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Police helicopter crashes onto Glasgow pub

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Police helicopter crashes onto Glasgow pub

Old 22nd Feb 2014, 10:45
  #2341 (permalink)  
 
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SilsoeSid
Thanks for the excellent photos and explanations.

Mary and Henry
Military pilots wear gloves in the cockpit to help provide protection in event of damage to the aircraft or flash burns due to enemy action, bird strike, etc. Civilian pilots generally choose not to wear gloves in an enclosed cockpit.

Last edited by G0ULI; 22nd Feb 2014 at 10:54. Reason: spelling
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Old 22nd Feb 2014, 10:49
  #2342 (permalink)  

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Sycamore, sorry I don't see what you find confusing.
The prime pump and transfer pump cautions are on because in normal circumstances they should be extinguished, they bring to the pilots attention the state if the main tank switches and the prime pump switches.

Transfer pump off - warning on
Prime Pump on - warning on

Imho, your logic of having green lights on for when the Prime pumps are on (which would indicate all is well) is illogical.
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Old 22nd Feb 2014, 10:49
  #2343 (permalink)  
 
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The EC135 panel has tiny, closely-spaced switches which appear too small to operate whilst wearing gloves
Yes, maybe if your wearing ski gloves...
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Old 22nd Feb 2014, 11:00
  #2344 (permalink)  
 
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Your argument is erratic and frankly bizarre Sid.

You clearly don't understand what 'qualified' means in this sense. Are you a line blurrer? A fudger? The answer is obvious!

Ask the CAA if they consider any of the individuals you mention to have the necessary experience (never mind QUALIFICATIONS!!) to be a licensed crew member on a police EC135!

In case you didn't know. Cabin crew don't have 'licences' either. Just like your TFOs!

As far as your licensing authority is concerned, it's all down to you. Stop trying to pretend otherwise.
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Old 22nd Feb 2014, 11:07
  #2345 (permalink)  

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Tr,
I take it the G-DPPH incident you refer to is this one?
http://www.aaib.gov.uk/cms_resources...pdf_508162.pdf

I can see how you find linking a page so complicated


In your post 2290 you had a go at someone referring to an incident in 1998, now you are referring to an incident in 2001, hey ho!

You can google the AAIB report and see how the AAIB regards TFOs, and how the pilot explained the situation to them.
I can see why you didn't want to link to the report, as it doesn't mention anything about the TFO's, apart from banging their heads when exiting!
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Old 22nd Feb 2014, 11:43
  #2346 (permalink)  

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Tr;

Your argument is erratic and frankly bizarre Sid.

You clearly don't understand what 'qualified' means in this sense. Are you a line blurrer? A fudger? The answer is obvious!

Ask the CAA if they consider any of the individuals you mention to have the necessary experience (never mind QUALIFICATIONS!!) to be a licensed crew member on a police EC135!

In case you didn't know. Cabin crew don't have 'licences' either. Just like your TFOs!

As far as your licensing authority is concerned, it's all down to you. Stop trying to pretend otherwise.
Hold on, you said "But they have absolutely no aviation qualification whatsoever."

Disregarding the individual licences aviation qualifications that I mentioned earlier, I think you'll find that police observers are indeed 'qualified'. If you don't think this is the case, please tell us your definition.

Here's something from the CAA that you may be interested in, that's online and I can refer you to;
http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP612.PDF

If you think that Police Observers/TFO's are really just passengers, I strongly suggest that you read part D.
Seems a lot of CAA boxes to tick if they are just a pax!
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Old 22nd Feb 2014, 12:17
  #2347 (permalink)  
 
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Vendee

Were the other crew members qualified to comment? Would a police observer question the actions of a very experienced pilot?
It's not often that one has the opportunity to agree with both Sid and TR but my take on your question is:

Were the other crew members qualified to comment?
No, because there is no requirement for them to be trained or examined in aircraft systems. However, I haven't yet met a training officer who would allow a TFO to continue flying if they didn't understand enough to at least make an educated comment and assist with emergencies.

