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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 15th Mar 2009, 10:02
  #121 (permalink)  
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That would be true if that's where the floats are located , on the 92 the floats are located at the nose and on the tail boom , there are sponson mounted flats but dependant on mod state and the portion they are connected to is seperate from the fuel tank part of the sponson which is designed to detatch on impact .

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Old 15th Mar 2009, 10:31
  #122 (permalink)  
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I remember an incident in the 1980s to an Okanagan S76A cruising along off the coast of India. Both the pilots were over 60, which had nothing to do with the incident. A wire from the float test switches was routed over the sharp corners of the radar & duly chafed through. At aound 135 knots the floats blew up. The 76 bucked & jumped badly, then settled down to a steady 130 knot cruise. Both the pilots were a lot greyer on landing than when they took off!
All our 76s were checked & quite a few were close to repeating the incident. Basically, especially in a 212, it is not nice if the floats inflate in the cruise unless designed to do so.
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Old 15th Mar 2009, 11:15
  #123 (permalink)  
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I presume then that there is no quoted maximum IAS for arming the floats on the 139? Unfortunately on the S92 its 80kts, and I'm sure you wouldn't be encouraging pilots to bust a flight manual limitation?

I don't think we know whether its 80kts for the S92 because that's all they bothered to test it to, or whether they found that it was the maximum before loss of controlled flight (probably the former).

Either way its a significant limitation, that does have an impact on safety, compared to other manufacturers (AS332L max 135, EC225 max 150).

However in this case it seems it would not have made any difference whether the floats were inflated or not.

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Old 15th Mar 2009, 11:26
  #124 (permalink)  
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The arming of floats concept predates the immersion switches technology. Inadvertent float inflation from the automatic system is as rare as a transmission failure. Pilots inadvertently firing the manual system while constantly arming and disarming the system is quite common. What you really have are two separate systems - an auto system that is relied on to work when the belly switches sense water, and a manual system that the pilots can blow when they think they are going into water and don't want to wait for the auto system.

In my opinion, the AW139 is the only aircraft that has got it right. The rest of the manufacturers could follow suit. We have far more helicopters hit the water without inflating the floats that ones that do. Guess why? Because you have either a CFIT situation and didn't plan on going into the water or in the case of a sudden emergency there is no time to get them armed.

Our dunker/HUET training is all about exiting an inverted aircraft, so even if one or two bags are still keeping the aircraft afloat, your odds are better than if none are.
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Old 15th Mar 2009, 13:32
  #125 (permalink)  
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In my opinion, the AW139 is the only aircraft that has got it right.
It's not so much the aircraft or manufacturer that has got it right, in this case it was the regulator with primary responsibility for certification. ENAC obviously took a fairly pragmatic view with the AB139 (as it was), whereas the FAA required actual inflation flight tests for the S92.

As HC guessed earlier, Sikorsky went to 80 kts during flight tests, thought "that'll do won't it" and we are stuck with the limitation.
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Old 15th Mar 2009, 13:36
  #126 (permalink)  
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While we are in midst of massive thread creep....
The arming of floats concept predates the immersion switches technology. I'm not sure it does, as I remember several Royal Navy beasties returning with inflated floats which were of an "Armed" and then automatic Salt Water Activation system back in 60s and 70s.
Obviously there have been improvements over the years and as Geoffers says with the AW139 we should have total confidence in its electical system which never goes wrong, goes wrong, goes bong!
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Old 15th Mar 2009, 14:00
  #127 (permalink)  
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There have been several inadvertant inflations in flight in the cruise on the AS332Ls without serious handling problems. In actual fact, if my memory serves me well, one flew quite a distance with its floats inflated (mind you though on the Ws55s3 we flew with our floats inflated all the time )

Last edited by TipCap; 15th Mar 2009 at 14:28.
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Old 15th Mar 2009, 16:02
  #128 (permalink)  
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Every time we make something "automatic" we risk having an accidental operation.....imagine standing beside the float bags in the hangar when the system decides to operate for some inexplicable reason.

One would think an automatic system using water immersion switches and a manual pilot operated switch with a backup mechanically operated pilot actuated release would be the best of all things.

If we can put Rovers on Mars why can the helicopter industry not come up with a float system that covers all modes?

Likewise....why can we not come up with an AFCS that provides hands off flight right down to a hover and develop procedures to use it safely?
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Old 15th Mar 2009, 16:26
  #129 (permalink)  
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Just wondering if the 139 floats were flight tested at the flight speed limit or above with actual deployment of the floats? Per Part 29, the 92 was flight tested with deployment of the inadvertant deployment of the floats to speeds above 80 KIAS but that speed was referenced since it is BROC at SL. Benign handling quality changes with the deployments. Arming at high speeds only satisfys the fact that the floats can be armed anytime over water . I'm guessing that the 139 checklist still mentions arming the floats during routine and emergency checklists. AFDS only works when armed first so I agree that flying with armed floats is a great idea if over water but RFM limitations still apply.

