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Helicopter crash off the coast of Newfoundland - 18 aboard, March 2009

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Helicopter crash off the coast of Newfoundland - 18 aboard, March 2009

Old 22nd Mar 2009, 14:25
  #181 (permalink)  
 
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The S-92 is a fine aircraft, period. Could it be better? Sure. Time and money will do anything. The undertone I'm hearing here about mechanical failures is the sudden realization that we're just frail beings hurling through the air who have trusted in the best minds available at the time to design this aircraft. That once superior safety edge of confidence of being at the reins of the latest and greatest flying machine has dwindled due to this event. . Could it be better? Sure. Time and money will do anything, but who's got the money to make every part on a helo to a 'space quality standard? A field rep was once asked by a military maintenance test pilot who was tired of having to do so many test flights following blade replacements in the desert environment why, a blade's manufacturer couldn't develop a leading edge coating that would thwart erosion. The rep responded by saying there already is such a coating, diamond dust, but the owner of your helo will only pay for wood pecker lip dust.' Everything has a price including an individual's trust versus need to hurtle though the air to make a living…or serve one's Country. And for most of us, it still is a choice YOU can freely make. Drive home safely tonight becuase for most of us, that's the most dangerous activity in our daily llives.
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Old 22nd Mar 2009, 15:04
  #182 (permalink)  
 
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Drive home safely tonight becuase for most of us, that's the most dangerous activity in our daily llives.
Dan,

Why is it....I know of exactly three people who died in car accidents but I have a laundry list of friends or acquaintances who snuffed it in helicopters?
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Old 22nd Mar 2009, 15:32
  #183 (permalink)  
 
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SASless

So do I. Perhaps its because we have no control over the hundreds of vehicles headed our way within a few feet of each day to the point that we've grown numb to the chance we may, or someone we know may, be one of those 40K lost each year on the highway. Helo folk are a relatively small family in this great back and forth business so we tend to remember each and every death and it becomes even more personal when we find ourselves in control of that Corvair or Pinto.
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Old 22nd Mar 2009, 15:46
  #184 (permalink)  
 
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Blackhawk Stud Material?

Anyone know what material studs are used in the Blackhawk? Assuming it has the same style of Oil Filter.
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Old 22nd Mar 2009, 16:24
  #185 (permalink)  
 
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Blackhawk Stud Material?
Anyone know what material studs are used in the Blackhawk? Assuming it has the same style of Oil Filter
Steel.

Lots of other studs on the S92 MGB are titanium. And in the aerospace industry titanium is widely used for fasteners of different sorts. The way these things are overengineered (at 3x or 4x load minimum) you'd never expect there to be a problem with titanium studs in this application. Looking at the design of the oil filter assembly, I think you'd have to break off two studs before the filter body lifted out of the cavity far enough to cause serious leakage.

Was only one stud broken off in this accident, or two? Do we know if the MGB did not have oil in it when inspected? Was there evidence of oil streaming out along the fuselage? Maybe instead of another couple of caution messages on the panel displays what you really need is a tailfin camera so the pilots can look at the aft cowling area - same as Eurocopter giving up on reliable fire-detectors and simply putting an eyebrow mirror above the pilots so they could "see" if they really had a fire.

Last edited by malabo; 22nd Mar 2009 at 22:32.
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Old 22nd Mar 2009, 16:28
  #186 (permalink)  
 
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I have a laundry list of friends or acquaintances who snuffed it in helicopters?
and aeroplanes.
I cannot remember anybody killed in a car crash.
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Old 22nd Mar 2009, 20:07
  #187 (permalink)  
 
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Dan - as helo pilots we all can all deal with the fact that sometimes sh8t happens, machines fail and people die but we are talking about an industry that is supposed to have moved into the 21st century.

Passengers in offshore helos should expect to travel in the best safety the industry can manage after all, that is what their employers are paying for.

When a helicopter is marketed as aggresively on a safety ticket as the S92 was, everyone assumed that it really represented a new level of helicopter safety and crashworthiness but we appear to have been short-changed, the manufacturers and regulators have conspired to set poor standards that can be worked around instead of exceeded.

