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AS332L2 Ditching off Shetland: 23rd August 2013

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AS332L2 Ditching off Shetland: 23rd August 2013

Old 11th Sep 2013, 21:18
  #1581 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
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Sounds like the SH force have much they can learn from you Crab.
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Old 11th Sep 2013, 21:47
  #1582 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
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Still here reading every post with interest. Even if I am not getting in the back presently, my friends, colleagues and some family regularly do. Forgive not quoting, I am going to refer to post numbers and posters. Please correct me if any of my assumptions are wrong.

The pilots involved in this incident. We do not know the full reason or reasons for this accident yet, so let's not presume they are guilty of anything until all the facts are known, we cannot make any judgements until we have the full facts, but we can learn lessons, which I think everyone is doing on this thread on the forum.

victor papa - post 1484 page 75. Please keep fighting to try and implement the improvements you and your colleagues have discovered - keep fighting against the stupidity. I fully agree with Senior Pilots post 1493 on the same page. Perhaps you could remind them there are 4 grieving families, a seriously injured pilot and some others who are very lucky to have walked away from this one.

26500lbs - post 1572 page 79. You have quoted one of the many excellent posts by Double Bogey advocating flying fully coupled which I assume is fully automatic with the flying pilot monitoring. What you said here is that you have seen for a long time in the simulator, that pilots can fly fully manually no problem, and fully auto no problem, but problems arise when mixing the two, when stress and distraction are present. I also assume that getting low in poor visibility make those two factors appear. This may be as close as it gets to hitting the nail on the head.

HeliComparitor post 1574 page 79. Sterile Cockpit - if this is a rule when the 2 crew don't talk to each other I find this quite worrying, but I guess there is a good reason for it? I would have assumed professional crews knew when to keep quiet and when to talk? Would be interested in what the RAF guys think of this? And the NS pilots.

26500lbs Post 1579, page 79. We have hired co pilots with low hrs due to pilot shortages, I understand this, on the rigs its the same. Another poster above your post also suggests that training to become licensed does not cover the complex automation on the modern large helicopters we use - a worry. Although this is surely easily addressed? I can also see how routine and tedium on long flights in cruise is a worry, and complacency but don't have any answers to this.
I do however have a question. Is the culture in the cockpit such that an inexperienced co pilot has the confidence (I would say duty) to question a Snr captain if he thought he was observing bad practice, or to make a suggestion on how to do something better. I would like to think that even if he asked something stupid, this would be seen as an opportunity for the captain to pass on knowledge and experience?

Crab post 1588 page 80 - agree we must make sure training is sufficient and adequate no matter the cost, but also guard against overtraining - training for trainings sake and generating a new industry. Also you should be able to fail training - often does not happen now as this reflects badly on the training provider. The Norwegian training model posted earlier looks good.

I may be an old cynic, but I don't think a House of Commons select committee or Scottish Parliament ministers will help us learn the lessons and make the required improvements, but hopefully I am wrong.
I like the work being done by the HSSG, although maybe for some of the workforce they are perceived as being too close to the oil companies, even although the unions are represented there.

Hummingfrog, post 1549, page 78. The suggestion all 3 Aberdeen companies need some sort of meeting. I think you need some sort of work group which meets on a regular basis, reviews incidents, near misses and feedback from the crews and the sim instructors, and makes recommendations on procedures, automation etc and shares the learning's. If this could be done under HSSG then even better. Most important things - open minds or as you guys say shields down thinking.

Keep up the excellent debate and exchange of views here.

Sorry for the long post. One other thing, don't shut the curtain so often, it seemed to me to happen more often recently. Some of the non sleeping pax like to watch you guys at work.
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Old 11th Sep 2013, 22:05
  #1583 (permalink)  
 
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Sterile cockpit

Thelearner

I would love to be able to tell you that "sterile cockpit" is the cleaning regime whereby all the dropped pilot food, gunge and ship's rat droppings are meticulously cleaned up from the cockpit at the end of every flight. Sadly its not so.

It refers to a "no chit-chat" policy whereby talk in the cockpit is limited solely to stuff required to get the job done safely and efficiently. In other words, no chat about "wot I did last night", the state of Ronnie on Eastenders etc.

Clearly its a good policy when all concentration has to be given to the job in hand during critical phases of flight, but if you extend it too long, it will inevitably not be adhered to.

