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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, 10:13
  #101 (permalink)  
 
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PC Plod - you still in Italy? How long you got left there? Family OK?

You're right unfortunately, if the flying fraternity are anything like the NRA in yankee land, then money will always win and nothing will change for the better.

One can only hope that insurance companies and lawyers make things happen, then.

Stay safe buddy.
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 10:14
  #102 (permalink)  
 
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Another contributing factor

4 people in the rear, camera equipment hanging around their neck, maybe two bodies and possibly bags and other floating devices that obstruct their ability to quickly find the knifes ...
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 10:17
  #103 (permalink)  
 
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So unclipping your own harness from behind yourself is difficult? Why not brief pax to unclip each other's harness instead? Then no need to look for a knife...
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 10:58
  #104 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by chopjock View Post
So unclipping your own harness from behind yourself is difficult? Why not brief pax to unclip each other's harness instead? Then no need to look for a knife...
At the moment you realise you need to get loose you may already have a couple of people on top of you with the fastening line under tension. Getting it released in an environment where you can't communicate and people are panicking sounds improbable.
People drown regularly in a normal sea swell trying to save a panicking swimmer in distress.
In freezing water, upside down in a helicopter it's far more challenging.

Last edited by Bell_ringer; 13th Mar 2018 at 11:12. Reason: typo
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 11:04
  #105 (permalink)  
 
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I love it Chopjock - "Excuse me Sir, would you mind unclipping me at the back - just want to pop out for a mo!" You talk bo**ox still.
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 11:14
  #106 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Thomas coupling View Post
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?
The whole harness/photo journalists designation of the passengers is a workaround so they can fly. The passengers shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

Do you really think they truly understood the risks involved?

This is one of those cases of skirting the regs where it’s not a problem until there’s crash.
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 12:18
  #107 (permalink)  
 
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I've spent 30years working as a pro photographer, and my work includes occasional survey work from helicopters... six hours a day sitting in the door of a LongRanger wearing a survival suit, a harness (with quick release toggle) and waist belt while operating pro camera gear. I love the work, but it should only ever be one photographer in the door... not five.

The problem is that nowadays everyone with a DSLR or even a iPhone wants to be a professional photographer for a day, or an hour... and both society and industry is indulging these individuals. Yes, they get to fly about in a helicopter for an hour with the door removed, but as with most amateurs treading into pro territory, most never appreciate the challenges or dangers until it is too late.

Professional aerial photographers, like professional pilots, know the risks, practise procedures, work to checklists and usually have a higher level of awareness beyond the viewfinder than most amateurs ever would... a 10-minute prep talk before a door-off flight is not enough to prepare amateurs for what pros spend careers learning about and practising.

Some things are best left to the professionals. Had all five passengers been wearing conventional seat belts with both doors on the helicopter firmly closed, even with the hard landing there is a good chance that helicopter would not have immediately flooded with water, and all five passengers might possibly be alive today. Sad.
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 12:44
  #108 (permalink)  
 
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Flyting posted a customer video earlier.

There it is, look at the harness buckle, it's a simple clasp affair. But if you are hanging from this your full bodyweight pressed against the front clasp, it will make it incredibly difficult if not impossible to undo.
Indeed perhaps why it was chosen, if an inexperienced operative fell out whilst in flight and panicked there is no way they could accidentally open the harness.

EDIT: What would be the topic of discussion if a photographer had fallen out in flight and was suspended by his tether with a quick release mechanism and then he accidentally activated the quick release harness?

The harnesses I have used in the past are two-step device plug two separate levers affair and your out.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
harness.jpg (488.6 KB, 108 views)

Last edited by DroneDog; 13th Mar 2018 at 15:09.
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 13:25
  #109 (permalink)  
 
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very good article by accompaning aircraft journalist...

5 People Died in a Helicopter Crash in New York City's East River on March 11. I Was There. - The Drive
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 13:56
  #110 (permalink)  
 
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People die in aircraft crashes because they cant undo their seatbelts to evacuate. They panic and revert to trying to release a normal car seat belt mechanism, something they are more familiar with. That is why undoing the seat belt is in the safety demo.

