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PHI Crash in Louisiana Jan 2009 - 8 Dead, 1 Injured

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PHI Crash in Louisiana Jan 2009 - 8 Dead, 1 Injured

Old 28th Mar 2009, 14:31
  #321 (permalink)  
"Just a pilot"
 
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No offense intended to those "Down Under", but the FAA seems to get further and further into Oz, if not cloud-cuckoo land...

Many of the birds I've hit in 40 years of flying are smaller than some of the bugs I've smashed. Are "bug strikes" next on the list of required reports?
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Old 28th Mar 2009, 15:17
  #322 (permalink)  
 
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Devil,

It is the logic (if you can call it that.....) the FAA uses for thinking they should "classify" the data that scares me!

The NTSB told them Bird Strike Reporting should be made mandatory with plenty of good reasons....which I agree with. If we are to use that data as compiled now, just how much faith do you have as to its value if it is only a limited sample.

As they noted the species of bird is seldom reported thus how can one tell if it is a migratory bird or a local bird population that is cause of the problem at certain airports or fly ways?

Passengers probably rate bird strikes somewhere about the absolute bottom of their concerns when choosing an airline, aircraft, or destination for their trips.....if at all!

I wonder if all of the known bird strikes that resulted in shattered wind screens on helicopters have been reported so analytical studies could have been done to document the lack of adequate testing and design of helicopter wind screens. Perhaps the FAA design critieria would have changed over the years if the studies had shown the weakness in the windscreens and certification standards?

Why would we not want to file a two minute report after a bird strike....particularly one that resulted in the loss of a windscreen or damage to an engine?
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Old 29th Mar 2009, 01:52
  #323 (permalink)  
 
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The species is seldom reported because it's generally not known. I've hit probably a hundred birds over the past 30+ years, and I couldn't positively identify the species of any. Many of those were seagulls, but there are many species of seagulls, and I'm no ornithologist, and couldn't tell you the species of any of them alive, much less in pieces. Most of the ones I've hit were small birds, and there wasn't enough of them left to identify without doing a DNA analysis, which I'm not capable of doing. I've done a formal report on maybe 2 of those. I've always just considered it more trouble than it's worth. Getting the proper forms and getting them filled out is a major undertaking. The FAA does not make it easy, and they want a lot more information than I can give, or am willing to give. I don't know exactly what is in the database, but I have a strong feeling that it's pretty much worthless in any case, being far from accurate.
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Old 4th Apr 2009, 17:12
  #324 (permalink)  
 
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What the NTSB wants, and what we all should want, is a reliable system in civilian world to catalog the species accurately. The Air Force sends the remains to the Smithsonian which catalogs and sends the data back. They are capable of DNA analysis, but also excel at match feet beaks and feathers with remains on file. The allows for accurate data for accurate birdstrike prevention. It's also used for civilian bird strikes, but the system for civilians just doesn't work yet. Take a look:

Feature - Snarge Busters

The current civilian data is voluntary, incomplete and inaccurate and therefore statistically invalid. If the data is used for any conclusions, it's likely to be wrong. The data on military airfields and airways is much more useful.
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Old 9th May 2009, 19:36
  #325 (permalink)  
 
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New Suit

Companies sued over fatal chopper crash
The Daily Advertiser - Lafayette,LA,USA
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A helicopter crash that killed eight people in Louisiana earlier this year has spawned another lawsuit. The federal suit filed Wednesday on behalf of crash victim Andrew Mauricio's wife seeks at least $13.5 million in damages from PHI Inc., Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. and Aeronautical Accessories Inc.

The suit claims PHI installed a defective windshield on the Sikorsky S-76C that crashed in a swamp near Morgan City on Jan. 4. The National Transportation Safety Board says investigators have found evidence that a bird may have struck the chopper before it crashed.

The suit is at least the sixth filed over the crash.
http://www.theadvertiser.com/article/20090508/NEWS01/90508003
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Old 22nd Oct 2010, 14:44
  #326 (permalink)  
 
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Helicopter owner settles claims over La. crash

Hot off the press.


By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN Oct. 21, 2010, 11:58AMNEW ORLEANS —

The owner of a helicopter that crashed in southeast Louisiana last year, killing eight people, has reached settlement agreements with some of the victims' relatives.

Plaintiffs' attorneys and a lawyer for PHI Inc. said Thursday that confidential terms of the settlements will be filed. The deals are expected to be announced Wednesday during a hearing before U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier, who is presiding over most of the lawsuits in the deadly Jan. 4, 2009, crash.

