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EC225 crash near Bergen, Norway April 2016

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EC225 crash near Bergen, Norway April 2016

Old 21st May 2016, 20:30
  #841 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by aheoe26104 View Post
16 Dec 1980 - SA330J - 9M-SSC - Main rotor separated after A second stage epicyclic module planetary gear fatigue failure- on contract to Sarawak Shell.
01 April 2009 - AS332L2 - G-REDL - Same as above.
29 April 2016 - EC225 - LN-OJF - Main rotor separated ...

Does it matter what the reason is? Seems to be not confined to the 225 / L1 / 330.

If this case was due to a different reason, how much confidence does that instill, how many reasons can there be for the main rotor to separate from the Puma with it's grandfather rights gearbox?

So even if we accept your premise that they're all effectively the same type, 3 gearbox-related fatal accidents in 36 years - which is an awful lot of flying hours. Does any other type have a better safety record? Helicopters are dangerous - GET OVER IT. But not as dangerous as the roads, especially in China. And not as dangerous as smoking/drinking/eating too much. And don't forget that most people die in bed, so going to bed is REALLY DANGEROUS. In fact life is a terminal disease, best not to start on that journey at all as it has only one consequence.
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Old 21st May 2016, 21:29
  #842 (permalink)  
 
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@HeliComparator

While I appreciate your truth about helicopter flying being dangerous, the big fan on the top coming off is a rare event in any model. (And thank the engineers for that!) The US Navy has been flying Seahawks with pretty much the same rotor system now as when introduced. (around 1980ish). That rotor head/system is very similar to the US Army Blackhawk, with a few bits and pieces different due to blade fold accommodation. I am pretty sure you won't find 3 events where the big fan came off the top since 1980 for the two fleets combined.

aheoe26104 asks "does it matter what the reason is?" The implication in that post is "no" and that there is something fundamentally wrong with the design. I cannot arrive at the same conclusion.

I say yes, it matters what the reason is. The reason may have to do with design or not, for this instance.
We'll see.
I don't think the "get over it" was a good response to that post -- even though the many hours of safe and effective operation speak volumes for the model being a good one.
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Old 21st May 2016, 21:55
  #843 (permalink)  
 
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I am pretty sure you won't find 3 events where the big fan came off the top since 1980 for the two fleets combined.
The S76 has a similar head to the Blackhawk. So far the S76 has taken nearly 200 lives and I can remember three occasions where it was because of departing blades including one that I had flown the previous flight.

https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase...php?AcType=S76

There are a lot of 76s around, as there are 330/332/225s. It doesn't make one type more dangerous than the other.
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Old 21st May 2016, 22:57
  #844 (permalink)  
 
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@aheoe26104: Sorry; I’m allowed to impute to you that you have never been a member of an investigation board. You are making prejudicial comments and you haven’t understood or even haven’t read the representational thread?
The case 'LN-OJF' is too serious and the dignity of the fatilities is too invioable to be discounted by hollow and unprofessional comments instead of substantial arguments and facts!
AW009,
1) I have been involved in 2 investigations in my 34 years experience as a pilot.
2) No prejudice here, I am an big French helicopter fan, most of my experience is on Alouettes III, Puma C, H, L, L1 and 225 - my concern is about the notion that it is acceptable for a helicopter to shed it's main rotor even if it is over a period of 35 years. I have to look my passengers in the eye and assure them that they will not experience the dreadful free fall in a helicopter without it's main rotor.
3) Your comments regarding my understanding of the situation or my reading does not deserve a reply.
4) Fatalities - it is the main reason for my comments, I do not want to see this happen again and from my reading and understanding, all I am seeing, is that positive rectification has not been made and that if we indeed do not show sufficient respect for the deceased, they may have died in vain and their lives will not be dignified by us as the flag bearers of flight safety.
5) "hollow and unprofessional comments instead of substantial arguments and facts!" What do you read in the previous 40 something of pages? Facts? No, we are (supposed) to wait for the AAIB to reach its conclusions and come with recommendations, not try to defend the Puma. That is not our job. The manufacturer or owners can do that, my professional responsibility is first to my passengers and to myself. BTW, all the things I posted are from air accident investigation board findings, so if you would like to go back and tell those they have their facts wrong or unsubstantiated, well be my guest.
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Old 21st May 2016, 23:08
  #845 (permalink)  
 
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@HeliComparator

While I appreciate your truth about helicopter flying being dangerous, the big fan on the top coming off is a rare event in any model. (And thank the engineers for that!) The US Navy has been flying Seahawks with pretty much the same rotor system now as when introduced. (around 1980ish). That rotor head/system is very similar to the US Army Blackhawk, with a few bits and pieces different due to blade fold accommodation. I am pretty sure you won't find 3 events where the big fan came off the top since 1980 for the two fleets combined.

aheoe26104 asks "does it matter what the reason is?" The implication in that post is "no" and that there is something fundamentally wrong with the design. I cannot arrive at the same conclusion.

