).
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