The attorneys said PHI's agreements are with Steve Yelton, the lone survivor, and with relatives of four of the passengers who died: Andrew Mauricio, of Morgan City, La.; Allen Boudreaux Jr., of Amelia, La.; Jorey A. Rivero, of Bridge City, La.; and Randy Tarpley, of Jonesville, La.
Ross Cunningham, a lawyer for PHI, said the company "felt a moral responsibility to the families of those affected."

"PHI wanted to do what it could to lessen the burden on the families and sought out an opportunity to reach an early settlement with these families," he said in a statement.

Paul Sterbcow, a lawyer for Yelton, said the settlement begins the process of providing long-term security for his client, his wife and two children. Yelton suffered a severe brain injury in the crash and is living in a residential rehabilitation facility in Covington, La., Sterbcow said.

The agreements don't resolve any claims against helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. or Aeronautical Accessories Inc., which made the helicopter's plexiglass windshield.

The helicopter was carrying workers to a Shell Oil Co. platform in the Gulf of Mexico when it crashed near Morgan City, about 100 miles southwest of New Orleans. The crash killed both pilots and six passengers and critically injured Yelton, of Floresville, Texas.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation, but investigators suspect a bird struck the Sikorsky S-76C when it was about 850 feet above ground.

Investigators found the remains of a Red-tailed hawk on the remnants of the pilot's side windshield. They also found bird feathers under a windscreen seal and in an engine. A cockpit voice recorder captured a bang and a loud air noise about 17 seconds before the crash.
The National Transportation Safety Board hasn't released its final report on the crash yet.

"We have more than enough information ... to piece this thing together," Sterbcow said. "I think we pretty much know what happened here."

Thomas Ballenger, of Eufaula, Ala.; and Vyarl Martin, of Hurst, Texas; were the PHI pilots who died. The other passengers killed were Ezequiel Cantu, of Morgan City; and Charles W. Nelson, of Pensacola, Fla


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Old 22nd Oct 2010, 15:05
  #327 (permalink)  
 
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1=8/9 (1 accident = 8 out of 9 dead)

Ah shoot you pipped me to the post (no pun intended) sox!

For various reaasons I can't discuss I've got some insights to this accident.

However if you wwre to look at the court documents you would find that:

On November 13, 2009, PHI filed a cross-complaint against AAI alleging that the helicopter crash and resulting loss of the helicopter was directly, solely, and proximately caused by manufacturing defects and/or unreasonably dangerous designs of the helicopter’s windshields, which were manufactured by AAI.

In its cross-claim, PHI seeks damages for the value of the helicopter, the loss of its use, search and rescue operations, and other relevant
expenses.
I would have expected that the familes would also have gone after Shell Oil as they all worked for Shell contractors and Shell selected the S-76C++'s with those windscreens when they contracted PHI to operate them.

As our 'PPRuNe Mate' Shell Management has pointed out elsewhere, oil companies have 'deep pockets' and Shell must faile their own 'red face test' in this case.
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Old 24th Nov 2010, 21:00
  #328 (permalink)  
 
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The report is out

NTSB recommends changes after deadly copter crash

The National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday recommended redesign and modification of some elements of the Sikorsky S-76C model helicopter, the type that was involved in the 2009 helicopter crash that killed both pilots and six of seven passengers aboard.

The NTSB sent 12 safety recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration as part of its report on the Jan. 4, 2009 crash of the dual-engine helicopter, operated by PHI, Inc., that was en route to an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico.

Investigators suspect a bird struck the helicopter when it was about 850 feet above ground. They found the remains of a Red-tailed hawk on the remnants of the pilot's side windshield. They also found bird feathers under a windscreen seal and in an engine. A cockpit voice recorder captured a bang and a loud air noise about 17 seconds before the crash.

The NTSB recommended that the FAA prohibit operators of helicopters with installed bird-strike resistant windshields from replacing those windshields with ones that have not been tested to withstand such strikes.

It also suggested that the company redesign the model to ensure that fire extinguishers do not inadvertently dislodge due to any external force on the canopy or windshields. The board recommended evaluating other helicopter models with engine control quadrant designs similar to the S-76C model and requiring modifications as necessary.

