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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, 16:56
  #121 (permalink)  
 
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Excellent article, the sister ship was N351LH and you can hear that helo's diversion to look for the crash in the liveatc.net tapes.
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 18:09
  #122 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by SASless View Post
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.
Sasless,

As for the Grand Canyon prang, please contact the NTSB if you know something the NTSB don't.


One thing is for sure. If we change all SE to ME helicopters, we would only have twin accidents to discuss in the future.


Lets not overthink this accident!

6 people take off in a helicopter, they make a controlled ditching. 1 person walks to the ambulance to be taken to hospital for check, the 5 others has to be cut loose by divers from a helicopter with NO doors floating in the surface up to an hour after ditching!!!

1 had normal belts, the others didn't.
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 18:51
  #123 (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!
I agree. Neither the drowning in Hawaii, not this one here, nor the Grand Canyon Tour accident seem to immediately suggest that a second engine would have made a difference. (Of course for Grand Canyon, and this one here, we have to wait for the final report.)
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 18:52
  #124 (permalink)  
 
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Also those harnesses look like something construction workers would wear for working at height.
They should have been a milspec aircrew harness with quick release. Just my opinion.
I arrived at a base once and was asked to do a photo flight...I asked about a harness for the photographer... I was given a "construction" type harness with no quick release capability. I refused to use it.
I later found out that the company had no standard for harness to be used in "open door" ops.
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 19:48
  #125 (permalink)  
 
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Nubian,

It is a difficult concept I suppose.

Folks burn to death following a crash in an aircraft without crash resistant fuel cells.

Folks drown in frigid waters due to improper safety harnesses.

Both are sight seeing flights.

That is eleven deaths or so in two crashes in what....a month or so?

Where do you think the Media, FAA, NTSB, Insurance Carriers, and Lawyers are going to be looking for explanations?
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 21:07
  #126 (permalink)  
 
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Australia went through a few accidents some 20-30 years ago which brought the subject of cameraman’s harnesses into the spotlight, and we now have excellent ones available from a few companies. The best uses a ‘3 ring circus’ of overlapping metal rings to hold the harness strap onto the harness, the rings being locked in place by a plastic rod which goes through a sheath to a ripcord pull velcro’d to the top left harness.

Easy to release under any strain, the setup is based on parachute harness principles and is commercially available plus covered under CASA requirements. Not to be secured to the aircraft when the cameraman is strapped into the normal seat harness. The cost is both reasonable and affordable for any company serious about safety.

A backup webbing knife is usually added to the harness as a secondary release, but not (IIRC) mandates.
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 21:07
  #127 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by SASless View Post
Nubian,

It is a difficult concept I suppose.

Folks burn to death following a crash in an aircraft without crash resistant fuel cells.

Folks drown in frigid waters due to improper safety harnesses.

Both are sight seeing flights.

That is eleven deaths or so in two crashes in what....a month or so?

Where do you think the Media, FAA, NTSB, Insurance Carriers, and Lawyers are going to be looking for explanations?
Sas,

The media is looking for a great story, no doubt as it sells and they are not out to change one little thing! The FAA, NTSB, Insurance will look at the causes which in these 2 accidents are quite different.

I see the FAA make stricter rules on this type of nonsense operation, GREAT! They will not make a twin requirement as they will see through the smoke and see the real problem which is not the single engine operation. They will get their support for this from the NTSB. For the aftermath of the GC, the FAA may mandate the use of crash resistant fuel cells based on the NTSB final findings unless there are very compelling evidence that point to other causes than pilot error, nothing else.
The insurers will no doubt increase premiums on all of us as they always do! The payouts are generally low compared to the profit they make by having ''high accident rates'' and they need accidents to happen on a semi frequent rate in order to justify their bread and butter!!

Do you really think the insurance premiums will drop with an all twin fleet??
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 21:29
  #128 (permalink)  
 
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Hot and Hi,

answer this if you will.................and honestly.

