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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 18th Nov 2010, 18:56
  #721 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
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VL You complain of "b*llsh*t" but would rather throw mud at other companies over unspecified events than deal with the facts of the specific events that this thread relate to. Still struugling with reality?


QUESTION: If Sikorsky was to take a "robust response" after the surprise of the vespel spline failures should they not have also introdued a warning light or aural warning when 5psi was reached?
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Old 19th Nov 2010, 15:18
  #722 (permalink)  
 
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Yes, it would have been very sensible to have introduced a attention getter / warning set for the revised, lower, pressure threshold for 'Land Immediately'. It makes no sense to have to 'keep an eye' on a small pressure gauge to detemine if you really have a catastrophic failure mode.

The failure to so was probably Sikorsky's Ford Pinto moment, the case were dangerous design features were left uncorrected because the "company is run by salesmen, not engineers" and the priority was sales, not safety.

In one study of the Pinto it is reported that a meeting was called on the subject:

When time came for the meeting, a grand total of two people showed up... "So you see," continued the anonymous Ford engineer ironically, "there are a few of us here at Ford who are concerned about fire safety." He adds: "They are mostly engineers who have to study a lot of accident reports and look at pictures of burned people. But we don't talk about it much. It isn't a popular subject.
One wonders how much Sikorsky and FAA really considered the safety of the S-92A MGB before certification, or were only interested in safety after an accident (and as Broome was not an accident they didn't worry).

For more in the Pinto see here

Last edited by squib66; 19th Nov 2010 at 15:45. Reason: To add photo of a poor business decision - the Pinto fuel tank
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Old 19th Nov 2010, 15:43
  #723 (permalink)  
 
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And as if my magic another S-92A AD has just been issued:
Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation (Sikorsky) Model S-92A

It has a 10 hour compliance time, expanding on an earlier AD and seems to throw doubt on the new 'wonder 6 stud' filter casing.

we have determined the need to expand the applicability to include another MGB assembly and MBG housing, which introduced a six-stud attachment for the oil filter bowl and more edge distance on the right and left foot pads. This new housing configuration is added to the applicability of this AD because it is prone to the same cracks as the MGB listed in the current AD. The manufacturer is still investigating the root cause of these cracks. Contributing factors may include corrosion and the bushing press fit in the mounting foot bolt hole. The actions specified in this AD are interim actions until the root cause of the cracking is determined. After that determination, we anticipate further rulemaking.
Still at least thie ASB is backed with an AD an a rapid compliance time unlike the original stud ASB (prior to Cougar 491).

I assume all Canadian passengers will be briefed before the next flight iaw the Wells Report!
CBC News - Nfld. & Labrador - Positive reaction to N.L chopper inquiry report
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Old 19th Nov 2010, 20:53
  #724 (permalink)  
 
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This is applicable to phase 2 MGB casings with the new foot and brings inspections into line with those previously in force on phase 1 casings.

The inspection applies to the foot area of the MGB casing and is not to do with the 6 stud filter bowl assembly. The filter bowl assembly is mentioned to differentiate this AD as being applicable to phase 2 MGB casings which is when the 6 stud attachment was introduced.

It does seem that the phase 2 casing alone has not solved the foot crack issue.
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Old 19th Nov 2010, 23:43
  #725 (permalink)  
 
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ironchefflay, on your planet is an AD an 'Award for Design'?

On our planet the FAA have confirmed that another Sikorsky product improvement has failed and needs mandatory action.

Feet have been cracking for over a year and Sikorsky still don't understand the failure mechanism according to the FAA.
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Old 20th Nov 2010, 00:57
  #726 (permalink)  
 
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It would be interesting to have access to design details of the S-92 MRGB housing. You could use Sikorsky's published design guidelines to see if the S-92 housing passes their own hazard function analysis process.

You can download the Sikorsky design guide here. The hazard function analysis procedure begins on page 69, and includes failure data for housing cracks/fractures.

