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Police helicopter crashes onto Glasgow pub

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Police helicopter crashes onto Glasgow pub

Old 5th Dec 2013, 12:41
  #621 (permalink)  
 
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SS, firstly you are correct, I meant Special Bulletins. However, let me phrase it another way (I really don't want to get into a slanging match, this is merely a differing view).

If there had been a catastrophic technical failure one would have thought that the broadest aspects of such a failure might have been identified by now and many would be expecting to hear about various ADs, SBs etc. We haven't seen any of these yet which leads to the presumption that there either wasn't a catastrophic failure or it hasn't been found yet. Considering the high profile nature of this particular aircraft type (Police, ambulance etc), it isn't unreasonable to think that that things such as gearboxes would have been stripped by now. If we are sat here in another week with the same level of information then there are obviously some difficult aspects for the AAIB to get their heads around.

Maybe we are all guilty of jumping the gun.

PS. I flew with Swampy in '91.
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Old 5th Dec 2013, 12:49
  #622 (permalink)  
 
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TC, Yellowbird,

Your pleas for restraint are admirable, but it would help even more if certain posters were less arrogant in presenting their guesses as facts when very few people, if any, know all the facts of this sad case. Recent examples on this thread include:

Birds don't fly at night becaues they can't see becuase their eyes are small

120 people in a noisy pub can provide useful information as to what state the engines were in just before impact.

Given how few facts are known, it's inevitable that some people will react impatiently when others come on here spouting $hite as if it's gospel. And no, I'm not saying it was or wasn't a birdstrike, I really don't know.
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Old 5th Dec 2013, 12:52
  #623 (permalink)  
 
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Forty Odd

I understand that the job of the police helicopter units is a demanding operational role governed by rules which are strictly obeyed. Most of us appreciate the work you do greatly. I think that I would enjoy doing the job myself.

You imply that I think there is a level of 'cowboy' behaviour going on here. Quite the opposite but it is difficult to apply a safety standard to heavy mechanical objects flying over built up, densely populated areas. Any pilot should feel uneasy about doing this and will constantly be thinking about escape routes.

I am not familiar with your particular rule book but I would lay money on it being changed to some extent after this event if only as a knee jerk reaction.

As for my 'anything goes' comment.. I would also put money on there being a caveat somewhere near the beginning of the rule book which absolves crews of some responsibility if they act in good faith and in the best interests of the service and public safety etc.. Tell me it's not true!

Keep up the good work.
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Old 5th Dec 2013, 13:13
  #624 (permalink)  
 
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Wetbulb's post #81 on 30 November

Originally Posted by Wetbulb View Post
For what it's worth (and this may of course not be accurate), one of the police on site this morning told me that prior to the accident, the 135 had been heading east along the river, rather than west on an approach to the pad.
Originally Posted by Agaricus bisporus View Post
As I have stated before we were told the aircraft was transiting from a job back to base .............
Originally Posted by ChippyChop View Post
Enroute back to base in cruise, both engines stopped running most likely as they were starved of fuel, for whatever reason.........
AgarB and Chippy - where are you getting your information from that it was travelling west back to base? Just interested to know.

Originally Posted by TorqueOfTheDevil View Post
Birds don't fly at night becaues they can't see becuase their eyes are small
Better tell that to the geese that fly noisily over my house at night!
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Old 5th Dec 2013, 13:23
  #625 (permalink)  
 
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Cows and others,

Perhaps as the aircraft removal took a few days as did the search for casualties....the AAIB was delayed in doing their preliminary investigation.....thus the first Preliminary Report will take a bit longer than normal.

If the wreckage had been in an open field, there had been some radio transmissions indicating the general nature of the problem, or a CVR or other recording device retrievable that would have shed some light on the situation....the Preliminary Report would be done already.

None of that was the case here.

The absence of any other communication....AD, SB, etc....is no indication of the status of the AAIB Investigation or their state of mind as to what caused the Crash.

The mere fact the aircraft was inside a Structure thus complicating the rescue/recovery efforts by Emergency Services work is significant both in delay but also that it added "damage" to the aircraft that has to be accounted for along with figuring out what was actual crash damage and quite possibly what was damage incurred prior to contact with the Structure.

