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AS332L2 Ditching off Shetland: 23rd August 2013

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AS332L2 Ditching off Shetland: 23rd August 2013

Old 15th Sep 2013, 15:12
  #1741 (permalink)  
 
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Some people have also asked if this accident would have been prevented if Sumburgh had a full ILS system. This question has never really been answered?

I know weather delays frustrate the bears, and I guess the pilots too, and cost the companies a lot of money, and make hotels and bars in Aberdeen a vast amount of money.

Would ILS (or the more modern alternatives MLS and upcoming Satellite systems?) be a huge benefit, and reduce delays and therefore costs and pay for themselves over time? I know we will never (hopefully) have ILS for landing offshore, but often the Shetlands are fogged in and the offshore rigs are clear?

I have landed ILS in Aberdeen on helicopters (EC225 not sure about earlier models) and it seems fine - fine for fixed wing so should be OK for helicopters? Can you land ILS with lower height for visibilty than non ILS on a chopper - I am sure you can in fixed wing?
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Old 15th Sep 2013, 15:35
  #1742 (permalink)  
 
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Learner. There is an ILS at Sumburgh but it is on R/W 27 The L2 crew flew an approach to R/W 09. I do not know why but it could be any of the following:

1. 27 was not available
2. or the ILS unserviceable.
3. Crew decided to approach to 09 due to wind direction

Current culture would imply that if the ILS 27 was flown it would likely to have been fully coupled. This is a complex supposition based on observed behaviours.
The presence of both Glideslope and Localiser seems to attract a fully coupled response in most crews.

To put this into some context, in 18 years I have spent flying IFR offshore I have actually never done a Localiser approach for real. It is an unusual occurrence.

In poor WX, such as Sumburgh that day, I personally would have ignored the wind direction as reported and opted for ILS 27, assuming of course that it was serviceable and available. The crew may not have had this option.

DB

Last edited by DOUBLE BOGEY; 15th Sep 2013 at 15:37.
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Old 15th Sep 2013, 15:47
  #1743 (permalink)  
 
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OK DB Thanks, I was not aware of ILS on r/w 27 at Sumburgh. Does Scatsta have ILS?

From what you say crew have the choice of runway in situations like this, and I realise wind direction is important for flight and landing, but in your opinion an ILS landing would have been possible unless there were other factors and r/w 27 or ILS not available.
Edited to add - the crew also have the choice of what AP level or mode to use - obviously - if flying on ILS is your decision point at a lower height or closer distance than when flying manually, as I assume from your reply most use fully coupled on ILS - but it's still their choice, or I assume the choice of the captain?

To put this into some context, in 18 years I have spent flying IFR offshore I have actually never done a Localiser approach for real. It is an unusual occurrence.
Can you explain to us non flyers what a localiser approach is? I go to wikipedia but not always the best - are you saying r/w09 has a localiser guide which can be used?

ABZ only has one runway, but not for helicopters who have the short side approaches. On murky days at ABZ, do you fly ILS in poor vis and land on the main runway regardless of wind direction? Although on murky days there is usually not that much wind.

Last edited by thelearner; 15th Sep 2013 at 16:09.
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Old 15th Sep 2013, 16:10
  #1744 (permalink)  
 
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The new Rig Approach AP mentioned for S92 also worries me (also as previous comments say S92 AP very inerior to EC225?) - the helideck is usually very close to the Derrick - I would want to be hand flown on/off the rig as we are now.
You will still be hand flown on and off the decks using the Sikorsky Automated Approach.


I would suggest the criticism of the SK Autopilot system while comparing it to the EC system is exactly the same concept as has been done by some comparing the Boeing/EC Fixed Wing automation philosophies.....just accept they are different and each have their merits and perhaps shortcomings.

The questions that keep cropping up now are very much the same that have been brought up before....and the explanation for why they remain is still the same as before.

As noted by way too many of us....it is the "Culture" of the Offshore Helicopter Business (that includes every single one of the participants...CAA, EASA, JAA, FAA, Helicopter Operators, Oil Companies, Unions, Pilots, Engineers, Insurance Companies), that is the root cause of all these issues.

Each participant has its own agenda, own Ox that gets gored whenever changes do occur and thus must be defended.

Until an agreement can be arrived at that will facilitate a truly free debate and genuine willingness to address ALL of the issues and settle upon a prioritized program of improvements, followed up by an evaluation of the various projects to determine if all the players are working together as they should....not much will change. As in the Past....we shall only see incremental change that evolves from biased decisions and not fundamental changes that we need.

We have to get away from the attitude of looking for excuses "not to do something" and embrace an attitude of seeking ways "to do" something.

A quick and simple example.....the Sikorsky Automated Approach....was immediately "Dead on Arrival" in UK waters as expressed by some. I fully understand there are very serious considerations that need to be weighed in adopting such a novel concept....but at least it should be approached with an attitude of "How can we make use of this new Technology?".

We can look back and recall the very great reluctance of the UK to embrace GPS.

