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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 1st Apr 2018, 10:21
  #141 (permalink)  
 
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gulliBell, you are completely right that the factors surrounding the new type should be considered and I am absolutely sure they will.

A simple recap of the differences between co-incidence, causation and correlation will give a different view of the singles v twins and AnFI's crusade, but none of this is important yet. Lets find out what we can learn from the sad passing of a respected fellow aviator.
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Old 1st Apr 2018, 11:02
  #142 (permalink)  
 
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I think they were short-sighted not going for a 4-axis AP - a 3 Axis one can be counter-intuitive
How can you use a 4-axis or even a 3-axis autopilot approaching and landing on a moving ship with no instrument approach aid? The 'autopilot' s only use then is act as a stabilising device that makes the aircraft do what you want to do, not what the aircraft wants to do.

It comes down to basics. Eyes, ears, cyclic, collective, yaw pedals and instruments. It's the correct use of those senses and equipment that creates a successful operation; not some magical electronic gizmos.

So many accidents are happening, not in this case, where aircraft are destroyed because the person flying them has assumed that the autopilot, and it's associated SOPs, have been followed to the letter.
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Old 1st Apr 2018, 11:02
  #143 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Tibbsy
..To be crystal clear, your assertion that no accidents occurred when they were operating singles, but when they operated twins (over a year later) they had an accident does indicate a causal relationship, and frankly, is ludicrous.
How many brand new AW139's (and others) have been pranged? There have been several. All in operations where they were being introduced for the first time, replacing a much simpler helicopter.

When I buy a brand new car, I'm far more likely to prang it on the way home, or shortly thereafter, than pranging the old VH Commodore on the way to the dealer to pick up the new car. All the distracting buttons and bells and whistles on the new car, and the way it drives compared to what I'm used to, is why.

I wouldn't be surprised that the new helicopter had something to do in a human factors context of them ending up where they did.
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Old 1st Apr 2018, 11:22
  #144 (permalink)  
 
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In order to help visualise what might have been going on here, could anyone more familiar with the details of this mission and accident provide a bit of context - known or guesstimated? Was the 135 likely to have been visual with the target vessel? Had it tried an approach already? What would normally happen at the end of the approach? Why might a previous approach not have been successful? How well lit would the target vessel be?

All I can glean from previous posts is from #14 which suggests a height of 100ft and just 22kts just before the crash, and some localised circling before. One would have thought an approach technique would not involve losing translational lift until virtually over the vessel, especially given the likelihood of flight being in effectively instrument conditions, but I know nothing of these ops.
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Old 1st Apr 2018, 11:33
  #145 (permalink)  
 
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A few facts:

Previous operator flew singles, B206/EC120 for many years with no accidents.

New operator introduces EC135 to existing client. They have been using EC135 for a number of years on MPT in other locations.

New pilot undergoing line training with Head of Checking and Training in left seat (no passengers).

No unintentional go-arounds, as I previously stated, this is pretty standard to do circuits on the moving ship as it transits the shipping channel to allow new pilot to practice approaches to a moving target. The last approach will be an actual landing to pick up the marine pilot.

Clear night, new moon, so very very dark, nothing else out there apart from channel markers flashing away (too far apart to be of any use apart from a distraction). Light wind and very calm seastate.

Capt.

Last edited by Capt SFB; 1st Apr 2018 at 11:34. Reason: Spelling . . .
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Old 1st Apr 2018, 12:11
  #146 (permalink)  
 
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Why no NVIS ?
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Old 1st Apr 2018, 12:33
  #147 (permalink)  
 
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How can you use a 4-axis or even a 3-axis autopilot approaching and landing on a moving ship with no instrument approach aid?
FED - it depends on what their SOP is for the circuit - it could well be to engage ALT hold (which will be in the cyclic channel on 3 axis) so, if you are not used to managing the AP and you lower the lever to start your descent without disengaging the ALT, the AP will bring the nose up to try and maintain height and reduce your airspeed.

The Sumburgh crash was an exercise in poor use of AP as well as poor CRM so it's not too far fetched to suggest it could have been a factor here.

I have been teaching on an aircraft with 3 axis AP for the last few years and the number of students who get 'lost' in the AP (which is only doing what they asked it to do) is quite high, especially in a high-workload scenario).
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Old 1st Apr 2018, 13:00
  #148 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by [email protected]
..if you are not used to managing the AP and you lower the lever to start your descent without disengaging the ALT, the AP will bring the nose up to try and maintain height and reduce your airspeed.
Exactly. Or if you're in a descent at reduced power with ALT PRE armed, when ALT is captured and power left unchanged, pitch is going to ever so slowly pitch up to maintain altitude, and then all of a sudden when you're on the backside of the power curve you will get a sudden pitch up and things will get very exciting very quickly. As Hevilift found out in Indonesia in their S76 they pancaked into the swamp.
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Old 1st Apr 2018, 13:50
  #149 (permalink)  
 
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Come ON!!!!!!!!