Have fun.
riff_raff
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Old 20th Nov 2010, 09:48
  #727 (permalink)  
 
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riff-raff

Many thanks - a great find. I've just started going through it.

Technically it is the Army's guide but they paid Sikorsky to write it. It would be very interesting to know if the S-92 designers read or used this or some subsequent guide.

As it was written in 1979 it captures Sikorsky's thinking at the time of the UH-60 design. One would have expected the state of the art to have advanced in the subsequent 1/4 century prior to the introduction of the S-92.

The Cougar lawyers will no doubt be keen to see one document mentioned on P17 of 91 for both the UH-60 and the S-92:



The functional group charged with drive system design can contribute greatly to the reliability and maintainability of future designs by setting up and continuously updating a problem file. This file, which could be arranged by the various generic components, would essentially be a history of all of the developmental and field problems associated with past and present drive systems. The information contained in this file would consist of descriptions, causes, and solutions of the various problems. The primary purpose of this file would be to prevent past mistakes from being repeated.

It would also serve to centralize that information, which would otherwise be scattered in various memos or in the files of the engineers who worked on the past problems. This procedure also documents "experience" and keeps within the company information that othewise might be lost when experienced engineers leave.


I wonder how many of the S-92 design team actually worked on the original UH-60 in the 70s.

Last edited by squib66; 20th Nov 2010 at 10:04.
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Old 20th Nov 2010, 23:28
  #728 (permalink)  
 
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I wonder how many of the S-92 design team actually worked on the original UH-60 in the 70s.
Not many I can tell you that
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Old 21st Nov 2010, 21:47
  #729 (permalink)  
 
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I wonder if anyone in the team really understood the design they were tinkering with.

In St Johns:

    SAR chopper hangar delayed
    Published on November 20th, 2010
    Moira Baird
    The Telegram

    Construction of a new search and rescue facility at St. John’s airport for the offshore oil industry won’t meet a year-end deadline. The dedicated search and rescue (SAR) helicopter is in place, but its hangar and crew quarters are still on the drawing board.

    And that means it will take longer to achieve the 15- to 20-minute response time recommended by helicopter safety inquiry commissioner Robert Wells when he issued an interim report in February.

    Since March, Suncor Energy said the SAR response time has been reduced from the previous one hour to 30 minutes. “The objective is to get it as low as we can reasonably,” said John Downton, spokesman for Suncor, which operates the Terra Nova oilfield. “In order to do that, there are a number of pieces of infrastructure that need to be put in place. “A key piece of it is a hangar facility.

    “Cougar, we understand, is working with the various authorities to enable that to happen, but it’s taking some time, and it will take some time to get all the elements in place as we understand it.” Cougar Helicopters provides first-response search and rescue services to the province’s offshore oil industry. Response time is how long it takes to get a search and rescue helicopter in the air.

    These days, the SAR duties are carried out by a dedicated S-92 chopper that arrived in the province in July. “We received confirmation that it’s now in full-time dedicated service as of the second week of November,” said Downton. The SAR chopper is due for an upgrade to its flotation system in the new year. All passenger helicopters have already received this upgrade.

    Floats provide additional stability following a controlled ditching in the water.
    The SAR helicopter has also been equipped with auto-hover technology and forward-looking infrared radar. But the auto-hover — which aids in night rescues — has yet to be activated because it’s still awaiting certification from Transport Canada.

    Before that can happen, the technology must first be certified by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) in the U.S., where the helicopter manufacturer is based. “The FAA is working with Sikorsky towards the approval as it pertains to the U.S. type certificate,” said an emailed statement from Transport Canada. “Transport Canada is conducting a concurrent validation of the U.S. approval. Transport Canada will continue to work with the FAA and Sikorsky to support a Canadian approval. “Once U.S. approval is obtained, it is anticipated that Canadian approval could follow within approximately one month.”

