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Accident à Bordeaux

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Accident à Bordeaux

Old 21st Dec 2013, 22:21
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Why there are so many people with no interest in helicopters posting on this thread just to write such nonsense ?

Feels like we are on a newspaper's website forum.

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Old 22nd Dec 2013, 08:35
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Which helicopter

As the helicopter type si not reported I suppose that it is not an Eurocopter!
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Old 22nd Dec 2013, 08:43
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I stated the type, the reg, the operator and the owner at the end of the previous page.

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Old 22nd Dec 2013, 18:58
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I`m frightened of Robinsons too.
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Old 23rd Dec 2013, 03:32
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Sadly these people have no commercial/private or charter flying experience and really shouldn't be able to comment in circumstances like this
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Old 15th Feb 2014, 08:52
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Body found near site of Chinese tycoon's Bordeaux chopper crash

A body was discovered Friday on the banks of the river into which a helicopter crashed as the Chinese tycoon toured his newly-acquired Bordeaux wine estate in December.

A resident of nearby Saint-Andre de Cubzac found the body, sources in the investigation told AFP on condition of anonymity, but the body was not yet confirmed as Lam Kok's.
"The site of the discovery is located between the site of the crash and the place where the bodies of two other passengers were found," an official said.
"But we have to wait for DNA matches as part of the forensic investigation," the official added.
The 46-year-old tea magnate had invited the press to his lush new property on December 20 to celebrate his $41-million purchase.
He took off on a helicopter tour of the estate -- which he intended to turn into an elite tea- and wine-tasting retreat -- with his 12-year-old son, his financial adviser and the chateau's former owner.
The three other bodies have been found but the tycoon was still missing.
James Gregoire, who died in the crash on the day he handed over the property to Lam Kok, had bought the chateau in 2003 after the previous chateau owner died in a plane crash.
Wealthy Chinese have developed a taste for fine French wines, and their buying power has been credited with pushing prices for certain vintages to record levels.
In recent years they have increasingly taken to buying French vineyards as well.
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Old 5th Apr 2015, 09:18
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official report

the BEA has issue its report

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Old 5th Apr 2015, 12:12
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The major fear is in the poor aviation skills of a lot of Robinson pilots.

Here is the rough English translation of the accident report;


Collision with the surface of the water at a low height flight

Aircraft: Robinson R44 Helicopter aircraft registered F-GPJG
Date and time: December 20, 2013, approx 1700hrs.
Operator: Private
Location: Lugon-et-l'Île-du-Carney
Type of Flight: General Aviation flight
Persons on board: Pilot and three passengers
Consequences and damage: Pilot and passengers all deceased (4 fatalities), helicopter destroyed

(1) Except where stated otherwise, the times listed in this report are expressed in local time.


After a lunch celebrating the sale of his property, the pilot decided to perform a pleasure flight with the buyer and two other people.
The pilot took the position at the right front of the helicopter and the purchaser at the front left.
The other two passengers occupied the rear seats.
The pilot took off from the helipad on the property.
Radar recordings show the aircraft first flying East, and then beginning a wide right turn to West Libourne, which brings the aircraft along an alignment path with the Dordogne (River).
The pilot flies over the river to Western Cape and the (radar) trace is lost.
At the point where the radar detection is interrupted, several witnesses on the ground saw the helicopter down near the water and flying at low level for a while.
The helicopter is recovered the same night, at the bottom of the river about 2000M from the last point of radar detection.


2.1 Information on the site and wreckage:

The wreckage was found at the bottom of the Dordogne (River).
The body of the person in the right rear seat, was still attached to the seat. The bodies of the three other occupants were found several days after the accident, in the river.
The comprehensive review of the cell and the engine, did not reveal any mechanical abnormality prior to the collision.
Evidence shows that the helicopter struck the water surface first with the tail boom.
The vertical velocity was low, but the horizontal travel speed was an important factor.
The first shock caused a rupture of the beam near the tail rotor.
The helicopter then tipped forward causing significant damage to the cell.
The engine was operating at the time of collision with the water.
It was not possible to accurately determine the power generated at the time of impact.
Examination of lights on the instrument panel, showed that the indicator "governor off", was on at the time of impact.
The status of the LED indicators, "engine fire" and "oil pressure", does not lead to the conclusion that they were in operation before impact. All other lights were off.
Examination of motor parameter indicators did not determine their values ​​at the time of impact. The dashboard clock showed 17:44 hrs.