I know the stock answer to this is that every aircraft has its teething problems because that is what often happened in the past; that is not an excuse any more, enough helicopters have been built and crashed to know what works and what doesn't. Building a helicopter to work a long way over the sea (either offshore or SAR) without appropriate redundancy or emergency backup for major components is just bad engineering and bad business.
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Old 22nd Mar 2009, 20:46
  #188 (permalink)  
TRC
 
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I know at least 10 close (ish) mates who have died in helicopter accidents. No-one close to me has died in a car crash. Maybe it's because helicopters are numbered in the hundreds (here, at least) but cars are in their millions?

I cannot understand why such an exotic material as titanium is used for such mundane jobs as oil filter attachment studs, and elsewhere, on the 92. Steel has worked for years in such a boring job, why change it? Weight? Hardly.

I sometimes wish that these effing designers would stop trying to push the envelope in places that really don't warrant it. Titanium M/R hubs a la Lynx maybe are an acceptable use, but why for simple day-in-day-out jobs like low workload attachment hardware?

Beats me.
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Old 22nd Mar 2009, 21:33
  #189 (permalink)  
 
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Passengers in offshore helos should expect to travel in the best safety the industry can manage after all, that is what their employers are paying for.
I beg to differ Crab.....thou knowst not what thy speaketh of when it comes to the oil patch!

The almighty Dollar/Pound/Niara drives the bottom line on safety, training, and equipment.

It is the Unions and Regulating bodies that drove most of the safety improvements.....not the oil companies.


Their bean counters look at losing lives as being a part of the cost of doing business.
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Old 23rd Mar 2009, 12:00
  #190 (permalink)  
 
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I do not think that the material the studs are made from is the issue. Titanium is often used as part of the overall design to save weight while retaining strength albeit at a higher cost.

Hence all the floor screws on the 365 are made from titanium.

If it is a filter retaining stud that has failed, faulty manufacture which has left a stress point from which a crack has developed or overtorquing during maintenance would be my first port of call.

If I remember correctly the Allison 250 engine sufered from a similar problem with it's oil filter in the late 70's early 80's. This was resolved by installing modified shouldered studs.

I understood that all transmissions now have to have a 30 min run dry capabilty. This seems not to have happened if loss of oil was the cause of this accident. This would be a primary certification problem and of great concern.
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Old 23rd Mar 2009, 13:43
  #191 (permalink)  
 
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I am told the Sikorsky Director of Safety is calling operators and stating the Lead Investigator is saying the cause of the crash is being attributed to the oil filter stud failure and that a press conference is planned very soon to announce that.

Anyone care to confirm this?
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Old 23rd Mar 2009, 14:03
  #192 (permalink)  
 
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Ericferret,

As Deux Cent Vingt Cinq said in the “Sikorsky S-92: From Design to Operations” thread :
It's known that Titanium bolts more susceptible to stress fracture, than steel, if not treated carefully and are not suited to applications that require frequent torque cycles. (just google titanium bolts, and you'll find a wealth of information about why they are used, and also why they are not used, depending on the application!)
there is an issue of using titanium.

Greetings,

Finalchecksplease
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Old 23rd Mar 2009, 14:43
  #193 (permalink)  
 
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Thanks SASless.
My comment is that studs holding component together have been used since the beginning, materials have become more exotic, techniques to tighten the attachment nuts more accurate and controlled, seems in this age that basic engineering principals and application seem to show failings, the cool and sexy electronic bits have the edge. But it’s still the smelly mechanical stuff that keeps one out of the SH1T.
O
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Old 23rd Mar 2009, 17:33
  #194 (permalink)  
 
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Sasless, I may not have flown in the offshore world but I can guarantee that the oil companies don't willingly put their employees at risk for the sake of a few quid.

It has been highlighted on the N sea crash thread that oil workers are extremely safety conscious and have no problem with a pilot saying 'no go' for whatever reason.

It seems from comments on that thread from those in the know that it is the helicopter operators themselves, all busy undercutting the others to get the contract, that have created a poor Flight Safety culture in order to get the job done cheaply.
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Old 23rd Mar 2009, 17:53
  #195 (permalink)  
 
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P3 - the comments on the N.Sea crash thread, comments on the night offshore approach thread and comments on the new equal time rosters thread.