Other recommendations include:

-- evaluating the feasibility of retrofitting helicopters manufactured before 1996

-- and requiring manufacturers to equip new helicopters built under the old certification requirements with windshields that meet the current bird-strike requirements.

-- requiring manufacturers to develop helicopter-specific guidance that will help pilots devise precautionary strategies for minimizing the severity of helicopter damage sustained during a bird strike, should one occur.

-- requiring Stratford, Conn.-based Sikorsky to design an audible alarm system and master warning light that will alert the flight crew when there are low rotor revolutions per minute.

The PHI pilots killed in the crash were: Thomas Ballenger, 63, of Eufaula, Ala.; and Vyarl Martin, 46, of Hurst, Texas. The passengers were: Andrew Moricio and Ezequiel Cantu of Morgan City, La.; Randy Tarpley of Jonesville, La.; Charles W. Nelson of Pensacola, Fla.; Allen Boudreaux Jr. of Amelia, La.; and Jorey A. Rivero of Bridge City, La.

Steve Yelton, of Floresville, Texas, was the only survivor.

NTSB recommends changes after deadly copter crash - BusinessWeek
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Old 24th Nov 2010, 22:58
  #329 (permalink)  
 
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Final: http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/GenPDF.asp?...09MA117&rpt=fi
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Old 25th Nov 2010, 05:55
  #330 (permalink)  
 
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So this aircraft was ordered for a Shell contract after 7/7=1 was launched and had a glass winscreen replaced with an inferior to save weight.
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Old 26th Nov 2010, 01:14
  #331 (permalink)  
 
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Is that the complete final report? I searched the NTSB site for a more comprehensive document but could find one.

Looks like too much emphasis on the windscreen to me. The ECL movement was not caused by the bird entering the cockpit, but by the force of impact being transmitted through the structure. By their own admission, the same thing happened to another 76C+ with a standard laminated windscreen, albeit only one ECL was dislodged. I know of the same thing happening to another type with switches rather than ECLs, and again only one was dislodged. I do accept that the disruption of the windscreen and subsequent wind rush would be disorientating and would have affected the crew's response, but it didn't materially cause the power loss.

So, maybe more attention should have been focused on the throttle quadrant design, and wear and tear tolerances?

I'm also very intrigued by the suggestion that the crew had 6 seconds to react before the Nr became unrecoverable. All you S-76 pilots who have done autorotations just sit and imagine - pull the ECLs then start counting, one thousand, two thousand, three thousand.....6 seconds is an eternity and I can't imagine where the Nr would be after it.

The report mentions the CVR, was an FDR fitted? If so, it would have been useful to know what pilot intervention actually took place and at what point. i.e. how it corresponded to the suggested reaction time available.

The 'report' (does it deserve that title?) makes no mention of what the effect of the coupled flight director might have been, or even if it was coupled at the time of the impact. Although I imagine they would have been 2-Cue if coupled, they could have been 3-Cue and it would have been pertinent to explore the effect that would have.

There are no recommendations that I can see, other than mention that a master caution or audio alert might have alerted the crew of low Nr.

All in all - if this really is the complete report - a very unsatisfactory publication
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Old 26th Nov 2010, 04:00
  #332 (permalink)  
 
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212man: A bit more detail... CEN09MA117
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Old 26th Nov 2010, 04:42
  #333 (permalink)  
 
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Hedge,
thanks, though I hardly call that a satisfactory report. Absolutely no discussion or investigation into the throttle quadrant design, or the wear and tear with subsequent reduced tolerances that may have been exhibited by the accident aircraft's quadrant. No discussion about survivability. No discussion about the aircraft flight path after the impact and the crew actions and aircraft response. No human factors discussion, no crew fatigue discussion etc etc.

One is left with the impression that 8 guys in a GoM helicopter don't warrant the level of respect they actually deserve.

By comparison, here's the latest report from the UK AAIB of an 'accident' involving a Super puma. No-one died, yet it generates 85 pages of detailed investigation, including extensive flight testing by the manufacturer.

Air Accidents Investigation: 7/2010 G-PUMI
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Old 26th Nov 2010, 06:27
  #334 (permalink)  
 
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NTSB files

Here is the link to the rest of the NTSB reports...

CD List Of Contents
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Old 26th Nov 2010, 07:30
  #335 (permalink)  
 
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Thanks Rotor - I was all set to eat humble pie and edit my posts after ploughing through a thorough and comprehensive report. Sadly, I don't need to eat humble pie and I remain nonplussed by the lack of tenacity and rigour demonstrated by the NTSB in this case.

