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Helicopter down in East River, NYC

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Helicopter down in East River, NYC

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Old 13th Mar 2018, 00:52
  #81 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Flapwing View Post
@1:54, the guy in that x shaped thing...is that the harness they are wearing for photo shoots?
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 01:14
  #82 (permalink)  
 
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One more thing... I've never ditched in a helicopter but did swim out of a near-shore ditch once in a GA fixed wing on a photo shoot. This was tropical, warm water. Egress wasn't hard, just regular seatbelts. We had to wait for the tail to sink enough to use the rear door (DeHavilland Otter), the pilot and co-pilot exited through their doors or windows.

As a non-pilot "civilian," even someone with many hours in light planes and helicopters doing photo missions, I remember there was a moment of disbelief -- "is this really happening??" -- when the plane hit the water. It was all very surreal. It took a few seconds to gather my thoughts, and get to work on exiting the plane. And this was in warm water.

I can't imagine trying to exit while inverted in shocking-cold water, strapped into a harness I wasn't familiar with, together with that initial reaction of not quite believing it's happening. Tourist passengers don't train for this. And these were young people in apparently good shape. I'm not surprised they didn't make it out.
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 01:29
  #83 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by GrayHorizonsHeli View Post
@1:54, the guy in that x shaped thing...
That's just a fancy tee-shirt.
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 01:52
  #84 (permalink)  
 
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ok i couldnt tell with my screen.

doing some google work, i found the website that shows the harness'
they look to be standard safety harness' and they are clipped in with a standard climbing ring.

https://www.flynyon.com/product/nyc-experience
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 02:01
  #85 (permalink)  
 
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I had 20+ years of being aboard rotary photo and filming missions in dozens of countries and the only consistent feature I could point to was inconsistency itself.

Charter operators’ procedures and equipment always varied. Always. So much so, that the only reliable way to have some oversight of one’s crew safety was to bring our own equipment (harnesses etc) and do our own briefings.

The ad hoc nature of helicopter operations and capabilities are their greatest asset. But you risk all if you forget that these same factors pose some of the most serious threats.

It will be most tragic indeed if we discover that members of the public have been ‘upsold’ a professional experience designed simply to circumvent local noise / planning legislation.

Our thoughts go out to all of those tangled in this awful mess.

======

Previous harness thread here

Last edited by McHover; 13th Mar 2018 at 02:43. Reason: Added relevant thread
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 02:32
  #86 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
And we are back to cold water shock.

Immersion suits and air bottles (STASS or equivalent) would at least have given them a fighting chance.

Even being shown a video of how to escape underwater would have better than nothing.

Planned flight over water out of auto range of land with water temp less than 5 degrees.........
I assume the pilot didn't have an immersion suit or air bottle.

Being able to get loose from the helicopter would have given the passengers a fighting chance. That and possibly a flotation device probably would have been enough - with the doors open, getting out wouldn't have been an issue and apparently the pilot was picked up fairly quickly. They would have been cold and wet, but....
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 03:44
  #87 (permalink)  
 
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Having been on these Helis open door. You have a belt cutter and the 4 point harness is clipped on to the aircraft much like for high building work, however at the start and end of the flight the Ďseat beltí is required.
So it could be they were belted in AND harnessed at the time if they were about to land at the NYC heliport..

That said no bags were allowed on mine (lockered at the heliport) with FlyNyOn and cameras were tethered to the harness.

It seemed like it was survivable for all, although if they were just harnessed in it would have been a worse impact for the passengers than the lap belted pilot.. as there is a good bit of give ie potential for movement on impact with the water. So I see some are suggesting they might have been conscious and able to try and get out but there is a possibility they were not.

As for flight suits.. I doubt many would do the experience if they had to have full flight suits on and even then it would have complicated matters further as they are fairly restrictive. Iíve worn them on a UK Coast Guard photo shoot and also transiting between North Sea offshore platforms, they for sure do not make it easier to exit an aircraft, so the argument about water shock or water survival is mute if you make it even harder to exit. Iíve also done the survival training for offshore helicopter travel and even those who have done it before in warmish water, with suits on can panic when dunked and fail to get out of the aircraft.

I donít think there are any easy solutions to stopping a repeat of this other than mandatory twin engines (if proved to be an engine fault) and a no bags policy (if proven to be that) to prevent it having to go into the water in the first place.

