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AS332L2 Ditching off Shetland: 23rd August 2013

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AS332L2 Ditching off Shetland: 23rd August 2013

Old 19th Oct 2013, 19:16
  #1941 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2004
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Originally Posted by turboshaft View Post
So are they going to be renaming that Facebook page to "Destroy the pilot's"?

Possibly, but no point because the poor guys will already be destroyed.
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Old 19th Oct 2013, 19:34
  #1942 (permalink)  
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Indeed. And, let me emphasize, no disrespect intended.
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Old 20th Oct 2013, 06:33
  #1943 (permalink)  
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HC - your post #1945

' Of course its not "required" to have your own sim, but when you do, to sell it is a big backwards step that says a lot to an outsider about your attitudes. '

I think your statement reflects more on your attitude as an old school pilot trying to manage a global company and not a new broom manager trying to move the industry on from old habits?!
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Old 20th Oct 2013, 08:44
  #1944 (permalink)  
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I don't agree tis tis, the problem with the industry these days is that its all run by bean counters. There needs to be a few more "helicopter" people in management, not just those intent on cutting costs.

You won't achieve safety from a spreadsheet of calculations, sometimes, you have to have been there and done it.
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Old 20th Oct 2013, 10:07
  #1945 (permalink)  
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Unfortunately I don't think there is that much more to it than meets the eye. My supposition is that Copilot was looking out. Captain was looking out too because he wanted to get in and was aware of the lack of copilot's experience, and no-one was looking at the instruments properly (they were looking at the altitude, but not the airspeed).
If this turns out to be true, then the Captain should never have left the ground. If a Captain does not have 100% faith in the co-pilots ability to do his job there is no point in flying with him? Is this the root cause - lack of experienced pilots?

I agree the 2 crew will be destroyed - they did not deliberately or wilfully crash this helicopter, and it is vital we get to the root causes. I don't think the offshore workforce will be blaming the pilots, unless like everything else in life a tiny minority may. It was a minority who started the other page as well, and most of the posters had probably never been in a helicopter.

However, this report will do nothing but increase the anxiety of those who are nervous helicopter travellers. All that seems to have changed so far is change of procedures (which hopefully will be a big step forward? - although you don't all seem to agree) and Sumburgh have to improve sea rescue capability.
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Old 20th Oct 2013, 10:33
  #1946 (permalink)  
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I can't believe I'm reading your last post - maybe it's time you reconsidered your career. You're not really going to tell me that an ATPL/CPL needs to be warned that low collective settings can result in excessive rates of descent when the AFCS is coupled to VS are you?? If so you just should not be flying - your understanding of basic physics, let alone absorption of training, is simply inadequate.
Sorry rotorspeed I didn't say that. I said an ATPL/CPL needs to be warned that a basic 3-axis AP in ALT/VS with depart controlled flight due to loss of AIRSPEED if the collective is lowered (and held too long). Not as intuitive. Let me guess - you have never tried it - it is extremely subtle until it suddenly goes. And no, I haven't just mucked about while flying, it was done under controlled conditions to see what happened. Let's be honest flying with collective for speed is not intuitive.

I do think dumb 3-axis autopilots (not latest EC in EC135 for example) are more dangerous than they are worth - I'll say it again, an AP shouldn't be able to take the aircraft into a dangerous flight condition, certainly not on Public Transport. GM
Old 20th Oct 2013, 11:07
  #1947 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2013
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I have some experience on the Bombardier CRJ-900 (as well as a few thousand hrs on the L2). Our CRJs do not have auto-throttles, so the approach is 3-axis. The crew have to mind the airspeed.

Do you think this is dangerous?

Last edited by Jimmy 16; 20th Oct 2013 at 11:25.
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Old 20th Oct 2013, 11:11
  #1948 (permalink)  
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If a Captain does not have 100% faith in the co-pilots ability to do his job there is no point in flying with him? Is this the root cause - lack of experienced pilots?
I am afraid then when you are recruiting pilots with 200hrs TT this is inevitable to a degree. The knock on effect lasts for years. You end up with silent deviations in SOPs because for whatever reason the captain does not fully trust the copilot until he has been in the company for several years. This in itself is no bad thing, but the recurrent training and SOPs ought to reflect this. Complacency as we know is always one of our biggest enemies, but close behind him is lack of confidence in our peers and SOPs. Perhaps the discussion on Captains monitored approaches should be looked at again in certain conditions?
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Old 20th Oct 2013, 11:38
  #1949 (permalink)  
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I have to believe that the pilots office at EC is into this 100% and can assist. Just guessing, but would not be surprised if they took the VRS sedative with some skepticism as well
Exactly, and I think even referring to it is unhelpful. A fixed power with an exponetially increasing power demand results in an exponetial increase in rate of descent.