Would a police observer question the actions of a very experienced pilot?
Yes, simple as that. It is not a world which is full of shrinking violets or those who would rather crash than ask a difficult question.

TR, your incessant harping on about "fudging" and "blurring" is dull, boring and unnecessary. We all know that TFOs are officially pax and most of us know the reasons why. We all know that the aircraft commander is the aircraft commander, that's how he or she got the title. Most of us know that none of this means that they are mute passengers who would never question or comment on the appearance of warnings, cautions or other unusual indications.

I don't know the three on board that night and I don't know what happened beyond what the AAIB have reported but I do know that I have never met an observer who would not have raised questions if all of the usual indications for the situation they found themselves in were indeed present. I also know that I've never met a pilot who was so arrogant and unprofessional that he or she didn't welcome reasoned and reasonable questions, assistance and input. I don't think we've met.
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Old 22nd Feb 2014, 12:19
  #2348 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by SilsoeSid
Here's something from the CAA that you may be interested in, that's online and I can refer you to;
http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP612.PDF

If you think that Police Observers/TFO's are really just passengers, I strongly suggest that you read part D.
Seems a lot of CAA boxes to tick if they are just a pax!
That seems to refer to requirements relating to role training and emergency procedures, which you would expect. Surely an observer would require some form of type training if they were to be in a position to advise or inform the captain?

I've been an aircraft technician for 38 years, mainly fixed wing but rotary wing for the past 4 years. I know my aircraft quite well but if I were flying with one of our pilots (all test pilots), I'm not sure I'd be questioning him. If I did, it would have to be in the form of "I didn't know that caption should be lit" rather than "are you sure that caption should be lit?".
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Old 22nd Feb 2014, 12:34
  #2349 (permalink)  
 
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Vendee

Aircraft technician and TFO are very different jobs, I'm sure you'll agree. The majority of TFOs I've known would not be shy about commenting directly on anything which was outside normal operations or which they knew to be outside SOP.

Though Sid's link is a little out of date it does list the responsibilities of a training officer, which include:

a) Preparation of a course of ground and flying training for each aircraft type.
b) Line and Area/Role/Route Competency Check (Observer);
c) Emergency and Survival Procedures Check (Observer);
d) role equipment training;

Which indicates to me at least that the three most important areas of training and competency for a TFO, before operating role equipment, are training for each aircraft type (not really necessary if you're simply a pax); line checks as part of a team of three and emergency procedures.

I could never have done your job as an aircraft technician but occasionally flying with a test pilot and flying day after day, night after night as part of a team mean that your professional relationship is entirely different and means that most TFOs would, like you, not ask "are you sure that caption should be lit?" but, nor would they say "I didn't know that caption should be lit"; it's far more likely that they'd point out the caption, ask if the captain required the emergency checklist and then ask, as appropriate, what that meant and what the captain intended to do about it.
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Old 22nd Feb 2014, 13:12
  #2350 (permalink)  
 
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From only 400 feet.

Sid, Tandemrotor's post reads
Now, we have no idea yet what the precise situation was here, and we won't for some time. But if anyone wishes to understand how a police helicopter's fuel system can be mishandled to cause a double engine failure and autorotation, then there is an example from Christmas Day 2001 involving G-DPPH. You can google the AAIB report and see how the AAIB regards TFOs, and how the pilot explained the situation to them.
I see it has been edited. I don't know what it originally said, but the way I read what's there now, is that he is suggesting, either, how Nick explained it to the AAIB or to the TFOs on board.

I do take issue with TR's suggestion that the fuel system, was mishandled on DPPH. The manual was clear, and wrong, insofar as it did not contain, on the same page, a warning about consequences of suggested actions. The fact that it was changed later supports the idea that it should never have been released the way it was. The engineers made a reasonable request for the tank to be near empty, all on board thought they had enough useable fuel to get back to Carmarthen, turns out they had plenty of fuel, just in the wrong place.


A greater lesson from that AAIB report is that the aircraft lost all power, at 400 feet, and they all walked away from it.



