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Wollongong fatal crash March 2013

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Wollongong fatal crash March 2013

Old 23rd Mar 2013, 08:21
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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I think CYHeli & GT have a point, once there is a known problem I don't understand why there is such a long delay in rectifying said known problem. No doubt highly paid lawyers work all those details out, so what could possibly go wrong

On a different point GT, if I read your statement correctly you are attributing a lack of pilot skill on the helicopters being too cheap to train in? Using this logic, if flying schools charge more for training in an R44 then less people will learn, therefore less people crash? Sounds ridiculous to me so I'm sure I've interpreted your comment incorrectly. The standard a pilot needs to achieve before being let loose on the world is set by the examiners, not by the cost of running the helicopter.

Just a thought to add to the previous comments - Myself & thousands of others have conducted mustering, Ag, photography, longlining, shooting & lots of other so-called "high risk" activities in Robinson helicopters & have come out the other end unscathed. I agree that if I did happen to come to grief in one I would prefer it didn't burn, but blaming a collision with an immovable object by an otherwise perfectly functioning helicopter(assumption on my part) & the financial situation of the trainee is drawing a very long bow.
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Old 23rd Mar 2013, 20:46
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Dick Smith
So surely by now someone must be able to tell us if a bladder was installed?
Originally Posted by ARRJ
I am advised that HWQ was not fitted with the new fuel bags
Helicopter that crashed at Bulli Tops fitted with a faulty fuel tank

The article notes that CASA is only aware of 25% of the Aus R44 fleet having been installed with bladder tanks.

I/C
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Old 24th Mar 2013, 02:54
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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We simply do not know if the impact would have been survivable in the absence of fire.
Disturbing first responder account that suggests all occupants probably survived a collision with trees, followed by a bounce with rotors turning and then rollover from a height of a few feet.

Bulli Tops tragedy: men traumatised by helicopter rescue attempt | Illawarra Mercury

A man (according to another eyewitness) wearing a helmet tried to exit from (presumably) the passenger side front door, but said he was stuck.

Conflicting reports that they put the fire out, but it was too hot to extract anyone. The Volunteer fire brigade probably took 10-12 minutes to arrive from time of incident and the craft was not totally consumed as one would expect.



Mickjoebill

Last edited by mickjoebill; 24th Mar 2013 at 03:20.
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Old 24th Mar 2013, 04:30
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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Dear me, I find that account in the link absolutely gutting.

I can only wonder what the pax brief involved before the flight. The "Flimsycopter" that VF refers should not require too much effort to egress.
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Old 24th Mar 2013, 05:30
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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Very sad news and I hope those who attempted to assist will not suffer as a result what they witnessed.

it has echoes of my (then) best friend's death in 1988. He span his Bulldog into Southport beach and survived the impact. The first responder was an off duty fireman but he was confused by the two harness releases (seat and parachute) so ran to his car a few yards away to get a knife to cut the straps. When he got back the aircraft caught fire and he had to watch Mark burn alive.
ASN Aircraft accident 02-MAR-1988 Scottish Aviation Bulldog T1 XX712
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Old 24th Mar 2013, 10:45
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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I have the utmost respect for those who risked their lives to help those people involved in this horrible accident. I hope that they can, in time, recover from the terrible things they will have seen that day.

OH
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Old 25th Mar 2013, 17:26
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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CSIRO mourns four retired scientists killed in chopper crash

The Australian
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Old 2nd Apr 2013, 08:59
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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This is a very tricky confined area landing site. The cliffs have a big influence on the conditions for landing. I would not describe this as a suitable site for inexperienced PPL pilots with a full load of pax. My condolences to all involved especially the staff who tried in vain to help the victims.
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Old 5th Apr 2013, 05:36
  #29 (permalink)  
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ATSB preliminary report here:

What happened
At about 1207 local time on 21 March 2013, a Robinson Helicopter Company R44 helicopter (R44), registered VH-HWQ, was manoeuvring at a grassed area at Bulli Tops, New South Wales. Shortly after landing, the helicopter lifted off and turned to the right. The main rotor struck branches of a nearby tree, and the helicopter descended and then rolled over onto its right side. A fire started on the grass under the rotor mast and the cabin. The pilot and the three passengers were fatally injured.

What the ATSB found
The circumstances of this accident are consistent with two recent R44 accidents in Australia involving low-energy impacts that resulted in the all-aluminium fuel tanks being breached and a fuel-fed fire. R44 accidents result in a significantly higher proportion of post-impact fires than for other similar helicopter types. The accident helicopter was equipped with an all-aluminium tank.
On 20 December 2010 the Robinson Helicopter Company issued Service Bulletin SB-78 providing for the replacement of all-aluminium tanks in R44 helicopters with bladder-type tanks that substantially reduce the likelihood of post-crash fires. On 28 September 2012 the Robinson Helicopter Company revised and reissued the service bulletin as SB-78B. This revision brought forward the compliance date for the service bulletin to 30 April 2013. The ATSB has assessed that about 100 Australian R44 helicopters will not have met the service bulletin by the due date.

