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Missing Twin Squirrel: Wales/Ireland

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Missing Twin Squirrel: Wales/Ireland

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Old 30th Mar 2017, 10:32
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North Wales Police have scheduled a press conference at 12:00 local
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Old 30th Mar 2017, 11:18
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Wreckage now confirmed found by police

No survivors

Roads closed around Trawsfynydd lake

RIP to those lost and strength to their families & friends
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Old 30th Mar 2017, 11:18
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Why would they not have thought 'Hang on the weather looks a bit sh*t, lets route round the North coast instead of through the mountains'?

RIP
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Old 30th Mar 2017, 11:26
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The aircraft I believe was equipped for IFR, whether the aircraft MEL met with IFR is another matter. likewise the pilot would need to be qualified for IFR flight.

If would difficult to understand why someone would plan a direct track from LTN to Dublin, based on the TAFs and Actuals, assuming that a direct track was flown under VFR, even under IFR I'm not sure I would plan flight over a mountain range due to the turbulance.

Even Valley was not really a viable diversion had they needed it, VFR or IFR. I hope this is not another case of rotary wing aircraft taking a short cut through a mountainous terrain under VFR and below MSA. Even a VFR flight routing via WAL and along the North Welsh coast I have doubts about under VFR, especially with the number of wind turbines to negotiate and the weather at Anglesey.

And to add, following the sad news, the crash site is consistant with from memory a east west low level routing via Bala and Trawsfynydd, to the north the Snowden range up to about 3500ft and to the south Cadir Idris area up to about 2900 ft. So under IFR they would have needed at least 4500 ft.

Solent........ The point that crab was making that under VFR why would you not route to the North Coast in the even of poor weather en route or alternatively why would anyone plan such a VFR flight based on the TAFs and Actuals, if it was a VFR flight.

Last edited by Homsap; 30th Mar 2017 at 11:58.
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Old 30th Mar 2017, 11:40
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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-39445384
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Old 30th Mar 2017, 11:48
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Crab, so you know for certain the aircraft couldn't possibly have had a technical fault that could be issue?
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Old 30th Mar 2017, 11:48
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Five people killed in helicopter crash in Snowdonia - BBC News

A mountain rescue team found the wreckage in the Rhinog mountains between Trawsfynydd and Harlech.
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Old 30th Mar 2017, 12:00
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Originally Posted by solent View Post
Crab, so you know for certain the aircraft couldn't possibly have had a technical fault that could be issue?
I think the statistics would show the overwhelming majority of helicopter crashes in bad weather are caused by bad weather, and not a technical fault with the helicopter. Until the accident investigation determines the cause, anything is possible.
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Old 30th Mar 2017, 12:01
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If radar contact was lost over Caernarfon Bay on a Luton - Dublin flight presumably they must have turned back if wreckage found in the Rhinogs.
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Old 30th Mar 2017, 12:33
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Lake Vyrnwy, 360 m amsl and around 30 km southeast of the location of the wreckage, had 7/8 cloud cover at 300 ft at 4 pm yesterday, visibility 1.7 km.

AAXX 29154 03410 46217 /2013 10111 20110 39732 40162 57007 333 55300 20191 87/03
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Old 30th Mar 2017, 12:38
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Be surprised if this twin Squirrel was IFR - it was an F1 wasn't it? With 2400kg MTOW, 5 POB and fuel to do 225nm into a headwind I'd have thought they wouldn't have had the payload in an IFR acft. Unless it refuelled, but then no mention of that.

Assuming VFR flight, have to agree with Crab, routing north via Colwyn Bay would have been logical given the wx. Suspect even with a VFR ship weight was tight hence maybe choosing most direct route. A refuel at Caernarfon might have solved both issues.

Very sad indeed, RIP.
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Old 30th Mar 2017, 12:41
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Puzzling if they turned back and then proceded across the mountains in what have been poor conditions when the normally very visible airfield at Llanbedr is on the foreshore just three miles south of Harlech.
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Old 30th Mar 2017, 12:48
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Originally Posted by rotorspeed View Post
Be surprised if this twin Squirrel was IFR - it was an F1 wasn't it? With 2400kg MTOW, 5 POB and fuel to do 225nm into a headwind I'd have thought they wouldn't have had the payload in an IFR acft. Unless it refuelled, but then no mention of that.

Assuming VFR flight, have to agree with Crab, routing north via Colwyn Bay would have been logical given the wx. Suspect even with a VFR ship weight was tight hence maybe choosing most direct route. A refuel at Caernarfon might have solved both issues.