Lord knows....we had that discussion all those years here at Rotorheads and just recently it has been discussed here if not in this particular thread. For sure it was at the "Bristow Photos" thread.

There have been excellent ideas for positive change presented here along with some very enlightened commentary by those in a position to see the need for improvements.
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Old 15th Sep 2013, 16:13
  #1745 (permalink)  
 
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Learner,

No ILS at Scatsta. Shell took the ESB Operation there from EGPB to save money. no doubt about this.

ILS is available on both 16 and 34 at Aberdeen. Usually the active runways the one predominantly into wind.

Crews can request another runway other than the active.

The Operating Rules for onshore landings require NS heavy helicopters to adhere to Performance Class 1.

To achieve PC1 in EC heavies we use the CAT A Performance Supplement in the Flight Manual which prohibits landings with a downwind component. The "Landing" in this context is the very last bit from 40 knots and 100 feet. The direction of the approach runway may be different from the actual "Landing" if manoeuvring space exists like a crossing runway.

The regulations permit a Commander to ignore rule(s) if he believes the safety of his crew and passengers is better served by doing so.

There are many factors in play that result in a particular runway being favoured over another and it would be grossly unfair to the L2 Crew to comment on their decision as we do not have enough information but I am sure the AAIB will be looking at this aspect along with many others.

DB

Last edited by DOUBLE BOGEY; 15th Sep 2013 at 16:15.
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Old 15th Sep 2013, 16:20
  #1746 (permalink)  
 
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SAS, sorry buddy, there are no shortcomings in the EC225/175/155 autopilot. (Provided it is used properly). They are the only systems with full flight envelope protection.

Only a matter of time until AW and Sikorsky catch up.

Anybody know if the AW189 has protections??

DB
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Old 15th Sep 2013, 16:36
  #1747 (permalink)  
 
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DB I seem to recall there was a fairly prolonged period last year (or two) when the glideslope at Aberdeen 16(?) was inop (antenna damaged by a snowplough IIRC). This was after your time on the N Sea I suspect, but means that most Abz pilots did quite a few localiser only approaches.
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Old 15th Sep 2013, 16:41
  #1748 (permalink)  
 
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DB, it may be a rare event to fly a LOC/DME approach into Aberdeen but it's something that will be done plenty by anyone operating out of Sumburgh on a regular basis.
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Old 15th Sep 2013, 16:48
  #1749 (permalink)  
 
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HC & FC80 thanks for the corrections. My EGPB based operations were before the ILSs were installed.

DB

Last edited by DOUBLE BOGEY; 15th Sep 2013 at 16:50.
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Old 15th Sep 2013, 18:12
  #1750 (permalink)  
 
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Thelearner, tks for incl me in a elite group BUT really I dont belong there. Worked 8 weeks along time ago only in the NS and worked for 1 of the operators remotely for a few years but not part of the big players at the moment.

Advantage of a smaller new offshore company, I took our proposals to change SOP's direct to top management ignoring Quality abd Safety and their audit checklists. CEO and Ops manager asked for updates from this thread and what the big boys are saying as well as started asking casual questions to our crews. Result, we snagged a aircraft for auto pilot uncommanded yaw inputs and asked different crews to do test flight without knowing situation and report status of aircraft. We identified the "I dont need the FLM or AMM checklist to decide", "dont really need it so dont know difference", "dont know how to interpret FLM instruction", "know the system and followed the correct FLM check and accordingly certified aircraft as serviceable" crews. We even got to identify a Commander who knew the system and FLM but got side tracked by his co-plt ego! We now have loads off additional sim sessions and prev sim training under investigation, aircraft hours allocated, auto pilot ground school being booked with manufacturer and human factors-in addition to CRM-training for all pilots and engineers.

Not so easy in a big organisation, but I think the process followed by the company using a nonexistant defect and test flights by different crew taught us how many variables a known can have! Aircraft was fully serviceable during the exercise.
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Old 15th Sep 2013, 18:47
  #1751 (permalink)  
 
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Advantage of a smaller new offshore company, I took our proposals to change SOP's direct to top management ignoring Quality abd Safety and their audit checklists. CEO and Ops manager asked for updates from this thread and what the big boys are saying as well as started asking casual questions to our crews.
Try that in a large, old, organization with well entrenched constituencies and see how far you get?

We have lots of very senior people who on the one hand want to push their agenda but very likely have defended their own Rice Bowl against similar challenges in the past as they worked their way up that greasy pole of management and training.

Turf Protection can be a sinister evil thing especially when done behind closed doors by a group of folks who share a secret handshake or membership in a society closed but to themselves and those they invite to participate.

Please note....I am not referring to the Free Masons, Knights of Columbus, or Salvation Army here.

But....I bet you can recognize the generic sorts of folks to whom I refer....by type, character, and ego size.

