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AW139 Crash in Bahamas - 7 Killed

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AW139 Crash in Bahamas - 7 Killed

Old 7th Jul 2019, 18:26
  #101 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2008
Location: El Paso, Texas
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when I was a check airman at a major world airline more than 15 years ago, I flew with many pilots with poor BAW. My policy was that I expected a new copilot to be able to manage a descent and approach without the autopilot or flight management. The pendulum was swinging. In the past, military pilots generally had no difficulty but with the advent of electric jets, F16 at that time things were changing. Also, the airline would let people bid what they wanted and guys would bid the FB, second copilot position when they had senority to hold FO on less desirable trips. On international trips with usually two legs per trip, the Captain got a landing and the FO got a landing. FB got currency in the simulator. I flew with an FB who had 3000 767 hours and 30 landings in the actual aircraft.

I flew with a small Japanese airline also. The FOs came to the seat with 250-300 total time in all aircraft types. But, they often got three legs a day, 15 days a month, night time often, sometimes non precision approach, mildly mountainous terrain, lots of inclement weather. They became highly skilled in quick order.
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Old 7th Jul 2019, 18:26
  #102 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2002
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I’d have to agree with that sentiment. If you can afford the multi-million chopper- and goodness knows what else- you ought to have the chops to insist on a fully-kitted department, fixed and rotary. And understand its limitations..
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Old 7th Jul 2019, 18:38
  #103 (permalink)  

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In theory, but I've been for interviews with people who have the money to pay for hangars and aircraft yet cheapskate in weird areas such as qualified and sensible pilots. Like buying a Leica and putting cheap film through it.
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Old 7th Jul 2019, 18:43
  #104 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Zone of Alienation
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My parents have a friend—a former Fortune 500 CEO with a a Falcon 50 at his disposal who looked down upon pilots...considered them part of the ‘help’. Not saying this ever happened in this case, but it was a bit shocking to learn of his disdain.
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Old 7th Jul 2019, 19:02
  #105 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by FIRESYSOK View Post
Sounds like there was only one pilot and a mechanic on board at the time. And not the ‘regular’ pilot, possibly. But that’s all my guesswork from reading here.

There were two pilots on board, Geoff Painter and David Jude, their backgrounds are discussed earlier in this thread. Despite the repeated references in the local media, it appears that there was no 'mechanic' on board and one does not show up in the lists of fatalities from various sources.

From The Palm Beach Post:

The operator of a Palm Beach Gardens helicopter service was piloting the multi-million-dollar chopper that crashed in the Bahamas on July 4, killing himself and six others, including coal billionaire and part-time northern Palm Beach County resident Christopher Cline, authorities said Saturday.

Geoffrey Painter, 52, and David Jude, 57, also killed in the crash, operated Cloud 9 Helicopters, based at the North County Airport, according to the company’s web page and state corporate records.

Bahamian authorities initially had suggested Jude, a West Virginia and Juno Beach resident who is one of Cline’s regular corporate pilots, was at the controls of the Agusta AW139 that dropped into shallow waters near Grand Cay, about 115 miles northeast of Palm Beach, and that the seventh person was an unidentified “Florida mechanic.”

But on Saturday, the Royal Bahamas Police Force posted a list of all seven victims, and listed Painter as the pilot.


Here is the list of victims released yesterday by the Royal Bahamas Police Force:

UPDATE Saturday 12.20pm: Police have officially identified the seven people who were killed in Thursday’s helicopter crash:

(1) Geoffrey Lee Painter DOB 30-10-66 of Barnes Staple, United Kingdom (Pilot)

(2) Kameron Nicole Cline DOB 21-03-97 of Washington, DC

(3) Brittney Layne Searson DOB 16-08-97 of Palm Beach, Florida

(4) Jillian Nicole Clarke DOB 07-10-96 Los Angeles, Califonia

(5) Davis [sic] Jude DOB 02-12-62 of Kentucky

(6) Wykyle Delaney Lee DOB 18-06-96 of Washington, DC

(7) Christopher Cline DOB 05-07-58 of New York.
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Old 7th Jul 2019, 19:14
  #106 (permalink)  
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I stand corrected. Two pilots.
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Old 7th Jul 2019, 19:25
  #107 (permalink)  
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Having the benefit of flying for a number of operators in my career I think that I have probably experienced the whole spectrum of training/currency requirements. The major operators seem to have the best initial and recurrent training systems but these are also the pilots who are probably getting the most regular exposure to flying. An average in my experience would be 5-600 flying hours per year offshore and 2-300 hours SAR/EMS.

