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Pilot charged for taking helicopter shopping

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Pilot charged for taking helicopter shopping

Old 10th May 2008, 14:17
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Another nutter...

check out this link
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Old 10th May 2008, 17:28
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Car park landing puts pilot on shaky ground


By Grainne Cunningham
Saturday May 10 2008
Grainne Cunningham

IT WOULD never happen in the movies... just as the helicopter pilot attempts to bring his craft into land, out rushes a car park attendant, frantically trying to wave him away.

But that's what happened in the central shopping area of Athlone Town when a gung-ho pilot decided to take an unorthodox route to collect his newly cut keys and landed on the roof of an adjacent multi-storey car park on July 8, 2007.

The 48-year-old pilot has been criticised for "poor airmanship" and for having broken Irish air law.

The attendant injured his hand when the downwash from the helicopter's main rotor caused a door to slam against it and the single-engine craft should not have been put down in a congested area because of the danger of engine failure, the pilot was told.


The Irish Aviation Authority said last night that it was reviewing the incident and the pilot may face sanction in the future. However, he has not faced any repercussions for his actions to date.

"In landing at such a site the pilot displayed poor airmanship," concluded air accident investigator Paddy Judge in his report. Despite repeated requests, both by phone and letter, the pilot did not complete and return an air accident report on the incident.

The Air Accident Investigation Report says the pilot, who was accompanied by his brother in the single-engine Hughes 369HS helicopter, was getting some keys cut for the door of his aircraft at the Texas Department Store.

"He landed on the roof of the adjacent multi-storey car park. It is unclear to the investigation where the helicopter could have been safely force-landed in the event of an engine failure during landing or take-off.

"It is also probable that the approach was made over the unstressed roof of the shopping centre due to the location of the church to the north of the landing site," the report said.

"The shopping centre was open for business at the time, and for obvious safety reasons, the area should have been completely avoided."

Mr Judge described the landing site as being in a congested area and "furthermore, and importantly, it is an elevated site where Rescue and Fire Fighting Services are mandatory. Neither was available".

The report says the pilot's US licence was issued in March 2007, just four months before the incident.

"The pilot stated that he has about 150 hours helicopter flying experience, but was unable to supply a logbook, which he stated was lost in a subsequent accident."

In evidence, the car park attendant said that as the helicopter approached for landing he attempted to wave it away.

"The helicopter pilot ignored him and he had to duck into the doorway... as space on the roof is restricted. The downwash from the main rotor caused the door to slam back against him hitting his hand."

Words were exchanged between the attendant and the pilot after the landing.

The gardai were called, but by the time they arrived the helicopter had left.

The attendant said the helicopter had landed on the roof some months previously and his supervisor told him afterwards that this was not allowed

The pilot said he had landed there before accompanied by the owner of the shopping centre who had given him permission to land on the car park roof.

That day, he rang the duty manager of the shopping centre before taking off to confirm that he had permission to land. He was unaware that the duty manager no longer had authority to grant him permission to land.

The pilot said the car park attendant was not on the roof while he was landing and only approached the helicopter on engine shutdown.

He said that the attendant could not have given signals, as he was not present until after landing.

- Grainne Cunningham
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Old 10th May 2008, 21:09
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Another nutter...


I note he hasn't responded to requests to complete the paperwork & "lost" his logbook?.

These cowboys get the regulars a bad name.
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Old 10th May 2008, 21:21
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Flagrant, irresponsible behaviour. As a reprimand the best that the IAA could throw at the individual was ' poor airmanship' !!
Surely gross misconduct & reckless behaviour deserve a stiffer sentence.
Time to weed out the chaff.
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Old 10th May 2008, 21:26
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"Paddy Judge", sounds fishy to me....
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Old 10th May 2008, 21:39
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Absolutely hilarious, love it. I especially like the bit of the report that states the pilot was breaking irish air law followed by no recommendation...excellent. If it wasn't for bandits flying around the place there would be no craic anymore.
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Old 10th May 2008, 22:08
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"he then took refuge behind a door where he was injured by the helicopters main rotor downwash."

Poor guy, pounded mercilessly by the wind.....
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Old 10th May 2008, 22:41
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I hope he bought a parking ticket.
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Old 10th May 2008, 23:01
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"****!" it's just like the wild west out there.