As I have said I don't work in that environment but when there are sufficient negative comments on this forum, many with a common topic it must go beyond just crewroom whinging and into the realms of Flight Safety concerns which should not be ignored.
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Old 23rd Mar 2009, 18:09
  #196 (permalink)  
 
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Crab,

If your view is correct then one would assume the highest standard required by any regulator would be the minimum standard for the oil company and thus the "Best Practice" standard would apply to all of their operations world wide even if local requirements were less stringent. That costs a lot of money....a lot of money.....but after all it is all about lives and safety isn't it.....not money!

That does not happen. Never has.....never will.

Prove me wrong!
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Old 23rd Mar 2009, 18:10
  #197 (permalink)  
 
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I can guarantee that the oil companies don't willingly put their employees at risk for the sake of a few quid.
Substitute "tacitly" for "willingly" and you might be a long way from guaranteeing it with some companies.
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Old 23rd Mar 2009, 19:27
  #198 (permalink)  
 
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It seems from comments on that thread from those in the know that it is the helicopter operators themselves, all busy undercutting the others to get the contract, that have created a poor Flight Safety culture in order to get the job done cheaply.
Crab - although I sort of agree with you, who do you think drives the operators to reduce their charges on a regular basis? Could that be their customers?
Oil companies are always being challenged by their top management to reduce costs, thereby increasing profits. Generally they are asked to reduce costs by so many percent across the board, that means they are expected to reduce costs in every part of their organisations, including transportation, by the same percentage.
As all of us on this thread know only too well, rotart wing operating costs are being severely stretched, and have been for many years. So how can you reduce the costs to the customer - something has to give..........

Last edited by Teefor Gage; 23rd Mar 2009 at 19:55.
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Old 23rd Mar 2009, 20:22
  #199 (permalink)  
 
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After watching as a bystander for over a week I felt it was time to chime in.

I've watched this thread go from sorrow and sympathy, to bashing Sikorsky, and now to bashing the offshore operators.
First: the 92 has not had more MGB problems than any other new A/C put into service. Regretfully I cannot remember one helo, with the exception of the Hughes 500, that went into offshore service in the GOMEX that did not have a fatality.

For the 225 champions, I would like to remind those that aren't old enough to remember that their illustrious manufacturer had a known MGB problem in the grandfather of the 225, the 330J, that caused at least one fatal accident before they told the operators there was a problem.

Also, despite repeated statements to that fact, there is not a lot of commonality between the 92 and the Blackhawk. The are systems that are similar, the same goes for the 61. What the 92 test pilots told me was that they tried to get the best features from the 61,76 and blackhawk, and adapt them to the 92.
If Sikorsky had won the USAF SAR contract, perhaps the "run-dry" MGB would have appeared. My understanding is that Sikorsky ran a transmission, it didn't make 30 min, they made some mods to help with lubrication, and never re-ran the test.

My personal experience is that besides the usual "nusiance" lights that plagued us at the start of operations 4 1/2 years ago, we've had more problems with the CT-7s than with the airframe, and more problems with accesories in the airframe (AirCond etc) than with the A/C itself.
I was suprised to see an earlier post where another 92 pilot thought they should be grounded until an answer is found and "they fix the MGB" when we don't yet know for sure that it was the cause.

Some others have asked the more appropriate question. "When was the MGB filter last serviced?"

We will all find out what the Board determines to be "the cause" when they do, some people may change their mind about what they've said.
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Old 23rd Mar 2009, 20:58
  #200 (permalink)  
 
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Sasless - I cannot prove you wrong , maybe it is a weakness of a system based on profit, not just a healthy operating profit but a greedy pursuance of every last penny that has forced the operators to undercut each other to get the contract and in turn squeeze their own operation until it hurts.

As Teefor says something has to give and it seems that a real Flight Safety culture is paid lip service to in order to protect jobs and pay.

Isn't it strange that onshore, the H&S monster has led to builders not being able to carry bricks up a ladder but offshore there has been a tacit (good word Fkelly)approval by the regulators and oil companies alike of some outdated and risky practices and procedures.

I'm sure that each crash leaves the crews hoping that this will be the one the triggers change and allows the industry to move towards airline levels of safety and reliability.
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