All this focus on fuel pumps re the Glasgow crash is just background noise. They didn't crash because they ran out of fuel, that's just (apparently) what stopped the engines.


The pilot estimated that the total flight time would be 30 minutes and with an hourly fuel burn rate for planning purposes of 200 kg, the 190 kg of fuel remaining was adequate. Flight time to the site was 18 minutes and the helicopter departed the site for the hospital with 143 kg remaining arriving 6 minutes later. Having shut down and offloaded the patient, the aircraft lifted off with 115 kg of fuel for the 10 minute flight back to the operating base. Given the caution of increased unusable fuel of 20 kg contained on page 43 of the Emergency Checklist, and the estimated fuel required of 40 kg for the short transit back to base, the pilot considered that adequate fuel was available.

Shortly after departing the hospital, the aircraft encountered a line of heavy snow showers across the track to the operating base. The pilot established that the snow had passed over their destination, which was reported as being in sunshine. He explained to the two passengers that 96 kg of fuel remained which he calculated was enough for 30 minutes of flight at reduced power. Their base at that point was about four minutes flight away at the normal cruise speed of 130 KIAS. The pilot informed his passengers that he intended to fly through the band of snow provided that adequate visibility could be maintained.


He descended the aircraft to a height of 400 feet agl and reduced the airspeed to 80 KIAS in order to retain good visual contact with his main reference feature, which was a dual carriageway. After the aircraft entered the snow shower, the FUEL PUMP 2 caption on the EDU began to flicker and then remained on. The pilot considered that the No 2 fuel booster pump had also failed and informed the passengers that they would continue the short distance to the operating base. He explained that the engine driven pumps had sufficient suction to draw fuel from the tanks and thereby maintain an adequate fuel supply to the engines. A few seconds later both engines ran down and the rotor RPM decayed. The pilot realised he had suffered a double engine failure and lowered the collective pitch lever in order to try and restore the rotor RPM. He warned the passengers that they would make an emergency landing and saw a clear field ahead, selected the landing gear down and started to transmit a MAYDAY distress call. Near the ground he flared the aircraft and raised the collective pitch lever in order to cushion the touchdown but this appeared to have little effect. The aircraft landed heavily with low forward speed but with a high rate of descent. It remained upright, the tail boom having detached and the main and tail rotor blades suffered major damage.

The pilot had transmitted a brief MAYDAY distress call which was received by London Flight Information Service who notified the Aeronautical Rescue Co-ordination Centre (ARCC). The Air Observer in the aft cabin seated at the operators console also transmitted on the operational radio frequency that the aircraft was going down at Cross Hands. That message was received by the control room operator, who activated the Emergency Services response to that location. After landing, all three occupants vacated the helicopter through the normal exits and the pilot contacted the control room by mobile telephone to inform them that they were safe. The emergency services arrived at the scene 12 minutes after the accident.
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Old 22nd Feb 2014, 13:12
  #2351 (permalink)  
 
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Nail,

From 1,000 feet.....in autorotation....how many attempts are you going to make at starting either or both engines before you start looking for landing spots in the dark over an urban area?

Sit back a moment and think about the various options one has when the second engine flames out very shortly after the first one.

Now tell me which one of those Options you would logically think would be the most attractive one?

Attempt to restart and Engine or start looking for a landing spot?
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Old 22nd Feb 2014, 14:54
  #2352 (permalink)  
 
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Just read all the posts since I last posted, very useful pics/vids from Sid, if he manages to post some of the fuel cautions with the CAD off-line I think some of you who have outright condemned Dave will start to think again as to what Dave may have been working with. I remain open minded until the Final complete AAIB report is published.

Whatever you take from the interim report, please remember that the AAIB and manufacturers are still investigating at least one display related fault. I have flown this model of 135 without the CAD, VEMDs and even ND and all pilots are routinely tested on their knowledge of system and display failures and how to manage what is left.

