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GOM PHI Crash May 2012

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GOM PHI Crash May 2012

Old 30th May 2012, 11:29
  #21 (permalink)  
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Description aircraft crashed into an oil rig in the gulf of mexico.

The statement from the preliminary, quoted above, is depressingly familiar as fairly common contributor to GoM incidents.
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Old 30th May 2012, 17:50
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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Having recently flown in the GoM, I can assure you that the mindset of the operators has changed significantly since 1998 - the report is 7 years old and based on 14 year old data.

I would think that those flying in the elsewhere would be a little more conservative in their reaction taking in to account the recent heavy and medium incidents in the past year or so.

Wait for the cause of the accident to be been determined before getting on the multi-engine high horse.

Lets all show respect for a fellow aviator and wait till the cause is determined.

Condolences to his family.

Last edited by gwelo shamwari; 30th May 2012 at 18:08.
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Old 30th May 2012, 19:15
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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Dauphin dude, there is almost no excuse for your self-admitted ignorance. I've been watching this accident closely - being an ex-PHi guy and all, and so far NOT ONE BLESSED THING has indicated this was an engine-related accident. So just shut up, mm'kay?
Just... wow...


Sasless points out that the GOM environment is 'different' to the North Sea. That may well be the case but 2 pilot, IFR helicopters are the norm for offshore flights almost exclusively these days in all parts of the world - even the Third World.
This is indeed the basis of my initial question...
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Old 30th May 2012, 19:19
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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ShyTorque - despite being a dyed in the wool twin engined guy myself, you say that an autopilot can sometimes be better than a second engine rings true for me. PHI practice EOL's to the water and are a first rate organisation. I have not followed this accident closely enough. Seems like your commonsense is shining through again - you old pelican! If all the operators pushed for AP's life would be better for the GOM guys I am sure. UG
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Old 30th May 2012, 19:38
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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I'm an EMS guy who came up the civilian track so I started in piston singles, now I have a shiny EC135 which is the third twin I've been paid to fly and my favourite so far.

That said, faced with the choice between a second engine and an autopilot, I'll take the autopilot. The chances of it becoming my best friend while I sort out how I got into this pingpong ball and how I get to the airport I can no longer see far outweigh the chances of having to autorotate - which I've done a good few times as a fright instructor.

Last edited by Aerobot; 30th May 2012 at 19:40. Reason: removal of useless self-aggrandizement
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Old 30th May 2012, 20:04
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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DauphineDude,

But they all have only one MGB.... 3 out of the last 4 accidents in the Northsea/atlantic were MGB problems, 2 fatal, and the last one everything was working 100%, had 2 crew, but still ended up in the drink...
Do we ever hear the same kind of sofa-expertise as to why it all went south then?? No, as there was 2 pilots, and 2 engines and the worlds best maintenance, etc, bla bla bla.... things like "we should wait until the AAIB has issued..." and "don't speculate" is what is being preached from day 1 then.

I kind of get fed up with people that scream "twin and multi-crew is the solution" every time there's an accident with a single-pilot, single-engine aircraft and points fingers very early. It is the rule, more than the exception.

So, we should wait until the AAIB/NTSB has issued it's findings and not speculate....

Condolances to the family.
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Old 31st May 2012, 00:41
  #27 (permalink)  

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ShyTorque - despite being a dyed in the wool twin engined guy myself, you say that an autopilot can sometimes be better than a second engine rings true for me. PHI practice EOL's to the water and are a first rate organisation. I have not followed this accident closely enough. Seems like your commonsense is shining through again - you old pelican! If all the operators pushed for AP's life would be better for the GOM guys I am sure. UG
UG, thanks, I know you're only saying those kind words since I bought the beer..

Twins for me too, not just for engine performance reasons (not always as good as it might be, especially when the type of engine emergency you experience "can't happen" - "Oh yes it can!" as we both know) but for the duplication of other systems they usually bring as part of the package.

