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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, 21:32
  #101 (permalink)  
 
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Tylermonkey - that is the point exactly, decent continuity allows a pilot to reach a reasonable standard within 45 hours for award of PPLH. The problem always occurs after that point where costs become a big issue, there is no post-graduate instruction mandated and no schedule for development training to begin to hone the basic skills.

It is a purely Darwinian selection process where those that have the wherewithal, the finance and the access to further instruction (or are capable of self-analysis and improvement) will get better - those that don't are frequently doomed to bounce just above the bare minimum acceptable level of ability and currency or dip below it and end up as an accident investigation.

Businessmen in helicopters must learn to think like pilots, not like businessmen!
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Old 30th Mar 2017, 21:32
  #102 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by helicrazi View Post
At risk of 'wittering', it depends what those 000's were doing and how relevant they are to the flying task at hand, which was my previous 'wittering' point
SFIM;

I've often read on here of PPL holders having considerable experience. Please define considerable experience. I have 11 000 hours rotary, another 6 000 fixed wing and consider myself experienced, by no means considerably experienced.

I've been IFR through that route in that particular 355, and far more capable aircraft and know it is hard work in the turbulence. Did the P1 hold an IR? Had he trained for mountain flying in very adverse conditions? If not where was his "considerable experience" gained? The rotary skills gap between PPL and ATPL is massive, and few current UK ATPLs would have undertaken that trip without a lot of thought and extra planning and quiet contemplation.

The PPL is a license to learn, the CPL/ATPL show a level of learning achieved, with a lot more learning to do every trip. The only "considerably experienced" pilot I've ever flown with retired with 22 700 hours on rotary, all different, all challenging.

SND
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Old 30th Mar 2017, 21:36
  #103 (permalink)  
 
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And MSA in that region would be in excess of 5000' which isn't the height you bump into terrain if you are flying IFR.
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Old 30th Mar 2017, 21:54
  #104 (permalink)  
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This was the weather from several stations in NW Wales around the time of the accident.

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Old 30th Mar 2017, 22:09
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Originally Posted by alphanumeric View Post
mattew harding, steve holditch, G-LBAL, A109 mourne mountains, pete barnes, etc. and many more. it seems this kind of thing will keep happening

and how many other accidents almost occur?
I've seen a helicopter flying slowly along the M4 in fog and fine drizzle, about 200 to 300 metres visibility, about 5 feet higher than one row of lampposts and below the height of the trees and central line of lampposts. Then it got came down to lamppost height as the trees were lower.

Fortunately it was the opposite side of the road from two phone masts near where I was standing, but I wonder how high it had just crossed a road overbridge.

It then turned to follow a road that joined at the junction, and carried on out of my view towards where it would have a choice of either straight on over industrial estates and housing, or crossing the road to avoid these and instead worry about crossing a line of electricity pylons and cable (if it would see them).

Fortunately there was no accident in the local news a few days later.
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Old 30th Mar 2017, 22:22
  #106 (permalink)  
 
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Where have all of you muppets sprung up from ?
Why do you people with no knowledge post such nonsense ? Why not just sit back and listen to the people on here with real knowledge!
So much nonsense spoken here, from needing a CPL to fly twins , to an F1 not being able to achieve MSA , to PPL pilots not being experienced so only fly with CPL,s . No wonder the really " experienced" pilots here are keeping out of this nonsense.
I would also point out that almost all of the most recent CFIT accidents have all been in twins with very capable and experienced CPL,s . It just proves that none of us are immune to making errors regardless of ratings .
And I do not consider myself extremely experienced but I have flown around this area for over 30 years , sometimes in worse weather than I should have . But I would never have been at 2300ft in that area in those conditions.
RIP
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Old 30th Mar 2017, 22:40
  #107 (permalink)  
 
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Basic question from a fixed wing pilot trying to understand helicopters.
What's the max height that a fully loaded A355 can hover at, OGE?
The reason I ask is the similarity of this accident (assumption) to a CFIT crash involving a UH-1H in NZ some years ago following inadvertent entry into IMC at altitude.
I assume that slowing down at the sort of altitude that this Squirrel was at when it hit the hill simply isn't an option, because you'd lose lift over the disc and fall out of the sky...?

