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AW139 G-LBAL helicopter crash in Gillingham, Norfolk

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AW139 G-LBAL helicopter crash in Gillingham, Norfolk

Old 17th Mar 2014, 17:49
  #221 (permalink)  
 
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On the most memorable of such occasions.....mine were put down in a Truck Stop and told to call a Taxi.....which they gladly did. A bit of Severe Turbulence connected to a Frontal Passage on a bright clear day and their Pilot's warning that the flight could be done as it was within both the aircraft and Pilot's capability but the ride would be extremely off putting.

They insisted as they just had to be the other side of the mountains for a Meeting.....a routine monthly meeting....that could really have been done over the telephone.

They never challenged a "No" Decision after that.

The Corporate Mentality was to fly Single Engine Helicopters and Cessna Caravans over mountainous terrain at night and IMC for the Airplane.....with the caveat that a Twin Engined aircraft would only take you to the scene of the crash following an engine failure.

I made my opinion known about that and was fired within a week.

A few months later a King Air and Beech Jet showed up.
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Old 17th Mar 2014, 18:47
  #222 (permalink)  

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Practical suggestions. How about CAA inspections to include rigorous examination of an operation's Safety Management System, including examples of its application over the past time period? Pilots are bulletproof in any contentious discussion with owners or managers if they throw their own SMS back at them.
Satsuma, you may be expecting too much due to a misunderstanding. This was a private flight in the owner' own aircraft. What you are asking is a bit like expecting the DVLA to show up to check out your safety management system for going out in your own car, albeit you might pay a personal chauffeur to take you to a destination.
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Old 17th Mar 2014, 19:01
  #223 (permalink)  
 
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Shy Torque,
Your points are well made and taken.However, since this happens to be a RUMOUR network a certain amount of speculation and armchair quarterbacking is acceptable.I don't think anyone is being disrespectful to the deceased.All of us are acutely aware, or at least should be, that there but for the Grace of God go I.
Besides, given the wide spectrum of geography and experience on this sight, these discussion are useful.Hopefully, everybody learns something and applies it.If we can save a few lives that way why not? I am sure all our colleagues who have departed for the big heliport in the sky would agree.And until somebody writes a book titled ( to mangle a quote from a famous movie) 'Spring Chicken to Shy Torque in One Easy Lesson', this will have to do.
For someone who has been on this site for a few years now and endured the barbs and scathing remarks of the folks here whenever there is an EMS accident in the US,I can tell you that your "wait-for-the report" "let -us-not- speculate" " I knew the guys" attitude a little disingenuous.Is that you or is it the well known British bias of PPRuNe?
Alt3.
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Old 17th Mar 2014, 19:24
  #224 (permalink)  
 
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Interesting that some here have already written the report (again). Particularly the quote, it crashed because it hit the tree.
Have you considered that it may just have hit the tree DURING the crash? My best guess has to be a weather related incident, but it's just that, a guess. It could easily be a technical failure....... Luckily, we have a CVR in this case
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Old 17th Mar 2014, 21:00
  #225 (permalink)  
 
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@Flying Lawyer

I do believe you're right about education being better than prosecution but, having spent 30 years in law enforcement, I think there is still a case to be made for prosecution, in certain cases. I think we'd be a lot worse off if, for example, driver education was not accompanied by the threat of prosecution - drinking and driving comes to mind.

Fear of sanction does help to focus the mind where education alone might struggle.

It does, however, require enforcement action to be taken which in turn requires enforcement capability in the first instance. It has always struck me as odd to vest responsibility for enforcement in a limited company which also profits (or at least generates revenue) from the industry it (supposedly) regulates.

RIP to those lost and condolences to those left behind.

22
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Old 17th Mar 2014, 21:34
  #226 (permalink)  

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Alouette, I have no objection to fair and healthy speculation after tragic accidents such as this, but always find unjustified, public criticism of deceased pilots who aren't here to defend themselves or to explain what happened more than a little obnoxious.

If you can't see the difference, then so be it.

Unfortunately your reference to the movie quote was wasted on me, I have no idea what you are on about, tbh. Maybe you're more of a spring chicken than I.

I stopped counting how many "I knew the guys" accidents I have known when the total got to around thirty, quite a long time ago. As I said before, I knew the pilots under scrutiny here only as professional acquaintances and had not flown or socialised with them. I have no particular reason to defend any action or decision they took. However, if it was your own name on the body bag, and your relatives reading this thread, bear in mind that I'd still have the same attitude about unfair criticism in public.
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Old 17th Mar 2014, 22:18
  #227 (permalink)  
 
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Shy Torque,
Fair enough.All I am saying is that I wish that the same courtesy is extended to my colleagues on this side of the Atlantic.
The line I quoted is from Battle of Britain.The actual line is " Spring chicken to shite hawk in one easy lesson".It is uttered by Edward Fox in the early part of the movie and refers to one of his rookie pilot off to train with the Squadron Commander. Now, with that tidbit, I think I have dated myself and I hope you are convinced that I am not a spring chicken. For some reason, I thought your nom de plume on this site was a clever play on words referencing that bird of prey.My mistake.
Alt3.
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Old 17th Mar 2014, 22:50
  #228 (permalink)  
 
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Terrible accident

Speaking as a member of the public and not a pilot or aviation expert.

From reading through this thread its evident that there seems to be a real issue in the private aviation sector of being asked or forced to do things which are potentially unsafe. This is very worrying and should not be allowed within the industry wether the passenger owns the aircraft or not.

