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EC-135 crashes into ocean near Port Hedland off Western Australias Pilbara coast

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EC-135 crashes into ocean near Port Hedland off Western Australias Pilbara coast

Old 22nd Mar 2018, 01:10
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Originally Posted by Heliringer
I think he's asking about the Port Hedland accident not the Old Bristow one from 1991.
Correct.
Thank you.
Rumours from the scene indicate more than one approach was conducted before the tragic incident.
It was also a very dark night.
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Old 22nd Mar 2018, 02:34
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Sorry about that!
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Old 22nd Mar 2018, 07:57
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Are NVG's used on these MPT flights?
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Old 22nd Mar 2018, 08:14
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I'm not aware of any MPT operations using NVG in Australia
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Old 22nd Mar 2018, 18:01
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I'm not aware of any MPT operations using NVG in Australia
A departure from a lit deck into pitch darkness is not a pleasant sensation. I assume these MPT flights are also SPIFR? Not much room for error.
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Old 22nd Mar 2018, 18:33
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Port Hedland is a single pilot VFR contract , however the Training and Checking captain is an IR FE
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Old 23rd Mar 2018, 00:44
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but I thought he said vortex ring
I'd assume the pilots were just saying what the report said. Worked with, and shared a cockpit, with one of the pilots for many, many years.
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Old 23rd Mar 2018, 12:10
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Port Hedland is a single pilot VFR contract
Single pilot MPT VFR offshore at night??? Are you serious?
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Old 23rd Mar 2018, 12:12
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It's been like that at least since 1986 when I first passed through town...and they were using a JetBanger then, so not even 2 engines.
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Old 23rd Mar 2018, 13:55
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I could understand that in 1986 but there is little excuse for it today. I imagine that they are also using relatively inexperienced pilots. That's an awful lot of holes lining up.
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Old 23rd Mar 2018, 18:00
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Same again - I think we have covered this discrepancy before - IIRC both the US and the Australian rules permit VFR flight over water at night - ignoring the fact you are unlikely to have a horizon to assess your attitude from or any surface lighting to assist.

We think it is barking but it is the way it is.
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Old 23rd Mar 2018, 18:35
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Barking indeed Crab. So, either operator or client (and when investment is concerned it points towards the latter) is happy to spend money on replacing a single with a twin but completely ignores the obvious - and far greater risk - of disorientation when flying VFR in what is clearly an IFR environment.
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Old 23rd Mar 2018, 19:17
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of disorientation when flying VFR in what is clearly an IFR environment.
Let's get this back in perspective. A twin engine helicopter will have blind flying panel. Should the pilot be competent to fly that panel and has a rating their is nothing to stop him flying VFR in VMC at night. Training schools do it all the time.

Irrespective of whether one regards flying offshore at night without a discernible horizon as VFR or IFR they will still be VFR on the approach and landing.

There would be severe disadvantages of filing n IFR flight plan which would involve diversion fuel etc. so a VFR flight plan is quite safe as long as the weather is OK.

It would have made no difference to this flight, as far as I can gather, whether he flew IFR or VFR.
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Old 23rd Mar 2018, 20:37
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Originally Posted by Same again
I could understand that in 1986 but there is little excuse for it today. I imagine that they are also using relatively inexperienced pilots. That's an awful lot of holes lining up.
You imagine wrong.

There is a propensity for many posting here from the northern hemisphere to look down at operational standards used in Oz without knowing what actually goes on, and with a misguided expectation that we operate in cozy little areas where every helipad/airport has a fire service and help is but five minutes away.

Australia is a fairly large continent with some well developed (& some not!) operations which have stood the test of time. NVMC by competent pilots in well equipped twins is one such, obviating the overly restrictive and oft unachievable alternate fuel requirements of an IMC flight plan with acceptable alternates hundreds of miles away.
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Old 23rd Mar 2018, 20:43
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We all know that it is possible to fly IFR in most helicopter types so long as there is an AI, ASI, VSI and Altimeter. I used to do it in single engine, unstabilised helicopters in the military but I had a master green instrument rating, lots of instrument time and it was all over land. What concerns me is that inexperienced and non-instrument rated pilots are expected to depart from a lit ships helideck into a pitch black night without any of the aids currently available.