    In February, Wells recommended a ban on night flights offshore —at least until a dedicated SAR helicopter was outfitted with auto-hover and forward-looking infrared radar. He reiterated that ban in his report issued Wednesday — saying he could not recommend “a return to scheduled night flying.” If night flights are necessary, he recommended decisions to fly be made unanimously by a committee that includes worker representatives.
    zalt is offline  
    Old 21st Nov 2010, 23:18
      #730 (permalink)  
     
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    It lacks a certified auto-hover
    I'm curious as to why TC haven't certified it. I know the FAA haven't, but that is more a function of them getting the aircraft certification mixed up with Ops approvals, and is not showing them in a good light. The SAR AFCS has been certified by EASA for a few years now - hence the UK Coast Guard aircraft using it.
    212man is offline  
    Old 21st Nov 2010, 23:54
      #731 (permalink)  
     
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    212man
    Quote:
    It lacks a certified auto-hover

    I'm curious as to why TC haven't certified it. I know the FAA haven't, but that is more a function of them getting the aircraft certification mixed up with Ops approvals, and is not showing them in a good light. The SAR AFCS has been certified by EASA for a few years now - hence the UK Coast Guard aircraft using it.
    I had the same thought.

    It is a really amazing scenario that is also not putting TC or the offshore industry in a good light now that winter is here.

    It also begs questions about Cougar's claims (several years old) of having an All Weather SAR capability.

    http://www.cougar.ca/media/images/br...cougar-sar.pdf

    In practice, despite the FLIR, Nitesun and NVGs, their AWSAR capability seems to be based on dropping SKAD: Cougar Helicopters || A VIH Aviation Group Company

    Another claim, that "Cougar Helicopters is the first operator, civilian or military to utilize the S-92 in a SAR role", looks less impressive when the actual non-auto hover fit is considered, rather than the brochure.

    They did manage to rapidly rescue Robert Dekker after the accident though so perhaps I should not be to harsh.
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    Old 22nd Nov 2010, 01:53
      #732 (permalink)  
     
    Join Date: Mar 2009
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    Just flew in from offshore today, the nice shiny new SAR S-92 (callsign C-GKIN I think) was sitting out last Tuesday when I went out and still sitting out today, also another new S92 is still tucked away (Greenland A/C? with Cougar colours and a red middle stripe instead of dark blue in the decals) next to the old faithful S61, which looks to be fitted for SAR duties as well albeit with icing limitations. I noticed a few new CPs getting buddied up with the more seasoned PICs as well these days up here.

    I can't believe that TC is dragging SAR AFCS approval out this long, especially as 212man has stated EASA approved this quite some time ago.

    However, with very limited daylight flying hours now and the current restrictions in place for the S92s we are still not flying regular PAX flights outwith daylight flying hours as per Commissioner Well's recommendation, but as medevacs etc. may require night flying I'm assuming that the Cougar SAR S92 can be used for these duties albeit without auto hover. What will be interesting is when the operators will wish to resume night-flying, presumably once the SAR auto-hover is approved and activated on all the S92 fleet here in St. John's, however with the right to refuse night-flying present as stated in the Phase 1 inquiry report I believe that many PAX up here will exercise that right until the outstanding MRGB issues, i.e. mounting feet cracking due to an as yet unknown cause, are resolved unless it's an emergency evacuation of a facility/medevac situation. Night flying and "milk runs" are known to be more risky anyway, and with some of the harshest flying conditions in the world present here in the Grand Banks I for one may be exercising my right to refuse regular night-time flying. Why take the additional risk unless you really have to?

    Interesting times ahead.

    Safe flying

    Max
    maxwelg2 is offline  
    Old 22nd Nov 2010, 05:33
      #733 (permalink)  
     
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    I was going to have a scan through the Inquiry report in the next few days to see if their is any relevance for the Netherlands. I believe their are statements about informing the passengers of ADs (but not ASBs).

    maxwelg2, were you told about the latest AD?

    Is this the other S-92 (here coming by boat after a fuel tank was damaged)?:

    Why the red stripe?

    Perhaps the SAR aircraft that came on line this month is actually the one used in Greenland during the summer to support Cairn.
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    Old 22nd Nov 2010, 20:37
      #734 (permalink)  
     
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    Yes, the 3 aircraft Greenland contract took priority over enhancements in St Johns.