HC, I can't see on the FDR trace the key for the discrete that runs accross the top of the plot - any idea what it is? Also, I'm puzled by the DME trace shape - is it a function of low sampling rate? Surely it would otherwise be a straight line?

I see, also, that the selected V/S trace drops off at about 40 KIAS, is that the AFCS being decoupled automatically? (The S92 does at 50 KIAS and below, for non-radalt modes)
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Old 20th Oct 2013, 12:16
  #1950 (permalink)  
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212, good spot but I too can't see what that discrete is. I don't think its worth trying to guess.

The DME is only recorded to the mile, not decimals of a mile, hence it changing in steps of 1 mile. So its a resolution issue rather than a sample rate issue.

On the VS trace, I can only guess you are right and (not having been involved in the L2 for 7 years) I can't remember how the AFCS behaves once you go below the min speed for a mode. On the L, it remains engaged. On the 225 it drops out (though the vertical modes all work down to zero kts). Not sure about the L2.
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Old 20th Oct 2013, 15:18
  #1951 (permalink)  
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industry_insider post #1959

I understand from where you are coming ...... but surely beancounters have not stifled our policy or procedures on how to maintain control of the aircraft?
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Old 20th Oct 2013, 16:59
  #1952 (permalink)  
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I have some experience on the Bombardier CRJ-900 (as well as a few thousand hrs on the L2). Our CRJs do not have auto-throttles, so the approach is 3-axis. The crew have to mind the airspeed.

Do you think this is dangerous?
Throttles = speed, so no I don't. It's dangerous when you are swapping axes (collective = speed) and an engaged mode will fly you into danger. If you haven't got autothrottles it cannot. You now there is no AFCS controlling speed so you are active hands on controlling it. In the case I mention, you have a mode engaged which is controlling what is normally the collective's job and if you put the collective in the wrong place, you reach a point where you lose control. In your CRJ, you leave the throttles at the back and:

a. You get a stall warner - pretty sure there isn't a vortex ring warner!

b. You are used to firewalling the throttle if it goes wrong and hopefully it drags you out. In a helicopter you pull in power, it makes it worse.

So no, in a CRJ, not dangerous.

Last edited by GipsyMagpie; 20th Oct 2013 at 17:00.
Old 20th Oct 2013, 17:09
  #1953 (permalink)  
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GM you raise a valid point about stall warners etc. I have previously said to EC that despite the wonders of the 225 autopilot, there are only visual clues when a failure occurs that causes a mode to drop out or otherwise require pilot intervention. For a visual warning to work, you have to be looking at it. IMO there should be an aural warning of some sort (not too "in your face") when a mode degrades, drops out or when the heli goes out of the flight conditions within which the mode is allowed, just to make you look in the right place. It wouldn't seem too hard to implement even as a retrofit.

It's the very fact that such failures virtually never occur on the 225 that makes it all the more necessary.

Last edited by HeliComparator; 20th Oct 2013 at 17:10.
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Old 20th Oct 2013, 19:50
  #1954 (permalink)  
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The S92 shouts "Decouple" whenever a mode is deselected - intentionally or otherwise.
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Old 20th Oct 2013, 22:04
  #1955 (permalink)  
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You can argue until the cows come home but the buck stops with the two guys up front.

It appears no one wants to point the finger of blame but in my book they were paid to transport workers off an oil rig to home and messed up badly.

They have not had the decency to speak about this disaster in public because in my opinion they only care about the outcome.

I would have a lot more respect if they had faced the public from day one.

As for defending them by saying they'll never fly again what about the four passengers who lost their lives. I'd rather be alive sans career than dead in the icy waters off Shetland.

I sometimes despair when I read reams of rubbish defending pilots who make big mistakes.

The Air France threads are a classic example.