Last edited by tartare; 30th Mar 2017 at 23:25.
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Old 30th Mar 2017, 22:57
  #108 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by alphanumeric View Post
a thought any ppl who wanted a twin rating needed to pass the cpl exams first?
Single-pilot multi-engine helicopters. An applicant for the issue of a first type rating for a single-pilot multi-engine helicopter shall:
(1) before starting flight training:
(i) have passed the ATPL(H) theoretical knowledge examinations; or
(ii) hold a certificate of completion of a pre-entry course conducted by an ATO. The course shall cover the following subjects of the ATPL(H) theoretical knowledge course:
Aircraft General Knowledge: airframe/systems/power plant, and instrument/electronics,
Flight Performance and Planning: mass and balance, performance;
(2) in the case of applicants who have not completed an ATP(H)/IR, ATP(H), or CPL(H)/IR integrated training course, have completed at least 70 hours as PIC on helicopters.

So almost correct. Exams or a specific course. This is, of course, from EASA. Can't speak as to what it would have been years ago
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Old 30th Mar 2017, 23:08
  #109 (permalink)  
 
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Err not " almost correct " !!
Do you think that a 3 day ground school on the aircraft is in any way close to a full set of CPL exams ??!!!
Not to mention the fact that he could also be flying on a FAA licence which doesn't need even a rating .
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Old 30th Mar 2017, 23:12
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Originally Posted by TylerMonkey View Post
..If I had the $$ for a TwinStar I would also pay a good pilot to run the marginal weather.
I don't understand the arguments being raised in this discussion about experience levels of PPL, CPL etc etc. The weather is what it is, it doesn't matter whether you're a PPL or CPL or ATPL, the weather forecast and weather minima applies equally to everyone, it doesn't matter what type of pilot license you hold. The weather is either VMC or IMC and you proceed accordingly. If VFR pilots operated in VMC they should be able to see and avoid obstacles. If the weather starts to get below VMC, land the helicopter and wait it out. That is the thing with helicopters, you don't need to get to an airport to land.
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Old 30th Mar 2017, 23:17
  #111 (permalink)  
 
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So almost correct. Exams or a specific course. This is, of course, from EASA. Can't speak as to what it would have been years ago
back in 2002, a PPL could do a twin rating with no pre entry requirement, I know I did a 109 type rating and my course buddy was a R44 PPL who had a few hours on a B206.

Last edited by SFIM; 30th Mar 2017 at 23:27.
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Old 30th Mar 2017, 23:58
  #112 (permalink)  
 
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Before I begin. My sincerest condolences to anyone reading this who has a personal connection to those involved. I am deeply sorry for your loss. This is an awful tragedy! I have been far too close to this type of incident myself.
The rotary skills gap between PPL and ATPL is massive
I'm not sure I completely agree.

On the basis of my reasonable experience, it's the addition of an IR that signifies a robust skills gap between 'amateurs' and true 'professionals.' Though even that is no guarantee!

There have been far too many helicopter accidents, ATPL/CPL/PPL involving needless 'VFR' flight in non-VFR weather. Helicopters (or those flying them?) simply lend themselves to placing people into situations where options rapidly, completely disappear.

I am unaware of the icing clearance of the AS355, the icing level on the day, and the exact qualifications/experience of the pilot. Maybe these could have been significant?

As a professional pilot all my life, I would never ever be a passenger in any aircraft piloted by a 'hobby pilot' (much less a wealthy one's own aircraft) unless the weather was unambiguously perfect!

Sorry. I may well be alone in that view?