What's been done as a result
In response to this accident, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has confirmed its understanding that the great majority of Australian R44 helicopter owners are legally required to comply with Service Bulletin SB-78B. CASA has also undertaken to contact owners who may not be required to comply and then consider further action depending on the response to that contact.
The ATSB remains concerned at the significant risk that many R44 helicopters will not comply with the service bulletin and has recommended that CASA take further action to ensure compliance.

Safety message
The fitment of bladder-type fuel tanks to R44 helicopters is a very important safety enhancement that could save lives and is very strongly encouraged. In addition, regulators and investigation agencies in other countries should take note of this report and consider what steps they can take to increase compliance with the manufacturer’s safety bulletin.
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Old 5th Apr 2013, 09:40
  #30 (permalink)  
 
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CASA Directive

R44 helicopter fuel tanks must be upgraded
Robinson R44 helicopters that have not been fitted with upgraded fuel tanks face being grounded from 30 April 2013.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority has issued a direction to all affected R44 helicopter operators about the installation of flexible fuel tanks to reduce the risk of post-accident fires.

CASA has made it clear that R44 helicopter operators following the Robinson maintenance program are required to install the new fuel tanks.

Any operators not covered by the Robinson maintenance program will be directed by CASA to fit the tanks if the upgrade has not already been completed.

In a service bulletin issued in September 2012 Robinson set 30 April 2013 as the deadline for the fitting of the flexible fuel tanks.

All R44 helicopter operators have been given ample notice of this requirement, with the first fuel tank service bulletin issued by Robinson in December 2010.

CASA issued an airworthiness bulletin in June 2012 strongly recommending the fuel tanks be fitted at the earliest opportunity.

CASA then wrote to R44 operators in February 2013 to emphasise the deadline set by Robinson.

On 28 March 2013 CASA again wrote to all R44 operators to highlight the importance of replacing the fuel tanks and to direct them to give information to CASA about the status of their maintenance program.

In addition, CASA this week issued another airworthiness bulletin to formally remind R44 operators and maintainers of the need to have new fuel tanks fitted.

The latest actions by CASA follow a preliminary investigation report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau into a fatal R44 helicopter accident at Bulli Tops in NSW on 21 March 2013.

Safety is CASA’s overriding priority.



Media contact:
Peter Gibson
Mobile: 0419 296 446
Email: [email protected]
Ref: MR0813
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Old 5th Apr 2013, 11:53
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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Its only a preliminary report Up-into-the-air.

"...R44 helicopter (R44), registered VH-HWQ, was manoeuvring at a grassed area at Bulli Tops, New South Wales. Shortly after landing, the helicopter lifted off and turned to the right. The main rotor struck branches of a nearby tree..."

No mention of loss of control as such. Perhaps there will be more on it in the final report.





Edit - and before the forum wacko's start up - Yes, i have owned an R44.





.

Last edited by Flying Binghi; 5th Apr 2013 at 11:56.
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Old 5th Apr 2013, 12:15
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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But, where is the discussion about:

Training;
Loss tail rotor effectiveness;
You won't get LTE in a Robinson, Frank was a genius at tail rotor design.

In fact, you won't get LTE anywhere except in an old B206 with a small tail rotor.

This R44 accident sounds like a simple pilot error in bumping into a tree. And yes, I have landed at Panorama myself under all sorts of weather conditions, but have never come at it from below the escarpment.
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Old 5th Apr 2013, 12:21
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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...Frank was a genius at tail rotor design...
If i recall correctly, i think he cut his teeth on the Hughes 300 tail rotor.
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Old 5th Apr 2013, 23:03
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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Pohm1 CASA directive

Interesting to read the CASA spin, if the fuel bladder is the fix to a problem, then if safety was the real factor it should have been mandatory, and done as per availability of kits and done a lot sooner than has been allowed. If its not necessarily the fix why do it at all. I think CASA has been to slow to act, and I don't understand why. Writing letters to owners and asking if they have got round to doing anything yet is just a sign of how ineffectual they have been on this one. Personally I don't think any R44 should be carrying passengers now if the tanks aren't done. If the pilot wants to risk his own neck well so be it. I imagine if that idea is taken up there will be a lot of 44's sitting. Don't think I am a R44 basher I have owned 5 of them and 7 R22's. The interesting thing will be the next accident where the tank is ruptured and the fuel bladder is intact and no fire, that will be the proof needed.
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Old 6th Apr 2013, 02:41
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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Do a search on Helicopter Urban Myths, you will see how the mantra has been accepted by even the FAA.

From Nick Lappos, ex-Chief Sikorsky Test Pilot, also worked for Bell and Gulfstream:
"Ascend Charlie has is dead on. Most helo pilot can't experience LTE becausae most helos cant get LTE.

The term LTE makes me wince. The concept of the tail rotor somehow losing effectiveness is a convenient one for folks to use, because it allows the people who make small tail rotors to blame a mysterious force of nature instead of fixing their problem.

There are two possibilities for an LTE event to be triggered. They are both the result of you having entered a region where the tail thrust is not enough to counter the main torque because the main torque rose by itself.