Engines thankfully rarely fail these days but the human animal is still based on a stone age design, which wasn't meant to operate with both feet off the ground and so it gets easily confused in cloud. The machine doesn't know it's in cloud and so it carries on regardless of the lack of visual cues. Autopilots are essential for low viz ops, day or night, shame they don't come as standard in every helicopter.
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Old 1st Jun 2012, 00:09
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FAA preliminary reports are often inaccurate. I've seen all sorts of egregious errors posted on them. FWIW, this one says it was a 206B, while the FAA's registration database says it was a 206L-4, which is much more likely. Given that, the statement that it crashed into a platform is somewhat suspect, and I'll wait for more definitive information before I rush to any judgment.
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Old 1st Jun 2012, 19:47
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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DauphinDude

Shell Oil operate twins in the GOM very sucessfully. Again some oil companies can care for their employees and still make a profit

Its sad to see pilots who clearly fear they would not be able to cope with a twin trying to justify an unsafe status qou.
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Old 2nd Jun 2012, 18:44
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I applauded you SHELL MANAGMENT for your insight. It takes bold actions by leaders in industry to change the status quo, don't you agree.

Seeing as SHELL is such a bold leader and has the whole oil and gas industry under its wing, heck all aviation, why does SHELL not simply say that they will not use any vendor that that has any single engine aircraft in their fleet? Inaddition SHELL should lobby to pull all airworthiness certificates for single engine aircraft, because over land or sea, a single engine failure has a high probability of resulting in an accident. Further more, why not mandate that all helicopters have a redundant main transmission, tail rotor system and that all red falcons or birds in route be eradicated before flight.

You do not know the cause of this accident, please keep your musing to your self till the investigation is complete.
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Old 6th Jun 2012, 07:44
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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NTSB Identification: CEN12FA321
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Monday, May 28, 2012 in
Aircraft: BELL 206-L4, registration: N7077F
Injuries: 1 Fatal.
This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On May 28, 2012, approximately 1610 central daylight time, N7077F, a Bell 206-L4 helicopter, was substantially damaged when it collided with the Ensco 99 oil rig derrick while on approach to the South Timbalier (ST67B) production platform in the Gulf of Mexico. The commercial pilot, only occupant, was fatally injured. The helicopter was registered to and operated by PHI INC, Lafayette, Louisiana. A company visual flight rules flight plan was filed for the flight that originated from its base in Grand Isle, Louisiana, at 1514, and destined for the Mississippi Canyon (MC397) and ST67B oil platforms. The pilot landed at MC397 at 1541, dropped off a box, and then departed for ST67B at 1543 to pick up a passenger. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the on-demand offshore flight conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135.

The ST67B production platform is a permanent structure equipped with a 24-foot-long by 24-foot-wide helipad with a 3-foot-wide solid safety fence. The Ensco 99 oil rig, which is a mobile jack-up rig, was connected on the northside of the ST67B platform and had been in place for approximately four months. The Ensco 99 rig, which was being operated by Ensco for Energy XXI, was also equipped with a helipad that was 65 feet in diameter. At the time of the accident, the Ensco 99 oil derrick was positioned over the ST67B helipad by approximately seven feet. The height above the helipad to the bottom of the derrick floor was approximately 30-35 feet. There was also a lift boat, the Alliance I, stationed at the southeast corner of the two rigs. The boat was staffed with a captain, first mate, and crew.

The captain and first mate of the Alliance I witnessed the accident. According to the captain, he was sitting in his office on the boat when he heard the helicopter approaching. It alarmed him because the noise of the helicopter was so loud and he thought the ST67B helipad was closed because of the oil derrick's position over the pad. He watched as the helicopter approached the pad and he could see a worker on the Ensco 99 rig trying to wave the pilot off from landing. Due to the relatively close proximity of the helicopter to the boat, the captain thought he saw the pilot trying to "pull back" but "it was too late" and the main rotor blades struck the southeast corner of the oil derrick. The helicopter then spun rapidly and the tail boom separated from the fuselage. The helicopter flipped and descended into the water inverted. The Captain immediately sounded the general alarm. The emergency floats on the helicopter were not deployed and the helicopter began to sink. In less than a minute, rescue boats were in the water but the helicopter had already sunk from view below the surface. The captain said he had never seen a pilot make an attempt to land on the ST67B helipad before.

The first mate said he was in the boat’s wheelhouse when he heard the helicopter approaching. He looked outside the window and saw the skids of the helicopter going by. He said was concerned because he thought the ST67B helipad was out of service due to the close proximity of the oil derrick over the helipad. The first mate was watching a person on the Ensco 99 rig trying to wave the pilot off from continuing the approach when he heard a “pop, pop, pop” noise. At that moment, he knew immediately that the main rotor blades struck the base of the oil derrick. When he looked back at the helicopter it had spun around suddenly and he thought the tail rotor struck the helipad. He said, “The helicopter jumped violently and the tail seemed to fold and the chopper fell along the northeast side of the platform…” The first mate then assisted the captain and other parties in an attempt to rescue any survivors. The first mate said that he has never seen a pilot attempt to land on the ST67B pad before.

