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-   -   No balls cause helicopter prang. (https://www.pprune.org/pacific-general-aviation-questions/515397-no-balls-cause-helicopter-prang.html)

Oktas8 30th May 2013 05:21

I wonder if this kind of accident would eventually become quite rare, if "stress of weather" was not a valid defence against the low flying regulations?

Then, breaching the 500' rule (with various exceptions) would always be illegal.

Might make pilots a little more willing to turn around rather than press on, "because it's better just around the next valley".

Frank Arouet 30th May 2013 05:51

I think a lot of people have forgotten the aircraft was a helicopter and as such can operate at a lower VFR Day requirement. From memory class G operations for example can operate below 700' above ground or water. The minimum flight visibility is 800 meters. The minimum distance from cloud both horizontal and vertical is simply clear of cloud.

This doesn't address the VCA point, but clearly gives more leeway than you assume of a fixed wing aeroplane.

I guess there is also the matter of forward speed to ameliorate the situation to hover or land if such an area appears.

The balls, given prior history, appear to be lacking in a duty of care which I read in the summary.

DWB50 30th May 2013 08:24

Let's not forget folks that this happened in R564 (previously R532) The balls are there for no other reason than that someone in defence obviously requested them in relation to the military airstrip at Singleton Army Base & possibly more the point that the military fly choppers & other birds low around the base. R564A is Restricted NOTAM SFC-4000 D2100-1300. I'm not a helo pilot but I always thought that when things went pear shaped you could just land the thing.
The plaintiff relied on the following:

The plaintiff pleaded numerous alleged breaches of duty of care in paragraphs [14] and [15] of its
amended statement of claim, which was filed on 7 November 2011. In my view, these allegations can be conveniently condensed into the following formulation, without detracting from their substantive importance, as allegations of breach of duty of care:

Flying in restricted airspace in contravention of Civil Aviation Regulation 140;

Flying below a safe altitude and at a height lower than 500 feet above the highest point of terrain within a radius of 300 metres at a point on the terrain vertically below the aircraft in contravention of Civil Aviation Regulation 157;
Flying when failing to keep a proper lookout so as to observe and avoid powerlines;
Failure to obtain maps or guidance materials providing an awareness of obstacles, including powerlines, in the restricted airspace.

End of the day the courts have made a ruling - c'est la vie

4by2withears 30th May 2013 08:58

It is pointless trying to blame the power company or airservices because a wire has no balls on it or it is not marked on a topo map. I remember a power company employee at an ag conference once admitting that they simply don't know where all the wires are. The excuse was something like a lot of old paper records were lost when a building was flooded. As the power companies get bigger and make redundant more of the local staff with the local knowledge it will only get worse. So don't hold your breath waiting for some digital data base to appear showing all wires. It would only create a liability issue for the power company so they are not going to go there. Ditto for hanging balls on wires.

If you have to work in the low level environment be suitably trained and qualified. If you are not, stay out of it. There are too many people with these 5 hour so called low level endorsements that seem to think it then gives them the right to go as low as they need to when going from A to B.

I would hope that an experienced low level pilot would not end up in the position old mate in the helicopter did, but if you did , every fibre of your body would be screaming wires. They are part of the low level environment. You are responsible for yourself in this environment. No one else. Wires are front and centre in every thought process. Just because they are not marked on a map doesn't mean they are not there.

We usually get property maps that hopefully are marked with all wires and obstructions. But the first rule is that you don't believe them. You go and look for yourself. And check again. I was once given a paddock map that was supposedly complete. Because there were a few adjacent buildings I quizzed the farmer fairly well about where there might be other wires. No, that was it. Took the first load out to find a 200 foot radio mast in the corner of the paddock complete with guy wires. Never trust the bastards.

Horatio Leafblower 30th May 2013 13:26

Better still, maybe we should all sit in our timely manor and sip tea while some other dumb bugger tries to find the SWER lines ... in a timely manner ;)

Howard Hughes 31st May 2013 02:12

Splendid idea, what! Make mine a Darjeeling, there's a good chap! ;)

gileraguy 8th Jun 2013 09:03

It's not about the flying, it's about the lying, I mean LAWYERING...

If the company believes the lawyers and can pay the fees ( or vice versa) the case runs. Only 15 per cent of civil claims actually go to trial.

resar 13th Mar 2014 07:21

Appeal dismissed
The appeal by AV8 Air Charter Pty Ltd was dismissed yesterday by the Court of Appeal.
AV8 Air Charter Pty Limited v Sydney Helicopters Pty Limited [2014] NSWCA 46 (12 March 2014)

Brian Abraham 14th Mar 2014 16:17

Perhaps someone could invent a piece of equip that detects an electrical field ahead of an A/C & alert the driver b4hand in a timely manor?
They are available to the helo industry Wally.

Products : Powerline Detection | Safe Flight Instrument Corporation

Guilders 15th Mar 2014 01:29

Point of interest here:
This case was all about money....nothing else!
The PIC was not subjected to any Administrative Action or Prosecution from CASA and therefore, one could assume that no offenses were committed with this accident.

Ascend Charlie 15th Mar 2014 03:13

That's correct, there is no law against being stupid.

Avgas172 15th Mar 2014 04:38

I suspect the legal costs will have far outweighed the cost of the excess, I must admit I'm surprised the defendant didn't have to cover that cost. Try renting a car from Budget/Avis without paying the excess or at least paying up front to not have one. I guess in this case the lack of existence of a written contract was the bad move.

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