This is going to be a very difficult investigation for many reasons.

it will take time....possibly quite some time.
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Old 5th Dec 2013, 14:07
  #626 (permalink)  
 
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Conflicting Testimony

There are a couple of reports from witnesses inside the pub that do not ring true with the crash evidence. They report seeing the ceiling buckling from within and then shortly thereafter something that caused an 'explosion-like' effect within the pub reducing visibility in dust and rubble. This would suggest a semi-controlled landing on the roof followed by the relatively great weight of the aircraft collapsing the roof onto the revellers below... all in relatively slow time.

However, all 3 crew were killed, which does not fit with that description. When helos suffer close-to-ground mishaps they impact at a relatively low ROD and the crash is survivable UNLESS....

1. Damaged rotor blades enter the cabin
2. Wreckage enters the cabin
3. A post crash fire overtakes the opportunity to egress

We are told that all wreckage was confined to the immediate crash site. The damage evident to the airframe appears consistent with about 30deg nose down at high ROD, so high so as to make the impact non-survivable for the crew. I believe that 2 crew face forward and the other is in-rear.... It would be highly unlikely that ALL 3 would perish in a low ROD crash.

There was seemingly no post-crash fire which always raises the suspicion of fuel exhaustion, however we are told that they were RTB at the end of a long(ish) task so we would expect the fuel level to be low. To conduct a night, constant-attitude EOL, into what looks like a dark, vacant lot at night is plausible. Personally I might have chosen the large, flat, well-lit traffic intersection that it faces only 20/30 metres away. Certainly the aircraft did not run-on at 35~40 knots after touchdown... In fact it seems to have had no forward speed at all as the impact footprint in the pub roof matches the footprint of the helicopter.



If an aircraft in forward flight suddenly plummets for some mechanical reason then it retains most of it's horizontal velocity until it reaches the ground. We see no evidence of that at the crash site. There is no peripheral damage to the relatively fragile pub roof that might witness horizontal velocity.

Perhaps the aircraft was close to the hover at operating height? Vortex-ring is a possibility but this pilot's stock-in-trade was low-IAS urban surveillance from 1000-1500' at night. In any case the height would permit some attempt at VR recovery which of course requires forward IAS...which is not witnessed.... so it would seem very unlikely.

From the above one might deduce that the helo suffered a catastrophic mechanical failure at low/no IAS at height such that the pilot had no further control over the aircraft. The crash site was not one of his choosing and the crash was not survivable. It would have been over in an instant and those who perished both crew and pub-goers would not have known much about it at all. That, at least, should be of some comfort to those they leave behind.
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Old 5th Dec 2013, 14:11
  #627 (permalink)  
 
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ChippyChop,

Did I miss something? Has it been suggested that the 'other' hole in the roof was caused by the tail impacting and breaking off?
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Old 5th Dec 2013, 14:40
  #628 (permalink)  
 
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In the photo posted above by Magplug, what is that mounted next to the front door of the pub?

Is that a flag pole (the grey vertical line in the photo) seemingly very close to the entry hole the 135 made in the roof?

Speculation of course, but would you not expect the blades to hit it, unless the distance is much further between the flag pole and the damage on the roof than it looks in the photo.
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Old 5th Dec 2013, 14:59
  #629 (permalink)  
 
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How can you derive anything from guesses without facts?
We may as well be discussing fairies, gnomes and ghosts
Great fantasy, but hardly a proffesional discussion for aviators!
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Old 5th Dec 2013, 15:09
  #630 (permalink)  
 
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Nooby

It's a street lamp. Anyone concluding that the rotor blades were not turning prior to landing, simply because this shows no sign of damage, would be making a HUGE assumption!

Which of course would make one eminently qualified to comment on this very sad thread!

A fair few posters on here are likely to look like total nobs when we learn more about this accident!
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Old 5th Dec 2013, 15:34
  #631 (permalink)  
 
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Tandem rotor - with sight of at least three MRB tips and a few metres inboard, showing no obvious signs of damage to the leading edges, would this not indicate very little RPM at impact?

Also the damage to to cabin underside, tail and in particular the skids and cross tubes, indicate to me a very high "G" impact. This would be commensurate with little or no RRPM at impact.

