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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 2nd Apr 2018, 00:07
  #161 (permalink)  
 
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As I was told when I did my multi-engined fixed wing training aeons ago. Autopilots are not for flying the aeroplane.....
Punching George's Buttons are not as much fun as punching the Coey's Buttons I reckon....but if you got them...use them!

Even the now ancient Sperry Helipilot system would fly an ILS down to 60 Knots and 50 feet AGL holding Localizer and Glide Slope pegged in the middle of the donut....why not just pat George on the back and say "Thank you very much old friend!"?
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Old 2nd Apr 2018, 00:28
  #162 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by SASless
..Even the now ancient Sperry Helipilot system would fly an ILS down to 60 Knots and 50 feet AGL holding Localizer and Glide Slope pegged in the middle of the donut...
That's true. And you just had to be alert enough to ensure the RADALT captured the 50' otherwise you'd be alerted from your slumber when the wheels touched down.
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Old 2nd Apr 2018, 00:57
  #163 (permalink)  
 
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Banging on about 50 years of safe single operation and an accident in a year of twin operation is presumtious. Highly experienced pilots, total time and in type, and qualifications, have come to grief in exactly the same manner as is assumed here, CFIT on a night approach to a ship. I refer to the Bristow Puma in Oz. The story will without in time.
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Old 2nd Apr 2018, 08:30
  #164 (permalink)  
 
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In the sixties I knew of fully automatic ILS and landings in a 4 jets followed by;--

"I thought you were flying it".
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Old 2nd Apr 2018, 08:36
  #165 (permalink)  
 
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Fly with the autopilot on 200 ft. radalt over a calm sea: looking for trouble.
we seemed to manage for very many years in RAF and RN doing it - the only problems encountered were usually when the rad hold was left engaged as you coasted in - that resulted in a large upward movement of the collective on the Mk3 and lots of shouting

The radalt might lock onto the seabed in very shallow waters in very calm conditions (on old installations) but that probably accounts for a minute percentage of the user spectrum.

I believe it was the RAF Tristar fleet that had autoland fitted but not enabled due to issues with the manufacturer but some crews pressed the buttons anyway since the box was there and then complained about the accuracy of the system.

APs are great but you have to use them properly.
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Old 2nd Apr 2018, 09:46
  #166 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by [email protected]
we seemed to manage for very many years in RAF and RN doing it - the only problems encountered were usually when the rad hold was left engaged as you coasted in - that resulted in a large upward movement of the collective on the Mk3 and lots of shouting

The radalt might lock onto the seabed in very shallow waters in very calm conditions (on old installations) but that probably accounts for a minute percentage of the user spectrum.
Never, ever heard of this phenomena before despite hundreds of hours overwater in flat calm (non doppler) conditions with radalt hold.
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Old 2nd Apr 2018, 10:35
  #167 (permalink)  
 
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We often had it in Cyprus on the Wessex John - it was only in crystal clear and shallow waters when it was properly glassy. Fortunately we didn't have a rad hold facility so it just manifested itself as a very obvious overreading on the gauge.
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Old 2nd Apr 2018, 10:55
  #168 (permalink)  
 
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Rad alts can give inaccurate readings when operating over fresh water, the purer the worse it could be. In the Antarctic we had to be careful that the rad alt was not giving a reading above ground level as the pure snow sometimes did not read. I imagine in the fresh Norwegan fiords much the same could happen.-
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Old 2nd Apr 2018, 12:20
  #169 (permalink)  
 
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you just had to be alert enough to ensure the RADALT captured the 50' otherwise you'd be alerted from your slumber when the wheels touched down.

If I was down to 50 feet and George was still driving....trust me I was not sleeping! I was sweating bullets more like!