Just asking "why" a few times might have come up with some useful outcomes:
  • Why did the aircraft crash? Because it hit a bird
  • Why did hitting a bird cause a problem? Because the shock of the impact dislodged the ECLs
  • Why did the ECLS move aft? Because the trigger release was worn
  • Why was the trigger release worn? Because the design was inappropriate/the materials were too soft/ the pilots routinely move the ECLs without fully depressing the release causing excessive/unexpected wear etc etc

Then start a new line:
  • Why did the ECLs moving aft cause the accident? Because the Nr decayed to an unrecoverable state
  • Why did the Nr decay to an unrecoverable state? Because it's a low inertia head and the crew were disorientated by the wind noise
  • Why was there wind noise? Because the windscreen shattered on the right-hand side
And so it goes on

A few lines of inquiry like that and you might have something resembling a useful report, I'd have thought, that would cover the whole gamut of causes and effects and produce useful advice and recommendations to operators, regulators and manufacturers.

This might have well have been a minivan crashing off a highway, as far as the NTSB seem to be concerned.
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Old 26th Nov 2010, 19:30
  #336 (permalink)  
 
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212man, the report was compiled by the NTSB, not the AAIB. What you read is pretty typical for a non-airline accident. Only Part 121 accidents normally get the attention to detail you want, and not always then. The FAA and the NTSB react primarily to the number of passengers killed, and less than 10 is minor, unless a well-known VIP is involved. That's just the way it is.
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Old 27th Nov 2010, 04:02
  #337 (permalink)  
 
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The 'report' (does it deserve that title?) makes no mention of what the effect of the coupled flight director might have been, or even if it was coupled at the time of the impact. Although I imagine they would have been 2-Cue if coupled, they could have been 3-Cue and it would have been pertinent to explore the effect that would have.
One of our chaps had a bird hit the top of the windscreen divider (glass screens) which only knocked the fire handles out of the detents, of course that dropped both generators off line, which means no helipilots. I can only imagine having a cockpit full of flying plastic and bird remains, and perhaps a crew member knocked unconscious, as happened to a 206 pilot at night over Chicargo (had a stab system and woke up an unknown time later and able to resume control). Argument for helmets and visors "down" here?
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Old 27th Nov 2010, 08:50
  #338 (permalink)  
 
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Your mail box is full Shawn. No, a lowly A model. Bird went up into the rotor where a blade slapped it down through the roof alongside the race car cowl and into the cabin. Always wondered what the outcome could have been had it gone through the cowl and into the control runs.
Blue Skies,
Brian
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Old 27th Nov 2010, 13:10
  #339 (permalink)  
 
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Argument for helmets and visors
What is amazing to me is that there is no bird strike tests on small. FAR27, helicopters.

So this aircraft was ordered for a Shell contract after 7/7=1 was launched and had a glass winscreen replaced with an inferior to save weight.
So it seems. That is another 'why' question that needs to be asked.

The poor standard of NTSB 'reports' does call into question the validity of almost all of the conclusions made in these IHST JHSAT reports based on MTSB reports for accidents in 2000, 2001 and 2006:
http://www.ihst.org/portals/54/JHSAT_Report.doc
http://www.ihst.org/portals/54/2001_Report.pdf
http://www.ihst.org/portals/54/jhsat/safety_reports/CY2006_USJHSAT_Report_09132010.pdf
And no I don't know what happened to 2002-2005.
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Old 27th Nov 2010, 15:05
  #340 (permalink)  
 
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212man

You have to remember that the NTSB staff are not used to analyse and draw conclusions. The Board members do that, and they look at 30+ accidents per meeting. Unless a public hearing is called, discussion is very limited.


Sox6

There is the following conclusion in the JHSAT 2006 report:


Improve Quality and Depth of NTSB Investigation and Reporting

Many accidents are not receiving in-depth, onsite investigation by NTSB investigators. Investigations are being performed by telephone interview or by personnel whose primary function is not accident investigation. Increase the degree of Human Factors investigations to include detailed personnel information, and assess the extent of operator oversight.
This was related to 76 of the 152 reports analysed! The PHI S-76 suggests the rest aren't much better.

The punchline is that the FAA were on the JHSAT team (unlike the NTSB), but it is mostly FAA inspectors who are the "personnel whose primary function is not accident investigation".
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