Not only that, but a part of working closely with another pilot requires you to understand what makes them tick, in order to optimise the way you interact with them, in order to function optimally together. "Idle chit chat" is in fact very beneficial in this respect since it allows you to get a handle on your colleague, especially if you don't know them well. With a newish copilot and a senior captain, it helps to break down barriers and make the copilot regard the capt as being human! So it is a very important part of the job. Granted there is a time for this, and a time not to be doing this, but it shouldn't be dismissed as irrelevant.

Last edited by HeliComparator; 11th Sep 2013 at 22:10.
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Old 11th Sep 2013, 22:16
  #1584 (permalink)  
 
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HC, thanks for clearing that up for me. Makes perfect sense now.

I may be wrong, but in military, and possibly civilian SAR, are you much more likely to be flying with the same crew all the time compared to commercial NS ops? In FW going by TV documentary's which I watch too much of, often the crew have little experience of each other?
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Old 11th Sep 2013, 22:27
  #1585 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by thelearner View Post
HC, thanks for clearing that up for me. Makes perfect sense now.

I may be wrong, but in military, and possibly civilian SAR, are you much more likely to be flying with the same crew all the time compared to commercial NS ops? In FW going by TV documentary's which I watch too much of, often the crew have little experience of each other?
It depends on the particular operation, but in general, because a SAR base typically only has one or two helicoptesr (plus a spares of course) the pilot compliment is much smaller than say a major fleet in Aberdeen. Plus with SAR you tend to spend many hours in the crew room engaging in "banter", and thus know your fellows pretty well.

That said, some of the oil and gas bases are not that big, and due to the rosters (in Bristow anyway, where rosters tend to be very predictable) you often are rostered to fly with a relatively small cadre of pilots. That does of course mean that once in a while you fly with someone new, because they have worked a day off for someone else etc.

But a big part of the job is getting on with your fellow pilot for 8 hours or so, when he might be someone who otherwise you would really not wish to spend any time at all. That's why we have to do courses on the subject -aka CRM!
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Old 11th Sep 2013, 22:44
  #1586 (permalink)  
 
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IFR Piggy, that was a quality rant!!
DB

Thanks, all compliments are welcome! If you re-read my post I was asking for an AAIB definition to "non-technical" with a particular interest in aircraft serviceability state, and not as you inferred; demanding an end to all speculation on this accident. Do I get to keep the wooden spoon?

Al-bert

I believe you touched very briefly on the same point but then spun off in a direction of self praise aboard the band wagon of "pilots these days don't have adequate handling skills".....no doubt, I'm still wrong about that and the willy waving and await further correction. By the way I might be a pig but Dad's a horse!

Monitoring an aircraft flown by the other or "third" pilot and handling skills are two distinctly different elements to our daily routine and I don't believe handling skills are the most pertinent factor with this accident......bugger I've said it again.

I agree with all that have made the points that will aid effective monitoring; Reducing checklist items, amending SOPs to time the use of checks during less critical phases or "holding the checks" when necessary, strict adherence to sterile cockpit procedures, etc But also the aircraft we fly could be modified to help improve monitoring by alerting the pilots to an undesired flight configuration.
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Old 11th Sep 2013, 22:53
  #1587 (permalink)  
 
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26500 wrote and Crab quoted

Training is far more limited due to the nature of budgets and how much the customer is willing to pay. There is always a competitor who will try and do it cheaper, driving competition and stretching budgets ever further. My point is that we have what we have and have to work with that and within some of the constraints we have upon us
I don't accept that at all. My company pays for 2 simulator sessions per pilot per year. Just how many do you need? Each sim trip overseas (there are none here) is followed by equal time off.
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Old 11th Sep 2013, 23:44
  #1588 (permalink)  
 
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industry insider

I hope you're being ironic

Those that mentioned the door blocking the windows - this was mentioned earlier in this thread with reference to the Bond ETAP ditching where passengers slid open the door in the normal manner, thus blocking two of the windows.
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Old 11th Sep 2013, 23:47
  #1589 (permalink)  
 
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II

My company pays for 2 simulator sessions per pilot per year
Are these training sessions or "checking sessions" where OPCs/LPCs have to be completed?

