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Helicopter missing after Chelsea v Liverpool match

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Helicopter missing after Chelsea v Liverpool match

Old 7th May 2007, 11:39
  #101 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 68

Thanks for the pic Heliport. For those of us who either didn't know Steve, or who have seen his face around the bazaars, can anyone give a rundown on his career? Not digging for ammunition, just curious as to who he was. A private message would also be fine! Cheers
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Old 17th May 2007, 22:24
  #102 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: South West
Posts: 61
Hey, Hey guys....I Only only asked What The WX was doing.....

I didn't know Steve but I am sure that if his skill and judgment was anything like what you are saying, then the thing to consider here is that the Weather Minimum on it's own may not have been a problem for Steve. I think if we are honest with ourselves we surely have all bitten off a little more than we can chew with Mother Nature at some time or other. However, bear in mind that it is normally a combination of issues that result in accidents of which bite even the most experienced aviators.

Lets see what the AAIB can tell us....and let us LEARN from what ever happened.

Mean while, let our thoughts be with Steve, his family & Colleagues. While you think about what happened......let it make us wiser.
Take it easy out there guys, look after yourselves... and each other.
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Old 2nd Oct 2007, 09:13
  #103 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: South of UK
Posts: 433
It seems that there are a few more long term implications of this unfortunate crash
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Old 13th Nov 2008, 12:13
  #104 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2000
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Old 13th Nov 2008, 19:17
  #105 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: UK
Posts: 460
Just read the report in detail and as usual the AAIB have done a thorough job. Disappointingly however, you'd think it would have been proof read prior to publication for glaring errors.

ie "Night VFR limits
A private helicopter flight must remain clear of cloud and in sight of the surface, with a minimum visibility of 5 km."

Incorrect on two counts I believe - there's no such thing as Night 'VFR' and the vis limits are significantly less than the quoted 5km. (800m from memory).

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Old 13th Nov 2008, 19:39
  #106 (permalink)  

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JJ, I was also surprised to read that paragraph as I agree, there's no night VFR per se in UK. I wondered if they inadvertently quoted the day VFR limits relevant to a PPL holder?
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Old 13th Nov 2008, 19:41
  #107 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: London
Posts: 49
This thread caused a bit of feather flapping early on with a few lads due to what others 'speculated' .... I was wondering if they would now like to discuss the AAIB findings? Or will we just let the report be the end of the 'discussion'
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Old 13th Nov 2008, 22:45
  #108 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: London
Posts: 5
I think BYPA had a single AC inverter and would be unable to fly SPIFR. Public transport flights at night (post Matthew Harding) require an equivalent of IFR, therefore the trip in question would have been Private. (Correct me if this is wrong please.)

Are Private flight visibility limits 800m for night VFR operations? I know there has been talk about changing the PPL VFR limit to 1,500m and even 3,000m. Reducing airspeed helps with lowered vis, so in a way the harder one to deal with is a low cloud base. All very sad...
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Old 14th Nov 2008, 02:29
  #109 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a
I was jumped on at the time for daring to suggest this accident was due to weather. I think the report findings are pretty clear.
Old 14th Nov 2008, 06:38
  #110 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: UK
Posts: 460

Let's get this straight - there is no such thing as Night VFR. All night flights within the UK are IFR (or Special VFR in CAS) regardless of the weather conditions.

Therefore it is the Instrument Flight Rules one needs to refer to for night flight. The ANO states (from memory again) a minimum 800m in-flight visibility for night flight under VMC.

Although not relevant to this thread in any way, there hasn't just been talk of reducing the visibility limits for PPLs. The ANO was changed about a year ago restricting the minimum weather criteria for VFR flight. The minimum viz was set at 1500m regardless of type of licence held and the 'Clear of Cloud in Sight of Surface' was changed to 'Clear of Cloud with the Surface in Sight' which now has a clear definition and is more restrictive than previously. (Google CAP393 and take a look).

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Old 14th Nov 2008, 06:38
  #111 (permalink)  
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It's not the weather that causes the problem (generally) it's what the pilot elects to do that dictates the outcome.
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Old 14th Nov 2008, 09:51
  #112 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Europe
Posts: 511
So true 212man. And the same view could be taken of the Rules. Yes of course they should be complied with. But ultimately one should be able to fly safely if no rules existed at all, and purely very good judgement was relied upon.

The as ever very thorough report is I'm sure no surprise to many of us. So what's most important to learn from it? Low level at night with scant ground lighting is very very hazardous, especially in poor VMC. And there really needs to be the ability and expectation to establish an immediate and safe rapid climb on instruments if ground reference is lost. With enough speed and power to do so.

At least it seemed the fuel was there for a safe alternate to be used.
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Old 14th Nov 2008, 11:29
  #113 (permalink)  

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Lessons to be learned or refreshed in ones' mind from this, as is usually the case.

Eventually, every pilot is quite likely to face a similar situation to the events leading up to this accident.

My personal lesson is to continue to remind myself to always be mentally prepared to call it a night (or day) if it gets too silly. To climb and divert to an instrument approach elsewhere, however inconvenient it may seem. Don't get forced into a corner.
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Old 14th Nov 2008, 11:34
  #114 (permalink)  
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The aim of every flight is to walk back in to the (office, house, crewroom).
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Old 14th Nov 2008, 17:26
  #115 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: London
Posts: 49
it's what the pilot elects to do that dictates the outcome.
So true.

