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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 19th Mar 2009, 02:21
  #161 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Florida
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S92mech is correct about the dual CVR/FDR combo. He is also correct about the installation. One is standard mounted in the LH avionics rack and the second optional equipment mounted above the cargo ramp area transition section just before the tailboom.

I must commend the Canadian TSB and the crews working the recovery efforts. Their speed and compassion is to be commended. The response and efficiency is beyond reproach. Thumbs up to the ROV operators!

Matt and Tim, I will miss you both and remember you always!
redflight76 is offline  
Old 19th Mar 2009, 03:05
  #162 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2009
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Age: 67
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CHI91 Track Log from 12 March

FlightAware > Live Flight Tracker > Track Log > CHI91 > 12-Mar-2009 > CYYT-CHIB

I noticed a way to hand craft the URL for this.

Aircraft last position report altitude 800 for four minutes and 133 knots then one report from 300 feet.
stjohnsguy is offline  
Old 19th Mar 2009, 14:35
  #163 (permalink)  
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I must commend the Canadian TSB and the crews working the recovery efforts.
I agree. They showed genuine compassion for the victims and families and worked as efficiently as possible in the recovery. They've been in for a lot of criticism in the past but this time they really deserve a lot of credit.
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Old 19th Mar 2009, 15:33
  #164 (permalink)  
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...They've been in for a lot of criticism in the past,,,
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Old 19th Mar 2009, 16:11
  #165 (permalink)  
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A outstanding job by the TSB, heartbreaking that they have gotten so go at this kind of recovery. (Swissair 111).
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Old 19th Mar 2009, 18:28
  #166 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2009
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Latest update from the TSB:
The Transportation Safety Board says early indications are the helicopter that crashed off Newfoundland's east coast last week went nose down into the North Atlantic Ocean.
Lead investigator Mike Cunningham says he suspects the chopper went nose down based on the “terrible” condition of the fuselage, which is currently stored at an airport hangar in St. John's.
Mr. Cunningham says most of the 17 who died in last Thursday's sudden crash were found still strapped into their seats. He adds about 80 per cent of the wreckage has been recovered and the Atlantic Osprey offshore supply vessel has returned to the crash site to recover the rest.
According to Cunningham, the cockpit voice recorder and data recorder have not been reviewed yet.
YHZChick is offline  
Old 19th Mar 2009, 19:53
  #167 (permalink)  
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Good Show Osprey

As someone who was involved the SwissAir 111 recovery effort I can tell you that it is a difficult and gut wrenching effot. Bravo Zulu to the Osprey, her crew, TSB and all involved in this recovery effort. The lessons were well learned and unfortunatly had to be exercised again.
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Old 19th Mar 2009, 20:48
  #168 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2003
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There was a thread on the Canada forum highly critical of them concerning a Beaver crash investigation in BC. Also, they were criticised for taking a long time to come up with a report on the SwissAir accident.
Personally, I think they do an excellent job and I think they've handled the Cougar crash investigation extremely well.
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Old 20th Mar 2009, 22:26
  #169 (permalink)  
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Please refer to the latest information appearing on the S92 thread re on-going developments just now.
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Old 21st Mar 2009, 01:10
  #170 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2009
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Some data on the CHI91 incident

As I am living near St John's, I know a few people connected with the victims or their families. Apparently our survivor is doing well but his injuries are significant. Rumor has it that fuel is involved in his lung issues even though press reports only mention salt water. I heard today that his injuries may include fractured pelvis and vertebrae.

I was told by a frequent passenger that the Cougar seating configuration has one rear facing seat and that this may explain Robert Decker's survival. Apparently most remains were released quickly after the first post-mortem examinations produced consistent results.

Remember this is word of mouth to me, an outsider, from more than one person closer to those involved (but not part of the official investigation).

Those of you with professional expertise may wish to review reports that TSB found a fractured titanium stud inside the MGB. There is apparently an outstanding maintenance item related to this part.
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Old 21st Mar 2009, 08:01
  #171 (permalink)  
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From St John's Telegram....

The Canadian Press

Investigators have found a broken mounting stud on the main gearbox filter bowl of a helicopter that crashed in the North Atlantic last week, a part that was the subject of a service bulletin issued in January by Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada said the Federal Aviation Administration in the United States will issue an emergency airworthiness directive stipulating that all operators of the Sikorsky S-92A helicopter must install improved steel mounting studs, replacing titanium studs, before the choppers fly again.
But a spokeswoman for the FAA said Friday it was still reviewing what the TSB found.
“We are considering an action to take, but we certainly haven’t issued anything yet and I don’t think we’ve determined when and exactly what we’re going to issue yet,” Laura Brown said from Washington, D.C.
“It’s just a little bit ahead of where we are on this ... they (TSB) made it sound like a fait accompli and it’s not yet.”
Sikorsky issued a service bulletin on Jan. 28 indicating the studs should be replaced and that the modification had to be accomplished within the next 1,250 flight hours or within a year of the bulletin being issued.
Seventeen people died on board Cougar Flight 491 when the chopper crashed into Atlantic Ocean on March 12 as it ferried workers to two offshore oil platforms.
The lone survivor, 27-year-old Robert Decker, has been recovering in a St. John’s hospital from lung injuries and fractures since the crash, about 65 kilometres southeast of St. John’s.
Investigators have said preliminary indications suggest the helicopter slammed into the North Atlantic nose down. The fuselage has been recovered from the ocean floor and is being stored at an airport hangar in St. John’s.
An online Transport Canada database says the helicopter “declared mayday due to a main gearbox oil pressure problem” before the crash. The main gearbox comprises the link between the engines and the transmission.
Meanwhile, the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board says it does not believe there are any safety issues with survival suits used by workers while they are being transported in helicopters.
Premier Danny Williams has said he wants regulatory authorities to examine whether it was time to upgrade the standards for the survival suits.
The provincial government says members of the Canadian General Standards Board have questioned if the standard written in 1999 for the 2007 model suit is deficient.
The province wrote this week to the Canadian General Standards Board and the offshore petroleum board — which regulate the suits — asking if the standard for them should be reviewed.
The petroleum board says it has agreed to help fund a project to revise the standard and it has asked the TSB, the RCMP and the Medical Examiner’s Office to advise if their investigations reveal any safety problems with the suits
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Old 21st Mar 2009, 08:27
  #172 (permalink)  
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Rear Facing Seat