Do you have children?

If your children had been airborne in that helo....they would be dead now.

If your children had been in that same helicopter but it had been a twin squirrel, they would almost certainly be alive and still bugging the hell out of you!

A twin in this particular instance would have limped to safety on the river bank.

5 human beings and all their families would be sitting down to dinner right now., talking about the near miss they had that day.

Think carefully before you respond. Twins actually make a difference in instances like this. In fact if any COMMERCIAL operation flies over inhospitable terrain - it should be mandatory. But I accept that for most - the extra costs don't add up.

The funny thing is - if you think twins asre expensive - try having a fatal accident.

This company will never recover from this.
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 21:36
  #129 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by John Eacott View Post
Australia went through a few accidents some 20-30 years ago which brought the subject of cameraman’s harnesses into the spotlight, and we now have excellent ones available from a few companies. The best uses a ‘3 ring circus’ of overlapping metal rings to hold the harness strap onto the harness, the rings being locked in place by a plastic rod which goes through a sheath to a ripcord pull velcro’d to the top left harness.

Easy to release under any strain, the setup is based on parachute harness principles and is commercially available plus covered under CASA requirements. Not to be secured to the aircraft when the cameraman is strapped into the normal seat harness. The cost is both reasonable and affordable for any company serious about safety.
John,

How foolproof do you think that harness is when used by relatively inexperienced people fumbling with photo gear? Without seeing a picture, I'd worry that someone would inadvertently release their harness.

One might envision a way for the pilot to pull a pin that instantly untethers everybody. Of course, if a harness can snag a fuel control, it can probably snag an instant release control.

Unfortunately probably the best solution would be some fairly intensive training (a full day?) on how to use the system, but of course that's not going to work for what is essentially a sightseeing ride.

p.s.: can you give us a link to the system you're describing? I'd be interested to take a look...
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 21:41
  #130 (permalink)  
 
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Thinking about the solutions -- I think a starting point is to assume that at least a few more people might have gotten out, if they were wearing basic seat belts instead of a full tethered harness. The pilot did. Cold shock would still be an issue, but they might have had a better chance. Especially if they had been given a quick "open your seatbelts and brace!" command by the pilot, during the auto into the water.

The harness is only required because they're offering not just a "doors off experience," but also the option to sit in the door frame with legs dangling. I'm not sure why everyone has to wear a harness in the cabin, even those seated in the rear, but maybe it's an insurance requirement if anyone is doing that. Or maybe people are trading off the "door sit" so everyone needs a harness.

Anyway, the immediate solution seems simple to me: Regulate these flights so doors can be off, including the usual requirements for no loose items, but keep the tourists in their seats with basic, quick-release seatbelts. It can still be "exciting" to fly that way. I've done it plenty of times on photo shoots where a harness and getting out on the skid isn't required for a wide angle shot. With today's self-stabilizing consumer cameras, you can get plenty of nice tourist photos without sitting in the open doorway. That's strictly for the "thrill" angle that these flights offer.

I'm not sure how this could be regulated while still allowing professional photo and film crews to operate as usual with harness when required. But it seems at least marginally safer for this kind of tourist flight. For the specific NYC zone, a lower limit on water temps in the East River might also be required.

I think twins vs. singles is a red herring, because this type of flight will still be offered worldwide in singles due to operating costs. The same issues of quick egress apply over land, due to possible fire hazard in a forced landing. Tourists just have no business being in these harnesses, or hanging out in an open doorway for kicks.
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 22:15
  #131 (permalink)  
 
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Regarding Australia:
Originally Posted by John Eacott View Post
we now have excellent ones available from a few companies. The best uses a Ď3 ring circusí of overlapping metal rings to hold the harness strap onto the harness,
I see you posted about that already in 2010.

(Just one update to your understanding: The 'plastic rod' holding the 3-ring, that gets pulled, if it follows skydiving convention, would be a braided steel cable like a control cable, covered in a smooth plastic. So it is quite solid.)

