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Helicopter crashes at Lumberton airport

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Helicopter crashes at Lumberton airport

Old 19th Sep 2017, 11:57
  #81 (permalink)  
 
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Never expect to go as far as you first think you might in auto; losing height (=range) is easy; stretching it is not.
agreed - 'Get close, stay close' was always the maxim for PFLs along with 'You can always lose height in auto but never gain it'.
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Old 19th Sep 2017, 12:50
  #82 (permalink)  
 
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In my experience of EOLs in singles, both simulated (1,000s) and real (6+, depends if you want to count airborne restarts), the common factor is always lack of time, no matter what height the failure. Whilst I concur that for an EOL, Rrpm is king, for the auto, flying at min rate of descent speed and with the Rrpm drooped close to minima will buy a surprising amount of thinking time. In the Squirrel, from 1000ft, you could extend the procedure from 45-50 secs to over 70 secs. The time gain drops by about 10% (7 secs) with the engine shut down. So, worst case, you buy yourself about 25% minimum extra thinking/manoeuvring time.

It would be foolish to disagree with decades of collective hard-earned helicopter wisdom, but sometimes, learning from your own mistakes is pretty good too.

Idle Stop, as always, an excellent and well reasoned post.

Last edited by jellycopter; 19th Sep 2017 at 12:52. Reason: Just thought of something else.
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Old 3rd Oct 2017, 10:16
  #83 (permalink)  
 
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Bit of an update here from yesterday.

Seems they were hovering for 10 minutes. May not be accurate, but is seems to say that the airport "operator" wouldn't let him land until a firetruck was there...?

Helicopter hovered for 10 minutes before crash that killed Troy Gentry | NJ.com
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Old 3rd Oct 2017, 10:21
  #84 (permalink)  
 
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Since when do you need permission for an emergency landing?
It would be better to have fire services present, but if you are in a bind and don't have the luxury of going elsewhere then put it down as safely as possible. Don't die waiting for help to arrive.
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Old 3rd Oct 2017, 11:01
  #85 (permalink)  
 
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If he could hover and then did so, as the reports seem to imply, it seems strange that he didn't just shut down the engine in the hover. A hover EOL (from normal hover height) is much easier and requires far less judgement than a full blown EOL from forward flight.
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Old 3rd Oct 2017, 17:17
  #86 (permalink)  
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I don't have any special knowledge of the accident but I think it's likely that they're using the term hovering to indicate he delayed his landing until the FD arrived. I doubt that the guy was waiting at a 3-5 ft. hover, then took off and attempted a straight in auto.
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Old 3rd Oct 2017, 17:49
  #87 (permalink)  
 
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But someone from an aviation background (air traffic controller for example) would have used a term like circling or orbiting or holding - hovering is very specific.
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Old 5th Dec 2018, 01:19
  #88 (permalink)  
 
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Troy Gentry death: Pilot at fault in crash that killed Montgomery-Gentry singer, feds say

https://www.ntsb.gov/_layouts/ntsb.a...17FA317&akey=1

Pilot error is to blame for a helicopter crash that killed country-music star Troy Gentry last year, the National Transportation Safety Board made public Tuesday.

Gentry, 50, and his pilot died in the Sept. 8 crash in Medford, New Jersey. The pair were on board the aircraft when it crashed near the runway of the Flying W Airport & Resort, a small airport and entertainment area.

Eddie Mongtomery, the other half of the duo, was at the airport waiting for Gentry to arrive when the crash occurred, the Cherry Hill Courier-Post reported.

According to the two-page report, several minutes after takeoff, the pilot reported to the airport he was "unable to control engine rpm with throttle inputs."

"The pilot's early entry into and failure to maintain rotor rpm during a forced landing autorotation after performing an engine shutdown in flight, which resulted in an uncontrolled descent," the report reads. "Contributing to the accident was the failure of maintenance personnel to properly rig the throttle control tie-rod assembly."

Reach Natalie Neysa Alund at [email protected].

Last edited by climber314; 5th Dec 2018 at 01:51. Reason: Add quote
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Old 5th Dec 2018, 03:46
  #89 (permalink)  
 
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Synopsis from the NTSB report:

Location: Medford, NJ
Accident Number: ERA17FA317
Date & Time: 09/08/2017, 1300 EDT
Registration: N204HF
Aircraft: SCHWEIZER 269C
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Hard landing
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

Analysis
The purpose of the flight was to provide an orientation/pleasure flight to the passenger, who was scheduled to perform in a concert on the airport later that evening. Several minutes after takeoff, the pilot reported over the airport UNICOM frequency that he was unable to control engine rpm with throttle inputs. He reported that he could "roll" the twist-grip; however, there was no corresponding change in engine power when he did so.