Another witness was working on the north side of the oil derrick when he heard the helicopter make two passes around the oil rig. He then heard the helicopter approaching the ST67B helipad and it sounded "normal." Shortly after, the witness heard the main rotor blades impact the base of the oil derrick (rig floor). The witness then rushed down a set of stairs on the east side of the rig floor and looked over the railing. At that point, he saw that the tailboom had separated from the fuselage, and both sections were descending into the water. The witness stated that he had been stationed on the Ensco 99 rig for approximately four months and he had never seen a helicopter land on the ST67B helipad.

According to the Ensco 99 Offshore Installation Manager (OIM), the passenger that the pilot was to pick up was waiting in the Ensco 99 waiting area, which was just south of the Ensco 99 helipad. He also said that the oil derrick had been positioned over the ST67B helipad for approximately 3 months since they were drilling on a specific well. The OIM had been stationed on the Ensco 99 for approximately 4 months and had never seen a helicopter land on the ST67B helipad. He said that the pilots always used the Ensco 99 helipad.

According to PHI, a Notice to Airmen (NOTAMs) declaring the ST67B helipad "closed" due to encroachment of the oil derrick had not been issued prior to the accident. After the accident, PHI issued a NOTAM that stated the helipad was closed. In addition, Energy XXI had a red "X" painted on the helipad.

The helicopter wreckage was recovered several hours after the accident and transported to PHI’s facility in Lafayette. The wreckage was examined on May 30, 2012, under the supervision of the NTSB investigator-in-Charge. The helicopter sustained impact damage on the left side of the nose and along the left side of the fuselage. The roof of the fuselage was partially crushed into the cabin and the skids were spread.

The tail boom had separated from the fuselage at the point where the tail boom attached to the fuselage. The tail boom exhibited minor damage. The tail rotor assembly and both blades were not damaged; however, the main rotor blades exhibited impact damage and were fragmented. Both main rotor blades remained attached to the mast, but only about four feet of each blade remained. The missing pieces of the main rotor blades were not recovered. Flight control continuity was established for all flight controls to the cockpit.

The helicopter was equipped with an Intellistar engine monitor, which was removed for further examination and download.

The emergency external float system was intact, so it was manually activated from the cockpit during the wreckage examination. All but the middle float on the right rear expanded fully.

The pilot’s seat (front right) was intact and no visible damage was noted to the seat frame or box. The front right door was not damaged and functioned normally when tested. The pilot's 4-point seatbelt/shoulder harness assembly was intact and both the lap belt buckle and inertial reel system worked when manually tested. According to information provided by the company that recovered the helicopter, the pilot was found upright inside the cockpit of the helicopter and his seatbelt/shoulder harness assembly was not fastened.

The pilot was wearing his company issued life vest at the time of the accident and the two bladders were found outside of their vest pockets. The life vest was retained and examined. The vest had two bladders that could be inflated manually by pulling down on two pull-tabs on the front of the vest (one for each bladder). When the tab is pulled it activates an 02 cartridge. Once the cartridge is activated, a red locking pin built into the system is sheared. Examination of the O2 cartridge on the left side of the pilot's vest (which feeds the front bladder) revealed that the red locking pin was sheared and the O2 cartridge had been activated. Examination of the front bladder revealed a 3-inch-long diagonal tear on the front left side of the bladder. The tear appeared to have been made with a sharp object. The seams of the bladder were inspected and no other tears/leaks were noted. Examination of the red locking pin on the right O2 cartridge assembly (which feeds the rear bladder) revealed it was intact and the cartridge had not been activated. No tears or leaks were observed in the rear bladder. The O2 cartridge was then activated and the bladder filled immediately with air.

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate for rotorcraft-helicopter, and instrument helicopter. His last Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) First Class medical was issued July 18, 2011. A review of company records and also one of the pilot’s logbooks found in the helicopter, revealed he had accrued approximately 1,645.1 hours; of which 363 hours were in Bell 206-L3/4 model helicopters.