I have also worked the VVIP circuit flying for seriously wealthy people and the average was maybe 50-100 hours per year with only the 6 monthly OPC to maintain any kind of currency. Although the initial hiring qualifications were high there were minimal flying or recurrency requirements. Certainly nowhere near comparable to non-VIP operations. The expectation was that not having flown at all for maybe 6 weeks I could depart from the deck of a super yacht over water at night single pilot and get these people to wherever they wanted to go with little notice - or my employer would be told I was 'not suitable'.

Not all owners are so ignorant of course and I now work for one who understand the correlation between currency and safety. I was offered a job with the Haughey 139 operation but turned it down as I knew that I would not last long there.
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Old 7th Jul 2019, 19:55
  #108 (permalink)  
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Let's put a "human" touch on this tragedy......which it surely was.

Seven good people have been killed, some of them very young and just getting started in life, one an extremely successful businessman, and two well regarded members of our own community.

These sad occurrences we discuss here over the years all have such loss in them no matter where they happen or who they involve.

If you are charged with the safety of others.....it is a duty that transcends all other responsibilities accruing to your employment.

We have to be every mindful of that as we go about our work.

It is heart breaking to see such promise in young folks lost this way.

I offer my Condolences to those who are having to cope with the loss of their loved ones as I know they need all the support they can get.

Head bowed....moment of contemplative thought....and a silent prayer in hope those lost have found a place of Peace.


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Old 7th Jul 2019, 23:03
  #109 (permalink)  
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Mistake happen to the best !

Well said SASless !

Cujet, we are not saying that those pilots were not professional or competent.
As a pilot, you spend you life avoiding mistake, you will always do some and you always hope they gone be minimal.
If you read accident reports, full reports with all details, in most cases, pilots had experience, were competent and professional.
You just need a very small period time during a flight to do something wrong who could be " hola, that was close " or "now it's to late" with a bad result.
Pilots are human, not machine, you can fly 10 years without a single mistake or do a bunch of them in a short time.
You never know, sometimes, you get to comfortable in what you do and it brings you on the wrong side because you did not anticipate the problem.
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Old 8th Jul 2019, 00:46
  #110 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: Brisbane
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AW139 floats deployement

Originally Posted by Sir Korsky View Post
Recommended gear up to ditch. Float switch arms collective manual override. Immersion should auto activate floats with float switch on or off.
On the AW139, for the floats to deploy automatically or manually, the system has to be armed. When OFF the floats does not deploy.

The automatic operation will occur at ditching thanks to immersed pressure switch located: one in each main landing gear bay and two in the nose wheel well.
As they are pressure switches, it might not activates automatically if the impact was in inverted flight as possibly mentioned earlier.

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Old 8th Jul 2019, 01:06
  #111 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: Brisbane
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On AW139, the Fly Away kicks in only if a collective axe FD mode is selected and coupled.
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Old 8th Jul 2019, 01:07
  #112 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2019
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Originally Posted by Gyro139 View Post
Aircraft was at least Phase 5 with 4 axis enhanced FD. This means that TU (transition up) would have been available to them from zero speed, a great tool in the event of disorientation after departure and below 60kts when the traditional FD modes are not available. As to the safety flyup function, this requires the Collective mode of the FD to have been engaged/captured.
It is great to have all of these aids that we can use, But they cannot always make up for the human factors if the pilot(s) were not current in these exact conditions.
July 2 was the new moon. So....
No moon/deep, dark nigh + transition from over-land to over-water = catastrophic disorientation.
It happens down here all the time unfortunately.
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Old 8th Jul 2019, 01:17
  #113 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
But we have had automation in helicopters for many years and as long as people are taught how to use it and how to fly without it if it goes wrong there shouldn't be an issue.

If pilots are so rubbish on the sim checks why aren't they failing and being sent for more training.

It seems as though we are all asleep at the wheel here, allowing the standard of piloting to reduce but doing nothing about it.