A pilot should not be in fear of loosing employment or suffering any type of discrimination as a result of refusing to carry out his/her duties on the grounds of safety. The pilots word should be final, anybody rich enough to own and operate aircraft for private or commercial purposes should be educated and sensible enough to listen to an experienced pilot and not apply pressure to break the law or risk life and limb to get to the destination. It seems to me that lorry bus and coach drivers are afforded more protection and monitored more closely by the authorities and considering the the potential dangers involved in your proffesion that in itself is ridiculous.

We do not know what has caused this accident and I think there is likely to be a number of contributing factors as there always seems to be with things like this. I have seen G-LBAL in the air on approach to Gillingham Hall a number of times but I didnt know who it belonged to until I heard about its crash on the news. It was a marvelous looking machine. The crash site is enroute to a place I visit fairly often and I can only describe seeing the wreckage over the weekend as a harrowing experience. I feel very sad for all involved, i can not imagine how the families of those onboard could be feeling and I offer my sincerest of condolences.

Where I live about 9 miles from the crash site visibility was incredibly poor last thursday evening. I await with interest to find out the cause of this accident. Had the aircraft impacted the mc donalds restaraunt or petrol station at the adjacent Gillingham Services the death toll could have been much higher.

Its such a tragic loss of life and I if nothing else something will be learned in order to prevent similar accidents in the future.
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Old 18th Mar 2014, 00:56
  #229 (permalink)  
 
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A pilot should not be in fear of loosing employment or suffering any type of discrimination as a result of refusing to carry out his/her duties on the grounds of safety. The pilots word should be final, anybody rich enough to own and operate aircraft for private or commercial purposes should be educated and sensible enough to listen to an experienced pilot and not apply pressure to break the law or risk life and limb to get to the destination. It seems to me that lorry bus and coach drivers are afforded more protection and monitored more closely by the authorities and considering the the potential dangers involved in your proffesion that in itself is ridiculous.



Dannyb1,
From your lips (or keyboard) to God's ear!!
Alt3.
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Old 18th Mar 2014, 01:32
  #230 (permalink)  
 
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Don't let them die for nothing, Learn from what ever the cause,
The people have value for who they are & After they have gone west.

The public sees the mess & are spoon fed the "SAFE" fairy tale.

Flying is a risk, Nothing safe about sitting fat dumb & happy with gravity learking near.
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Old 18th Mar 2014, 02:37
  #231 (permalink)  
 
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Shy torque, I would have a bit more respect for your sensitivities had you not used the term "Bodybag" in your last post. Really!
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Old 18th Mar 2014, 08:06
  #232 (permalink)  
 
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I was talking last night with a cop who lives in my village and attended the scene.He says the freshly severed tip of the conifer is very close to the take off point,within the grounds of the hall and not on the western side of the A143 where the aircraft impacted.
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Old 18th Mar 2014, 09:34
  #233 (permalink)  
 
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Dannyb1

There is no problem if the 'Captain' is just that, as many posters here have shown with their own stories. It is also my personal experience. There can only be a problem IF (and it's a really BIG IF) the white shirt and gold bars are just a fancy dress costume because the individual is no 'Captain' and should not be in that seat.

With justification of "the nasty rich man made me do it" you could not even hold on to a driving license, could you?
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Old 18th Mar 2014, 10:03
  #234 (permalink)  
 
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I would agree with you John although that does ignore the reality of many situations and the pressures individuals face. If you extrapolate that view to its logical conclusion you effectively have to dismiss any human factors from affecting any pilot worth his salt.
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Old 18th Mar 2014, 10:26
  #235 (permalink)  
 
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You would need to extrapolate to an illogical conclusion IMHO
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Old 18th Mar 2014, 10:55
  #236 (permalink)  
 
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OK so....

There can only be a problem IF (and it's a really BIG IF) the white shirt and gold bars are just a fancy dress costume because the individual is no 'Captain' and should not be in that seat.
That's a big statement.
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Old 18th Mar 2014, 11:13
  #237 (permalink)  
 
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I was talking last night with a cop who lives in my village and attended the scene.He says the freshly severed tip of the conifer is very close to the take off point,within the grounds of the hall and not on the western side of the A143 where the aircraft impacted.
So the crash might have been a kind of emergency landing... ?

skadi
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Old 18th Mar 2014, 11:18
  #238 (permalink)  
 
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No doubt examination of the blades will reveal if the helo hit the tree and, if so, whether the aircraft was controllable after that point or not. Add in darkness and mist/fog and you have a scenario that none of us would wish to find ourselves in. RIP
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Old 18th Mar 2014, 13:22
  #239 (permalink)  
 
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If they did hit a tree causing total loss of control would it have impacted nose down as it appears to have from seeing the wreckage. In my own mind i would have thought it would be spinning or just fall like a stone shortly after the blade touched something. It travelled a reasonable distance from the possible initial collision.

As i said earlier I am no expert but could it have been trying to achieve forward flight with nose down as thats where majority of the damage seems to be? It could have struck a tree as a result of something mechanical going wrong rather than visibility being the initial factor. Part of me thinks the pilots would have been in and out of Gillingham fairly often and even in low visibility would have been well aware of all the nearby hazards and have a safe height they knew they needed to reach to avoid any obstructions.
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Old 18th Mar 2014, 13:35
  #240 (permalink)  
 
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AW 139

Being as the AW 139 has a VMINI of 50 KIAS, and an IFR, CAT "A" vertical takeoff not being possible due to low cloud layer or obscuration, fog, mist, etc..maybe they were attempting to build the airspeed in a CAT B takeoff profile and contacted something? Also, the blades may be damaged beyond a point of determining when they made contact with something other than air.
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