At night, IFR, possible bad vis on route, possible bad Weather to a non lit private site. Sorry PAX we are going to Option "B" or possibly Option "C"

Stay safe.
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Old 14th Nov 2008, 19:51
  #116 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: UK
Age: 67
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This is a general comment about how to avoid these sorts of problems in general, and not a comment about the specifics of Steve's very sad accident.

For me, night is a different ball game from day (onshore). I try to think in terms of always having an escape route (and the necessary means to use it - adequate fuel for diversions in my experience is often a problem, especially for light helis full of pax or mission equipment). I get myself to think about that as part of my planning and if there is a decent possibility of not getting the punter to his destination (or the job done), I raise that with the customer and/or the ops department. The point is to try and get it in everyone's mind that we may need to not go or divert.

You have to focus on YOUR safety. If necessary be prepared to tell the pax or operator to stick it. It seems to me that in your average career in typical light heli ops, you have to expect to have a major argument about such things more than once. As Sean says, the first priority for YOU is to walk back into the office.

Which does not mean I always get it right, indeed I have got it wrong on a number of occasions: then lady luck plays a part.

I suspect that the most hazardous pressonitis comes from inside the pilot. If you review some of the sadly awfully long list of similar incidents, a significant number involved pilots "who ran the company" or had in other ways a real personal interest in "getting the job done", no matter what.

After a bit of practice, I don't have too much of a problem with turning down/diverting an ordinary charter job. They just aren't important enough to seriously risk my life for. The one that I think I need to be much more careful of, is the classic "saving a life" task in emergency service flying.

Of course, it is not always easy or comfortable to do the right thing. Somewhere on here VeeAny recounts a recent case where he was let go by a private owner when he diverted to a suitable alternate, rather than continuing to the private site destination in unsuitable conditions with failed kit.

A while ago I was being interviewed for what could have been for me a really great job. Corporate pilot for an outfit whose main activity was of really great personal interest to me - I have a lifelong passion for it. The job involved all sorts of elements: interesting flying, a good aircraft. However, in my conversation with the main man, we had cause to discuss bad weather decision making in various ways. It became clear to me that he was in the habit of pressurising his existing pilot to fly. He compared that pilot unfavorably with a PPL he knew. After much heart searching, I declined the job offer.

A short while later, the much praised PPL killed himself and his pax in a bad weather accident.

Last edited by Helinut; 14th Nov 2008 at 20:13. Reason: To add some practical cases
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Old 16th Nov 2008, 08:25
  #117 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: england
Posts: 199
the Carter accident

Helimutt, and others.

I read the AAIB report carefully and completely.

I am still left with a conundrum that hopefully someone can help me with.

Up until the accident, he seems to have done everything absolutely perfectly.

He's mature, he's got 8,000 hours, he's got all the right ratings, he's current, he's done all the checks he should have done and so on and so on.

The aircraft is fully able to cope with these conditions and was fully functioning.

The weather, albeit challenging, wasn't un-expected or unknown.

And there were options to continue, climb or divert.

So, under these conditions, what is it that can still lead to this tragic outcomes?

I'm not looking for any smug or trite "error of judgement" quipes, --- of course it was an error of some sort to hit something hard at 60kts ---

It's what leads up to that error that I'm interested in. The AAIB doesn't really help here, and although I never knew the pilot, I'd reckon he was a lot more competent than myself.

Big Ls.
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Old 16th Nov 2008, 10:18
  #118 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Herefordshire
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You raise an interesting and valid point Biggles.

I had a distant commercial relationship with Phillip Carter and a family member worked for him prior to the accident. In making the following comment I wish no offence or slur on Mr Carter or his surviving family, friends or colleagues or to Steve H.

As a result of many lengthy conversations and much consideration (I did consider contacting the AAIB immediately after I learned about the accident) it is our view that Steve H could have been put under immense pressure to land at their intended destination... notwithstanding the prevailing w/x conditions. bm
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Old 16th Nov 2008, 14:10
  #119 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: in a skip
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In my experience, it's relatively easy to abort the flight early on. I think that the difficulty of this type of flight is that it only really gets difficult in the last few minutes by which time you're so close to your destination that you feel that you've failed at the last hurdle. Just put yourself in the same situation; you've got the qualifications and experience to get to within 2 miles of the destination without much drama.
A lot of less experienced / qualified pilots wouldn't have got anywhere near. Most of the pilots attempting this flight would not have the option to have made the majority of the flight in the safety and relaxed comfort that is afforded to the holder of an IR flying an SPIFR aircraft.
You've now descended to low level and become visual with the ground with 2 miles to run. It's too late to divert to an IFR alternate once you've gone below MSA unless you can climb to MSA in VMC. Ignore any possible external pressure; human nature being what it is, most of us would have felt very unhappy at having to land so far into the flight. The only options are to land at the lit yard and continued the journey by road, or to fly low and slow the very short distance to go.
We all, from the comfort of our armchairs, know what we would do.
Some of us recall being in similar situations and think 'there but for the grace of god'.
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Old 16th Nov 2008, 15:34
  #120 (permalink)  

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It's too late to divert to an IFR alternate once you've gone below MSA unless you can climb to MSA in VMC.
The beater, why do you say this? It's not true, unless I'm missing your point.
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