Four people who depended on this company,helicopter and crew lost their
lives but the families are having to cope with the grief of the loved ones they will never see again.

Last edited by Ye Olde Pilot; 20th Oct 2013 at 22:09.
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Old 20th Oct 2013, 22:35
  #1956 (permalink)  
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Too much Ye Old Pilot. Do come back on frequency.

The pilots were almost certainly not authorised to speak about the accident and will have had to reconstruct what went wrong both for themselves and the AAIB.

That comments reflect a colleagial empathy is absolutely understandable. That shouldn't be confused with making excuses or giving a higher priority to the pilots' needs than of those who lost their lives. It is a tragedy for many people in many ways.

If you really think blame is what is needed here then you are part of the problem, not the solution.

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Old 20th Oct 2013, 22:59
  #1957 (permalink)  
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Ye Olde Pilot.

There aren't sufficient printable words in the language to describe how despicable you seem and the contempt with which most of us regard you. You insist on making your reprehensible analyses repeatedly, with no attempt to see the wider situatuon.

In Dickensian times you would have been best suited as a hanging judge, of the kind who ordered transportation to the colonies for minor crimes, using the flimsiest of evidence.

I very much doubt that you've ever been part of a multi-engined North Sea helicopter crew, or if you have then you're likely one of those for whom CRM was invented to root out your pernicious brand of unpleasantness.

How glad we are to have seen the back of your ilk on the North Sea!
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Old 21st Oct 2013, 00:31
  #1958 (permalink)  
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It is far too simplistic for anyone to say – “The solution is…….”. In reality, as humans make autopilot systems more reliable, then the human monitoring of those systems will become more frail.

If your autopilot fails to perform as you expect it to perform once every flight, then you monitor it as if your life depends on it; however, if your autopilot fails to perform as you expect it to perform once in a lifetime, then you monitor it as if you depend on it!

I don’t for a second suggest that advanced autopilots are not the way of the future but I do suggest that we still ask the wrong questions and we still don’t have the right answers.

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Old 21st Oct 2013, 03:23
  #1959 (permalink)  
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On 5 November 2006 an AS332L2 operating offshore Malaysia crashed into the sea during an ARA, with one fatality (the captain). At the time there was information to suggest that the crew were not aware that some AP modes had disengaged due to the reducing airspeed.
What a terrible shame it is that the full findings of the accident report were not made public. If the Malaysian DCA published accident reports in the interest of aviation safety, as the AAIB do, lives could quite possibly have been saved.

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Old 21st Oct 2013, 09:48
  #1960 (permalink)  
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Gypsie Magpie - not getting any better I'm afraid. I remain staggered that you think there are ATPLs/CPLs out there that really do not know that if you reduce the collective sufficiently when coupled on ALT or VS on a 3 axis AFCS that the set ALT or VS may not be maintained. Seriously scary. And obviously that did include you. If that's the case then pilots either need better training to cover this right now - or perhaps just be brighter. As I said before, this is basic physics, and there will be umpteen other flight scenarios that require a fundamental understanding of what keeps the things in the air, and the right way up. And yes, I have tried it.

The fact is 3 axis AFCSs are considered safe systems by the the regulators for coupled IMC approaches with one pilot, let alone two, and I can't see that changing for a long time, so any vulnerability must be addressed by pilot training and competency.

Ye Olde Pilot may have put it harshly, but I think our industry would look better from the outside if there was a greater willingness from some to accept basic responsibility when mistakes are made - in this case surely by the pilots. It's understandable that in the close knit pilot community people feel defensive of their colleagues - but are those seeking to attribute responsibility to corporate approach/training/aircraft systems going to be as ready to do so when a relative of theirs gets killed by a coach driver on the public roads that loses concentration? I suspect not.

YOP I think however you're wrong to slam the pilots for not talking so far. I bet in some ways they'd love to, to help them share their angst and try and move on. But the legal implications just mean they can't. The situation is obviously very serious for them. When the time is right I suspect they will provide very candid views.

I am quite sure that following this accident a lot of us doing IMC approaches are focussed that bit more on proper scans and parameter monitoring, and that flying will be the safer for it. As has been said before, PPRuNe does a great job publicising incidents and sparking debate about causes, and definitely benefits flight safety. And He1aviator - quite right, disclosure of mistakes by others is the best learning tool.
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