They are neither because the tail rotor suddenly experienced massive reduced thrust.

LTE is almost always because the tail rotor has too little thrust BY DESIGN to account for small normal reductions in its thrust. Typical thrust variations of 5% are easily handled by tail rotors with that much margin above the thrust needed to do their jobs. When a tail rotor has no margin, by design, these 5% variations are too much, and the main rotor torque dominates, causeing loss of yaw control.

The two cases cited by hilico show how the term has now been so badly abused as to have entered the lexicon for any pedal stop event. An overloaded helo that runs out of yaw control does so as its tail rotor is producing thrust well in excess of its design capability. The tail rotr is not the cause.

LTE is a term invented by the team from one manufacturer who has to quickly train a bunch of pilots to compensate for a marginal yaw control. the worldwide data base shows that about 95% of legitimate LTE events is experienced by one type of helo (the 206).

Look at the hover curves of several helos to note that the hover weight is not determined by the power, it is determined by the tail rotor design thrust. These are prime candidates for "LTE" because the have "Tailo Rotors Too Small".

Please, to be precise and to teach proper procedure for recovery, do not call overpitching and loss of yaw control LTE, call it overpitching."
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Old 6th Apr 2013, 03:35
  #36 (permalink)  
 
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via Up-into-the-air;
...We must question how the R44 got into this predicament...
We don't yet have an ATSB final report to work with. How do we "question" ...






.
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Old 6th Apr 2013, 03:52
  #37 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Flying Binghi View Post
We don't yet have an ATSB final report to work with. How do we "question" ...
For starters, we can read the preliminary report where it states:

What happened
At about 1207 local time on 21 March 2013, a Robinson Helicopter Company R44 helicopter (R44), registered VH-HWQ, was manoeuvring at a grassed area at Bulli Tops, New South Wales. Shortly after landing, the helicopter lifted off and turned to the right. The main rotor struck branches of a nearby tree, and the helicopter descended and then rolled over onto its right side. A fire started on the grass under the rotor mast and the cabin. The pilot and the three passengers were fatally injured.
There is nothing in that statement that can be implied to support many of the theories being expounded here, such as overpitching, LTE ( ) or orographic lifting. Yes, I have operated there and from a landing to the hover should not be influenced by any local conditions.
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Old 6th Apr 2013, 05:36
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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via as350nut:
...The interesting thing will be the next accident where the tank is ruptured and the fuel bladder is intact and no fire, that will be the proof needed.
Photo's page eight...

http://www.atsb.gov.au/media/3899970...-016_final.pdf

Last edited by Flying Binghi; 6th Apr 2013 at 05:42. Reason: correct link
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Old 6th Apr 2013, 08:14
  #39 (permalink)  
 
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Flying Binghi

Its with interest and sadness that I note the date of the report showing that in fact fuel bladders do work is 30/4/12. Sad because its only now; 3/4/2013, that a Airworthiness Bulletin ( still not an AD) is released stating in effect that the Service Bulletin and the date for tanks to be fitted with bladders is to be adhered to and in effect its not legal to fly after 30 April 2013. I know that reminders have been sent out but there are a lot of commercial operators and others who resist or lag behind on SB and only act on AD's. I've been offered for sale and in fact bought machines that haven't had all SB's up to date. Great to see though that fuel bladders seem to work. Service Bulletin below refers:

http://casa.gov.au/wcmswr/_assets/main/airworth/awb/02/044.pdf
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Old 6th Apr 2013, 08:39
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Originally Posted by as350nut View Post
Its with interest and sadness that I note the date of the report showing that in fact fuel bladders do work is 30/4/12. Sad because its only now; 3/4/2013, that a Airworthiness Bulletin ( still not an AD) is released stating in effect that the Service Bulletin and the date for tanks to be fitted with bladders is to be adhered to and in effect its not legal to fly after 30 April 2013. I know that reminders have been sent out but there are a lot of commercial operators and others who resist or lag behind on SB and only act on AD's.
I'd point out that CASA have been proactive:

On 26 June 2012, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) issued Airworthiness Bulletin (AWB) AWB 28-012 titled Robinson R44 Fuel Tanks. That AWB highlights the improvement in the 'post-crash survivability' of R44 helicopters that had been fitted with bladder-type fuel tanks. The AWB refers to a Robinson Helicopter Company Service Bulletin SB-78 that, depending on the Maintenance schedule affecting the individual helicopter, required the fitment of a bladder-type tank to all R44 and R44 II helicopters.


and

In October 2012, Robinson Helicopter Company brought forward the compliance date for SB-78B for affected R44 and R44 II helicopters to 30 April 2013. Given the reduced compliance time, on 5 February 2013 CASA sent a letter to all R44 operators recommending the installation of the bladder tanks and highlighting their responsibilities under regulation 42A(4) of the Civil Aviation Regulations 1988 (the CAR).


and the reminder that CAR41 and CAR47 require compliance with SB dates. I would suggest that the finger should be firmly pointed back at Robinson, but then we have the luxury of a compliant R44 and are not facing a grounding as are so many other owners.
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