The Sim sessions that I had were a mixture and because we used company TREs always had some training value tacked onto the end of the "checking session". Does this happen with 3rd party trainers?

HF
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Old 12th Sep 2013, 01:10
  #1590 (permalink)  
 
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Approach Minimums

Hi Guys,

How did the crew do this approach legally when the minimums were 300 feet and the reported ceiling was 200 feet?

Would they have just shot it anyway and hoped to see some sort of the runway environment from the MAP at MDA even though they would have been 100' into the clouds? Would they crank up the lights on a day like this in Sumburgh?

I'm curious if they intentionally descended below approach minimums after levelling off because they were still in cloud or just descended straight through MDA into the water in one go?
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Old 12th Sep 2013, 01:27
  #1591 (permalink)  
 
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Approach Minimums

In the USA you only need to have the approach visibility to make the approach. Ceiling does not matter.
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Old 12th Sep 2013, 01:51
  #1592 (permalink)  
 
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Are these training sessions or "checking sessions" where OPCs/LPCs have to be completed?

The Sim sessions that I had were a mixture and because we used company TREs always had some training value tacked onto the end of the "checking session". Does this happen with 3rd party trainers?
My that Operator sure throws Money around don't they?

By Session I have to assume an hour and a half as the handling pilot and then the same amount of time as the non-handling pilot for a total of three hours per session.

Please explain to me why a TRE/IRE would do training AFTER the Check Ride?

Would not training be far more beneficial if it were done as part of a regular syllabus and be combined with Classroom and System trainers....then carry on in the Sim and apply what was learned or refreshed during the other training?

Guys.....just reading the Questions tells me there is a huge problem in what is going on.

Sort of a blunt answer but my Butt is hurting from 900 miles of Harley riding and perhaps i am a bit grouchy tonight.....really....two whole Sim sessions in a Year....and probably focused upon doing some required Checks and damn little in the way of useful training.
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Old 12th Sep 2013, 06:40
  #1593 (permalink)  
 
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Article in The Scotsman, nice to know about the S92's run dry capability.

Shetland helicopter crash: Warning over Sikorsky S-92 - The Scotsman
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Old 12th Sep 2013, 07:17
  #1594 (permalink)  
 
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The S-92 was applauded by federal aviation authorities in the US for its safety, including a “run-dry” feature which allows it to go for 30 minutes after running out of fuel.
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Old 12th Sep 2013, 07:30
  #1595 (permalink)  
 
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Hello again, I would like to put forward a few more remarks from the back seats if I may, of particular concern to me is the apparently barely discussed side doors.

I posted on here a while ago and have been home for a while so my recent helicopter ride experience is some time on a 332L1 yesterday (and then a while last night catching up on this thread). Coincidental to some recent comments I recall wondering as I sat there whether the emergency release on the doors functions when the doors are open and I am a bit disturbed to find they don't.

My theory is that this makes these doors very dangerous simply due to human nature. In the event of a sudden violent ditching, all the folk on board will probably have just one thought on their minds and that is to get out. The 6 persons in the middle row will have the doors and the safest and easiest way for them to leave in a hurry is through the doors and opening the doors will give the largest and therefore easiest gap. In a panic would there be any thought to the training video about these doors obscuring the front windows?

My point is that due to human nature, this will probably be the first choice as it is a well observed method for doing this (i.e. a normal sliding forward opening) - which will condem those in front row. I would suspect in a panic situation the emergency door release would be less likely to be used to to its difficult location in the row forward! This is hard to reach by those next to the door and in panic those in the front row will be trying the windows and not worrying about a door that they are not using. In the event that the door is slid open then they will be unable to release it.

My point discussed before about cramped conditions strongly applies to the front row of seats now I have travelled in them again. My favorite spot is the centre forward facing seat so I can watch the instruments (those I can see anyway - cant quite see VSI) and looking yesterday, I don't see any way that the 6 seats crammed in there could be safe in an evacuation. There was only 4 averaged sized people there yesterday and it would still have been a struggle. I noticed the window closest to me was of the small type and I would have been hard pressed to use it and there was an empty seat between me and it meaning that 2 folk should have been using 1 small window! I would question if window size vs a north sea person in full modern survival gear including air pocket has ever been tested.

