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AS332L2 Ditching off Shetland: 23rd August 2013

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AS332L2 Ditching off Shetland: 23rd August 2013

Old 13th Sep 2013, 11:52
  #1661 (permalink)  
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I can assure you that gulliBell is most definitely NOT describing operations in New Zealand !

Water temperature of +28 degrees...somewhere much closer to the equator I expect!

Beware of the trolls!!
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Old 13th Sep 2013, 14:37
  #1662 (permalink)  
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Who is going to PAY for all that kit when they just want to send a couple of blokes up and down a river two or three times a day.
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Old 13th Sep 2013, 15:10
  #1663 (permalink)  
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Post 1664 by Brian Abraham holds so much truth and could be applied to a great many of our Offshore Operations in Third World Countries. Nigeria begins to ring a Bell unless there have been some extraordinary changes in the past couple of years.

Perhaps there have been some improvements in the Aircraft but the Weather has not changed and the ATC situation and weather reporting has not improved.

At least one of the maligned Operators will shut down operations due to lack of visiblilty in the Dusty Season from what I have heard.

But for decades....Bristow did exactly as Gullibell describes re VMC/IMC operations without reliable weather reporting, no alternate planning, and no Ground Based naviads or Radar Approach or Enroute services. Just climb into the world's oldest Bell 212's and off into the Rain, Fog, Clouds you went. Most of us Coffee Drinkers found a Seismic Line in the Mangroves and beat feet. The Tea Drinkers flogged out in the clag and hoped to find the rig using Radar. Finding the land based rigs on Radar was a bit harder and involved far more luck. MDA's were based upon how you felt that day. After the Nigerian CAA mandated GPS, we at least had a reliable way to fix a location once we had been there which made it far more likely we would find the landing site.

Despite that.....not a single confirmed case of CFIT. We lost several to mechanical/engineering failures, one to cutting down a set of wires, and one suicide, and of course the one Ditching. There remains the one 412 that disappeared on a Night Medical Flight.

One absolute....if you never lose sight of the ground...you never have to find it again which would eliminate a vast number of the Offshore CFIT events we do have.

Gulli has raised some issues that provoked some heated discussion.

He is not as far off the mark as some of you think....or wish that he was.
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Old 13th Sep 2013, 15:49
  #1664 (permalink)  
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Who would you rather fly with?

I've been asking myself the question, who would I rather fly with:

gulliBell or the S92 pilot, details of whose incident is in post 1659?

Your thoughts on that one?
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Old 13th Sep 2013, 16:53
  #1665 (permalink)  
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What is the policy with NS operators regarding minimum experience levels?

In addition to the crew pairing policy in the Cougar Helicopters SOPs, all pilots must first be approved by the offshore operators before these pilots are permitted to fly their workers offshore. As part of the process, the offshore operators have established minimum requirements of 1000 flight hours on helicopters and a minimum of 250 flight hours of PIC time.
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Old 13th Sep 2013, 16:55
  #1666 (permalink)  
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Well said SAS, the point is the Bristow pilots in Nigeria (and World Wide for that matter) were real pilots and not system managers and could fly.
I was with Bristow for 34 years all over the world and until the arrival of OLOG was with the best company in the world. When we lost a Wessex and could not establish the reason we grounded the type although the Queen continued to fly in them for years afterwards so lets not hear anymore guff about standards.
In my time with the company I could count on one hand the pilots I was concerned about flying with in ANY conditions, from Greenland to Malaysia and Borneo and many countries in between including Zagross in Iran and Mogadishu during the UN fiasco. I shudder to think how some of the current crop would cope!! (I never worried about flying with you!)
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Old 13th Sep 2013, 17:19
  #1667 (permalink)  
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Mtoroshanga, it is always interesting to hear from the "old and bold" who look back with nostalgia and rose tinted glasses, claiming they did it harder and better than anyone else.

There is no real place for this kind of Macho bullshit in this thread. It's serves no purpose other than to allow you to grandstand and gloat with a holier than thou type of attitude.

If all you can offer is a dissitation on how good your guys were we will sadly not really learn anything from you and that's a shame because with all that experience you must have learned something that might help!!

I have never worked with anyone I was not happy to fly with.

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Old 13th Sep 2013, 18:12
  #1668 (permalink)  
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Double Bogey - I find it interesting, if a little sad, that whenever an 'old n bold' pilot, or shall we call them a 'pre 4 axis fully coupled pilot' offers an opinion, helpful suggestion even (like I attempted) it is immediately derided by yourself and others who are understandably wholly committed (roger committed!) to the NS 'Airline' way of doing things. Rose tinted misted spectacles aside, there are other ways of flying a helicopter that are not acceptable to commercial operations like the one you are tied up in. But I can remember when NS operators would find a platform on radar and fly up the leg in fog - NO, I don't think that was a better way than the one you use now (but is that how the RM do it still?) but military pilots do all sorts of strange things that wouldn't be acceptable on the NS shuttles. It's not boasting, just a fact, why, even SH types don't always understand what SAR Buoy (wankers) get up to (unless it's all got incredibly pc since I retired) and I wouldn't have much of a clue about the Stan. I can fly on instruments, even had a proc IR courtesy of Aberdeen's Sim and would have loved to have the automation that you enjoy but it wasn't much use up a mountain, day or night. What I think various O+B people are trying to say is systems operating, whilst very important, isn't the whole story when it comes to helo flying. Maybe, just maybe, some other essentials have been lost along the way? Perhaps due to accountants who do not really understand aviation?