So in this case, it would have been next to impossible for the pax to release themselves from their harness. In the cold, wet, dark, in full panic mode, hands shaking, they would have to 1. Remember they are harnessed to the helo, and not a normal seat belt. 2. understand that to escape they would have to cut themselves out, by locating their knife and then locating their tether, and then actually cut through the cable. Forget it. They should have had quick release harnesses like on a parachute. How did the FAA sign off this?
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 14:11
  #111 (permalink)  
 
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How many people sacrificed before the change in policy?

This latest crash shall bring change to the sight seeing industry especially following the Grand Canyon Sight seeing Crash.


Originally Posted by tottigol View Post
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, 14:21
  #112 (permalink)  
 
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There is an observation in one of the videos.

We can see that before impact, the floats are deployed already. Reading through an amount of checklists, unfortunately I don't have a AS350 POH handy, the B206 states that the floats may not be activated in flight with speed above 54 knots. Autorotation speed of the B206L3 with extender is 65 Knots.

Anyone has a clue what the specs for the AS350B2 is?
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 14:52
  #113 (permalink)  
 
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Hook knives are primarily used in two types of situations. First responders often carry them to cut seat belts or other fabric in rescue operations. Normally things have stopped moving at that point and the hook knife is much safer for the responder and the victim and since it has a razor blade in it may be faster and better than even a well sharpened knife. The second scenario is when it is carried and used by someone undergoing the emergency, as the souls in the helicopter were. Most sport skydivers carry them (I did although I never had to use one). The joke we used to make at the drop zone was that since nobody had them tethered, we would probably fumble it and watch it fall away as we were falling at high speed tangled in our canopy lines, or worse, someone else's lines. I seriously doubt that with no rehersal of a simulated emergency, where you actually unstow the knife and cut a piece of actual webbing that anyone would have successfully been able to do that in the few seconds they had before the helicopter rolled. Especially since there would probably have been people forced together and some pretty violent jostling going on. You still have to grab your tether and get the knife on it in a position where it would actually work. Easier said than done under good circumstances. My thought is that no type of release device is appropriate for inexperienced passengers in this sort of flight. They are all either too difficult to use or would be open to inadvertant release (such as a three ring release) by people who had not done immersive recurrent training. These flights should not be allowed by the FAA with doors opened unless standard seatbelts are worn. These people died because they wanted photos of their feet dangling and people who should have known better let it happen. Someone else can speak to the whole other issue of webbing or gear that can get caught on fuel shutoff lever or someone stepping on the collective while moving around. It's all right there along with insulation blankets or gear that goes out the door and hits a tail rotor. It should never happen.
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 15:07
  #114 (permalink)  
 
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Note that the "Cake Boss" clip above, with the black helicopter, has no floats on the skids. Maybe floats are a very recent addition to the fleet? The clip was posted in October/2017.

Just an observation. The primary issue still seems to be the harness design, and whether tourists should be in this situation in the first place.
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 15:28
  #115 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Photonic View Post
Note that the "Cake Boss" clip above, with the black helicopter, has no floats on the skids. Maybe floats are a very recent addition to the fleet? The clip was posted in October/2017.
Because it is a twin engine. Floats only required on single engine.
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 15:36
  #116 (permalink)  
 
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Its good to know that when someone's bag handle pulls the emergency fuel cut-off that it's better to be in a twin!
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 15:41
  #117 (permalink)  
 
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The article that Flapwing links to is rather damning...
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 15:43
  #118 (permalink)  

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Another tragic loss. I must admit that in the past I have dissuaded my own immediate family from flying on sightseeing trips such as this one, in at least three different countries. Having assessed the overall risks involved I just didn't want them unknowingly exposed to them. As someone who has earned my living flying helicopters, I wish I didn't have reason to say that.
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 15:46
  #119 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by John R81 View Post
Its good to know that when someone's bag handle pulls the emergency fuel cut-off that it's better to be in a twin!
95% of twin pax will be in the back where they belong ! I estimate there are around 45 IFR twin aircraft operating in the NYC area regularly - all two pilot S76/139/430/109/429 part 135, part 91 corporate and government.
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 15:48
  #120 (permalink)  
 
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Its good to know that when someone's bag handle pulls the emergency fuel cut-off that it's better to be in a twin!
according to the article, it was one of the pax harnesses that caught the fuel shutoff.

From experience, having two people on harness in a big helicopter cabin can be a pain, 3 a choreographic nightmare so what 5 is like in a small single..........
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