Why no mention of fuel from the outset? Surely the disruption to the belly would have released fuel from the tank system if there was any present.
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Old 5th Dec 2013, 16:41
  #632 (permalink)  
 
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@nooby

As you have pointed out there is lamp post right outside the front door of the pub that is very nearly within the rotor disc of a level E135 if it were parked normally in that position. There is no impact damage to this lamp post in any of the photos.

Likewise the is no damage to the roof behind the aircraft.





On the other hand.... You can see here the remains of the 4 rotor blades. While 2 have been cleanly cut by the Fire Brigade the other 2 have suffered impact damage such that the blade roots have sheared. Given that all wreckage is confined to the immediate scene the it must be presumed that the damage to these blades occurred there. An impact such as is evidenced by the final resting place of the airframe would see the 2 blades passing ahead of the aircraft striking the roof about the same time as the aircraft nose at around 30deg ND. The other blade roots are not damaged in the same way indicating that the Nr was low at the moment of impact. Had the Nr been normal the rotor disc would have had enough momentum to shear off all four blades in one go

Had the impact take place in a flat attitude I would have expected to see the tail distorted earthward relative to the fuselage. The is no evidence of this in any photograph.
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Old 5th Dec 2013, 17:57
  #633 (permalink)  
 
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Magplug,

Interesting pics - especially the first one.

Seems like the fire bobbies and polis did a bit of work overnight.

Hope it didn't hinder the AAIB and other investigators as to how things played out.

Significantly different pics to the BBC ones in the daylight next morning.

It seems that the A/C unit was stuck in the fenestron folding over the blades we can see in other pics.

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Old 5th Dec 2013, 18:30
  #634 (permalink)  
adr

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Question

The photo above appears to show three wires angling down towards the ground from the lighting column. In this street view, the wires can be seen crossing at an angle the road that runs beside the river. "Appears", since I suppose it could possibly be an illusion of perspective, but if they are down, something brought them down.

They appear to be under tension, so if they are down, and if they are still attached to the other pole, the other pole is down too.

Last edited by adr; 5th Dec 2013 at 18:33. Reason: Further reflection
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Old 5th Dec 2013, 18:42
  #635 (permalink)  
 
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The photo above appears to show three wires angling down towards the ground from the lighting column. In this street view, the wires can be seen crossing at an angle the road that runs beside the river. "Appears", since I suppose it could possibly be an illusion of perspective, but if they are down, something brought them down.

They appear to be under tension, so if they are down, and if they are still attached to the other pole, the other pole is down too.
As someone who works in the electricity supply industry, I think those wires are under proper tension and it's just an optical illusion...they seem to be 'regulated' correctly.
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Old 5th Dec 2013, 18:53
  #636 (permalink)  
 
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Looking at some of the early video and stills....all the Light Standards appeared intact and the lights were on and illuminating the parking lot. There was very little horizontal movement if any at all by the aircraft from all appearances. There was a lot of stuff to run into all around the rooftop....but only the one AirCon unit seems to have been hit.

The tail boom is bent downwards....with a sharp crimp to it.

Which in my mind....supports the nearly vertical descent line of thinking.
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Old 5th Dec 2013, 19:00
  #637 (permalink)  
 
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I think you will find that the wires cross the street at a very acute angle out to the east of the pub and very unlikely to have any connection with the incident.
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Old 5th Dec 2013, 19:09
  #638 (permalink)  
 
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This is the Google earth picture, layered with the vertical view of the pierced roof, along with an EC135 to the correct scale. (Rotor ø is 10m, aligned with the 10m line I laid down in Google Earth)

It would appear that the lamp post (Yellow dot) DOES LIE JUST OUTSIDE. Note also the A/C unit underneath the starboard stabiliser, this ties exactly with damage to the unit and the airframe seen in various photos.



Last edited by Nige321; 5th Dec 2013 at 19:38. Reason: Lampost position revised
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Old 5th Dec 2013, 19:14
  #639 (permalink)  
 
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Likewise the is no damage to the roof behind the aircraft.
But theres visible damage ( small hole in roof ) in the area where the tail might have struck it ( PIC 1 ).
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Old 5th Dec 2013, 19:24
  #640 (permalink)  
 
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It would appear that the lamp post (Yellow dot) would lie in the rotor disk
The lamp post is where you see it, next to the neighbours' entry door; between 11 & 12 o'clock position, out of reach for the rotor disk.
Agree that AC unit was smacked by stabiliser/fenestron.
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