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Bog of Allen Heli Crash

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Bog of Allen Heli Crash

Old 2nd Apr 2009, 13:24
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Bog of Allen Heli Crash

Any updates on Instructor/Student crash yesterday eve in Bog of Allen Co Kildare? Reports dont sound too great for the victims as per RTE and newspapers.
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Old 2nd Apr 2009, 14:56
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Instructor and student die in Co Kildare helicopter crash

A helicopter that crashed yesterday evening in Co Kildare killing a flight instructor and a trainee pilot passed its annual maintenance check on Tuesday, it has emerged.
The Schweizer helicopter came down in perfect weather conditions in the Bog of Allen near the village of Johnstownbridge some time after 5pm after it left Weston Airport near Liexlip for the training flight.
The helicopter’s 34-year-old pilot from Co Donegal and his 24-year-old student from Co Clare, who was studying for his private pilot’s licence, were killed in the crash. They have not been named. The pilot had at least two years’ experience while the 24-year-old had been in the air on a number of previous occasions.
A spokesman for the European Helicopter Academy, which is based in Weston Airport and operated the helicopter, said the Schweizer 300CBi is one of the most frequently used aircraft for helicopter training in the work and has a very good safety record.
He said the crash is believed to have happened yesterday evening but was only discovered when staff arrived to EHA offices in Weston this morning.
“These training flights usually take a hour or an hour and a half but the alarm wasn’t raised until this morning because people didn’t realise anybody was missing as this was the last flight of the day and there was nobody else back at the base,” the spokesman said.
“It wasn’t until this morning that the alarm was raised when they realised that they hadn’t returned.”
He said the aircraft had undergone its annual maintenance check on Tuesday of this week “and was in perfect working order.” The check was carried out by Helicopter Support Services in Cork, he added.
A search led by the Coast Guard rescue helicopter discovered the wreckage in an isolated area of the Bog of Allen after midday when it was reported missing to the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) and the Garda.
“We only became aware of this flight today when were told it was missing and we immediately initiated a search and rescue," IAA spokeswoman Lilian Cassan said. "A search and rescue helicopter was scrambled. It was sent out in the known flight path that the flight took."
She said they were notified that the flight was missing at about midday today and said it would be quite normal for the IAA not to be aware of certain flight plans. "The airspace out to the west of Weston would be what is called uncontrolled airspace so there would be no requirement for anybody to contact us.”
A Garda spokeswoman said scene-of-crime officers were en route the scene while a Department of Transport spokeswoman said Air Accident Investigation Unit officers were also travelling to the scene.
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Old 3rd Apr 2009, 01:02
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Very sad indeed.

Apparently the 24 year old's mother arrived to the flight school in the AM looking for her son, saying he hadn't returned home the day of the flight. This then raised suspicion. Extremely sad.

RIP to those involved.
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Old 3rd Apr 2009, 01:26
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Words can't adequately express what a terrible situation this is. Let's hope that their end was instant, and they did not lay trapped and in pain waiting for help that was never to come.
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Old 3rd Apr 2009, 01:42
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Ive nothing to do with aviation, but I signed up here just to speak about Colm the instructor, he was known to his friends as Jumbo, i grew up with the guy and he was my best mate and waas to be head groomsman at my wedding later this year. Im devastated, he was one of the nicest guys you could ever meet, he was passionate about helicopters from his teenage years. He pretty much gave up everything in his life recently to pursue his passion for flying.

My condolences to his family and the family of his trainee.

Jumbo liked Jameson, im having one for him now, cheers Jumbo, have a good one and god bless!!!

Last edited by lmimmfn; 3rd Apr 2009 at 02:02.
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Old 3rd Apr 2009, 04:18
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I'll raise a glass for them tonight as well.

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Old 18th Apr 2009, 23:06
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I sent you a private messge....check it,sometimes it doesnt tell you when people have sent you a private message.top right hand corner of screen
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Old 1st May 2009, 18:33
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For info a preliminary report from the AAIU released today.