I say yes, it matters what the reason is. The reason may have to do with design or not, for this instance.
We'll see.
I don't think the "get over it" was a good response to that post -- even though the many hours of safe and effective operation speak volumes for the model being a good one.
Lonewolf, granted and I respect your opinion. It just seems we have a growing belief that if this accident was due to the poor workmanship during the fitting of the suspension bars (or the technical reason for it's failure), then somehow all the alarmists can sit back and relax and that the 225 and L2 can just return to service with a few minor (or major) changes in procedures. Granted the incidents in history are spread over 36 years, but are we prepared for more of the similar kind of catastrophe, even if the next time is due to yet another new reason? I hope you understand my concern?
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Old 21st May 2016, 23:14
  #846 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Fareastdriver View Post
The S76 has a similar head to the Blackhawk. So far the S76 has taken nearly 200 lives and I can remember three occasions where it was because of departing blades including one that I had flown the previous flight.

https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase...php?AcType=S76

There are a lot of 76s around, as there are 330/332/225s. It doesn't make one type more dangerous than the other.
Fareastdriver, don't be silly. If we had to start counting the amount of lives lost in helicopter accidents, then you may find there are more than 200 lost in the Puma. This is not the point I am trying to make. I accept life leads to death as you would like to over simplify. I just would not like to see more wives and children loosing their loved ones due to an inherent problem that is not addressed properly due to commercial pressure.
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Old 21st May 2016, 23:15
  #847 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by aheoe26104 View Post
AW009,
...... 2) No prejudice here, I am an big French helicopter fan, most of my experience is on Alouettes III, Puma C, H, L, L1 and 225 - my concern is about the notion that it is acceptable for a helicopter to shed it's main rotor even if it is over a period of 35 years. I have to look my passengers in the eye and assure them that they will not experience the dreadful free fall in a helicopter without it's main rotor. ....

4) Fatalities - it is the main reason for my comments, I do not want to see this happen again and from my reading and understanding, all I am seeing, is that positive rectification has not been made and that if we indeed do not show sufficient respect for the deceased, they may have died in vain and their lives will not be dignified by us as the flag bearers of flight safety. ....
Sorry I provocated You a little bit, but now and with Your very clear statement - I supossed it allready before - You are in total on my frequency! Wellcome also and best regards. A private E-Mail is wellcome.

Bernhard

Last edited by AW009; 21st May 2016 at 23:50.
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Old 21st May 2016, 23:30
  #848 (permalink)  
 
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Satcomm,

I take your point and you do raise some good points.
But things still do not add up. They never said it is similar to G-REDL failure, but, they must be saying that it IS NOT the same, otherwise, how on earth can they state that it is "Safe to fly" without a definate cause or in depth analysis of the epicyclic gears in this case?? How many other airframes are waiting to spit out the rotor mast if it was indeed another planetary gear failure!?

I am aware they are 2 different models yes. However, In reality they are not so different - the 225 being an "upgraded" version of pretty much the same design. And I know this is the first 225 accident of this kind. But for that reason it baffles me even more as to why they would give the green light to fly them. If it is the first of its kind then surely it needs a definite cause before "safe to fly" is stated! Not 2 days of a check over....
Basing their "safe to fly" criteria on a hunch is not good enough (and I am sure they had more evidence than just a hunch!). It doesn't make sense unless they are sure it is NOT an epicyclic failure. That is what I am saying here.

Heres a very flippant recap of their statement to try and emphasize the point:

"We will ground the helicopters following this catastrophic accident. This is not the same gearbox trouble that caused the ditchings. After 48 hours we have now discovered it is safe to fly our helicopters. PS. Better just check your suspension bars and let us know how they are...."

Why would they do that? They are pretty much indicating suspension bar failure here.
They MUST know something we dont and be pretty sure that the investigation will make the same finding.

Again - just my view point on it.
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Old 21st May 2016, 23:31
  #849 (permalink)  
 
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I believe we soon will get more information from AIBN and Airbus based on fact. FDR/CVR and most of the essential parts are recovered while search continue. Airbus may have their theories based on findings so far. Probably they can not publish theories until AIBN agree. Internal MGB malfunction would be very serious for the future of the EC 225 in the North Sea and worldwide. Suspension bar / fitting issue will be more easy to correct within a short time frame.
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Old 21st May 2016, 23:57
  #850 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by aheoe26104 View Post
Granted the incidents in history are spread over 36 years, but are we prepared for more of the similar kind of catastrophe, even if the next time is due to yet another new reason? I hope you understand my concern?