There is obviously also the issue of comfort. The 4 people yesterday staggered the seats to give each other leg room but 6 people in these seats leaves 4 people jammed together very closely. Maybe it would be wise to video people disembarking from arriving helicopters and those flights where a percentage of the passengers are staggering in pain to the terminal due to cramp be looked at.

Following that question I would like to ask if anyone knows who defines the capacity of 19 people on these flights and what are the specifications? Does it have anything to do with escapability? From a non technical point of view I doubt it, therefore raising the question is the basic capacity rating procedure wrong? Having looked again yesterday sadly I would suspect most of the casualties in the recent tragic accident may have been in this section of the cabin.

In summary I would like to know what others think of the doors. Would it be wise to have the emergency release next to or on the door itself and clearly labelled that it must be used in emergency? Could it be redesigned to work when open or partially open as well (I realise this would be difficult)? Can anyone define the capacity rating procedure?
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Old 12th Sep 2013, 07:43
  #1596 (permalink)  
 
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Another quick one, and I will try and keep this short, regarding training and the use of automation.

The view from the back seat is that the guys in front have a difficult job and need to be trained to the ultimate standard possible and be using the safest possible techniques (auto or manual etc). Any suggestion that our safety is being compromised due to financial constraints is not taken well - especially in this industry where for years now the highest priority is safety.

Realistically its all a business but this thread has shown a number of discussion areas that sound like they really need reviewing and changes made at a number of levels.

Personally speaking I like to think that a pilot would be fully skilled and practised at flying manually in the event this is required as well as being capable of using all the helicopters auto systems competently and confidently. Training and assessment should cover this completely and if it does not at present then it needs fixing.
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Old 12th Sep 2013, 08:14
  #1597 (permalink)  
 
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Dakarman, on the old 330s (the RAF ones at least) the door jettison was on the door itself, both inside and out. Seems far more logical, why it was moved I don't know.

On the subject of the pax opening the door rather than jettisoning it in emergency when they do what is most normal to them, perhaps this needs to be addressed in the training you are given. Sliding the door open may very well condemn those at the front so it must be well drilled into you guys to jettison the door as a well drilled emergency procedure.

The VSI is a small strip gauge on the outermost screens, so if you can see those screens you probably can see it, just not very well from back there!
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Old 12th Sep 2013, 09:39
  #1598 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by obnoxio f*ckwit View Post
The VSI is a small strip gauge on the outermost screens, so if you can see those screens you probably can see it, just not very well from back there!
Even on an L1/Tiger?
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Old 12th Sep 2013, 09:41
  #1599 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by obnoxio f*ckwit View Post

The VSI is a small strip gauge on the outermost screens, so if you can see those screens you probably can see it, just not very well from back there!
He did say AS332L1!

Dakarman, your points are in general true although I think the large windows in the front row are unaffected by the door being open(?). The 2 nd and 3rd rows certainly are affected though.

Regarding the door jettison handle location, I agree that it should be nearer to door, however there would be only one thing worse than it being difficult to jettison following a ditching, and that would be inadvertent jettison in flight with subsequent probable contact with main or tail rotors.

However, the point is that its very difficult to design a helicopter with each person next to a window. Also, I question whether this would be the right way to proceed. Firstly, accidents involving difficulty getting out are very rare and have always arisen from a crash rather than a controlled ditching. It is therefore a sliding scale of crash severity causing some to become too incapacitated to escape, whilst others, either tougher or in a better location, manage to escape. Even with a large window next to each passenger its easy to envisage a crash severity such that some don't exit.

The last loss of life from a survivable crash was the N Cormorant accident in 1992, 21 years ago. In terms of ways of dying accidentally, its a tiny drop in the ocean (no pun intended!). That may sound harsh, but the idea that all life is precious and can't have a price put on it, is naive.

Compare with a fixed wing airliner. One exit per 30 or 40 passenger, many rows away. No pop out windows. Following a crash into water, its acceptable that people are going to drown through not being able to get out. The acceptability arises because such an event is very rare.

Therefore I would prefer that most of the efforts went into keeping the helicopter out of the water, since making a helicopter from which escape can be guaranteed regardless of the severity of the crash, is not possible.

Last edited by HeliComparator; 12th Sep 2013 at 09:46.
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Old 12th Sep 2013, 09:55
  #1600 (permalink)  
 
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My bad! I read it as L2!
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