Why the floatation devices failed should be the biggest future focus once the causation of engine loss is found.
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 03:56
  #88 (permalink)  
 
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With so many posters laying 100% of the blame at the operator's feet, I shall go out on a limb and say the passengers had responsibility to be aware of the potential dangers of the flight. They should also have been cognizant of where and how they were strapped in, and known the location of the knife mentioned in the briefing.


If one is going to engage in activities that might go awry, it's incumbent to familiarize oneself with safety features and devices which might mitigate the possibility of harm.


Many years ago I booked a ride in a PT-17 Stearman to experience my first taste of aerobatics. The pilot instructed me on egress technique from the front cockpit and the operation of the seat parachute. After we discussed what his bailout call would be and I strapped in, from that moment forward I was prepared to leave the aircraft if the need arose.


There's no doubt the passengers probably treated their safety briefing and the video as a version of the flight attendant speech they had heard dozens of times. Human nature, I suppose. But if one is planning to hang from the door of a helicopter to take photographs, being unprepared and ignorant of possible life saving actions is a mistake that might prove fatal.

However, I acknowledge their plight was severe, and that once the helicopter rolled upside down there was essentially no chance any of the passengers would survive.

A terrible tragedy.

Last edited by ThreeThreeMike; 13th Mar 2018 at 05:09.
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 04:21
  #89 (permalink)  
 
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NTSB Board Member Bella Dihn-Zarr gives an initial briefing on the accident:

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Old 13th Mar 2018, 05:39
  #90 (permalink)  
 
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Story and video of subjects in aircraft before crash.


New York helicopter crash: Pilot reportedly blames bag as passengers identified - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 06:30
  #91 (permalink)  
 
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Some of you people are killing me. Look at the water temp, and the untrained pax.

I was fortunate to be the beneficiary of both helo dunker/escape training, and the hypothermia/cold water training in the Navy. Even with that training, without a well crafted anti exposure suit, I'd have as good a chance as any of them of being dead with immersion as a passenger with little to no CRM in the event of a quick loss of power/ditching into 4 degrees C water.

FFS, I am pleased that anyone at all is alive after this unexpected ditching.

Why did the engine die? That's the question.
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 08:02
  #92 (permalink)  
 
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Crab,

How far in advance would you have the customer book the flight....and the necessary training to use all that gear?

Surely you don”t think it fine to hand a passenger a PFD and Puff Bottle...as they head out the door to the aircraft do you?
SAS, every passenger we took over the water on SAR was given a goon suit. life jacket and a through safety briefing - it took well under an hour.

Any that we took over water at night, had to have been dunker trained.

You wouldn't bungee jump without a briefing and a safety cord.

Silver Pegasus - you defeat your own argument about immersion suits - yes they are slightly more restrictive (modern ones are much better though) but they keep you alive long enough to orientate yourself and make the exit without the debilitating effects of the cold water stopping you.
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 08:08
  #93 (permalink)  
 
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Operating a SE Helicopter over a Hostile environment presents severe hazard such the engine fail.
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 08:52
  #94 (permalink)  
 
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Would it not be possible to have a central release system to the harnesses that was activated by water? From what I have seen, 5 people should be around to tell their stories of this accident. If you can't escape a sinking helicopter that has no doors, you have either been knocked unconscious (as mentioned above) or you are attached to it and can't free yourself. Does dunker training (which we can assume they haven't done) cover using a knife underwater? Assuming you can find it whilst suffering cold water shock in the dark or with your eyes closed, can you hold it, can it float away, does it easily cut through wet harnesses? Thinking about trying to do that makes me shudder. A fun day out suddenly goes extremely wrong. You have the shock of knowing the machine is going down so probably don't instantly decide to grab the knife or look at your harness. You then have the impact shock and the reality. Then the water. Then the panic. If the harness hooks could automatically be freed, you would surely have a chance?

I have flown over water and the pilot briefed us that in the event of a forced ditching, he would instruct us to remove our belts before impact - assuming it was a controlled auto, then brace.

Shocking to watch and I feel sorry for the pilot whatever he may or may not have done prior to the flight. To be able to swim away leaving the pax behind will live with him forever.
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 09:33
  #95 (permalink)  
 
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Here you can see exactly how the pax were strapped in...
from 0:39 onwards
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 10:52
  #96 (permalink)  
 
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Devil

Christ, there's a load of data coming in on this, from suspected causes, to pax restraints, to auto technique, etc.

I'm going to look at this from an holistic perspective and 2nd guess what the NTSB determine as a consequence - or should I say......MUST consider/recommend.