The mindset of "it has never happened before" is asking for trouble. There have been many instances of inadvertent float deployments and there always will be. Riding a bucking bronco during inadvertant deployment at high speed is not my idea of fun. Don't think the engineers have completely eliminated the chances of system failures yet.

Since the 92 imersion switches are mounted in the sponsons, breakaway of the sponsons could have negated the auto deployment feature due to severed wires. Sea State 5 bags located on either side of the fwd fuselage and one on the tailboom, State 6 bags add bags on the sponsons. Lots of wire between switches and inflation bottles. I have seen first hand where auto systems have not worked due to the compromise of the structure causing wire harnesses to break.

Also the bags are not tollerent during hard water impacts when inflated prior to water contact. Don't know of any float bags that are.

Like I mentioned in my post earlier, theory and speculation will be answered during the crash investigation. Examination of the float system components, inflation bottles, mounting points, bags and the position of the arming switch will provide the answers. The CVR/FDRs and HUMS will also provide much needed info.

My thoughts and prayers are with the families.
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Old 15th Mar 2009, 16:35
  #130 (permalink)  
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For just this reason why the original Bristow system was slightly more complex in that it both catered for a modicum of energy dissipation but more importantly it conducted continued monitoring of the 'sensors' and would cater for the eventuality that the sensors were 'disconnected' during an incident.

If I remember correctly Sikorsky only tested the S76 ability to handle float deployment to a factor above proposed arming speed, can't recall the figure but hence the FM limitation
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Old 15th Mar 2009, 17:03
  #131 (permalink)  
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I am aware of the SAR machines.....but was suggesting for Non-SAR machines and developing procedures to use that capability in non-SAR operations.

I guess I should have been more specific in what I was saying....but thank you for reminding me of all that.
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Old 15th Mar 2009, 18:58
  #132 (permalink)  
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Body recovery in progress

Body recovered from sunken helicopter wreckage

... Mike Cunningham, lead investigator with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, told reporters that crews working on the recovery effort were able to see "about 10 to 13 bodies" in the fuselage of the Cougar Helicopters aircraft, which lies beneath 120 metres of water in the Atlantic Ocean.

"That number must be taken as a guess at this time. There may be more," Cunningham told reporters. "It is very delicate work and has to be done very carefully. It's work that could take 18 to 24 hours, if everything goes well."

Also TSB briefing link

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Old 15th Mar 2009, 22:01
  #133 (permalink)  
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Am I speaking a different kind of English ...or what.....?

I say again. Inadvertant inflation of the 139 floats IN FLIGHT has never happened. CFIT (into water) has. This is not a question of absolutes but a question of probabilities and as far as I can tell you get a better deal betting on arming the floats...... which, by the way have no limiting speed because they are designed NOT to inflate in flight.

Now I'm not daft enough to say never but based on the facts of the case I'll continue to put my money on arming the floats when I'm over water.

The RFM simply states ' for overwater operations - FLOATS ARM'.

As far as electrical failures are concerned please find out the facts of the case before casting aspersions. Nothing wrong with the basic design but HF related issues can bite you in the bum anywhere anytime.

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Old 15th Mar 2009, 23:40
  #134 (permalink)  
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I had an uncommanded inflation of floats, in a AS365N2 on departure from a platform - no real drama apart from wondering what the hissing noise was and then why my chin window was turning grey!

Eventually flew back to Aberdeen at 89kts with slight drumming from the floats and they were still rock hard 4hrs after inflation.

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Old 16th Mar 2009, 08:12
  #135 (permalink)  
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Tim Lanouette, a 48 years old, Comax, B.C.

First Officer Thomas Anyll, 46 years old, Langley , B.C.
The press has some of the facts wrong on the names of the crew....... Mr. Anyll was not one of the pilots......the Captains name has not been released yet.......
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Old 16th Mar 2009, 11:13
  #136 (permalink)  
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Outwest, I don't think the press is saying Mr Lanouette was the captain and your quoted extract above certainly doesn't indicate so.