2.2 Summary of testimonies:

Witnesses who attended the lunch and take-off indicated that the pilot consumed wine during the meal without it being possible to assess the amount.
However, (witnesses stated) he seemed able to perform the flight.
Many people who flew with the pilot indicate that he frequently walked the same path, to that taken on the day of the accident.
They add that he used to fly up to the tops of the poplars above the river.
Four ground witnesses have described a flying helicopter heading west, stabilized ten to fifteen feet above the water.
Two witnesses saw the helicopter descending on a high slope before this period of stabilized flight.
None of them saw the collision of the helicopter with the surface of the water.

2.3 Meteorological Information:

Weather conditions estimated on the site were:
Wind, North 2kts (low)
Meteorological visibility greater than 10 km, with a few cumulus clouds at 3500 ft
Temperature 11 ° C.
At the time of the accident the azimuth of the sun was 230° and (angle above the horizon) at the site of the accident 2°.

2.4 License and experience of the pilot:

The pilot held a PPL (H) obtained in 1998. He had (acquired) 640 helicopter flight hours, mostly on the type. He also held a PPL (A) and a glider pilot license.

2.5 Further Information:

From fuelling data contained in the log book, and the flight hours recorded, the hourly average fuel consumption could be assessed between 53 and 55 l/h for flights of the four previous months.
Assuming the tank was filled at the last refuelling as indicated in the log book, there remained in the helicopter at least 39 liters of fuel before the flight.
The helicopter had flown for about ten minutes (during this flight) therefore the hypothesis of lack of fuel cannot be accepted.
This is confirmed by (the fact that) the Low Fuel Level LED indicator was off at impact.
The control system of the engine speed (governor) detects changes in engine and applies a correction to the power control scheme where the plan is different from its nominal value.
Operation is controlled by the pilot when starting with a switch at the end of the collective pitch control. Piloting with the governor in the off position is possible.
It is not possible to know if the driver has activated the controller after commencing the flight, but it is quite possible that this button has been activated involuntarily after the first impact, which explains the "governor off" light on.


The accident was probably due to the decision to initiate and continue a flight, at a very low height above the water.
Several factors have contributed to this event:
The difficulty of assessing a height above a body of water;
The inconvenience caused by the sun's position against the pilot, and (being) low on the horizon;
The mood of the day that (might) have prompted the pilot to improvise developments.

Last edited by onetrack; 5th Apr 2015 at 12:27.
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Old 5th Apr 2015, 12:52
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wow great translation!, great job!, commendable commitment to all pruners.
This accident interested me quite a bit, because the human factor was potentially quite intangible.

1_ The pilot euphoria of completing a largest deal of his life.
2_ Lam Kok euphoria of buying is first wine yard, (probably little bit of a personal dream outside of his main business)

If you think about it, Lam Kok had no business to be in a Robinson helicopter. Especially for a 5 min take-off and land of no traveling purpose. (I assume that is typical ride is an S76 in honkong), I know people like Steve jobs had a fixed standard of approved aircraft for their own liability that started at the Augusta 109.

“I am surprised that they say, alcohol was consumed but it did not affect the ability of the pilot” that is quite a lenient statement!

James Gregoire was apparently respected as a pilot, but I have the feeling he was flying alone (or with one passage) often in that R44, meaning he had been used to a certain power factor. Likely he did that risky manoeuver often (the fast skimming above the river) before (witness mentioned his habit of flying tree top above the river). That day with four people on board, James, Lam and his translator where not light weight peoples + the son of Lam + fuel (how much?). That manoeuver he did often felt probably quite different and over powered the light R44 on the recovery, while leveling off.

It reminds me one key point: accident often happen in your close neighborhood where routine and confidence, put you in dangerous situation.

Last edited by Agile; 5th Apr 2015 at 13:04.
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Old 6th Apr 2015, 13:56
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I am surprised that they say, alcohol was consumed but it did not affect the ability of the pilot” that is quite a lenient statement!
That part of the investigation findings is almost certainly a major input into the causes of the crash. When you have consumed even a small amount of alcohol, your judgement of distances and clearances is impaired - and you are going to need all of your judgement to be top-class, if you choose to skim the surface of water at a very low height, and at speed.

Add in the sun glare (direction and low angle), possible distractions involved by pointing out features of the property (by either seller or buyer) - and you have all the "holes in the cheese lining up".

I'm not so sure that the pax weight factor was a large input factor into the crash, but the high level payload, possibly did have some additional part to play. If it was a prominent factor, I'm sure it would have been mentioned in the investigation.
The bottom line is, if you want to fly very low, you are seriously narrowing your envelope of safety margins.
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