Last edited by Al-bert; 13th Sep 2013 at 18:18.
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Old 13th Sep 2013, 18:34
  #1669 (permalink)  
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Albert - the difference is the fact the NS have fare-paying passengers in the back who, quite rightly, demand levels of safety over and above what can be tolerated in the pursuit of a military goal or that required to save lives.

Gulibell's third-world approach to 'safe' operations is like so many things - it is behind the times because it is allowed to be whereas most first world operations actually have some regulation and safety standards applied to them.

I don't believe that there are a bunch of numpties in the NS who can't actually fly a helicopter or are too procedure-bound to use their captaincy and flying skills in the best interests of their passengers.

The operations in the NS clearly aren't perfect or the crashes wouldn't be happening but defining the root cause and therefore the solution seems to be problematical.

Last edited by [email protected]; 13th Sep 2013 at 18:36.
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Old 13th Sep 2013, 20:33
  #1670 (permalink)  
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FFS Crab - I knew all that!!!

I wasn't saying "fly like SAR Sky God (JOKE! I say again Joke!) or you're a numptie"!!!
I understand the commercial reality too (I even have a BA(Econ) ) but if you listen very carefully (I will say dis only wanz) I think, just perhaps, that SOME skills are in danger of being lost, or not even developed in the 'straight through' co to capt scheme of things in the pursuit of savings. It is hard to see how to change this 'culture' but throwing increasing technology at the problem is not altogether successful is it?

BTW I think prob Gulli is a wind up - a first class one though!

Last edited by Al-bert; 13th Sep 2013 at 20:36.
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Old 13th Sep 2013, 20:45
  #1671 (permalink)  
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Thing about PPRuNe is - when you try to calm things down, you end up inflaming them, and when you try quoting observed fact, you are sure to be accused of making it up. Still, I want to nail this "we could fly in those days" vs "dinosaurs should know when they're extinct" digression.

I'm a sim instructor. Have been for years. FW and RW. Like the doctor, I've seen you all at your embarrassing worst and I've kept it to myself. Because when I was flying, I had bad days, too. People were screwing up on steam-driven old bangers long before they were screwing up on fancy full-colour, automated wizzocopters.

I have seen people so lacking in manual flying skills that the arrival of automation couldn't come too soon and I have seen people so baffled by the automation that they forgot to use their manual flying skills.

Only the detail of the problem has changed. The underlying issue is just the same. Familiarity with, expertise with, practice with, the equipment you are given to fly is what makes a professional, safe pilot. There are no prizes for guessing what I'm going to say next!

Where does that familiarity, that expertise, that practice come from?

TRAINING. And as much of it as you can get.

And don't tell me me about "real world" limitations. This thread is all about where that has got us.


Last edited by keithl; 13th Sep 2013 at 20:47.
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Old 13th Sep 2013, 20:58
  #1672 (permalink)  
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AS332 L2 - YouTube

Nice little off topic L2 video here.
Eurocopter film. Norway ops.
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Old 13th Sep 2013, 21:27
  #1673 (permalink)  
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The most astonishing thing I've read for a while was in the Cougar report

Although the first officer had almost 1000 total flight hours on the S-92A, many of those hours were spent in coupled flight during instrument flight rules (IFR) flights to and from the offshore facilities, and not hand flying the helicopter. As a result, the first officer did not feel confident about having the necessary instrument flying skills to safely recover from the unusual attitude that had developed.
This discussion has bounced back and forward over the last few days with the automation versus manual flying debate but when a situation such as this is discovered to exist within the Oil & Gas flying fraternity overseas, are we supposed to believe that similar cannot exist in the North Sea?
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Old 13th Sep 2013, 21:29
  #1674 (permalink)  
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Old 13th Sep 2013, 21:51
  #1675 (permalink)  
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With you 100% Keithl

Al - calm down, its not good for your blood pressure at your age The problem with the written word is that making yourself clear while trying to be concise is very difficult since people will always read what they want rather than what you have actually written.

Such problems have plagued me on these fora since I have often written what sounds correct to me but inflames others who interpret what I have written completely differently to what was intended.

We are all pretty much in agreement that flying skills (handling) are vitally important in all areas but management of systems and knowledge of the limitations and capabilities of those systems is crucial.