I don't believe the captain's name has been released yet at the request of his family.
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Old 16th Mar 2009, 11:26
  #137 (permalink)  
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Here are biographical sketches of some of the people presumed or confirmed dead in the helicopter crash off Newfoundland:
•Ken MacRae, 47, Auburn, Kings County. He was a technician with Alberta-based FGG Inspections. It’s thought MacRae retired from the Armed Forces a couple of years ago and took on casual jobs on the rigs, going to Alberta last fall and then Newfoundland.
•Wade Drake, 42, Fortune, N.L. He moved to Fortune from a neighbouring community within the last few years and built a house after starting to work in the offshore. Fortune Mayor Alec Noseworthy described him as a good golfer and a keen outdoorsman. He was married with two daughters.
•Burch Nash, 44, Fortune, N.L. He grew up in Fortune and his parents still live in the community. Fortune Mayor Alec Noseworthy said his son was close friends with Nash, who moved away from the town after finishing high school, and then settled near St. John’s. Noseworthy said Nash played soccer and hockey in school.
•Wade Duggan, 32, Witless Bay, N.L. Don Drew, mayor of Bay Bulls, said he remembers helping Duggan look for a piece of land in the area before he married and built a house in Witless Bay. "He was a nice, friendly, polite family guy," he said. "He was very close with his family and the family he married into. He became another son to that family."
•Derrick Mullowney, 51, Bay Bulls, N.L. Worked in the offshore for about 30 years. He grew up with several brothers in Bay Bulls. He worked as a steward for East Coast Catering.
•Allison Maher, 26, Aquaforte, N.L., confirmed deceased. Relatives of the only woman on board the helicopter described her as a "spitfire" with a personality that matched her flaming red hair and piercing green eyes. She worked in catering and housekeeping.
•Colin Henley, 38, St. John’s, N.L. He was on his first trip to the oil platforms. He had retrained from a career in real estate to become a weather observer for Provincial Aerospace Ltd. Frank Henley said his son "figured the real estate market was going down and he wanted something where he’d get a regular income."
•John Pelley, 41, Deer Lake, N.L. He was a nurse and worked regularly for the oil industry. He enjoyed hockey and music. The local Red Wings senior men’s hockey team wore black armbands in Deer Lake in his honour on the weekend.
•Peter Breen, 55, St. John’s, N.L. He worked for East Coast Catering. He was one of five people who worked for the company on board the flight.
Tim Lanouette, 48, Comox, B.C. A pilot, he was the flight’s first officer.
Other victims:
•Corey Eddy, 32, Paradise, originally from Sibley’s Cove, N.L.
•Gary Corbett, 46, Conception Bay South, N.L.
•Paul Pike, 49, Bay Roberts, N.L.
•Thomas Anwyll, 46, Langley, B.C.

The Chronicle Herald (YHZ) says:
Newell identified the pilot as Matthew Davis, 34, of St. John's
However the Times Colonist out of Victoria says:
The other pilot was also a B.C. resident: Thomas Anyll, 46, of Langley.
The above being a perfect example of how the media often gets it wrong...
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Old 16th Mar 2009, 12:33
  #138 (permalink)  
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Outwest, I don't think the press is saying Mr Lanouette was the captain and your quoted extract above certainly doesn't indicate so.

I don't believe the captain's name has been released yet at the request of his family.
I apologize if my post was not clear, I was not trying to say the crew status ( Capt/FO) was incorrect. I was trying to point out that some news agencies were erroneously reporting that Mr.Anwyll was one of the pilots.

YHZchick's post has now corrected this.......sadly Matthew Davis was the other pilot.
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Old 16th Mar 2009, 22:47
  #139 (permalink)  
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Float Facts

The flotation system was fully flight tested during the design phase, and in flight deployment was covered.

Ditching Tests were also carried out using scale models.

There IS an issue ongoing with regard to inadvertant activation of the floats, related to the activation device itself.

These are facts. Whether or not the EFS system was armed is unclear. whether there was an inadvertant deployment is unclear, however this aircraft had the 3 float system, two fwd and one aft, if the tail cone broke off as has been SUGGESTED, then that leaves two bags and a ruddy great hole.. ergo, the EFS, by virtue of the fact that it relies on a certain amount of inherent buoyancy in the aircraft itself, hadn't a hope in hell of keeping the fuselage on the surface, notwithstanding any other system / structural damage caused by impact.

Emergency Flotation works well in a controlled ditching, however in a high force impact, where severe structural damage is sustained, it's about as much use as a snooze button on a smoke detector.

RIP all the victims of the tragedy.

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Old 16th Mar 2009, 23:51
  #140 (permalink)  
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I sat in my living room window at 01'15 this morning and sat stunned as the Ospey came in. We knew surely it couldn't be survivors, I mean I had throw a wreath in the ocean only a day before with the end of SAR. Then it dawned on me what she would be carrying and I will admit yet more tears came to my eyes. As it transpired in the AM, 9 bodies of the deceased.Although not what my heart had hope for when I first saw the Osprey, I feel relief, as to quote Hank from Cougar, "they are back on the beach'', a term heard commonly in YYT.Gods speed to you poor souls.

I will sit in my window again tonight, with hope I now feel, that she will sail in again with the other souls aboard, and above all I hope she carries Tim and Matt.

I also hope that my time off is to an end,and I am away for the final trip for that fine 92 as she makes her sad final trip home. I am afraid that would be too much.
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