No I don't really understand your concern in a rational way. Similar kinds of catastrophes WILL happen. In Super Puma variants and other types. People will die in helicopters for the foreseeable future. I somehow doubt it is particularly concerning for the dead, or those who they leave behind, whether it was due to the rotors falling off or any other reason. A fatal accident is a fatal accident in the eyes of those directly involved. I do feel you are just scaremongering.


Of course we all want to try to prevent recurrences but please lets do it in a rational way, not in an irrational and emotive way.
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Old 22nd May 2016, 00:40
  #851 (permalink)  
 
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Fareastdriver and aheoe26104,

I think you will find the general pattern to be that most well-established medium and large types have been involved in accidents claiming hundreds of lives. Modern examples like the EC225 and S-92 appear to be well on the way to bucking that trend. Never room for complacency of course.
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Old 22nd May 2016, 01:09
  #852 (permalink)  
 
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They have only recovered a very small piece of the front suspension bar. ( plus the upper attaching pin, bearing and nappy pin). I don't see how AH can decide this early that the 225 is totally safe to fly. If they do not have the lower 90% of this Rod and the lower attaching bracket plus it's pin then there is a huge piece of the puzzle missing. What if they find these pieces later and there is evidence of metal fatigue or other failure. It seems to me they are mainly concerned if it is a gearbox problem like previous events. So far they feel it is not and therefore business as usual.
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Old 22nd May 2016, 01:26
  #853 (permalink)  
 
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Bottom line for me is that it is not possible to put your passengers at ease without facts. AH's early response to this tragedy will not help to restore the trust.
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Old 22nd May 2016, 09:20
  #854 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by aheoe26104 View Post
… AH's early response to this tragedy will not help to restore the trust.


@aheoe26104: I’m absolutely going along with you.

@all: Furthermore I have definite views on the possibility that the very early statement of the spokesman of German Luftwaffe (as quoted in http://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/578...ml#post9376505) might have its sources also in AH (AHD) being the the 'purveyor' of German FMOD.

The line between genius and insanity is a very fine one. But out of my technical view, the „suspension bar solution“ of (SUPER) PUMA - as realized by AS/ECF/AHF - might be genius, but is'nt at all ingenious (please compare http://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/578...ml#post9372108).

AS 330 had been a design for a MTOW of approx. 7,5 to, now H225 is approaching 12 to.
  • The ’footstool’ must have legs and fittings being dimensioned to present forces, loads and vibrations and must have four or five legs (due to harmonically oscillations and well-balanced forces) whichever we are talking about H 225, H215 or AS 332L1/L2,
  • A barbeque plate being semi-elastic fixed is nice, but where are the 3-dimensional dampers?
  • Have anybody ever heard of an exploded housing of an automatic transmission of a motorcar? Really not, because the caves of epicyclics are not the housing, repective are isolated from the housing of the gear box.
For me (Super) PUMA is a mirror image of the french spectrum „savoir vivre“ to laissez faire“, but the times of “Saint-Exupéry“ in aviations are since 7 decades over and it seems “Super Puma“ being 5 decades old will become the very same myth.
(see https://books.google.de/books?id=Ya5...copter&f=false)

Last edited by AW009; 22nd May 2016 at 09:39. Reason: formatting
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Old 22nd May 2016, 12:35
  #855 (permalink)  
 
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@fareastdriver
It doesn't make one type more dangerous than the other.
That is not the direction I was heading, in fact I was heading in the opposite direction. Two separate points: models with millions of hours of operation. (Both well seasoned/mature). How incredibly unusual it is that the rotor system comes off. Thus "bad design" and "that model's all wrong" is the idea I was addressing and calling in to question. There are a lot of different ways for things to go wrong in a helicopter.

aheoe26104
I hope you understand my concern?
Absolutely. With passengers/customers/ those not in the industry the modern knack for "truth by sound byte" makes people impatient to find the cause. Finding the cause of this tragic crash is important for future lives. Once the investigators get a good grip on it and can inform the public of their findings, whoever operates a helicopter (not just a Puma) can assess "what are the things we can do here so something a lot like that it doesn't happen here?"

I also appreciate the crisis in confidence among off shore workers, until more focused causal factors can be determined.

Last edited by Lonewolf_50; 22nd May 2016 at 12:53.
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Old 22nd May 2016, 13:30
  #856 (permalink)  
 
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Kawijet,

Based on above, I raise you this one. Why initially only the 225 and why now only include L2 if it was determined to be suspension bars? There are still plenty of L/L1s flying around in the world.

