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NZ: chopper crash Fox glacier

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NZ: chopper crash Fox glacier

Old 21st Nov 2015, 00:04
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NZ: chopper crash Fox glacier

"A helicopter carrying seven people has crashed on Fox Glacier and there are reports of fatalities".

Helicopter crashes at New Zealand tourist spot

Auckland: A helicopter carrying seven people has crashed on Fox Glacier and there are reports of fatalities.
It was understood the company involved was called Alpine Adventures.
The Rescue Co-Ordination Centre is leading a rescue operation and four helicopters have been dispatched to Fox Glacier. Some reports said all on board were dead, but that was not confirmed.
Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand communications manager Mike Richards confirmed seven people were on board.
"We had the accident reported to us so we can confirm seven were on board but we don't know what the state of the passengers are."
Rescue Co-ordination Centre media and communications advisor Vince Cholewa said two helicopters were flying from Christchurch, one from Greymouth and one from Fox Glacier, with a cliff rescue team on board.
Mr Cholewa said further information would be released as they got it.
St John was alerted to reports of a helicopter crash at 11.05am on Saturday.
A spokesperson confirmed two air ambulances and a road ambulance were on their way to the scene at Fox Glacier.
They were unable to confirm any more details, as emergency services were yet to reach the scene.
The Transport Accident Investigation Commission was understood to have opened an inquiry into the incident.
stuff.co.nz
Dean
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Old 21st Nov 2015, 02:16
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Not good, sounds very bad, so let's hope first reports are wrong.
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Old 21st Nov 2015, 02:31
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Tragically, the worst possible outcome:

"Seven dead in Fox Glacier helicopter crash"

"All seven people on board a helicopter which crashed during a scenic flight in Fox Glacier are dead, police have confirmed.

A paramedic and members of an alpine cliff rescue team were winched down to the crash site in a heavily crevassed area halfway up the glacier early this afternoon, but found no survivors. There were six passengers and one pilot on board."

Dean
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Old 21st Nov 2015, 03:52
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Strange to see two of the rotor blades intact, with only the one closest to the ice cliff broken.



I wonder what happened? Its like the rotors weren't turning when it arrived at the scene. Would it / could it be possible that the helicopter landed on the glacier, shut down and toppled off, but its right way up?
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Old 21st Nov 2015, 04:24
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Great picture LPS.

Some years ago, I did one of these 'heli-hike' flights where we landed on Fox glacier & spent a few fascinating hours exploring icy crevices before the aircraft returned to collect us.

I don't believe the heli did a shutdown on either landing.

Your picture appears to show only the rotor head: the rest of the airframe seems to be buried under (fallen?) ice.

Dreadful.

Dean
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Old 21st Nov 2015, 05:33
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Originally Posted by LPS500 View Post
Its like the rotors weren't turning when it arrived at the scene. Would it / could it be possible that the helicopter landed on the glacier, shut down and toppled off ... ?
You don't need to *land* to stop your rotors. In a botched autorotation, for example, you might use up all your rotor energy (=rotor speed) while still flying. However, in that case you can't cushion the landing that well. Ref. Glasgow pub crash.
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Old 21st Nov 2015, 05:55
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Dean,

The pic I stole off stuff.co.nz.

Hot and Hi, I understand that, but would the rotor be stopped enough to only damage one blade? Thats the bit I can't understand, in an auto, even botched, surely the rotor would be still turning a bit?

Condolences to all those aboard, terrible accident. It must be horrible for the families abroad.
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Old 21st Nov 2015, 07:16
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Those aboard don't need condolences, they are deceased, tragically.

Was this one of the machines working out of Franz Josef?
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Old 21st Nov 2015, 07:16
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Glasgow pub crash

Originally Posted by LPS500
would the rotor be stopped enough to only damage one blade?
Yes, that is possible. See here pictures from the Glasgow pub crash. The final accident report states on page 8 that "Evidence indicated that the helicopterís main rotor blades and Fenestron tail rotor were not rotating at the moment of impact."

Difficult to say at this stage if this is what happened in NZ though.
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Old 21st Nov 2015, 07:56
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I also don't agree that the picture shows the remains of the complete helicopter. It just seems like there is not enough debris. This looks more like everything above the engine deck.
Very sad picture...
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Old 21st Nov 2015, 09:43
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It's going to be an extremely difficult recovery operation from that crevasse.
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Old 21st Nov 2015, 09:54
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would suggest having been a mountain guide in a former life that the ac touched down and then slid into the crevasse. bear in mid that helicopters aren't fitted with crampons so imagine doing an engine off landing and landing on a steep ice slope !!!
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Old 21st Nov 2015, 11:00
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That terrain there very rugged
No requirement to have twin engine?
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Old 21st Nov 2015, 12:02
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Not in New Zealand, or most countries for that matter.

Twins can also fail, and from experience twin engine pilots are sometimes even less (mentally) prepared for an autorotation than single engine drivers. Reference: the same Glasgow pub crash I linked above.

Twins are as prone (or more) as singles to some of the following problems: gear box failure, rotor system failure, in-flight breakup, fuel starvation, CFIT, pilot error in general.
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Old 21st Nov 2015, 12:18
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Twins are as prone (or more) as singles to some of the following problems: gear box failure, rotor system failure, in-flight breakup, fuel starvation, CFIT, pilot error in general.
Not as efficient either.
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Old 21st Nov 2015, 16:03
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Agree with H500 that helicopter likely fell into crevasse after impact higher up.

The location looks ferociously unstable with a good chance that ice above, aka serac, could let go anytime on recovery crews.

I hope a careful assessment is made of the hazard before putting live bodies in that location.
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Old 21st Nov 2015, 16:49
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Originally Posted by deanm View Post
I did one of these 'heli-hike' flights where we landed on Fox glacier & spent a few fascinating hours exploring icy crevices before the aircraft returned to collect us.

I don't believe the heli did a shutdown on either landing.
Same here. It was only on the ice for about thirty seconds with the engine running to drop us off or pick us up, then straight back to base.
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Old 21st Nov 2015, 18:24
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Ouch!

These kinds of reports are always difficult, but we DO need to read them. Standing by for additional news and details. As usual, Good Information, not the junk in the popular press, will take a while and we know the drill. Like many, sorry to hear yet need to hear, and do not expect to hear much factual detail for many months or perhaps a year or more. (A horrible reporting cycle, but that IS the way it IS.)
Personally, I calendar the event date for a later inquiry and do not bother with reading the popular press reports. Most are F.A. WRONG and are a waste of time. Anyone disagree?
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Old 21st Nov 2015, 18:40
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Having flown the 350, I remember I had three passengers behind and one sitting in the front (without the duals!). There was no way I could fit six passengers in the aircraft. Is my memory playing tricks (it was about twenty years ago) or has the helicopter type been wrongly reported as a single squirrel?
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Old 21st Nov 2015, 18:53
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There was no way I could fit six passengers in the aircraft.
For joy flights it is common to use single seat for pilot, a twin seat in the front and four in the back.

Mickjoebill
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