    Perhaps, the red stripe indicates a SAR aircraft.

    Sox, as you read the report it is worth looking at the SAR timeline.
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    Old 22nd Nov 2010, 21:12
      #735 (permalink)  
     
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    There have been a several cases (5 or 6?) of overpressuring, mostly with the North American operators, during refueling as the left hand tank fills faster than the right hand side and the pressure relief valve was a bit unreliable.

    There is a requirement to pre-check the auto-shutoff valve before fuelling but Sikorsky originally expected ground crew to listen for the valve movement - there was no other indication - not really practical on a busy apron or rotors running.

    In Europe a mod was developed which allows the crew to replicate the high level sensor closing function and ensure equal filling.
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    Old 22nd Nov 2010, 22:53
      #736 (permalink)  
     
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    maxwelg2, were you told about the latest AD?

    Is this the other S-92 (here coming by boat after a fuel tank was damaged)?:
    Sox6, nope, but as I only fly offshore very infrequently I'm not normally privy to this information unless I request it through the operators. I didn't see anything on Searose on the safety bulletin board wrt. ADs, I'll make some enquiries and find out if Robert Wells's recommendation is being rolled out during safety meetings only.

    I only saw the latest MRGB AD via this forum.

    I know on Hibernia there is a book up outside heli-admin that has all ADs and copies of correspondence between Cougar and HMDC. To my knowledge this was a consequence of numerous requests from offshore workers during departmental safety meetings.

    Zalt, the Cougar NL S92 SAR has the dark blue stripe. Question, how would an offshore heli crew know that the tanks had been over-pressurised, via the PIC? What impact would that then have on the helo's return flight?

    The helo I saw on Tuesday and yesterday with the red stripe had the main rotor fully re-assembled and was sitting in the same spot as last Tuesday, so I would guess that it is the Greenland one post-repair but IMO it is not currently kitted out for SAR duty as I didn't see any hoist or FLIR installed on it albeit it was tucked behind the SAR-equipped S61 so I may be wrong there. I recall seeing a post a while back on the Greenland contract but can't recall if there was a SAR equipped stipulation and where the A/C were to be based.

    Safe flying

    Max
    maxwelg2 is offline  
    Old 23rd Nov 2010, 06:23
      #737 (permalink)  
     
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    I can't believe that TC is dragging SAR AFCS approval out this long, especially as 212man has stated EASA approved this quite some time ago.
    possibly to do with having lost a perfectly serviceable Cormorant and crew to an autopilot release faff (so I am led to believe) - TC might not trust others assessments of SAR modes in helos.

    forward-looking infrared radar
    shame they don't seem to know the difference between FLIR and radar - maybe that's why operators get away with calling an aircraft a SAR one when it doesn't have auto hover and transition modes.
    crab@SAAvn.co.uk is offline  
    Old 23rd Nov 2010, 06:53
      #738 (permalink)  
     
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    From the inquiry report:
    For the interested reader I will give the times of the most significant


    events in the search and rescue procedures on March 12, 2009. As best as Inquiry Counsel and I can determine, the correct search and rescue times appear to be
    as follows, as taken from Cougar’s evidence:


    9:40 a.m. emergency declared by Flight 491



    9:45 a.m. Cougar dispatch issues search and rescue alert
    to maintenance department



    10:34 a.m. Cougar search and rescue helicopter takes off
    (49 minutes after reconfiguration alert, 54
    minutes after emergency declared)



    10:56 a.m. Cougar helicopter arrived at accident scene
    (flight time was 22 minutes)
    76 minutes total time, declared emergency to arrival at


    scene



    11:34 a.m. second Cougar helicopter arrives at the accident
    scene, freeing first Cougar helicopter to leave
    for Health Sciences Centre, St. John’s