Nobody can yet know whether weather was a factor here.
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Old 31st Mar 2017, 01:48
  #113 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by 4468 View Post
Nobody can yet know whether weather was a factor here.
When an aircraft is missing, and the weather is too bad for the rescue resources to do a search, the weather is a factor.
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Old 31st Mar 2017, 01:54
  #114 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by tartare View Post
...I assume that slowing down at the sort of altitude that this Squirrel was at when it hit the hill simply isn't an option, because you'd lose lift over the disc and fall out of the sky...?
Slowing down to a safe speed to maintain visual reference with the ground whilst negotiating the weather doesn't cause a loss of lift and the helicopter doesn't fall out of the sky. The only hovering you should be doing is whilst IGE, in the process of landing. I dare say that the helicopter in this instance had the performance available to do that.
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Old 31st Mar 2017, 02:09
  #115 (permalink)  
 
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What's the max height that a fully loaded A355 can hover at, OGE?
Long time since I flew one but a 335F1 probably couldn't hover OGE with a full load.
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Old 31st Mar 2017, 02:45
  #116 (permalink)  
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Tartare,
I assume that slowing down at the sort of altitude that this Squirrel was at when it hit the hill simply isn't an option, because you'd lose lift over the disc and fall out of the sky...?
Most helicopters have a minimum manual control IMC speed, below which controlling the aircraft with sole reference to instruments becomes increasingly difficult. Flying with airspeed above say 40Kt in a helicopter is not remarkably different to a fixed wing, but to decelerate below that speed may require transition to the hover, all of which takes more control coordination of pedals, cyclic and collective while trying to maintain height and heading (hovering is pretty much the most difficult thing to learn about rotary flying). Hovering with sole reference to instruments is not impossible, but you would be stupid to try. The beauty of coming to a standstill and subsequently landing in a helo to avoid bad weather only ever works if you make the decision while you are still VMC.

As for the that popular old perennial of experience, as Crab mentions, it counts for nothing without post qualification instruction and regular checks. I believe the word in use now is "recency" as opposed to "currency" but neither are meaningful without competency, and competency has to be gained, tested and measured in a structured way. Not everyone needs an ATPL to be competent, but a competent pilot sets and knows their personal limits on planning, weather, hazards and manoeuvres whenever they go flying.
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Old 31st Mar 2017, 03:06
  #117 (permalink)  
 
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Thank you Two's in - that's exactly the answer I was looking for.
My sole attempt to hover an R-22 VFR was absolutely pathetic!
Hadn't considered the obvious that a safe hover in IMC regardless of performance and all up weight would be very difficult and dangerous.
Brownout on landing must be bad enough, full IMC at low speed not worth thinking about.
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Old 31st Mar 2017, 06:59
  #118 (permalink)  
 
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The big issue here with currency (recency) and experience is not the ability to fly the helicopter - it is the ability to make decisions, either before getting airborne or once in the air.

Planning to fly that route with the forecast weather is one of those areas where you might assess it as marginal and have a viable plan B (rtb or divert or land) or you might take the risk and push on until you have run out of options.

The first option might be that of an experienced pilot or a wary, less experienced one - the second option is likely to be that of someone who has convinced themselves they are good enough to cope with whatever happens and is often the precursor to many CFIT accidents.

I wonder if they ran their grand plan past anyone who didn't work for them so they might get the 'voice of reason' to tell them the idea was a crap one.

A frustratingly pointless loss of life.
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Old 31st Mar 2017, 07:04
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With the bad weather that closed in, could there have been a degree of spacial disorientation too?

From various reports the route chosen was one the pilot had completed several times before so despite the bad weather would there be get there itis plus complacency involved?
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Old 31st Mar 2017, 07:19
  #120 (permalink)  
 
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It goes without saying that the PIC should possess the skills and judgement to make the go/no go or abort decision based on weather reports and analysis but I sometimes think that if the realtime tools like subscription free NEXRAD weather that can be received in flight with a cheap GPS receiver and displayed on a tablet in the US were available in Europe we would avoid some of the tragedies like this. Reading the met reports before the flight is all fine and dandy but when in flight and you look at the screen and see your wee aircraft heading straight for a red area with yellow then green borders it really catches your attention.

Last edited by piperboy84; 31st Mar 2017 at 07:39.
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