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Medevac AS 350 B2 Crash Wisconsin

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Medevac AS 350 B2 Crash Wisconsin

Old 27th Apr 2018, 16:20
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Medevac AS 350 B2 Crash Wisconsin

3 dead in Hazelhurst medical helicopter crash
By Team Coverage Posted: Fri 8:59 AM, Apr 27, 2018 Updated: Fri 9:22 AM, Apr 27, 2018

HAZELHURST, Wis. (WSAW) -- The FAA confirms a medical helicopter crash Thursday night is fatal.A spokesman for the FAA said a Eurocopter AS350 helicopter departed Madison en route to Woodruff and crashed about 12 miles south of its destination. The helicopter is from Ascension.

A spokesman from Nimsgern Funeral Home said three people have died.

According to the Oneida County Sheriff's Office, the helicopter’s last known contact was at approximately 10:55 p.m. Thursday night. The Oneida County Dispatch Center received a call that the helicopter was missing at 11:22 p.m.

Tom Johnson said he lives close to the crash site, but initially wasn't sure what he had heard.

"Well, I woke up and I heard a loud noise and it sounded like a loud muffler. And I got up and looked outside and there was no lights anywhere and it was just dead quiet so I just went back to sleep. It was a lot of ... rotors hitting trees. Now that I know it was a helicopter, that makes sense. Since that what it sounded like-- that chopping sound. Then it was quiet," he said.Emergency responders searched the area last known, and located the helicopter in the Town of Hazelhurst in a wooded area near S. Blue Lake Road.

The Associated Press reports at least eight agencies were involved in the search.

Hazelhurst is about 5 miles south of Minocqua.

The NTSB will lead the investigation.
3 dead in Hazelhurst medical helicopter crash
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Old 27th Apr 2018, 22:24
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Apparently N127LN registered to Air Methods:

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Old 28th Apr 2018, 15:20
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Take note of what the FAA refused to do following NTSB Recommendations re improving the Safety Record of US EMS Operations.


Medical helicopter crash kills 3 in Wisconsin - ABC News
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Old 28th Apr 2018, 16:54
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One more area where the FAA is simply non-responsive. The list would make one wonder whether FAA top echelon pays any attention at all to the vertical lift business.
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Old 28th Apr 2018, 23:26
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My comments assume CFIT based on previous events, the report doesn’t give info on the moonlight so it might not be a factor.
It amazes me that air methods haven’t done anything about the NTSB recommendations, why wait for an FAA directive? I suspect money is the driver, I couldn’t imagine any other reason for not following the recomendations aside from it costing money. As pilots we throw ourselves to the wolves regularly, but I’m surprised air methods can get any medical crews to work for them with the quantity of incidents they have. In a litigious society surely the cost of fitting the equipment recommended by the NTSB would be less than the legal action which surely must follow from family & friends?
103 fatalities in 10 years, 49 of whom were on board. Wow, that’s surprising. I don’t recall hearing about a lot of people being killed when a helicopter fell on them, I’ve obviously been living under a rock.
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Old 28th Apr 2018, 23:29
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If every NTSB recommendation was adopted nobody would be flying. They aren’t a deity, and have a responsibility to make a recommendation, any recommendation, when there is an accident. In this case a 1/2 moon, clear night, quality operator, pad to pad - an early jump to conclusions. We flew the old 222UT hard IFR both crew and single for years without an autopilot. Need more info on this one before I start wagging my finger.
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Old 29th Apr 2018, 09:19
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Originally Posted by malabo View Post
In this case a 1/2 moon, clear night, quality operator, pad to pad - an early jump to conclusions.
If these assumptions are correct then indeed those are not the standard ingredients for the typical CFIT accident.
That said, the pictures of the wreckage in the woods are really whispering CFIT. The destruction of the cabin indicates massive forward speed. There is no 90° bend between cabin and tail, so the angle of arrival doesn't look like it was vertical or in rotation or any other unusual attitude for that matter. And no Mayday call (at least that I'm aware of).
On top of that the description of the ear witness hearing sounds of Rotorblades hitting trees.
Will be interesting to learn the cause if the cause was really anything but CFIT. I personally would be surprised.
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Old 29th Apr 2018, 10:07
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The statistics speak for themselves. On average, a fatal accident about every 6 weeks for the last 10 years. I would say the FAA is bordering on negligent in its failure to respond to what is obviously a problem that needs to be addressed.
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Old 29th Apr 2018, 16:25
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I am interested in the time of day of the accident, after a 170 nautical mile transport. I suspect this crew was well into a shift that started that morning, perhaps the pilot was pushing the maximum duty day of 14 hours.
I don't know if this base was NVG equipped. I believe that all Air Methods are and have been for a few years. The company position that NVGs be on your person or locked away discourages 24 hour carriage. Often only the aft baggage compartment is eligible for cargo carriage and lockable. The med crew does not typically have a key and uses that compartment for supplies.
If this crew's duty day started very early, the handover of sensitive equipment may have not been completed and the NVGs would have been locked away at base, not available to the crew.
If this was, as I guess, a hospital to hospital transport, each transfer could have taken hours. An hour at each hospital is an approximation of a quick transfer of care, but it can take four to six hours at the sending to prepare the patient. This flight could easily have started at or before 1400 hours local time, and NVGs might not have been seen as a priority.
The leg from Madison (receiving hosptal) to the base, Woodruff WI roughly follows a highway, US 51. Being low enough for CFIT over a traffic artery more than an hour from the departure and only a few minutes from the destination, late in the shift, implies some pressure to complete that leg and perhaps a willingness to accept an en route altitude that violates company policy. My memory is that that policy was minimum 500' agl daytime, and 1000' at night. The location and nearby METARS do not eliminate the possibility of local fog....
I believe that altitudes are included in automated pos reps to company flight following, and I believe to Ops Control Center. I hated advisories of obvious issues and queries on my plan and position, but they are/were a part of the job with the company, "Yes, I see the thunderstorm ahead. Your graphic depiction is 10 minutes old, it is moving/dissipipating, no issue".
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Old 30th Apr 2018, 20:26
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At this point it is difficult to determine exactly what caused this mishap. D-49 provides a very compelling scenario for a late-night flight with some element of get home itis. Without speculation, does anyone know if this specific AS-350B2 was equipped with a dual hydraulic system. If not so equipped, it could be argued that an instantaneous hydraulic fail could have compromised the control of the aircraft at such an altitude that control was not regained prior to impact with the terrain. Thus, it would not have been a CFIT situation but rather a compromised control issue.
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Old 30th Apr 2018, 21:08
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Here is the crew of the downed helicopter:

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Old 1st May 2018, 14:41
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AS350 B2 would not be dual hydraulic system. That said, an "instantaneous hydraulic failure" scenario is hard for me to get my head around.
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Old 1st May 2018, 14:56
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T. and C. Failure of the little belt that drives the hydraulic pump would mean instant failure
and that is sadly not uncommon with single system AS350.
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Old 1st May 2018, 16:43
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Originally Posted by Jack Carson View Post
At this point it is difficult to determine exactly what caused this mishap. D-49 provides a very compelling scenario for a late-night flight with some element of get home itis. Without speculation, does anyone know if this specific AS-350B2 was equipped with a dual hydraulic system. If not so equipped, it could be argued that an instantaneous hydraulic fail could have compromised the control of the aircraft at such an altitude that control was not regained prior to impact with the terrain. Thus, it would not have been a CFIT situation but rather a compromised control issue.
Single hydraulic system, but the 'grooved' belt, which in my opinion, proved very serviceable.
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Old 1st May 2018, 17:34
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10:30-11:00PM, doubtful that it was the day pilot.
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Old 1st May 2018, 18:46
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Originally Posted by claudia View Post
T. and C. Failure of the little belt that drives the hydraulic pump would mean instant failure
and that is sadly not uncommon with single system AS350.
Claudia,

The Astar has the hydraulic accumulators that should give you enough hydraulics to get the aircraft slowed down before you lose all your hydraulics.

I am with T and C on this, a hydraulic failure in an astar is not a big deal, I was just giving training in them the other day.
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Old 1st May 2018, 21:02
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Gordy. All fine and dandy training around an airfield in daylight but try it in the dark, probably close
to IFR conditions, the situation this guy was in and its a very different story. The accumulator
runs out after a few stirs of the cyclic , the horn blows, you have managed to slow to say 70 knots,
big pedal movements needed, but stick and pedals now solid, and you have little or no ground references --- not good.
One of the reasons I personally moved from single to twin squirrels many years ago and also why dual hydraulics is a requirement for
IFR flight here in EASA land.
PS . Note I am in no way saying that was the scenario which caused this tragedy.

Last edited by claudia; 1st May 2018 at 21:24.
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Old 1st May 2018, 21:49
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I agree with Claudia. I have experienced multiple induced hydraulic failures during training and subsequent check rides in the AS-350B2 and B3. The surprise factor can be quite startling. In most cases I experienced a significant level of airframe gyrations during my attempts to slow to 70Kts. There was also a mishap Apache Junction about ten years ago where I believe that the pilot inadvertently hit the hydraulic test button during approach to landing at night. A crash landing resulted where a medical crew member perished. A sudden hydraulic failure, in an AS-350, is not a trivial event.
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Old 1st May 2018, 23:28
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Well, that was misdiagnosed HYD-failure as a t/r failure due to no accumulator on the t/r servo as it was a BA. (cause of the failure was an incorrectly installed pump drive belt) The pedals become hard instantly whereas the m/r servos still getting pressure from the accumulators. He was at about 1000ft in a hover, not in cruise which is a big difference.

BTW, what indications is backing a HYD-failure??? HYD failure is not the first thing that springs to mind when a single pilot medical helicopter is crashing at night!

Air Methods has bought the Appareo Vision1000 FDM years ago so I assume it was fitted, and the helicopter seems not being consumed by fire. Therefore, I think it is a pretty good chance the NTSB will find out what happened.
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