    11:58 a.m. two DND SAR helicopters arrive at the scene



    12:04 p.m. first Cougar helicopter arrives at Health

    Sciences Centre, St. John’s
    2 hrs. 24 min. total time from declared emergency to delivery

    of survivor to hospital, 9:40 a.m. to 12:04 p.m.

    but there is this footnote:


    When the survivor, Robert Decker, was hoisted on board the first helicopter, it circled the scene for the protection of the rescue technician, who remained in the ocean until he was hoisted by a second helicopter. If the first helicopter had left the rescue technician in the water and returned to St. John’s, a second life would have been at risk.
    Why leave the technician in the water and delay the survivors return to medical care? Did the winch fail?
    sox6 is offline  
    Old 23rd Nov 2010, 14:03
      #739 (permalink)  
     
    Join Date: Mar 2009
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    Why leave the technician in the water and delay the survivors return to medical care? Did the winch fail?


    Sox6, between 1034 hrs and 1106 hrs the rescue of Robert Decker was performed, the exact sequence of events not released.

    I don't know, I'm only a PAX, but Allison Maher was most likely still in the water and the rescue technician may have been hoping she was in cold water shock but still alive and decided to stay with her for rapid location/secondary extraction in order to allow Robert to be expedited back to onshore medical resources. I would assume that it is protocol not to leave a SAR swimmer in the water without air cover.

    Perhaps one of the SAR PPRuNers could provide more insight on the hypothetical sequence of events, but for me I'm sure they did all they could as quickly as practically possible.

    Safe flying

    Max
    maxwelg2 is offline  
    Old 23rd Nov 2010, 21:27
      #740 (permalink)  
     
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    Max - The only survivor, Robert Decker, mentioned his critically low core temperature on arrival at the hospital when he gave his evidence (28C IIRC). I can't see any reason not to hoist up the other victim immediately and return both to shore asap, unless their was some kind of mechanical malfunction.

    Today's shock news came in an announcement from the commissioner that no one had bother to mention a previous fatal helicopter accident off Newfoundland, almost exactly 24 years to the day earlier.

    Message from the Commissioner: (November 22, 2010)

    As readers of this message will know, my Report was released to the public on Wednesday, November 17, 2010. At page 43 of my Report (Volume 1), I wrote:

    "In my opinion, despite the delay in instituting a new occupational health and safety regime, there was no evidence in Phase I of the Inquiry that safety in the C-NL offshore has been compromised in any measurable way by that delay. I have been told that the C-NL offshore safety record, in the past fourteen years of production, has been as good as that of the offshore industry generally. As might be expected, the accident rates may rise or fall to some extent in each year, but until the tragic event of March 12, 2009, there had not been any fatalities since the loss of the Ocean Ranger in 1982."

    I believed the foregoing reference to fatalities to be true, but on Friday, November 19th, I was informed by C-NLOPB that there were six fatalities in a crash 25 years ago, on March 13, 1985, when a helicopter owned by Universal Helicopters under contract to Petro Canada crashed near Argentia, NL, shortly after taking off from the rig Bowdrill I which was moored in Placentia Bay for maintenance.

    Up until I received that information I was not aware of these fatalities and there was no evidence or reference made to them at the Inquiry proceedings.

    I therefore wish to correct the omission of these six fatalities from my Report and to extend my regrets and condolences to the families of the deceased pilots and passengers who were:

    Captain Gary Freeman Fowlow
    First Officer Frank Kearney
    Brian Garbett
    Art Smith
    Bernie Murphy
    Jim Wilson

    I am informed by the Transportation Safety Board that the helicopter departed the Bowdrill I at 10:45 p.m. Newfoundland standard time to return to St. John’s on what was intended to be a 20 minute flight. The helicopter crashed less than 1500 meters from the rig.

    Sadly, the number of C-NL offshore helicopter fatalities referred to in my Report must be amended from 17 to 23.

    I wish to thank C-NLOPB for bringing this matter to my attention.
    I believe this was a B214ST and that Universal was an Okanagan subsidiary at the time. Clearly those 6 fatalities didn't stimulate the level of concern in helicopter safety

    Anyone know the cause?
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