Besides....skids make for a terrific alarm clock in your scenario!
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Old 4th May 2018, 03:05
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Preliminary report from the ATSB. Makes for interesting but sad reading:

Investigation: AO-2018-022 - Collision with water involving twin-engine EC135 helicopter, VH-ZGA, 35 km north-west of Port Hedland, Western Australia, on 14 March 2018
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Old 4th May 2018, 04:44
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I think there is quite a bit more to come out.
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Old 4th May 2018, 08:53
  #172 (permalink)  
 
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Especially about his HUET currency.
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Old 4th May 2018, 09:20
  #173 (permalink)  
 
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I'm sorry, but reading that report...does anyone else think 'he' was single pilot after the ditching? Sad reading.
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Old 4th May 2018, 10:16
  #174 (permalink)  
 
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Unhappy

Fascinating reading - bringing lots of memories back to my deck landings and also my EC135 flying.
Looking back at my time then, I clearly recall having to readjust my instrument scan from the centre of the 'hub' of instruments being the Main AI - to the centre being the RCDI. Anything greater than 300'/min caused alarm bells to ring, but I was so fixated on it - it rarely if ever happened as I became more experienced.

Also looking back over my career - I realise now, why I was so tired - mentally after night low level sorties, especially to decks - simply because of the sheer amount of concentration exerted.
Maybe (easy after the event) just maybe, the PiC dropped his guard and assumed the other pilot was experienced enough NOT to take his eye off the ball.
One of my most frequent mantras to all my students/co-pilots was always: NEVER EVER assume the pilot next to you knows what they are doing - especially the experienced ones!

Two seasoned vets unable to monitor and maintain a simple gentle RoD - how tragic is that eh?
Add HUET lack of currency and you have all the holes lined up.
I sincerely hope that someone out there will learn from this (and other accident reports) and live to see retirement.
RiP.
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Old 4th May 2018, 12:04
  #175 (permalink)  
 
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Yep. HUET lack of currency is a big one. Pilot found inside the aircraft with seatbelt undone and door not jettisoned. So he survived the initial impact but didn't follow escape procedure.
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Old 8th May 2018, 00:29
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Should we also be concerned that both pilots had to remove their helmets, presumably because the standard helmet connection to the aircraft was difficult/impossible to disconnect under the pressure of the situation? Any sensible aircraft/avionics designer should know (in the 21st Century) that a straight pull plug is essential for rapid egress in an emergency.

That sort of error was expected to be sorted in the 1930s, and could well have heavily contributed to the death of the pilot who had tried to escape unsuccessfully.

Furthermore, why on earth did such an operation not provide UEBS as a mandatory standard for the crew?
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Old 8th May 2018, 00:49
  #177 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by John Eacott
...Furthermore, why on earth did such an operation not provide UEBS as a mandatory standard for the crew?
With his seat belt undone and no emergency exit formed, probably no amount of UEBS would have been of any assistance. Regrettably.
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Old 8th May 2018, 01:43
  #178 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by gulliBell
With his seat belt undone and no emergency exit formed, probably no amount of UEBS would have been of any assistance. Regrettably.
Maybe, but maybe not.

Was he going for the other exit to follow the surviving pilot? Could the air have given him the ability to slow down and act in a more survivable manner? We'll never know, but both UEBS and a straight pull helmet plug could have made a big difference to both pilots escape chances; notwithstanding the HUET currency issue.

Remember, both pilots had removed their helmets: what extra time did that take both in the decision making and in the execution?
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Old 8th May 2018, 02:02
  #179 (permalink)  
 
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What is the take up of UEBS in the offshore industry in Oz John, both crew and pax. Can remember in my day the operator, offshore oil, was loathe to the idea of wearing immersion suits and/or helmets.
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Old 8th May 2018, 06:30
  #180 (permalink)  
 
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Some O&G pax are wearing UEBS currently. With more moving to the technology this year.

Doesn’t seem to be any urgency in introducing it for pilots.
(Although, it is “on its way” for some companies. 3 years - normal time/ scheduled currency for HUET, to “up skil”l all crews, then some more time to roll out the hardware. This time frame might reduce if a few more pilots drown while trying to escape.)

I’ve moved from flying machines with mechanical emergency door releases, (seemed a great option) to a more modern design with a “fiddly” “filler strip” to be removed, followed by pulling the window IN with a tiny, sun faded/weakened tab. Seems unlikely to be successful in anything but ideal conditions. Worse still there is no provision to experience or practice the technique. (The push out widows in the HUET trainer are child’s play by comparison, and they never punch you in the face and break one arm before you escape from them.)
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