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Belgian Mil. A109 pilot falls out the cockpit

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Belgian Mil. A109 pilot falls out the cockpit

Old 3rd Sep 2017, 15:19
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Belgian Mil. A109 pilot falls out the cockpit

During a parachutist demo flight this afternoon at 4th Engineer battalion near Liège, after the paratroopers exited, one of the pilots of a Belgian Army's A109, falls out of the helicopter, dropping several thousands of feet into the surrounding area. Body not yet located. Helicopter landed safely by the remaining pilot.

Last edited by DIBO; 3rd Sep 2017 at 15:45. Reason: Context updated as more info becomes available
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Old 3rd Sep 2017, 15:25
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oups.... No seat belt, no doors ? Suicide ??
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Old 3rd Sep 2017, 15:48
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Originally Posted by BOBAKAT View Post
No seat belt, no doors ?
Updated the first post, fell out of heli, but most probably not out of the cockpit
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Old 3rd Sep 2017, 17:04
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http://deredactie.be/cm/vrtnieuws.en...ews/1.3059741#

News story
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Old 4th Sep 2017, 05:44
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Very sad.. story,
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Old 4th Sep 2017, 10:11
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Belgian military pilot falls from helicopter during airshow - BBC News

"They say the co-pilot helped the three jump, but then saw the pilot's seat empty and his door wide open. He grabbed the controls and landed safely."
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Old 4th Sep 2017, 10:15
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Originally Posted by BOBAKAT View Post
Very sad.. story,
And strange (the linked article doesn't give much details).

I'm sure there muss be some SOP to make this sort of operations safe?
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Old 4th Sep 2017, 10:39
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How would one fall out without interfering with controls on the way?
Not to mention why they wouldn't be strapped in.
Almost seems like there would need to be some intent to get that right.
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Old 4th Sep 2017, 10:46
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" but then saw the pilot's seat empty and his door wide open. He grabbed the controls and landed safely.. "
Clearly....It's not really clear. ...
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Old 4th Sep 2017, 12:02
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(the linked article doesn't give much details).
And shows a photo of an H175!
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Old 4th Sep 2017, 12:26
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It's a picture of a helicopter. That's close enough for the BBC.
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Old 4th Sep 2017, 16:50
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Body of 34yo pilot, father of 2, has been recovered.

Both the BBC's report and the Belgian newspaper report mentioned by BBC, have been updated.

https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/wiki.php?id=199349

Last edited by DIBO; 4th Sep 2017 at 17:16. Reason: adding ASN link
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Old 4th Sep 2017, 18:24
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How can somebody fall out of his seat in an A109? I'm 1,80 m and can bearly make it into the cockpit without hitting my skull or any other parts of my body.
How can somebody jump out of the cockpit without interfering with the dual controls obvoiusly being installed?
Hard to believe.
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Old 4th Sep 2017, 20:36
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How can somebody fall out of his seat in an A109? I'm 1,80 m and can bearly make it into the cockpit without hitting my skull or any other parts of my body.
I expect you will be weighing in at one G when getting in and out normally on the ground. Could be different in the air!
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Old 4th Sep 2017, 23:12
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From what I have gathered in the Australian press, the pilot was in the cabin despatching parachutists... why, I do not know; must be a European thing.
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Old 5th Sep 2017, 02:12
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Posting from the perspective of both helicopter pilot and USPA D-license skydiver:

Obviously, given that most on this forum have operated helicopters without doors many times, we all know it's pretty hard to simply fall out of an aircraft, particularly when properly secured in a seat by a belt or harness, even with the doors off. You pretty much have to want to get out.

That said, it is common practice in the US for pilots of non-cabin class aircraft used for skydiving to wear a pilot emergency parachute. This is not so much because they are afraid of falling out, nor are there regulatory requirements, but because there is a risk of catastrophic damage due to a skydiver exit gone wrong.

If I were to be dropping jumpers, I'd certainly wear a pilot emergency rig. And there's no question I'd be wearing a full skydiving rig if I was working un-tethered in any capacity in an aircraft dropping jumpers. Again, while it's hard to wind up in an impromptu skydive, sh*t does happen!
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Old 5th Sep 2017, 03:57
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Wow, how tragic. I used to be a sport jumper, though it's been a looong time ago, and I never did a helo jump. However, to echo what aa777888 wrote, in every para aircraft I've jumped from the pilot was also wearing a chute (it's an FAA reg in the US). The ones I saw the guys wearing were all surplus military stuff, so I guess there's no guarantee that they'd work, but parachutes seem to be more reliable than a lot of things I can think of.

ETA: OK, in rereading the thread it appears the deceased may or may not have been the pilot but a jumpmaster of some sort. I still can't fathom anyone in that role without a chute and/or tethered in, or both.

Geez, this just seems strange.
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Old 5th Sep 2017, 06:31
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The whole thing does not make sense. In a 109, you cant simply climb from the cockpit into the cabin, so the copilot must have been at the controls all the time. He was maybe just looking into the cabin to monitor the jumpers.
The report is innaccurate - the sliding door is for the cabin, the pilots door is hinged. There is simply no reason why the pilot would be unstrapped or deliberately have his door open. I cant think of any way this could not be a deliberate act.
Unless - what actually happened maybe is that the report is completely misleading, and one of the pilots was in the back acting as the jumpmaster throughout, the other was at the controls throughout, and it is the one in the back who fell.
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Old 5th Sep 2017, 08:18
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Why would a pilot ever want to act as jumpmaster? That is what qualified jumpmasters are for. And they would be hooked up with a harness to the helicopter. Unfortunately, impossible to tell whether it is shoddy reporting, misinformation or both. Might be a while before the true story emerges.
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Old 5th Sep 2017, 10:12
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From the Mil forum:

Belgian army pilot in fatal leap from helicopter cockpit


A military pilot who fell to his death from his helicopter had recently separated from his wife and two young children, Belgian media have reported. Vincent Valkenberg, 34, is suspected of having waited until his co-pilot was out of the way before jumping from the cockpit door during a flight on Sunday.

The co-pilot was supervising three army parachutists jumping from the aircraft as part of a display. The helicopter lurched suddenly and he saw that Captain Valkenberg’s seat was empty and the cockpit door was wide open. He grabbed the controls and landed safely “without problems”, according to Lieutenant-Colonel Jean-Paul Hames, his commander.

The pilot fell hundreds of metres from the Agusta A109, which was flying over a heavily wooded area near Belgium’s Tihange nuclear reactor. His body was recovered yesterday in a wooded area of the Meuse river valley after overnight searches by police helicopters with thermal-imaging cameras.

Suicide is the main theory in the investigation, with all indications being that the pilot voluntarily jumped after taking advantage of the brief moment when his colleague was watching the paratroopers. Helicopter pilots are not equipped with parachutes. The broadcaster RTL reported details of his marital difficulties.
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