The balance of the 2 is, as Keithl echoes, all down to quality and quantity of training.
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Old 13th Sep 2013, 22:54
  #1676 (permalink)  
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KeithL & Crab.

Amen to all you say. You have hit the nail right on its head!!


Last edited by DOUBLE BOGEY; 13th Sep 2013 at 22:57.
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Old 13th Sep 2013, 22:57
  #1677 (permalink)  
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Outside the oil industry, gulliBell is probably describing the life of half the world's helicopter pilots.
FE, the sad part is also the standard in certain parts of the oil industry in a first world country.
CASA identify you and take you out of the system along with anyone else involved in that operation
DB, the operator I referred to is CASA sanctioned, so no help there. Have a read of threads re CASA in the Oz forums - it'll bring tears.
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Old 13th Sep 2013, 23:07
  #1678 (permalink)  
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BA - I do not need to read the CASA thread - I know the organisation extremely well. like all organisations there is Good, bad and ugly.

Just a word of caution though. Blaming the regulator for the behaviour and attitudes of Gullibell is a gross over simplification.

Just because the law says you can it does not mean you should. That's still called airmanship I believe.

However, in loyalty to CASA and the many fine people who work hard there each day - the operation Gullibell describes is not IAW with CARs either in respect of Maintenance or Flight Operations. If you like I can explain why!!

Come on Brian you are much better than that!!


Last edited by DOUBLE BOGEY; 13th Sep 2013 at 23:10.
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Old 13th Sep 2013, 23:45
  #1679 (permalink)  
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SATSUMA - in majority of these accidents the pilot has not reacted or attempted to recover from the UA. When the pilot does react the outcome is usually favourable, like the recent S92 incident. The copilot will have passed his OPC and I am sure UAs would have been on the menu. Our Canadian brothers are as regulated and professional as anywhere else.

I can think of only one case where attempted recovery has subsequently and horribly failed. That was the AS365 in Morecombe Bay.

No this problem is far more complex and insidious and it may be related to how we train for these events.

At present we generally ask the Pilot Flying to close his eyes and then set up the UA, he opens his eyes and recovers. In doing it this way we are not actually training him to recognise the most important aspect which is the onset of the UA.

By not seeing the full progression of the UA we are not practising the intervention skills and/or policy nor are we allowing the crew to develop coping strategies and the necessary airmanship, CRM and MCC to optimise his chances of reacting early enough in the sequence of events.

In this class of helicopter, a fully developed low speed UA, especially coupled with a high ROD is a horrible prospect for even the most skilled pilot. I know because I have been there. Twice. Luck, timing and skill and by far luck plays the greater part. By this I mean the you're lucky if you get one at 500 feet, unlucky if you get presented with the the same prospect at 100 feet.

The chances of recovery at this stage depend on whether the pilot runs out of luck, skill or altitude before he can restablish a ROC.

We have to recognise, that despite the intimation from some posters on this thread that their skills have thus far saved them from ever getting there, and this may of course be absolutley true for them, some extremely well qualified, skilful and highly respected pilots have not been so fortunate.

In terms of skillsets, if we accept that luck and height play the greater part, by far the most impactful strategy must be to develop skills that prevent the initial flight path deterioration in the first place. This may be an automation skill or a manual flying skill, depending on the AC at its systems.

To do this we have to get better at recognising the onset of a UA. We have to start practising our airmanship, CRM, MCC and intervention so that hopefully we develop a skillset to deploy, other automation or manual, that will manage these risks better than we are doing now.

The latest EC products do exactly this. The DAFCS actually recognises the early symptoms of a UA, loss of airspeed, loss of height, excessive ROC/ROD and automatically intervenes to restore a safe flight path. These are backstop hidden protections.

Any ideas from TRIs in this respect. Are we actually training for the wrong event here. Instead of putting our faith, and therefore our training efforts solely into recovery, should we be doing much, much more to enable the pilot to recognise, manage and intervene during the early stages rather than simply asking him to open his eyes and recover!!!

These skills re after all, the core fundamental risk management of a stabilised approach.


Last edited by DOUBLE BOGEY; 13th Sep 2013 at 23:56.
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Old 13th Sep 2013, 23:46
  #1680 (permalink)  
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To slightly change the discussion, let me present a scenario which may well be pertinant to the accident under discussion.

You are flying a routine approach in IMC, you have set up the autopilot and all appears to be well but you have made a mistake - we all make mistakes occasionally.

You break out of cloud at 500 feet and find yourself decending at 1000 fpm. You now have 30 seconds to stay out of the water. This is a nasty surprise, you really should have been paying more attention to monitoring but there is no time for recriminations, what do you do next ?

a) Try to figure out why the system is doing something unexpected and fix it.
b) Disconnect the autopilot and recover manually.

Are your reactions and skills up to the challenge ?
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