Weather at Fourchon, Louisiana (K9F2), approximately 15 miles north of ST67B, at 1700, was reported as wind from 240 degrees at 12 knots, visibility 7 miles, few clouds 3,000 feet, temperature 32 degrees Celsius, dewpoint 25 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 29.87 inches of Hg.
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Old 6th Jun 2012, 09:06
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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My commiserations to the family of the pilot.

I'm not sure I want to comment on the accident directly apart from the fact that it is beyond my comprehension. Notwithstanding that the deck was not NOTAMed as closed, clearly it was obstructed, and marked as closed.

What I would like to comment on is the reported size of the deck on the ST67B - shown as 24ft x 24ft.

The length of the B206L-4 is 42.5ft and its rotor diameter is 37ft; even with the US regulations, which permit a deck to be based upon the Rotor Diameter ('RD') not the 'D', this deck appears to be smaller than the RD of the L4 - smaller than the RD of any version of the B206 (or even the R22).

If the size of the ST67B is as reported, it begs the question why and regulated by who? To discover this is particularly disappointing at a time when the Standard for deck size in ICAO Annex 14 had already been reduced - for helicopters with a MTOM of 3,175 or less - from 1D to 0.83D, and recently mooted that the reduction should be applied to larger types (for example, those in the North Sea).

I would be delighted to hear that this was a typing error; although my sentiments about the systematic reduction in deck sizes still applies.

Mars
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Old 6th Jun 2012, 10:04
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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Mars, I completely agree that the reductions in helideck dimensions is not acceptable. Unfortunately this trend is not limited to the GoM.

My understanding is that this helideck size was so small is because it was considered Private; Prior Permission Required (PPR) and requires that the crew is briefed on the hazards. FAA Advisory Circular AC 150/5390-2A states that :-
"Elevated PPR Heliports. At PPR rooftop or otherwise elevated facilities the TLOF can be a minimum of two times the maximum dimension (length or width) of the undercarriage of the design helicopter..."
Having worked in the GoM recently, is sad to say that very few NOTAMS are issued to the closing of helidecks or hazards.

Last edited by gwelo shamwari; 6th Jun 2012 at 10:06.
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Old 6th Jun 2012, 14:49
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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New pilot....low time....mission lock.....tragic end to his life.

Notam or no Notam....you don't land on a helideck with something big, solid, and ungiving extending over your landing surface.

This one should be a Lessons Learned presentation to all new hires during their initial training.

I know this is a silly question to ask for the GOM....but....is there no requirement to speak to the rig/platform by radio prior to landing?

If not...why not?

If there is....what happened here?
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Old 6th Jun 2012, 16:11
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I had the same thought as Sas, I fly offshore in the Middle East where safety is far from a priority, but even there we are required to have radio clearance to land on any structure, rig or boat. Is it not the same in the GOM?
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Old 6th Jun 2012, 16:24
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gwelo shamwari,

You are the first person I have known who can quote AC 150/5930; however, you have referred to version 2A - which has been superseded by 2B and then yesterday, 2C.

As I rarely, if ever, refer to the AC, I'm not even sure what the text in 2B or 2C mean:

First 2B:
(3) Elevated PPR Heliports. At PPR rooftop or otherwise elevated facilities the TLOF can be a minimum of two times the maximum dimension (length or width) of the undercarriage of the design helicopter, if a solid surrounding area the size of the rotor diameter of the design helicopter is able to support 20 lbs/ft2 live load (98 kg/m2), and the height of the TLOF surface above the surrounding area is no greater than 30 inches (76cm). The center of this load bearing portion of the TLOF should be the center of the FATO/TLOF. If there is a difference in elevation between the surrounding area and the TLOF, the perimeter of the TLOF should be marked in accordance with paragraph 209a.
Superseded by 2C:
(2) Elevated PPR heliports. At PPR rooftop or elevated facilities where the height of the TLOF surface above the adjacent ground or structure is no greater than 30 inches (76 cm), and there is a solid adjacent ground or structure equal to the rotor diameter (RD) able to support 20 lbs/sq ft (98 kg/sq m) live load, design the minimum dimension of the TLOF to be at least the smaller of the RD and two times the maximum dimension (length or width) of the undercarriage of the design helicopter. Locate the center of the LBA of the TLOF in the center of the FATO.
If the AC applies to the GOM (which I somewhat doubt), what effect will that have on deck sizes?