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Old 11th May 2008, 01:16
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wiki wiki wild wild west

wish I could've banged around in a 500 with 150 hours not worrying if roofs could support me!

Heard the week before he got caught on the roof of a statoil getting the jumbo breakfast roll in! ('ah 2 egg 2 sausage 2 rasher 2 bacon 2 puddin 1 black 1 whiiiite....'!)
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Old 11th May 2008, 09:15
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Must be kind of risky parking your car on that untested roof too I guess!!
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Old 11th May 2008, 10:01
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A Dublin cabbie once told me in Ireland if you fail your driving test you get a 'Certificate of Incompetance' but you can still continue, unsupervised, to teach yourself to drive!

Brilliant. Good job the pilot wasn't flying a twin onto the carpark - the downwash may have caused further distress to the attendant.
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Old 11th May 2008, 13:19
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Good job the pilot wasn't flying a twin onto the carpark - the downwash may have caused further distress to the attendant.
Since when did the number of engines influence the downwash?

Since when did f***ing up the people and property on the landing site become a source of amusement? Or is that amusement only for the pilot/owners?
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Old 11th May 2008, 15:16
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Old 11th May 2008, 15:24
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What can the IAA do against an FAA pilot?

What exactly are the powers of the Irish Aviation Authority to take action against an F.A.A. licensed pilot, private or commercial? Their response may seem farcical but perhaps their hands are tied by a lack of proper legislation. I am a PPL with IAA and FAA licences so I'm not pushing the anti-pilot or anti-flying agenda here. But reckless stuff like this and the AS350 Nutter need to be properly dealt with. These two appear to be lacking a little in the common-sense department and for their own good, and those in their immediate vicinity, perhaps they would be better off not holding licences. They make the heli industry look like a bunch of cowboys when the opposite is the case for the vast majority of pilots here in Ireland and elsewhere. If any of us endangered life by driving a car recklessly, we could expect a call from the police. Should the same not be the case for ropey flying as well?

500 Fan.
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Old 11th May 2008, 23:00
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Ahhh, the chorus of the self-righteous...

All regulations aside, if this pilot was my student I would say job well done. He picked a flat, unobstructed surface, no significant obstacles, no loose debris, elevated so therefore good approaches. No persons or cars on the large open car park area, so no risk or hazard to the public. He is flying a light 2500lb helicopter on skids so lots of HOGE performance margin. For that weight a car park is more than structurally sound - you guys should try a log-truss pad in PNG, or 6 feet of fresh show, with maybe an ice crust layer two feet down.

He'd landed at that location before, and this time again contacted the authority he thought was required and that had previously given approval. Hardly irresponsible.

The authority in Ireland did right to scratch their heads and come up blank for a regulatory infraction. If it had gone to tribunal the pilot could have made them all look foolish.

I've heard of helicopter pilots that have only ever landed on airport runways or large designated helipads. I guess this forum is full of them.

Last edited by malabo; 11th May 2008 at 23:11.
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Old 11th May 2008, 23:35
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Absolutely amazing. A lot of negative comments from a lot of people who should perhaps hand their licences back and get fixed-wing ones instead. This kind of thing is what helicopters are designed for. I hope more people follow suit. Too bad the pillock let himself down with the 'lost' logbook.
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Old 11th May 2008, 23:47
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Thumbs down

Just curious, according to the media report, why the AAIU Investigator is apportioning blame to the pilot for this incident. Is that not the remit of the other agency known as the IAA???
The AAIU website states catagorically that it's job is to find the facts and circumstances, but not apportion blame for the incident/accident!!! Seems like the spokesperson of the AAIU is unsure if he is discussing apples or oranges...... Not defending the actions of the pilot, rather, lets get our own guns loaded before sending rounds down range at the target!!!!
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Old 11th May 2008, 23:56
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Mister Bonkers......A London Cabbie once told me that the reason there were so many Irish in the UK was to put the 'Great' back into Britain!!! You shouldn't believe everything you're told! Particularly about downwash from multi engined heli's.......... You have an aptly named callsign!!!!
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Old 12th May 2008, 22:06
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I've heard of helicopter pilots that have only ever landed on airport runways or large designated helipads. I guess this forum is full of them.
Er, yes, like me. It kind of seems sensible given my limited experience and I guess the same applies to the many others like me on the forum who come here to learn, not to be heroes. Pardon us for being inexperienced
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