Also popping up in that thread in a later year:
"Three well intentioned cameraman have drowned in last 15 years, trapped by their home made harnesses, 1 x fixed wing 2 x helicopters ( 1 x civilian 1 x military)
In all cases they were the sole occupant who perished."

Rules or common practice here in North American just happen to be less rigorous on the subject of restraints... for now.
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 22:22
  #132 (permalink)  
 
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Tc
If your children had been in that same helicopter but it had been a twin squirrel, they would almost certainly be alive and still bugging the hell out of you!
You could say the same if they went up in a 206, no FCL to catch with a luggage strap !
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 22:30
  #133 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Paul Cantrell View Post
John,

How foolproof do you think that harness is when used by relatively inexperienced people fumbling with photo gear? Without seeing a picture, I'd worry that someone would inadvertently release their harness.

One might envision a way for the pilot to pull a pin that instantly untethers everybody. Of course, if a harness can snag a fuel control, it can probably snag an instant release control.

Unfortunately probably the best solution would be some fairly intensive training (a full day?) on how to use the system, but of course that's not going to work for what is essentially a sightseeing ride.

p.s.: can you give us a link to the system you're describing? I'd be interested to take a look...
Nothing is ever 100% foolproof, but the Ďripcordí release is a padded grip (quite fat) that is held in place by an overlapping grip of velcro and very unlikely to be released accidentally.

A few threads previously, one referenced by pchapman is here:
Photographer's Harness

Thanks for the correction on the plastic coated steel cable
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 22:33
  #134 (permalink)  
 
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FFCL redesign?

Did they do some sort of redesign after a passengerís backpack caught the FFCL in N213EH in Alaska 10 years ago?

I havenít flown an AS350 in 15 years so I am not really sure what they did, but I thought something came out of that investigation.
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 23:13
  #135 (permalink)  
 
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I think I found the model of harness they are using in the videos posted earlier:
Guardian Seraph confined space harness.
(I think I got the manufacturer right, not 100% about the exact model)

Compare this
from their website. You can make out the manufacturer's logo to the left of the dorsal D ring pretty clearly when watching at 1080p:

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Old 13th Mar 2018, 23:31
  #136 (permalink)  
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Another thumbs up for the 3 ring circus John described.

It doesn't dominate it is simply just how it's done worldwide for 40 years and on a scale that dwarves rotary and fixed wing open door ops.

In skydiving people are using the system from their very first jump - supremely simple, reliable and trainable. There are even novelty bras utilising the system.

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Old 13th Mar 2018, 23:34
  #137 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Praet View Post
That does not look like it was designed for a quick exit. The chest buckle will be difficult to undo with any tension on it. And then one must unbuckle or step out of the leg straps. Good luck reaching and opening the carabiner behind your back in a panic.

Perhaps the solution is a parachute type release handle which will release the other end of the safety straps (where they are attached to the helo structure). One pull releases everybody. Put the handle forward, where the pilot can reach it. And swat anyone who might inadvertently try to play with it.
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Old 13th Mar 2018, 23:48
  #138 (permalink)  
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The three-ring system does work great. Each ring is a 10x increase of force. The smallest ring is held with only 10lbs force, the middle 100lbs and the largest ring 1000lbs. So good for 200lb people at up to 5G.

It's used on all sport skydiving equipment.
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Old 14th Mar 2018, 00:11
  #139 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Sir Korsky View Post
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.
The NYONAIR flight i was on was twin engine, single pilot. N355MH. That is their Pro Cam setup Heli though.
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Old 14th Mar 2018, 00:25
  #140 (permalink)  
 
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You can buy this type of harness at a big box store. But people should absolutely not be tethered during landing and takeoff when they're belted in anyway.

But of course that means you have to have a crewmember to clip in and unclip passengers when leaving and returning to their seats which reduces revenue and requires another salary.

Offshore oil crews wear goon suits and get dunker training, but naÔve passengers don't
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