Three helicopter flight instructors, one a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, one an FAA designated examiner, and a company flight instructor, joined the conversation on the radio to discuss with the pilot remedial actions and landing options. These options included a shallow, power-on approach to a run-on landing, or a power-off, autorotational descent to landing. The instructors encouraged the pilot to perform the run-on landing, but the pilot reported that a previous run-on landing attempt was unsuccessful. He then announced that he would shut down the engine and perform an autorotation, which he said was a familiar procedure that he had performed numerous times in the past. The instructors stressed to the pilot multiple times that he should delay the engine shutdown and autorotation entry until the helicopter was over the runway surface.

Video footage from a vantage point nearly abeam the approach end of the runway showed the helicopter about 1/4 to 1/2 mile south of the runway as it entered a descent profile consistent with an autorotation. Toward the end of the video, the descent profile steepened and the rate of descent increased before the helicopter descended out of view. Witnesses reported seeing individual rotor blades as the main rotor turned during the latter portion of the descent.

The increased angle and rate of descent and slowing of the rotor blades is consistent with a loss of rotor rpm during the autorotation. Despite multiple suggestions from other helicopter instructors that he initiate the autorotation above the runway, the pilot shut down the engine and entered the autorotation from an altitude about 950 ft above ground level between 1/4 and 1/2 mile from the end of the runway. Upon realizing that the helicopter would not reach the runway, the pilot could have landed straight ahead and touched down prior to the runway or performed a 180° turn to a field directly behind the helicopter; however, he continued the approach to the runway and attempted to extend the helicopter's glide by increasing collective pitch, an action that resulted in a decay of rotor rpm and an uncontrolled descent.

Examination of the wreckage revealed evidence consistent with the two-piece throttle control tie rod assembly having disconnected in flight. The internally threaded rod attached to the bellcrank and an externally threaded rod-end bearing attached to the throttle control arm displayed damage to the three end-threads of each. The damage was consistent with an incorrectly adjusted throttle control tie rod assembly with reduced thread engagement, which led to separation of the rod end bearing from the tie rod and resulted in loss of control of engine rpm via the throttle twist grip control.

Probable Cause and Findings
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's early entry into and failure to maintain rotor rpm during a forced landing autorotation after performing an engine shutdown in flight, which resulted in an uncontrolled descent. Contributing to the accident was the failure of maintenance personnel to properly rig the throttle control tie-rod assembly, which resulted in an in-flight separation of the assembly and rendered control of engine rpm impossible.
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Old 5th Dec 2018, 12:17
  #90 (permalink)  
 
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Upon realizing that the helicopter would not reach the runway, the pilot could have landed straight ahead and touched down prior to the runway or performed a 180° turn to a field directly behind the helicopter; however, he continued the approach to the runway and attempted to extend the helicopter's glide by increasing collective pitch, an action that resulted in a decay of rotor rpm and an uncontrolled descent.
Helicopter Pilots live and die by Rotor RPM.

It is fine to have too much but fatal to have too little.

Dragging down the Rotor RPM to "stretch the glide" can kill you if you get below the Minimum Power Off Rotor RPM Limit determined by the Manufacturer.

Far better to wind up in the Trees with bags of Rotor RPM to cushion the touchdown than to crash in an open area without any.
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Old 5th Dec 2018, 14:34
  #91 (permalink)  
 
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Day one of autorotation/forced landing school - don't try and stretch the glide!
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Old 5th Dec 2018, 16:13
  #92 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Day one of autorotation/forced landing school - don't try and stretch the glide!
pretty much true for aeroplanes too!
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Old 5th Dec 2018, 17:36
  #93 (permalink)  
 
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After many engine failures in flight, two things surprise you, as pointed out in previous posts RRPM decays much quicker than you think, RRPM is often different to what one has practiced before, plus the silence is a surprise on its own.
Until it happens you just don't know what you will do? now called startle effect by some! knowledge is everything, experience is something else!
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Old 7th Dec 2018, 12:40
  #94 (permalink)  
 