Filing an IFR flight plan and flying IFR is something that is routine when flying offshore in most parts of the world because it leads to a safer operation. If a particular Civil Aviation Authority deems it not necessary then so be it but it is still madness in this day and age to fly VFR in what are obviously non-VMC conditions. Filing an IFR flight plan and flying IFR has little to do with it in practical terms. What is needed is a current instrument rating when flying VFR offshore at night.
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Old 23rd Mar 2018, 20:51
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Originally Posted by Same again
We all know that it is possible to fly IFR in most helicopter types so long as there is an AI, ASI, VSI and Altimeter. I used to do it in single engine, unstabilised helicopters in the military but I had a master green instrument rating, lots of instrument time and it was all over land. What concerns me is that inexperienced and non-instrument rated pilots are expected to depart from a lit ships helideck into a pitch black night without any of the aids currently available.

Filing an IFR flight plan and flying IFR is something that is routine when flying offshore in most parts of the world because it leads to a safer operation. If a particular Civil Aviation Authority deems it not necessary then so be it but it is still madness in this day and age to fly VFR in what are obviously non-VMC conditions .
Now you are becoming insulting; do you really think that an MPT pilot is inexperienced and thrown into such an operation without any training whatsoever? And that the helicopter used is not equipped such as to give all the necessary aids to carry out the task?

I refer to my last post which tried to politely point out that there are some posting here with little or no idea about what aviation is about outside their own area of experience, and you may do well to actually research our geography and operations.
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Old 23rd Mar 2018, 21:18
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John, I have many years flying in Australia as well as other parts of the globe so am well aware of the high standards set by CASA and maintained by most Australian operators. I also flew NVMC SAR/EMS in Australia in my younger years.

It is not my intention to be insulting to anyone but it is well known that MPT is normally a stepping some to other, better paid and conditioned employment where a CIR is required.

I have not flown MPT but I know what it is like to operate offshore at night and it is an unforgiving environment. I am therefore astonished to find that it is still flown by VFR pilots and considered a 'normal' VFR operation - when clearly it is not.
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Old 24th Mar 2018, 01:08
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Originally Posted by Same again
John, I have many years flying in Australia as well as other parts of the globe so am well aware of the high standards set by CASA and maintained by most Australian operators. I also flew NVMC SAR/EMS in Australia in my younger years.

It is not my intention to be insulting to anyone but it is well known that MPT is normally a stepping some to other, better paid and conditioned employment where a CIR is required.

I have not flown MPT but I know what it is like to operate offshore at night and it is an unforgiving environment. I am therefore astonished to find that it is still flown by VFR pilots and considered a 'normal' VFR operation - when clearly it is not.
It would simply shut the MPT operations down. Re-skilling and having a approach procedure to the pilot boarding at some ports would be to expensive , they would simply revert back to pilot launches
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Old 24th Mar 2018, 01:33
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Port Hedland is a single pilot VFR contract
Was a mates first job on leaving the Navy in the late 70's early 80's, had the IMC experience of Wessex to fall back on. Did the engineering as well. John will know, the NVFR a class 4 instrument rating at the time?
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Old 24th Mar 2018, 01:40
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It would simply shut the MPT operations down. Re-skilling and having a approach procedure to the pilot boarding at some ports would be to expensive , they would simply revert back to pilot launches
Not necessarily the case. The MPT op in Karratha has evolved from NVFR single pilot B206 ops to multi crew, multi engine IFR procedures, timing the descent to the vessel as it arrives at the missed approach point of a purpose designed RNAV.

The old adage is true that if you think safety is expensive, try having an accident.
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