The children of the magenta is a very real problem and it often seems that the information presented to the pilot is as a result of an engineers design rather than a pilots need. You have to learn and understand how the designers think rather than have the right information, easily presented and with the minimum number of button presses.
Crab, that is an excellent summary.
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Old 8th Jul 2019, 01:34
  #114 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: florida
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Even though we all fly very sophisticated equipment we have to keep in mind the primitive, basic hand flying...or as we say in fixed wing, stick and rudder flying.
No collection of cutting edge equipment can undo failure of the human pilot when we are tired, it's deep night, we are pressured to make a flight, we are making an urgent medical flight and it's a moonless black sky as we make our black hole departure over open ocean waters.
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Old 8th Jul 2019, 02:11
  #115 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
..If pilots are so rubbish on the sim checks why aren't they failing and being sent for more training.
Simple. Pilots arrive for their sim checks on a pre-paid course to a set syllabus that includes a defined amount of ground school and simulator time. Usually there is no more money for any more training over and above that. And the commercial reality of the business is, if you start failing pilots on their sim checks the operator (i.e. customer) would just send all their pilots to a different training provider, one with less rigorous standards and more forgiving check airmen. The bottom line is, for the $25K recurrent course cost, they just need the completion certificate and a signature in the log book. The training outcomes are often secondary.

As an instructor and a very small cog in a much bigger multi-cog machine, my approach to the matter is teaching tail rotor and other malfunctions that might seriously bite you, well, there is not enough time for that. The training time is far better spent on teaching the recurrent pilot trainee what buttons to push and when, on a properly serviceable helicopter with no malfunctions, because getting that wrong is far more likely to happen and ruin their day than the tail rotor falling off.

Last edited by gulliBell; 8th Jul 2019 at 02:25.
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Old 8th Jul 2019, 02:49
  #116 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by malabo View Post
1) You'd think a billionaire could buy himself a higher quality operation.

2) Cujet , fill us in on how this was a professionally managed flight. If we can be forgiven for thinking it sounds Mickey Mouse, perhaps you can explain how things are done there.
1) I work for a billionaire and I fully agree. No need to get into details, but it will suffice to say that aircraft depreciation to the tune of 4 million per year is perfectly acceptable, yet additional staff is not. I provide the best advice I can within the realm of my expertise. Every so often, it's followed.

2) Points taken, little professional about the flight. I can only guess that Geoff felt significant pressure to complete the mission. The reason for the flight is rumored (at F45) to be that Cline's daughter had acute alcohol poisoning. I posted the very same points (emergency, night, international, vfr, over water, no flight plan, no communication) on another forum last night. I added that I believe such conditions leave little room to deal with any additional problems.

Mechanical failure or a technical issue is my guess at this point.

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Old 8th Jul 2019, 04:33
  #117 (permalink)  
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To those speculating as to the pilots abilities: I’ve spent time flying with Geoff and there is no one I would want by my side in an emergency situation more than him. I have seen him practice IFR night flying to stay proficient in anticipation of upcoming flights when he has felt he was out of practice. As for old school flying skills: he had (I believe) over 10,000 hours in Robinson’s (in addition to those in Augusta’s and numerous manufacturer training courses in other helicopters) and told me numerous stories of emergencies he avoided through old school flying skills. He was not easily flustered and he reacted immediately not just quickly. Based on what I have read in the news, and here: I don’t think we can judge him or Dave for agreeing to fly or Cline for asking them to (if that is what happened as the news seems to imply) in light of the circumstances—would you not do everything you can to help your child if you could? Would you not want to help get a sick person off an island with no hospital, particularly if you are a capable pilot in an exceedingly advanced aircraft? However, such circumstances can aggravate the smallest problem into a fatal one. I’m sure the investigation will reveal more telling information but I think that sympathy is the answer here, not just saying this could have been avoided had they followed the rules. That is obvious but it is also a risk that everyone assumed as soon as they stepped in that helicopter in that situation. My heart aches for all of them and for the families of the girls, Cline, Geoff, and Dave. May they all Rest In Peace.

I do agree with the posts about how automation is not the answer to accidents, that human awareness and appropriate response is—and I say the same about cars. However, people often want the best toy out there, assuming advanced automation is equivalent with safety and pilots for those operations are thus obliged to use those advanced machines, as the manufacturer advertises. Demand better training of pilots, demand more user friendly cockpits, demand simpler operations but do not put that blame on two pilots who are in fact proficient in their old school flying skills.
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Old 8th Jul 2019, 05:57
  #118 (permalink)  
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cujet wrote:

Mechanical failure or a technical issue is my guess at this point.
Its not my guess but I will humbly be corrected if I am wrong.
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Old 8th Jul 2019, 06:25
  #119 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by industry insider View Post
cujet wrote:

Its not my guess but I will humbly be corrected if I am wrong.
I agree, he was done the minute he turned away from the lights.
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Old 8th Jul 2019, 06:37
  #120 (permalink)  
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So it sounds like unscheduled flight, where the pilots were not properly prepared and rested, when the conditions were challenging, their responses were at not going to be optimum, and the stress of a medical evacuation.

Last edited by RickNRoll; 8th Jul 2019 at 10:44.
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