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As a retired Helicopter Engineer, I am quite angry that the poor old pilot seems to be getting all the blame for this accident. The report blames pilot error, and then as a sort of after thought they say that the throttle was not rigged correctly. How about some blame for the people who released it into service in that state, in this country their licence would have been revoked.
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Old 7th Dec 2018, 12:56
  #95 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Dave B View Post
As a retired Helicopter Engineer, I am quite angry that the poor old pilot seems to be getting all the blame for this accident. The report blames pilot error, and then as a sort of after thought they say that the throttle was not rigged correctly. How about some blame for the people who released it into service in that state, in this country their licence would have been revoked.
I understand your point but I think it’s the semantics of the process - the actual accident was a result of a mishandled autorotation. In slightly different circumstances there may well have been an undamaged aircraft on the ground. The reason for entering the autorotation was clearly because of a maintenance error.
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Old 8th Dec 2018, 12:13
  #96 (permalink)  
 
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Curious about why the run on was unsuccessful. Experienced 269 aviator comment?

Also curious about collective rigging, which wasn’t mentioned. Is it possible the maintenance issues went beyond the throttle?
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Old 8th Dec 2018, 15:51
  #97 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by JohnDixson View Post
Curious about why the run on was unsuccessful. Experienced 269 aviator comment?

Also curious about collective rigging, which wasn’t mentioned. Is it possible the maintenance issues went beyond the throttle?
Are you sugesting auto RRPM set tow low
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Old 8th Dec 2018, 16:11
  #98 (permalink)  
 
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John

I would suggest that from 1000 ft into wind there is no way a 300 will make 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile. Best auto speed is 48 kts which with average weight and temperature and not going for range will give you a rate of descent of around 1600 fpm with auto revs set at around 460 rpm ( 390 to 504 is the limit ). Having had an engine stop I agree with Tim Price. Also if one does a throttle chop in the cruise then you will actually get the rrpm to the bottom red line as one puts the collective down, however any disc loading quickly brings that back. In zero wind from a 60 kts and 1000 ft I guess you are looking at a glide of around 500 m. Go for range with airspeed at around 65 kts you will increase glide by around 75 m, lever up so rrpm down around 400 the you will get another 50 to 75 m from that 1000 ft.
300's are really easy to land from an auto so `i can only assume he tried to stretch the auto and became fixated on getting back to the runway. This may well be the difference in training from Uk to USA. Here in UK i would never do a touch down to the runway always to the grass,( must have done thousands by now to the grass and as yet haven't bent a thing ) where as all US pilots I have flown with / spoken with want to go to the runway.Hope this helps
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Old 8th Dec 2018, 16:47
  #99 (permalink)  
 
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I would suggest what we teach is the same as in the UK....When the Engine quits for real....go for the best possible landing site...be it the Runway, Taxiway, Roadway, or cornfield.

Practice EOL's are not Emergency Landings following an Engine Failure or as in this case a Throttle system failure....thus one could give preference to other landing places than the Airfield's active Runway while doing training EOL's.

Picking the Runway was not this Pilot's mistake....initiating the Autorotation too early was...especially after being reminded of the need to be OVER the Runway before doing so.

Thank you for the informative part of your post which confirmed my recollection of the TH-55A (US Army version of the 369)....looking down between your Pedals was how you picked your landing site.
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Old 8th Dec 2018, 17:03
  #100 (permalink)  
 
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500e: Just asking that question-the point of which would be the possibility of low auto Nr. That would have had to be a pretty big rigging error, based on the witness statements and impact. Probably not a factor, but the rigging does need to be checked.
Hughes500: My question was not about the autorotational technique, but related to why the run on was unsuccessful and was based on my understanding from the report that a power on run-on had been attempted. Now assuming that the power was fixed, it was obviously sufficient for level flight at some speed. The report says nothing about what that power was, but, as long as it was less than hover power, and selecting a long strip, it should have been rather easy to fly it in low, and gradually reduce speed ( flying up the back side of the power required curve in fact ) and eventually you’ll be running it on, at which time you can kill the engine. My curiosity was why that didn’t work when it was tried. Perhaps it was that in fact the power level at which engine control was lost was very high, in which case the auto was the only alternative.




Last edited by JohnDixson; 8th Dec 2018 at 17:10. Reason: Added thoughts
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