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Sao Paulo R44 crash

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Sao Paulo R44 crash

Old 4th Jan 2019, 19:04
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Sao Paulo R44 crash

Looks nasty:

https://www.liveleak.com/view?t=CGlH6_1546543842

Lack of fuel?

Last edited by JBL99; 4th Jan 2019 at 20:11.
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Old 4th Jan 2019, 20:49
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Why lack of fuel?
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Old 4th Jan 2019, 21:02
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Originally Posted by MightyGem View Post
Why lack of fuel?
Just one of a number of reasons, so was asking what people might think, hence the "?"

I don't know, I wasn't there, and this, after all, is a RUMOUR network.
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Old 4th Jan 2019, 23:07
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Unlikely to be fuel exhaustion, they just took off. The abrupt low level early steep turn after take-off hinted to me that what was to come would not be pretty. You don't have many options when flying below 1500' in a single engine helicopter over a built-up area if the engine loses power. I reckon this guy was no higher than 500' AGL in the cruise when the engine lost power (which is never good if you have 7/8ths of tall buildings and obstructions below you). As seen in the video. The RRPM was recovered in auto-rotation just before impact, but not the rate of descent (no big pull on the collective at the bottom evident). Why he didn't do an immediate left turn when the low RRPM warning sounded and at least try to get to the beach is a mystery. I didn't pick up any shouted warning from the pilot to the passengers to brace for crash landing either (the passenger up front wasn't wearing a headset). At risk of sounding critical, seems not much airmanship on display there from beginning to end. It is very regrettable that an innocent person on the ground was killed by the crashing helicopter.

Last edited by gulliBell; 4th Jan 2019 at 23:57.
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Old 4th Jan 2019, 23:37
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Not a clean auto either, although given the obstructions it looks like they were lucky all the occupants survived without a scratch. Not so lucky for the pedestrian that was killed.

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Old 5th Jan 2019, 00:06
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The victim had just had coffee with his father only minutes before being killed by the helicopter. His father saw the body in the street and didn't initially recognize it was his son who had been killed. Terrible.
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Old 5th Jan 2019, 04:12
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I think the “steep turn” is actually reorientation of the camera from portrait to landscape mode.
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Old 5th Jan 2019, 06:24
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Turning through about 150 degrees after take-off in about 10 seconds is a steep turn, however you re-orientate the camera.
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Old 5th Jan 2019, 07:01
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Originally Posted by MightyGem View Post
Why lack of fuel?
Having watched the video, I would say that lack of fuel is on the shortlist, because:
  • Aircraft was going 60 to 70 KTS (see 0:20 sec)
  • Aircraft was able to take-off and climb OK, even steep-turn just after take off. All of which require more power than flying straight & level at 70 KTS.
  • From 0:20 to loss of power, the aircraft continued to go straight & level, and more or less the same speed (as evidenced by the view out of the right rear window).
  • There seem to be no reduction of RRPM *while the engine was running* before the Low RRPM warning horn. In other words, I don't see the loss of RRPM induced by running out of throttle.
  • Rather, it appears that the donkey got quiet (0:51), and thereafter the RRPM dropped.
I would say amongst the (few) things that can make a Lycoming stop, fuel starvation or fuel contamination are on top of the list. The investigation should provide certainty.

There should also be 2 more video (left front pax and the action camera mounted to the canopy). With some luck the front pax video has some more instrument readings, and certainly will better show what other options the pilot might have had after entering autorotation.
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Old 5th Jan 2019, 08:28
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What is it with Brazil and helicopters.
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Old 5th Jan 2019, 08:31
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Fuel Starvation/Contamination is unlikely to have caused such a smooth rundown in power. There would have be some burping/spluttering to say the least; also, no low fuel light appeared to be on in the video.