In no particular order:
1.Legislate that when flying over hostile terrain - either operate ONLY twins, or fly at a height where a single engined aircraft can auto to hospitable terrain.

2. Bespoke the brief. In this instance, brief the consequence of flying over inhospitable terrain and what will happen when the aircraft lands. For a water landing, brief a comprehensive ditching episode whilst inverted and with limited or no viz. This brief would trigger the signing of an "Informed Consent" form which exposes the pax to the degree of risk they are about to embark on [The level of risk in such a flight is well above the norm and the pax must be left in no doubt what they are about to experience in terms of hazardous flight] In the UK this scenario is captured under a category of flight called: SSA and C (look it up).
https://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP%201395.pdf

Informed Consent is a double edged sword: You are educating a person to accept something which carries above average risk WITHOUT frightening the customer! Your commercial head wants a good customer experience, your safety head says this isn't a good idea if it goes wrong.

3. Use a suitable harness (the ones in the video seemed ideal?). A "QRB" is all that is needed: Twist and pull away from you.
Forget knives. NO-ONE, repeat no-one is going to calmy saw away at their webbing whilst inverted in the pitch black holding their breath in cold water.

4. Consider 'guarding' sensitive switches/levers.

5. Limit the number of pax in a confined space.

6. Strip the pax of ALL loose articles prior to flight and remind them of their responsibilities whilst airborne regarding: speaking/moving/touching.

This accident should/will ricochet throughout the industry and bring into place more rigid rules and guidelines, which for some will drive them out of business and for others, wake them from their complacencies.

It looks to me like the pax didn't have a chance. They would have lost their SA and then their ability to think and move logically. It would be over in 90 seconds.

I'm guessing the pilot wasn't sufficiently high to get into a solid auto profile - the cab had over half a tonne of pax (inc pilot) onboard She must have dropped like a brick leaving the pilot no time to flare and reduce the RoD sufficiently to stay afloat.

Would you allow your family in one of these 'thrill seeking' trips in future?
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 10:57
  #97 (permalink)  
 
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Here another Video. I think in Minute 1:29 you can see better that the hook on the passenger back is locked by a twisted nut, additional to the hook


Try to unlock that think by yourself in the back, in a calm dry and warm condition.

Then try the same in case of an emergency, ice cold water and all of this upside down under water. I'ld say for untrained, impossible to do

Last edited by MartinM; 13th Mar 2018 at 11:12.
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 11:02
  #98 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Lonewolf_50 View Post
Some of you people are killing me. Look at the water temp, and the untrained pax.

I was fortunate to be the beneficiary of both helo dunker/escape training, and the hypothermia/cold water training in the Navy. Even with that training, without a well crafted anti exposure suit, I'd have as good a chance as any of them of being dead with immersion as a passenger with little to no CRM in the event of a quick loss of power/ditching into 4 degrees C water.

FFS, I am pleased that anyone at all is alive after this unexpected ditching.

Why did the engine die? That's the question.
And DOUBLE BOGEY:
Operating a SE Helicopter over a Hostile environment presents severe hazard such the engine fail.

Amen to both of you.
Even in the GoM there are set water temperature/weather combination for which SE helicopters are kept on the ground.
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 11:09
  #99 (permalink)  
 
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Hi, TC!
I agree re knives and passenger SA etc. The "surprise & startle effect" would make it very probable that the passengers would freeze or panic with the sudden shock of the situation. Untrained pax are never going to be able to react quickly enough even to find the knife, let alone use it correctly.
I think the obvious answer here is that you need a trained crewmember in the back ( as happens on 99.9% of commercial flights ( talking fixed wing obviously) -to take charge and get the pax out in the event of an emergency.
In NYC like London, you have the equivalent of heli-lanes over East River and the Hudson, so an aircraft can autorotate to a relatively clear (if wet) area, where it is not a danger to people on the ground. I cant see another solution unless you are talking mandating twins over the city, and that is highly unlikely. If you look at the probability/ frequency of engine failures, it will come down to costs vs benefits, and money talks!
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 11:12
  #100 (permalink)  
 
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The video shows ground crew attaching the harnesses to the aircraft. The chances of someone that has never worn one before, or had practice removing the harness in a hurry, being able to do so, let alone when inverted and underwater is next to zero.
It shouldn't be a surprise that only the pilot managed to survive.

No doubt after this and the Grand Canyon accident there will be some changes coming to sight seeing ops.
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