Mars
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Old 6th Jun 2012, 16:30
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People really do not understand the GOM. 24'x24' is the smallest heliport approved for use by PHI. Aside from that, there are just so many structures to land on and many of them are normally unmanned. If the platform is a 24'x24' then it is probably unmanned most of the time. Therefore no one would be there to "give permission" to land. Similarly, a small jack up rig would not normally have a dedicated person manning a radio. So no, it is not usual to secure permission before landing on a rig or platform.

Having said that, it is unfathomable that even an inexperienced GOM pilot would try to land on a 24'x24' with a rig derrick hanging over it when there was a perfectly good, useable helideck nearby. What was he thinking??
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Old 6th Jun 2012, 19:34
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Mars, thank you, been a while since I read the AC and I was reading an old one that I had saved, anyway the new text is...

(3) Elevated PPR Heliports. At PPR rooftop or elevated facilities, the TLOF may be a minimum of two times the maximum dimension (length or width) of the undercarriage of the design helicopter if the height of the TLOF surface above the surrounding area is no greater than 30 inches
(76 cm), and there is a solid surrounding area equal to the rotor diameter (RD) able to support 20 lbs/ft 2 (98 kg/m2) live load. The center of the load bearing area of the TLOF should be the center of the FATO.
My understanding is that all that is need for a helideck for e.g. a B206-B3 (the A/C that at one point was considered the standard offshore workhorse) would be 11.5ft (EMERGENCY FLOWAT GEAR w/ AAI FLOATSTEP Length) x 2 = 23ft. In the GoM they round it up to 24ft for simplicity. As the heliports are elevated there should be no obstructions in the FATO (Final Approach and Takeoff Area) so all they then do is put a safety net around the TLOF (Touchdown and Liftoff Area).

However API also has it own guidelines for helideck design, "API RECOMMENDED PRACTICE 2L" and requires the diagonal distance for a helideck to be the width of rotor of the largest helicopter to be used on it. So a diagonal distance for a 24ft/24ft deck would be 33ft which is still based on a B206B3.

You choose which guideline to use as I have had people reference both of them.

We should be using 1D or at the very least 0.83D. Sadly I fear that this will not happen as it would be cost prohibitive to increase the side of helidecks in a struggling GoM market.

Calling for clearance to land greatly depends on the customer. Most of the time it is only required on drilling rigs, however the Shell's and BP's do require several calls to maned platforms and rigs.

Last edited by gwelo shamwari; 6th Jun 2012 at 20:23. Reason: Spelling... but probably did not get them all...
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Old 7th Jun 2012, 01:34
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It has been a few years since I flew in the GOM, but24'x24' is a standard small heliport size. I used to do slingloads to them daily. Radio contact is not required, and not usually available on these platforms, and often not available to large production platforms. It depends on the operator and the operations. For those operated by small contract production companies, radio contact is seldom possible. They don't have enough personnel to do the required work, nevermind monitor the radio. I'm assuming (and I know all the problems with that, but I've been there and done that) that the pilot was told to pick up a passenger at ST67, and the dispatcher assumed the pilot knew that he would be on the drilling rig. It seems the pilot didn't. New pilot, job pressures, lack of information, and a tragic end. That may not be the actual situation, but I would bet some money on it. Putting out a NOTAM would have done no good, since it would have been more than 4 months old, and nobody reads those anyway. They may glance at new ones, but old ones are pretty much ignored. Too much useless information that doesn't apply to the day's work, so it's all ignored. I'm not defending that, I'm just saying it's the way it is. I always considered that I was paid for using my judgment, not for flying, and still do. I would have landed on the rig and made the passenger walk all the way over to its helipad if he was on the platform, but if I were a new guy, no real idea of how things worked, and worked in a rather hostile environment where I was worried about keeping my job, I might have seen things differently. It's clearly pilot error, but morally, the supervisory chain has to take some blame. I'll try to hold my breath until that happens.


Mars, ICAO requirements and procedures may as well not exist in the GOM. That's foreign stuff, and anyone who even suggests that there might be anything worthwhile in any of them would be laughed out of the room. Louisiana is hard-core conservative territory, and they don't approve of anything European, especially Sharia law.

Last edited by Gomer Pylot; 7th Jun 2012 at 01:41.
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Old 7th Jun 2012, 07:04
  #40 (permalink)  
 
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would be laughed out of the room
Do they also laugh as loud at each new fatality?
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