It might also be the time to point out that I know of at least one aircraft (EC135T2) that suffered a double Red fuel low warning failure. Only unmasked when the pilot was asked by the engineers to run the fuel down to minimum for a tank inspection, and the warnings never came on!

Some wanted to know about gloves. They are issued (RAF kid-skin white or green Flying gloves). All police crew have them and most directly employed pilots, many TFOs choose not to wear them as camera laptop controls and other role kit such as camera data cards is really fiddly but they do have them to hand in case of the need to fight cockpit fire etc. During my time on helicopters for Army and Police I wore them, the only time I didn't was flying R22 in training and a short period of corporate on AS355. Must admit it felt more odd not to wear them (that goes for the helmet too). In my opinion they don't interfere with identification and operation of the switches.
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Old 22nd Feb 2014, 15:13
  #2353 (permalink)  
 
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One set of pumps being on is unusual, one set being off is unusual. That's why the amber shows for prime on, and main off.

It's the unusual status that's shown in amber - some pumps are usually on, some usually off.

Even if the sense of warnings seems illogical, it can become familiar and be acted on in the correct way.

With at most 1000 feet to play with, and no power, at 100kt (50m/s), what is the maximum time to the ground? Assuming 500kW is needed to maintain level flight at that speed, that's going to come from the descent of a 2500kg aircraft at 20m/s, or from bleeding the forward speed off over 8s. It takes about 10s to cover 1000 feet at that 20m/s.

Time was not of the essence.

It's certainly possible that the prime pumps were turned on in the descent, but I suspect a landing site was the first thing on the crew's mind.
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Old 22nd Feb 2014, 15:20
  #2354 (permalink)  
 
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As for the Re-start in flight

If you've just lost the engine due to lack of fuel and you KNOW the other is about to quit for the SAME reason I suggest attempting re-starting is wasting time, there simply isn't any fuel to re-start with. Time better spent preparing for the inevitable EOL. If in this case Dave DIDN'T know the loss of the engine was due to Fuel and therefore didn't expect the second one to go it might well point to a very confusing and perhaps missing series of displayed warnings.

I know that those that don't do this job find it really hard to understand the modern pilot/TFO relationship and I wont try to convince you how it works in practice. I would just say that if you can't accept what is being said on the subject by those who do it, the same way as some just won't read the report, you are closing off a valuable part of your ability to comprehend why Dave apparently let a fully serviceable aircraft fall from the sky. Or Didn't....
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Old 22nd Feb 2014, 17:58
  #2355 (permalink)  
 
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Henry

I'm just not sure what was 'obvious' on that flight, we're all busy trying to overlay our collective knowledge of systems, operations, and aviation good practice (airmanship) on to what is a very perplexing event. I do agree that if there was sufficient doubt about the accuracy of the fuel contents at Dalkieth the 'obvious' thing to do would be RTB and call the engineers from the comfort of the office. That makes me think there was nothing displayed that was obviously abnormal to the crew until it was too late.

There is some fact amongst all of this, the 4 switched fuel pumps were not in the correct operating positions for 'normal' flight (IF the final fuel contents were displayed accurately in the cockpit). The aircraft had been airborne for a period of time about equal to it's legal fuel endurance, so displays and warnings aside it should have been on the ground or in the final stages of legal flight at the time of the impact (and to be fair it was only 1.5 miles from base so might well have been on the ground with legal indications of MLA as far as the crew were concerned). With each unit having a specific standard fuel load, in this case 400kg, you don't need to do too many shifts to know how long you can remain airborne and when it's becoming a little tight but still legal.

My opinion is that the handling of the aircraft in those final minutes will remain a mystery, there just isn't the evidence to sort out a logical chain of events (perhaps this accident will force some form of data/voice recording for the future). Radar trace, lack of emergency calls, eyewitness descriptions just don't paint the full picture to enable even the most experienced on here to say with certaincy how it unfolded.
I still think the crucial evidence of how things got to those tragic last few minutes is yet to be tested, ie...what were the displays indicating? were there any known faults in the tech log, had the aircraft recently had faults and rectification, did the pilot shift handover highlight any non urgent 'snags'?. For instance it's quite legal to dispatch with many parts of the aircraft in an unserviceable state, such as one transfer pump, one landing light, one screen out (Literally on one occasion while it was away for repair..... very odd scanning a large area of black masking tape out of habit!). That said, the report indicates the aircraft was fully serviceable at dispatch.