I am intrigued by this theory that the sole surviving occupant of the S-92 accident may have been in a rear facing seat. It is well known that seats facing the rear of the aircraft can give better crash protection, a system that is adopted on many military fixed wing aircraft.

The clients certainly like forward facing seats, and that is how a majority of seats on UK offshore aircraft are configured. I assume that this improves passenger comfort, reduces travel sickness and improves general spatial awareness when traveling in the back of a landing aircraft.

As to this new Airworthiness Directive - Can someone in the know give any idea as to how operators have reacted to the issue regarding the Titanium Bolts.

i) Which incident first alerted the authorities to this problem

ii) Are Steel Bolts routinely available

iii) Have any operators actually installed / ordered these parts yet given that the directive was fairly open to 'getting round to it' on the next major service.
Special 25 is offline  
Old 21st Mar 2009, 21:27
  #173 (permalink)  
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Looking at the 3 minutes between 8:21 and 8:24 they must have hoped they were out of the woods (800 feet and speed back up to 133 Knots), which makes the last minute particularly sad reading. 10 minutes from incident occuring to being in the drink is particularly worrying.

Condolances to family and friends.
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Old 21st Mar 2009, 22:11
  #174 (permalink)  
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Rearward Facing Seats

In the British Airways BV234 Chinook accident off Shetland (45 killed?)the only survivors. I believe were the Captain and a Passenger in the rearward facing seat on the other side of the bulkhead behind the Captain's seat.

Yet again it may say something for high impact situations - or perhaps nothing at all.

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Old 22nd Mar 2009, 03:24
  #175 (permalink)  
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UK Coastguard Response

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Old 22nd Mar 2009, 04:38
  #176 (permalink)  
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There is a tribute video on Youtube. Very moving!
Faces of the Cougar Helicopter Crash 491 March 12th, 2009

Last edited by redflight76; 22nd Mar 2009 at 04:44. Reason: no embeding of video requested
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Old 22nd Mar 2009, 09:37
  #177 (permalink)  
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It seems to me that the MCA is assuming that the broken stud bolt is the cause of the Newfoundland crash ,whereas if you look at the reports so far it may have just been a coincidence or a result of the crash.That Sikorsky put out a recommendation over a month before this accident that the bolts be replaced at some future point suggests it was not considered a fatal flaw .
Until the investigation has gone a lot further I don't think anyone should assume anything and certainly not lifting the grounding.
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Old 22nd Mar 2009, 09:48
  #178 (permalink)  
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We are told that a stud failed not a bolt. I have no knowledge of of the S92 but it is usual when a manufacturer issues a bulletin replacing parts that they have already provisioned the parts ready to send out to the operators.
Oldlae is offline  
Old 22nd Mar 2009, 10:21
  #179 (permalink)  
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That Sikorsky put out a recommendation over a month before this accident that the bolts be replaced at some future point suggests it was not considered a fatal flaw .
Maybe my memory is failing, but was this not the case when the S76 blades had to be replaced many moons ago. It was only after several fatals that the requirement was more emphatic, but a new blade design had been worked on for some time. If the original blades were thought to be OK, why the radical redesign?
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Old 22nd Mar 2009, 11:09
  #180 (permalink)  
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As memory serves, it was the main rotor hub spindle sleeve on the 76 that was the problem. In at least two fatal instances the sleeves moved outward allowing the spindles to overflex and eventually fail. Sikorsky added a plastic cuff that prevents the sleeve from sliding out and, more importantly, added a stainless steel bolt through the spindle that is capable of bearing the entire centrifical load should the spindle break.

The blades themselves are pretty robust to say the least. I'm aware of one instance of poor auto rotation technique, where the main rotor rpm got down to less than 50%. One blade actually bent - one blade had its damper attachment point ripped out - the pilot was lucky that day.

Speaking of titanium; I'm always amazed at it properties. 76 blade spares, hubs on ST's & 412's, things that flex hundreds of millions of times over their life. On the other hand it is known to have a brittleness. Years ago, the 412 had a problem with a cracked hub and it was found to have been a static stress from a blade flexing up during a thunderstorm. Grumman tried titanium hydraulic lines in the F14 until one broke causing a crash. The Air Force used special brass tools on their SR71's to avoid scratching the metal which can cause stress. So, the question is: what other components use titanium bolts or studs?
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