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Mount Disappointment helicopter crash 31/3/2022

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Mount Disappointment helicopter crash 31/3/2022

Old 12th May 2022, 01:57
  #81 (permalink)  
 
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Preliminary report released.

Investigation: AO-2022-016 - Collision with terrain involving Airbus Helicopters EC130 T2, VH-XWD near Mount Disappointment, Victoria, on 31 March 2022 (atsb.gov.au)

OMG. the first heli flew into the cloud first and did a U-turn and the second one followed.
.

The passenger in the front right seat had flown in helicopters for about 30 years. The passenger recalled that, as they crossed Mount Disappointment, heavy cloud rolled in resulting in ‘a white-out with ground visibility no longer evident’. The pilot radioed XWD and said words to the effect of ‘U‑turn, U-turn, U-turn’. Then the pilot of WVV immediately completed a U‑turn. The pilot of XWD radioed back with words to the effect ‘aren’t we going to cut through?’ The passenger then saw XWD pass just below them
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Old 12th May 2022, 10:49
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A major issue was to be crossing Mt Disappointment instead of going around it.
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Old 12th May 2022, 11:09
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Why do people quote reports we can all read?
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Old 12th May 2022, 11:20
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Originally Posted by Capt Fathom View Post
Why do people quote reports we can all read?
Because many of us are time poor and may not have the patience to go through the 25 pages to find the one critical paragraph.
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Old 12th May 2022, 11:27
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The Preliminary Report was 9 pages. Those interested will read it.
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Old 12th May 2022, 11:53
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It wouldn’t be much of a thread if there wasn’t any discussion!

“Aren’t we going to cut through” I find to be a very interesting comment if factual.
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Old 12th May 2022, 14:34
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One minute....

From the report - Helos leave 30 seconds apart.

0756.30 WWV "U turn"
0757.00 WXD still heading North.
0757.25 Last WXD data point heading North West. crash site 250m.

I never thought about VFR cloud clearances expressed as time not distance.

There but for the grace of God.................
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Old 12th May 2022, 17:06
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Sadly when entering cloud, a VFR machine is often measured in time until impact.

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Old 12th May 2022, 21:32
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I appreciate those who post extracts from reports of these kinds of investigations. Usually the extracts are of the most significant factual findings or flaws in the reasoning.
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Old 13th May 2022, 00:12
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On the very first day there was a quote in the media from possibly the same passenger about being in and out of cloud and the following helicopter not emerging from cloud, so it's no revelation, just confirmation it was not just rumor. As for the future I can only see some significant legal action towards the operator given the passengers involved.
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Old 13th May 2022, 06:38
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As for the future I can only see some significant legal action towards the operator given the passengers involved.
Helicopter VMC criteria over land in Class G airspace are very lenient, perhaps too much so - as long as you are below 700' AGL, you just need to be clear of cloud, within sight of ground or water, inflight visibility 800 metres and 'operating at a speed to see and avoid obstacles' or similar wording - 800 m is a very far cry from the 5000 required for most other operations below 10,000 ft.

Although 500 ft AGL is the minimum for low flying over non-populous areas, 'stress of weather or other unavoidable reason' allows you to go lower if you have to. It is arguable as to when it becomes unavoidable, i.e. could you have turned around and avoided it rather than pressing on, but once down in a valley with scud around, that becomes somewhat academic.

The reason I say this it that a legal case against a VFR helicopter operation scud running at low level may be hard to win, given the above. Obviously the 'avoid obstacles' part didn't happen, but things can sneak up on you very quickly.

This is not a commentary one way or the other on what should or shouldn't have been done, just saying that you can get into some very compromising situations and still be legal, particulary around hills and particularly when there are wires around too. The onus is very much on pilots as to how far they will push. A decision to turn back will often be delayed due to commercial pressure or simple desire to get through, both understandable, and I think we can all appreciate that what may sound cut and dried when reading accident reports may well have been much more ambiguous to the people involved at the time.

How far do I press? How bad is the visibility really? Will it improve over the back of this ridge line or past these hills? Always have an out, as the saying goes, but sometimes your 'out' can disappear before you know it.
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Old 13th May 2022, 07:10
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Applicable only if the helicopter is operated:
› by day
› at a speed that
allows the pilot to see obstructions or other traffic in sufficient time to avoid collision
The radar and GPS tracks will clear this up very quickly as to the level of compliance. The data is all there for the regulators and legal eagles to act upon.
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Old 13th May 2022, 07:58
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I think not, what radar and GPS track has the ability to reproduce a picture of exactly what the visibility and cloud was like in any given point to that accuracy? This is micro stuff, not macro.
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Old 13th May 2022, 08:05
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This sad occurrence may also highlight the shameful state of flux our aviation rules are currently in. I don't mean to hijack the thread in any way, but if you consider that even though Part 135 rotorcraft passenger transport regs came into force on 02 December last year but are not 'actually' in force in terms of auditing, ops manual acceptance etc there will be a massive can of worms to work through.
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Old 13th May 2022, 09:20
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Originally Posted by Arm out the window View Post
I think not, what radar and GPS track has the ability to reproduce a picture of exactly what the visibility and cloud was like in any given point to that accuracy? This is micro stuff, not macro.
I’m picking up what you’re putting down.

Last edited by Squawk7700; 13th May 2022 at 09:40.
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Old 14th May 2022, 04:08
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Part 135 rotorcraft passenger transport regs
I think you mean Part 133 Australian air transport operations — rotorcraft.
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Old 14th May 2022, 04:40
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Yes, sorry, I should've said Part 133. They blend into one another after a while!
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Old 14th May 2022, 08:02
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AOTW.......all good. The MOS for Part 133 is also worth a look.
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