No great detail on the incident itself, but they are I beleive rightly concerned it took until the next day to raise the alarm.
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Old 1st May 2009, 21:16
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I talked to Colm the week before his tragic accident and he had told me a few things about EHA that he wasn't happy about.One remark was about how he was told "to grow a pair of balls" when he wasnt happy to go flying with the weather conditions. I'd like to know how EHA didnt have a clue that there was an aircraft missing all night. I did my PPL there and I have to admit I think they're a bunch of cowboys. There is new ownership but they're ethics are the same. I know that they used to have instructors accompanying students on they're "solos" just so that the instructors could log P1 time. I'm sorry I'm just pissed at the thought of Colm and his student lying there all night and needing help. I hope it was instant for them.
Colm was a great guy and fine pilot. I took over from him when he left Bristow and his students had so much respect for him, as did I. "They all went on to achieve their CPL's and do us proud Colm". I hope your resting in peace, whereever you are.
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Old 11th Aug 2010, 21:57
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Surprised none of the experienced guys on here commented on the release of the final investigation into this crash which was reported this week.
The eha received plenty of criticism in the report which was expected but can anyone tell me how atc missed them? surely having left eha they would have been in contact with dublin and then possibly baldonnell?
If they were heading to shannon a flight plan would have been filed and as the onus is on a tower controlled field to close the flight plan,should atc have been criticised also?
How can an aircraft disappear??? these two men were in the wreckage all night...suppose one or both could have been saved.
I am sure some you experienced pilots will have all the answers to this but i myself as a student pilot have had one or two "issues" with atc regarding flight plans.Twice in waterford despite having phoned operations the day before to file a plan when i arrived the next day as scheduled, the tower has"no record of your flight plan sir"....the second time i recorded it on my phone whilst making the plan.
Any experienced pilots with further views on this please?
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Old 11th Aug 2010, 23:28
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Dusty Crop,

Firstly, I don't really have any more views on what you expressed in your post, but would like to point out that the final report on this crash did answer the questions you pose regarding the ATC and flight plan issues. I believe everything is pretty well explained and covered in the conclusions and findings on page 32/33 of the report. Not that this makes what happened any more acceptable by the way, the fact does remain that the families had to raise the alarm the next day (I do accept that there were contributory factors to this also, and that the report does state that apparently the accident was not survivable, which I hope is of some comfort to the families of the deceased).

Regarding the filing of flight plans for (presumably) VFR flights in Ireland, I always just file over the phone to Shannon and have never had a problem so far, but thats just in my limited experience.

Finally, to Colm and Dermot, Ar dheis Dé go raibh a n-anam.
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Old 12th Aug 2010, 13:45
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mode c

Thanks for your reply...however to my simple mind i wish someone could explain to me as the aircraft was equipped with mode c,it would have been visible on the radar at either dublin or shannon depending on which fir it was operating in.
surely with altitude reporting and if it suddenly disappears with no contact should a safeguard system not be in place?
It seems to me there are very different systems in place for private flights and commercial regarding safety and differences are substantial.
can you imagine a commercial aircraft firstly disappering off radar and no sar straight away(i do recognise it was class g airspace)....there would be an outcry..where as a private aircraft disappears without a whimper...untill there is an alert from a family member.
Surely the iaa should insist on all training and private aircraft being equipped with mode c,mode s and emergency locating equipment(not carried on the aircraft in question)???
I f you are flying from here to the uk and if you dont turn up they wouldnt be long about raising the alarm over there....or if you are flying to a private location(helicopter) and you dont close the flight plan by phone there would be enquiries made.
To my humble mind regulations seem to be a little lax here and it has to be added this is incredible stuff where the fto did not check to see all its aircraft were accounted for especially as it appears there was a controller on duty untill 19 30 i think..a phone call would have been suficent.
As usual in ireland there is no accountability these days
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Old 16th Aug 2010, 17:01
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well said dusty crop things need to be changed here big time.
I shared many of bottle of jameson with colm in florida.
RIP colm you were a gentleman.
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Old 17th Aug 2010, 00:16
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Is it possible to provide a link to the final report please?