Very sad indeed, RIP.
Rotorspeed;

She was equipped for IFR when I flew her (Garmin 430s and full SFIM autopilot) However, your question about the pax/fuel load is very pertinent. I once flew her 2 up from Troyes to Elstree non-stop. And Stansted-Dublin IFR solo. But like all middle aged ladies she had gained a bit of weight. 5 up with reserves may have been a bit of a push. I can't remember the exact numbers as I haven't flown a 355 for about 10 years and this particular one since 2004.

SND
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Old 30th Mar 2017, 12:55
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Originally Posted by M100S2 View Post
Puzzling if they turned back and then proceded across the mountains in what have been poor conditions when the normally very visible airfield at Llanbedr is on the foreshore just three miles south of Harlech.
Perhaps, and this is pure speculation of course, they did turn back and they were trying to find somewhere safe to put down when the weather closed in on them

The area is notorious for weather closing in on you unexpectedly and quickly and if the pilot was not comfortable or qualified to fly IFR then logic suggests that he or she will have tried to find a safe landing somewhere nearby with a view to waiting out the weather

The media have named the owners, the husband is a qualified helicopter pilot (although level of qualification not stated as yet), the neighbours have confirmed that they are away and that the wife is Irish and they have flown to Ireland many times in the past...all tends to suggest that they were aboard, subject to confirmation...if it is them and they have been regular flyers to Dublin, they probably used the same route many times and felt safe using it again this time

Its very very sad......one hopes that they did not suffer as being stranded on the side of a mountain overnight if badly hurt and not being found in time does not bear thinking about, especially for family & friends left behind
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Old 30th Mar 2017, 13:14
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The Guardian newspaper report has now posthumously upgraded Colin McRae's machine from an AS350B2 to an AS355 so that they could refer to it in their story
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Old 30th Mar 2017, 13:32
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depends on which side of rhinog fach he was, is it possible that in poor viz he mistook trawfynydd lake for the sea, and though it safe to continue at low level, all guesswork of course, condolences to all concerned.

Last edited by memories of px; 30th Mar 2017 at 14:24.
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Old 30th Mar 2017, 13:50
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Yet one more persuasive argument for some kind of satellite tracking. Would have quickened response time to initiate search and would have been found sooner. ADS-B won't do it down low in mountains. Look at the search resources that had to be spread out over a large area due to the uncertainty. Amazing the blind faith put into something as unreliable as an ELT simply because in its day it was the best that technology could offer.
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Old 30th Mar 2017, 13:52
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I learned to fly at Welshpool, so Snowdonia was home territory and I used to know that area well. So a few thoughts...

Routing via the North coast makes perfect sense, or there's also a road and railway line following the valley from Welshpool to Aberystwyth; I took that route home from Caernarfon once when the weather closed in - easy to follow even in poor vis.
Refuelling possible at Caernarfon, Welshpool, possibly Llanbedr, whichever direction you're going in.
Llyn Trawsfynydd is tiny; I can't see anyone thinking it was the sea...but maybe, if the vis is really bad....
Wx can change scarily quickly in those mountains....
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Old 30th Mar 2017, 14:54
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Originally Posted by malabo View Post
Yet one more persuasive argument for some kind of satellite tracking. Would have quickened response time to initiate search and would have been found sooner. ADS-B won't do it down low in mountains. Look at the search resources that had to be spread out over a large area due to the uncertainty. Amazing the blind faith put into something as unreliable as an ELT simply because in its day it was the best that technology could offer.
Aircraft have taken days or weeks to find in British mountains in recent times.

I would say that the ELT approach needs a wee bit of an update. MEOSAR will help but the fitting, maintenance and operation of the devices obviously needs some looking at. I am fairly sure we can get more reliable performance from ELT than has been seen so far by systematically looking in detail at where the system fails to provide a fix and address the problems.

It is also worth saying that although satellites system often seem like the ultimate solution, they are notoriously fickle. They use ridiculously small signals and a lot of things can go wrong.
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Old 30th Mar 2017, 14:54
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With 5 nominally 77kg pax, their baggage and 200 gallons or so of fuel the AC would have been on the heavy side leaving Luton. With roughly 100 (mostly over water) miles still to go and poor weather, they may well have reconsidered (especially if vfr) and decided to land somewhere, refuel and/ or wait for better conditions. As someone mentioned earlier weather is very likely to have played some part in this - but as always - we don't know yet - the actual causes not always the most statistically likely ones

Last edited by birmingham; 30th Mar 2017 at 15:15.
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