Also, the Flight authorities have ground the aircraft not AH. Who's footing the bill at this point. I really have no idea but I'm guessing that means AH are not currently on the hook finically for all the lost revenue. If they ground it they are probably are.
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Old 22nd May 2016, 14:23
  #857 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Offshore pilot View Post
I believe we soon will get more information from AIBN and Airbus based on fact. FDR/CVR and most of the essential parts are recovered while search continue. Airbus may have their theories based on findings so far. Probably they can not publish theories until AIBN agree. Internal MGB malfunction would be very serious for the future of the EC 225 in the North Sea and worldwide. Suspension bar / fitting issue will be more easy to correct within a short time frame.
I would love to see the 225 flying again, and fly it as well. My problem though is that who can trust Eurocopter/AH any more? When the first 225 ditched, EC said it was a bad batch. They didn't go in depth. A very quick and convenient solution.

Then when the second one ditched, I guess they swallowed their tongue. But they said in their initial statement that "the pilot elected to land the helicopter into the sea" (or sth like that, they definitely used the word "elected").
Then they spent so many months to see what was wrong with it, and then used a couple of universities to confirm their theory. And they probably did find the reason. And then they spent so much money and time to convince everyone that the 225 was safe. And it probably was.

But who can trust their statements any more? What if they are looking for a quick and convenient solution again?
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Old 22nd May 2016, 14:55
  #858 (permalink)  
 
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Must have been no documented proof (emails etc?) that Bond told them this fact . . .

Hard to imagine in this tech age.

" When in trouble hide... If they find you .... lie . "
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Old 22nd May 2016, 14:57
  #859 (permalink)  
 
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You are mistaken Mitchaa, the cracks were not in identical locations (though they were near-by).

Why did Eurocopter allow this 2nd failure to happen? What was being done in the months between May and October to protect the remaining 225 fleet? Why didn't Eurocopter identify the issue correctly?
As the AAIB explain in their report, the corrosion in the G-REDW case was believed by all the parties to the investigation (prior to G-CHCN), to be linked with a tiny production anomaly in a countersunk hole in one batch of shafts. The AAIB list 7 actions that Eurocopter took to address that.

In contrast, to show a really inadequate response, the first S-76 fatal accident (PT-HKB) in which 14 died after a main rotor blade came off occurred less about a year before another 4 people died due to an identical failure (G-BGXY). In this S-76 case a key inspection requirement was dropped from the Service Bulletin after PT-HKB, and despite the FAA chasing Sikorsky, they had not acted by the time of the UK accident.

G-REDL
Bond said they told Eurocopter that the chip had come from the epicyclic plug. Eurocopter denied this and said Bond had told them it had come from the main module sump.
Eurocopter were no doubt confident they were told the debris was found in the sump because when debris is found on the epicyclic detector the epicyclic module has to be opened and the magnets examined. The operator did not follow the MM requirement to do that and therefore was unable to tell Eurocopter anything about the magnets. The absence of that data would reinforce a misunderstanding at Eurocopter that the chip was found in the sump.

The operator was of course aware of where the chips were found and what maintenance they had and hadn't done, which they found it impossible to explain at the Fatal Accident Inquiry.
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Old 22nd May 2016, 22:20
  #860 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by squib66 View Post
You are mistaken Mitchaa, the cracks were not in identical locations (though they were near-by).



As the AAIB explain in their report, the corrosion in the G-REDW case was believed by all the parties to the investigation (prior to G-CHCN), to be linked with a tiny production anomaly in a countersunk hole in one batch of shafts. The AAIB list 7 actions that Eurocopter took to address that.

In contrast, to show a really inadequate response, the first S-76 fatal accident (PT-HKB) in which 14 died after a main rotor blade came off occurred less about a year before another 4 people died due to an identical failure (G-BGXY). In this S-76 case a key inspection requirement was dropped from the Service Bulletin after PT-HKB, and despite the FAA chasing Sikorsky, they had not acted by the time of the UK accident.

G-REDL

Eurocopter were no doubt confident they were told the debris was found in the sump because when debris is found on the epicyclic detector the epicyclic module has to be opened and the magnets examined. The operator did not follow the MM requirement to do that and therefore was unable to tell Eurocopter anything about the magnets. The absence of that data would reinforce a misunderstanding at Eurocopter that the chip was found in the sump.

The operator was of course aware of where the chips were found and what maintenance they had and hadn't done, which they found it impossible to explain at the Fatal Accident Inquiry.
I think your doing the REDL investigation a major disservice by selectively quoting part of the report the suit your argument. The issues around the discovery of the particle are clearly described in detail in the report, in summary, for various reason BOTH bond and EC made assumptions based on incomplete information.
Steps were taken to prevent it happening again which are clearly explained in the report.

I would also say that based on the report and the AAIB's testomony to the FAI, the AAIB do not support the EC/AH theory of 'pure' spalling that wasn't picked up by the operator. I for one would tend to support the AAIB view for two reasons, 1) they are independent and are not subject to commercial pressure, 2) they have access to information and expertise beyond that provided by EC.
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