If not, what is given as the cause of the accident?
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Old 17th Aug 2010, 00:58
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Old 17th Aug 2010, 01:19
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The 2 mechanisms for ensuring safe completion of any flight are (a) the use of a flight plan, and (b) monitoring of the flight by the operating/owning organisation. In some training environments the use of flight plans is often impractical due to imprecise operating boundaries and the need to retain flexibility over the sorties flown; and in that case flight following by ATC provides some measure of monitoring. When a flight plan or ATC flight following are not possible, then the flight should be monitored by the operating/owning organisation.

This may or may not be part of the governing regulations for the country of operations but it is the most basic of precautions to ensure the safe completion of planned sorties. When a flight plan or flight following have not been employed, such monitoring is often the last stop-gap measure employed. The aircraft commander is responsible for the safe conduct of any flight, this includes taking whatever measures are deemed responsible for the monitoring of flights by such means that are available. Some of these points are in various governing regulations (varies by country) but fundamentally they are what most people would regard as basic operating principles.
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Old 17th Aug 2010, 10:49
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All the flight-following and monitoring systems in the world would not have made one bit of difference in this non-survivable accident. It is silly to get all riled up over the fact that the accident was not discovered until the next day. It is sad that it happened that way in this case, but only sad.

In the U.S. doing off-airport power-recoveries with low terminations is not against any rule so long as certain criteria are met. Student-instruction flights often depart with no flight-following whatsoever. This accident could have easily happened in the U.S.

But it did not. It happened in a country which has a rule that states that aircraft will not be below an altitude of 500 feet. Very obviously, that flight instructor deliberately violated that rule when his aircraft hit that wire and crashed. And from the statements of local residents, that area was routinely used for similar training, either by that same flight instructor (probably) or others.

So in the U.K., practice autorotations must be done at airports. Easy enough, right? Only...in the real world, engines don't always quit at airports. So flight instructors like to put their students in "real world" situations. "Where would you go if the engine quit NOW?" they ask, chopping the throttle and initiating an autorotation and allowing the student to take it all the way down to a power-recovery. They don't touch down, of course - just get it low enough to assure the successful outcome.

If it was not the first time that particular instructor used that area for his simulated engine failure practice, I wondered why he wasn't more familiar with the power lines? Didn't he know they were there? Probably not, because it seems they began their takeoff run and flew straight into them.

"More rules" is not the answer in preventing this accident - usually never is. Had this pilot adhered to the rules already in place, the accident would not have happened. And even if the aircraft crashed anyway a search woud very likely have begun sooner.
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Old 17th Aug 2010, 11:52
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UK trained myself and have much appreciated the off-airfield practice for entering autorotation, chosing a field, setting-up the machine, etc. But we only need to take it down sufficient to be sure that the student would make the field which is nominated. That does not mean (in my experience) down to wire-strike range.

We should not mix off-airfield engine failure drill with low-level flair / power recovery; doing that risks bringing in a wider "ban" than not.
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Old 17th Aug 2010, 14:37
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more regulation please

Definately a long and detailed report. I would have to agree with the last few posts. From what I have read the regulation was in place by the regulators (not below 500ft agl) and this exercise should have been conducted at an airfield. Apart from all the extra reading I thought it was clear that the responsibilty rested squarely on the instructors shoulders as PIC. It was not clear as to the local experience of the instructor. But as a JAA qualified instructor surely it would be reasonable that he would be familiar with local procedures and regulations?

I see from previous post that the instructor clearly had a lot of friends on this site and I do not wish to upset anyone but feel that trying to shift responsibility to an operator or authority and seeking further regulation will not change the fact that the instructor was responsible for the flight safety and the existing regulations were not adhered to.
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Old 17th Aug 2010, 20:52
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I trained at this school in Ireland before immigrating to the states and we used to operate in those bogs all of the time. We were below 500ft AGL on a lot of flights. I knew Colm very well and trained and flew with him in the states.

I suppose he was so used to training under 500 AGL over here that he didn't see the problem, albeit against regulation. I have to say I would probably do the same thing. I think the 500 rule is a bit excessive because in my opinion it doesn't give the student a chance for some very important decision making. Obviously, operating low level has its dangers but so does all aspects of flight training. There was a number of things that contributed to this very sad accident.
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