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Old 1st Apr 2004, 17:01   #61 (permalink)
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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, 18:52   #62 (permalink)
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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, 21:00   #63 (permalink)
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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, 21:10   #64 (permalink)
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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, 21:34   #65 (permalink)
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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, 11:47   #66 (permalink)
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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, 21:11   #67 (permalink)
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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 3rd Apr 2004, 00:06   #68 (permalink)
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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, 02:31   #69 (permalink)
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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, 06:08   #70 (permalink)
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Maybe there is a Presidential fleet we have never heard of?
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Old 3rd Apr 2004, 21:06   #71 (permalink)
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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, 22:37   #72 (permalink)
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Was what I said incorrect?


"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, 22:59   #73 (permalink)
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Sorry, guys. I lost some posts while merging threads.

If yours is missing, please re-post.

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Old 3rd Apr 2004, 23:45   #74 (permalink)
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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 14:50.
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Old 4th Apr 2004, 01:59   #75 (permalink)

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Safety concerns could affect presidential helicopter selection
Associated Press Writer
April 3, 2004, 12:22 PM EST

WASHINGTON -- Ongoing questions about cracks in the tail rotor of AgustaWestland helicopters could trigger concerns for the Pentagon as the U.S. Navy considers which contractor will build the next fleet of presidential helicopters.

British Navy officials are investigating whether rotor cracks played a role in the crash last week of an EH101 Merlin helicopter built by AgustaWestland, an Italian-British consortium.

Following the crash the Canadian Air Force restricted its fleet of AgustaWestland-built Cormorant helicopters to emergency operations, acknowledging that the aircraft _ a version of the EH101 _ also had developed similar cracks.

The intense competition for the prestigious role of Marine One is between Connecticut-based Sikorsky Aircraft's VH-92 Super Hawk and Maryland-based Lockheed Martin's US101. Lockheed has partnered with AgustaWestland and a team of contractors to offer a helicopter based on the Merlin.

AgustaWestland spokesman David Bath said the company is participating in the crash investigation. And he said the Canadian decision to inspect all the rotors was "a sensible thing to do."

"We need to find out what caused this failure," said Bath. He described the accident, in which the helicopter dropped from about 50 feet during a Navy training flight, as a "heavy impact landing." Two pilots were injured in the crash, which broke the rotor blades off the aircraft and scattered parts around the Royal Naval Air Station Cultrose airfield.

The Pentagon, which may wait until the end of the year to make a decision on the $1.6 billion Marine One contract, could not confirm that military officials are monitoring the matter.

"It's not appropriate for us to discuss the source selection competition before the contract award decision is announced," said Navy Lt. Commander Danny Hernandez.

But analysts said the military is certainly interested in the crash investigation and any link between that and cracks in the tail rotor.

"We don't know if there is a connection, but if there is it would be blow to the 101," said Richard Aboulafia, a defense analyst with the Teal Group. "If there is a causality between a manufacturing defect and a crash, that would represent a major blow."

Both Aboulafia and Loren Thompson, an analyst with the Lexington Institute, said the Merlin had a good safety record and, in general, helicopter crashes are not unusual in military service.

"This is usually seen as a very safe and reliable helicopter," said Thompson. "Any pattern of accidents is going to be a source of concern. But you would have to know the precise cause of the rotor cracks."

Last week the Navy announced that the decision on the contract would not come in May as originally planned. The Navy said officials needed more time to assess the safety and survivability of the two aircraft.

Because of the terrorist attacks and growing security threats, the White House had initially called for the Pentagon to move quickly on the contract decision so the new aircraft would be ready for 2008.

Sikorsky spokesman Edward Steadham said "safety and security are the most important issues for the presidential helicopter."
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Old 4th Apr 2004, 17:47   #76 (permalink)
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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, 19:58   #77 (permalink)
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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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Old 4th Apr 2004, 21:47   #78 (permalink)
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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.

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Old 5th Apr 2004, 07:31   #79 (permalink)
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In a post that I put up a few days ago (and now missing), one ppruner's quest for his friend who might have been aboard reminded us all that this event is above all a tragedy for the occupants. It is people who come first, in the profession and avocation that we all share. We wish those injured a speedy recovery and quick return to the air.
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Old 5th Apr 2004, 15:07   #80 (permalink)
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US101 must be the choice for the President for the following reasons (Presidential Team please read):-

Where there are mechanical problems that we know of, they can be fixed and just look back on past helicopters and the problems that they had and how superb they have become after the successful fixes.
An unproven helicopter is 'Unproven'.

100 flying examples are better than promises.
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