Either an overly gripped throttle, gov failure or possible carb icing causing power loss (yes you can get it on warm days if there is plenty of humidity!)
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Old 5th Jan 2019, 08:35
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Any number of things could have happened to an engine with so many moving parts. They could have even lost a mag.
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Old 5th Jan 2019, 09:51
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There does not appear to be spilled fuel on the ground adjacent to the Robbie-wreck...so if it had fuel, the crash resistant fuel bladder did what it was supposed to do. Maybe saved them from a far more tragic end result. If there's no fuel spilled on the ground because there was no fuel on board 2 minutes after take-off, that would be difficult to believe.
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Old 5th Jan 2019, 13:36
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Originally Posted by Bell_ringer View Post
Any number of things could have happened to an engine with so many moving parts. They could have even lost a mag.
Yeah, it's really hard to tell. The Low RPM horn starts first (indicating 97% RRPM vs power on 102%), and then you hear a smooth decrease in the engine noise. I've had both bottom end and top end failures in Lycomings, and they're not this smooth. They involve some banging and violent yawing, none of which was obvious in the video. Likewise mags - a simple mag failure wouldn't cause this, and a jumped mag gear would again involve rough running which we don't hear. And if the comment on the video was correct, this was a Raven 2, so no carb ice (it's fuel injected). I could also buy fuel exhaustion (probably not boost pump failure - the R44 has both an electrical and mechanical pump, either one of which is sufficient to run the engine).

A governor failure is a possibility (and it's one of the least reliable parts of a Robinson), as is the pilot simply rolling the throttle off by mistake (i.e. if he got the horn and responded by trying to roll on throttle but rolled it off by mistake... wouldn't be the first time a pilot rolled the throttle the wrong way.

Without hearing from the pilot I hate to toss some criticism his way, but here goes:

1) he was way too low given the congested area below him. He clearly wasn't high enough to allow for a safe landing following an engine failure.

2) he didn't build much RPM. You can hear the horn chirp several times during the glide. That means he kept pulling up on the collective with the RPM below 97%, and then putting it back down when the horn would chirp. So, he probably went into the flare with less than 97%. I do hear the RPM build just before the impact, but it was still building when they hit - which leads to #3

3) He flared too low. I can tell not only by the view out the window (although it's obscured at just the wrong moment) and by the sound (I do a LOT of R44 touchdowns). The RPM was still building when they hit, indicating to me that the flare didn't have time to reach full thrust. This is common in R22 pilots that transition to the R44... they tend to start the flare 15-20 feet too low because they're used to the R22 inertia. An R44 will do a 30 foot hovering auto at max gross if you wind the RPM up to the upper red line (108%), but that requires you to start at 40-50 feet with plenty of deck angle... R22 (and many pilots used to low inertia rotor systems) tend to not flare aggressively enough. A gentle flare won't build enough RPM, nor will it decrease the ground speed to near zero.

But of course #1 was the biggest problem. Ask anyone who's flown with me: I'm always telling people to fly higher. This accident is a really unfortunate example of why.
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Old 5th Jan 2019, 14:59
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If you aren't constantly considering "where will I go when the terrible thing happens", flying helicopters might just not be for you. At that height particularly, his only viable option was always the large blue wobbly thing 200 yards to his left, so it shouldn't have ever been out of auto range. These videos are always disappointingly familiar in respect to the apparent lack of consideration for that "oh crap" moment, also indicative in the nature of the initial departure turn. And as for the old adage of "any landing you can walk away from is a good landing" well that certainly did not apply to the hapless pedestrian.
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Old 5th Jan 2019, 15:24
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From the way that helicopter was being flown, I expected the accident to happen in the first five seconds of the video.
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Old 5th Jan 2019, 16:34
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I presume there are no low fly rules for helos over in La La land.
The pilot was a complete tw*t from beginning to end and belongs in the Darwin forum on Jet Blast.
He killed someone who wanted nothing to do with his negligent flying and I hope he thinks about what harm he has caused every day for the rest of his life. FFS. Will the rotary world ever see the back of imbeciles like this?
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Old 5th Jan 2019, 16:35
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Well I can't tell shit from that video, other than the horn comes on, he flys straight for a couple seconds, then goes straight down.

,...guess I'll just have to wait for the investigation.
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Old 5th Jan 2019, 21:13
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Originally Posted by Robbiee View Post
Well I can't tell shit from that video
Probably worth a harder look then.
Good news, a great example where the Blame can't solely lay with the aircraft.
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Old 6th Jan 2019, 14:41
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Originally Posted by Bell_ringer View Post
What is it with Brazil and helicopters.
This is somehow true, after watching few youtube videos of Brazilian's operation. No offence, but one thing I can tell is reckless.
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