It was an MPT flight. You don't fly far enough to have to engage the ALT hold. All the ones I have done you're looking to see which is the right ship; hope that it has the main deck lit up as well as the helideck; and busk it from there.

I presume that it was a VLOC he was going for. They are not too bad and when you are going to a VLGC then you have the structure effects.

For those that don't know what a Very Large Gas Carrier is.

The helideck is at the stern at main deck level. Any sort of ships headwind will generate armfuls of turbulence when you arrive over the helipad plus all the associated turbulence from around the tanks. The last thing you want to do is ponce about with an autopilot.
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Old 1st Apr 2018, 14:04
  #150 (permalink)  
 
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Port Hedland 22nm out to sea.
Blossom Bank, off Mackay, 120nm.

Autopilot or 2 pilots required for all night transfers (by CASA).

Past and present operations at Hedland use autopilots, B206/EC120/EC135.

Just the facts.
Capt.
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Old 1st Apr 2018, 14:10
  #151 (permalink)  
 
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Fair enough. You would use the autopilot for transit but not after descending to the ship's area.

As I was told when I did my multi-engined fixed wing training aeons ago. Autopilots are not for flying the aeroplane; they are for looking after it whilst you put your feet on the pedals and have a cigarette.
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Old 1st Apr 2018, 15:16
  #152 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by gulliBell
How many brand new AW139's (and others) have been pranged? There have been several. All in operations where they were being introduced for the first time, replacing a much simpler helicopter.
Any specific examples?
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Old 1st Apr 2018, 15:18
  #153 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Tibbsy
Any specific examples?
Kenya Police. Switzerland EMS. Think they did one in Nigeria as well. Plenty more.
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Old 1st Apr 2018, 16:01
  #154 (permalink)  
 
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FED - night deck circuits to HM's Grey Funnel liners - 200' asl with a height hold selected in - release the height hold in turn on to finals and fly the aircraft manually from there in. Transition away from the deck, get to height, engage height hold.

If you have the capability, why wouldn't you use it over the water at night?

Or is it more hairy-chested to ignore the aircraft's capability and scare yourself?
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Old 1st Apr 2018, 16:07
  #155 (permalink)  
 
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It's not night circuits to Grey Funnel liners and you don't have somebody leaning out of the cabin door telling you what is going on.

I have done both, thank you.
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Old 1st Apr 2018, 16:13
  #156 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by [email protected]
FED - night deck circuits to HM's Grey Funnel liners - 200' asl with a height hold selected in -
Yes, but RADALT.
With the 135 you have only barometric height hold...

skadi
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Old 1st Apr 2018, 16:57
  #157 (permalink)  
 
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FED - there is no-one hanging out the door - you follow the FDO and the rearcrew are strapped in their seats.

Skadi - we have a rad alt and bar alt hold but on the Mk3 it took a long time to desaturate so the bar alt hold tended to be used in the circuit.

If you have set your bar alt to match your radalt then what is wrong with using it? Modern ADCs are pretty accurate.

The indications are that they were flying circuits to this deck for training - anyone happen to know their SOP for that?
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Old 1st Apr 2018, 17:47
  #158 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by [email protected]
Skadi - we have a rad alt and bar alt hold but on the Mk3 it took a long time to desaturate so the bar alt hold tended to be used in the circuit.
If I remember correctly, bar ALT hold was restricted to 500ft or above with our Mk41...

skadi
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Old 1st Apr 2018, 18:13
  #159 (permalink)  
 
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There was a not below 50kts limit on the bar alt on the Mk31 AFCS (Mk3) but you used bar alt to 200', checked for desaturation and then engaged rad on a normal let down.

On the 3A with the SN500 had no limit and you could use rad alt on manoeuvre all the way down from 1000' and bar alt to the hover.

Not really relevant since we don't know what the SOP was for the accident crew.

I merely raised the possibility of an AP faff causing disorientation.
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Old 1st Apr 2018, 21:51
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Years ago I was rattling around northern Norway with a load of squaddies in the back. It was an insertion exercise and the RNAF were looking for us with their 104s. Dodging between the trees and the sparse farmland I was keeping it at about 30-50ft. Come a small fiord with a sheer cliff on my side.

The other side was reasonably flat with similar landscape to that I had been flying over so I tracked over the head of the fiord to the other side. I kept the radalt at 50ft or so as I started over the water. Half way over the radalt jumped and started indicating 1,000 ft. or so. It had unlocked from the water surface and was now registering the bottom of the fiord.

Fly with the autopilot on 200 ft. radalt over a calm sea: looking for trouble.
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