I think there will come a time on this thread that we will all have to accept that we just don't know, due to the lack of recording of data and voice.
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Old 22nd Feb 2014, 19:01
  #2356 (permalink)  
 
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Apologies if I have missed it being posted already but, in the event that the CAD screen fails, all of the information and cautions are still available on a second page via the scroll key of the VEMD - it is up to the pilot to determine which is the priority view.
Yes, I do wear gloves whilst flying - all the flight controls are metal. Leather/nomex in Summer and all leather with silk inners in Winter.
A lot of confusing Amber text? No - when all is well, there is no Amber text. During flight under "normal" conditions I would only expect to see green "Landing Light" if the nose light is on, "Bleed Air" if the heating is on and, on the newer versions "Pitot Htr".
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Old 22nd Feb 2014, 20:09
  #2357 (permalink)  
 
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SS, to me that display of `Prime on,transfer OFF` is confusing in relation to the fuel system as the fuel system is showing opposed selections ,in the same colour /format.Since the prime pumps are only used to start,they should go `green`,then out when `off`. Likewise,the transfer pumps,green when `on`,amber when failed/not immersed/out when `off`.Otherwise it is `Illogical Captain`(Spock).....
Sycamore, the colour of the caption relates to the urgency of the response. Red captions require an IMMEDIATE response, yellow/amber ones, you can have a think and a chat about what to do next.
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Old 22nd Feb 2014, 20:45
  #2358 (permalink)  
 
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@catch21

...you would be expecting it.
Interesting point. With 400kg of fuel on board, an expected flight duration of 1hr 30mins and a last transmission 3 mins beyond your expected flight time, sounds rather like you would be acting expiditiously to the extreme!
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Old 22nd Feb 2014, 23:41
  #2359 (permalink)  

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A couple of vids

1. In this vid, you can see all the CAD cautions for the configuration, transfer pumps off and prime pumps on. When the CAD is switched off, you get the CAD DEGR caution and Master Caution.

You have no indication of the transfer or prime pump cautions and also no fuel indication.



2. In this video, you can see the CAD showing all normal, with the transfer pumps off. The CAD is then switched off, and the CAD DEGR caution and master caution illuminate. With the caution acknowledged and CAD off, the Prime pumps are then switched on.

The prime pumps are switched on at 8 seconds and you will notice that there is no prime pump caution, no master caution and with all the fuel pumps in the wrong position there is no indication of anything being wrong.




Perhaps the pilot knew the system well enough, and given a CAD failure knew that the only indication any fuel state they would now be getting would be the '10 minutes to land' LOW FUEL Warning. With no Red warnings so far, getting back to base may have been seen as viable. After all, it is within the departing fuel endurance, there was still more than 10 mins of fuel in the ac, albeit in the wrong tank, and if you're expecting a 10 minute warning that hasn't appeared yet, surely you believe that have enough fuel remaining.

With this in mind, 4 minutes before the engines flamed out, the ac was in contact with ATC which would indicate that at least 6 minutes before this the Red Warnings were on, yet nothing was mentioned

Last edited by SilsoeSid; 23rd Feb 2014 at 19:23. Reason: Audio reference removed
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Old 23rd Feb 2014, 00:44
  #2360 (permalink)  
 
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horses for courses...

SS - Good post

and this is 'simplicity' ? NOT

Murphy Works well in the fertile ground of (uneccessary) complexity.

Simplex has reliability and good margins, Duplex has Accountability and Redundancy.


Whatever turns out to have happened, if determined, we can surley say the pilot did not have an accurate picture conveyed to him, for some reason - otherwise he would not have crashed.
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