Last edited by SASless; 15th Sep 2013 at 18:48.
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Old 15th Sep 2013, 19:23
  #1752 (permalink)  
 
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thelearner

No-one's answered yr question re Localiser Approaches.
It's simply that with an ILS, you get an instrument display of the approach profile in two dimensions, Horizontal = LOCALISER; Vertical = GLIDESLOPE.

If a GLIDESLOPE (G/S) is not provided (as Sumburgh 09) or if it fails (e.g. HC's Aberdeen example) the approach is flown by following the LOCALISER, but descending according to tabulated guidance about what altitude you should be at for your distance out. So it's called a LOCALISER approach

For your purposes, will this do? I'm assuming you want to understand the general idea, not the technicalities.

Last edited by keithl; 15th Sep 2013 at 19:47.
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Old 15th Sep 2013, 20:35
  #1753 (permalink)  
 
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keithl - yes thanks for answering- explains it perfectly. I had searched and found a caa localiser approach chart for sumburgh r/w 09 - I think - but I won't pretend I could understand the chart fully - although I can see the glideslope heights which it was on at 3 miles out before things started to go wrong according to aaib report.

Edited to add - when I have had the best seat in the house (for watching and learning - not escaping!) and the curtain has been open I have watched ILS landing in Aberdeen and can see how easy it is to monitor progress against glideslope.

Last edited by thelearner; 15th Sep 2013 at 20:37.
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Old 15th Sep 2013, 22:09
  #1754 (permalink)  
 
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Some people have also asked if this accident would have been prevented if Sumburgh had a full ILS system. This question has never really been answered
Flying an ILS is the same as flying a CDFA NPA approach but with the latter having higher minima. There is vast inertia within the RW community -partly shown within this thread - about the merits of the concept. In simple terms - "people need to get out more!"

Last edited by 212man; 15th Sep 2013 at 22:10.
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Old 15th Sep 2013, 22:37
  #1755 (permalink)  
 
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212Man, it is not; an ILS gives guidance in the vertical which makes a world of difference.
Like others I am far from convinced that the CDFA NPA is as good as some think it is. I was taught the dive and drive and to me it still has its place and merit.
But I'll take an ILS everytime.
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Old 15th Sep 2013, 22:58
  #1756 (permalink)  
 
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Quick question from an ATCO: Has any form of RNAV approach with APV Baro or APV SBAS been introduced offshore or onshore for helos?

Last edited by M609; 15th Sep 2013 at 23:01.
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Old 15th Sep 2013, 23:10
  #1757 (permalink)  
 
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S76H, to clarify, I meant in a modern machine with FMS guidance to the FD/AP. not using V/S or using DME/distance calculations. I too was taught dive and drive.

M609, certainly onshore. My last operation introduced RNP0.3 LNAV/VNAV Aproaches to what had been a day VFR only heliport, just before I left.

Here's a picture on final approach - looks remarkably like an ILS

Last edited by 212man; 16th Sep 2013 at 08:14.
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Old 16th Sep 2013, 18:04
  #1758 (permalink)  
 
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From the Canadian investigation ...
On 23 July 2011, a Cougar Helicopters’ Sikorsky S-92A. After engaging the go-around mode of the automatic flight control system during the departure, the helicopter’s pitch attitude increased to approximately 23° nose-up while in instrument meteorological conditions. A rapid loss of airspeed occurred.
I'll ask this same question again, with a rhetorical sense.

Are you flying the aircraft, or is the aircraft flying you? I've had vertigo a few times over water, in the dark, IMC/night. It's no fun at all.

Consider your habit patterns, and see if you can place what you usually do, and where things go wrong, to get to where that crew ended up.

What are you doing, what are you looking at, and where are your hands and feet .. as the aircraft's pitch attitude goes up?
Once there, it's probably not productive to ask "Why did you let it go up when you know that pitch attitude isn't the one you wanted" but "How do you get this nose attitude back to the proper one, now?" (UA training, here we come ... )

For those gents, the question to answer was: how did that pitch attitude get there?

Some of the symptoms (pitch and airspeed loss) look similar to the accident under discussion in this thread. The weather was poor ... were they in the process of a GA? Hopefully, we'll find out when the report goes final. (Granted, different aircraft models and different avionics systems).

Last edited by Lonewolf_50; 16th Sep 2013 at 18:08.
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Old 16th Sep 2013, 18:25
  #1759 (permalink)  
 
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212man
Very nice approaches both of them!
I enjoyed using them during our visitations last year from down the road.
Cheers and all the best.
Albatross.
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Old 16th Sep 2013, 19:22
  #1760 (permalink)  
 
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M609, certainly onshore. My last operation introduced RNP0.3 LNAV/VNAV Aproaches to what had been a day VFR only heliport, just before I left.
I think, 212man, that it should be made clear to M609 that that "last operation" was not in Europe.

I also think your enthusiasm for CDFA doesn't take account of helicopters (or aircraft generally) which can't generate a pseudo glidepath. As you know, CDFA provides for "nominal vertical guidance", which can be no more than the standard ALT vs DME table - and therefore wouldn't have provided any extra protection to the accident we're discussing.
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