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AW109 down Poros, Greece

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AW109 down Poros, Greece

Old 26th Aug 2019, 11:45
  #61 (permalink)  
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Instrument flight without the proper equipment, training, experience.....very bad Karma indeed.

Ran across this video on the subject this morning.....found it interesting but it had some good value for learning.

One bit of audio states research indicates 72 Seconds from entering cloud to loss of control when the situation in the first sentence of this post exists.


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Old 26th Aug 2019, 17:12
  #62 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by cpt
What surprises me, is that this kind of event doesn't happen more often when flying single pilot for these "private, so called VIPs" customers. You have to deal by your own with too often whimsy, capricious almost bipolar organizers and/or passengers. The induced stress may rise in a matter of minutes all comes together; phone calls,text messages, destination changes, unexpected volume of bags, timing, slots at airport, catering, weather.... Being "private" (NCC) no real operation department to assist you, sometimes with the help of a non qualified "safety pilot" (who can be anyone wearing a white shirt with shoulder stripes)
The workload may quickly become unbearable and make you forget your priorities management. I can't count the times that I've seen experienced pilots texting an ETA or a departure message sms on their one or two of their cellphones when taking-off! This kind of behaving can easily make you forget a power line you already know. When you talk about Class performances and take off profiles, the best you can get is a polite smile.
I've flown many different type of helicopter flights in my career, from crop spraying, long line to offshore ....but "private VIP"(in oppostion to a proper CAT/AOC operator) is without doubt, to me, a "brute job"
I hear you and I would not work as a private pilot for an owner of a helicopter to fly him exclusively. Too much pressure and things I have no control about but am supposed to deal with and sort out last minute. Lord Ballyedmond springs to mind.
In the case of the crashed 109 it was a proper AOC company, operating commercially for charter, mostly twins as far as I know.

I fly for a company that is hardly perfect by any means. But we have an OPS department with experienced people, my boss has backed me up several times when I refused to take luggage that would have left me over MTOM and or there was no space to stow it safely. I left it behind and it went by boat overnight. Also we are not flying to 2 helipads (not official ones, just build by clueless hotel owners) anymore because the winds are so bad that even in a 407 or B3 you sometimes barely outperform the downdrafts/ turbulence in those places.

It's true that you are on the cellphone often during flights (on the ground!) cause of changing takeoff times but luckily I don't have to deal with slots cause we mainly go to private, surveyed landing sites, helipads or smaller airports with no ATC. Also all our machines have Spidertracks so OPS knows where you are without bothering you on the phone too much. Slots and parking space at the busy airports in the Greek summer are a nightmare, so at least the problem is off my back.

Weather is not really a factor, wind allways is. Daily winds of 30-35 Kts, Gusting higher, lot's of turbulence at your take off and landing sites, those are the issues you have to deal with here. Also you're often at the weight limits and temps do go over 35 C. The B3 is ok, the 407 temps out earlier and the 120 is just the 120

The issues I have with my company are mainly smaller things that drive you up the wall. Usual Southern European stuff a la "instead of properly planning and organizing things we freak out when things go tits up and expect people to improvise a lot". Cleaning equipment for the machines, a ladder for the preflight checks, updates for the ipads, basic tools for the AC (filling up engine oil in the 407 in very windy conditions, wiithout a proper funnel and gloves, drives you nuts ). Those kind of things.

Well, another 2 or 3 weeks and it's all over for this year anyway

Last edited by muermel; 26th Aug 2019 at 17:45.
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Old 27th Aug 2019, 10:05
  #63 (permalink)  
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Hi Muermel,

I don't say I wouldn't work in such conditions if I had to. But I'm not sure that, in doing my best, I'd be able to do it as I intend to, and I'd probably be quickly quicked off ))))
But hopefully, all owners/operators are not as I have described after all. I just wanted to describe my amazement when I realized what kind of hard and different job this could be compared to what I've known before.
Enjoy the last days of "the seson" then (As I do myself
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Old 27th Aug 2019, 10:51
  #64 (permalink)  
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It all sounds very similar to the millionaire yacht world. In fact, very likely a lot of the same people. Capricious is a good word to describe owners' behavior, many have absolutely no regard for the operational practicalities and just make demands which may have to be politely redirected. It can be tough to know where to draw the line and refuse on safety grounds. Especially if you refuse to do something that the owner's mate did last week in his mega yacht! It can be thoroughly demoralizing for a crew who have fought against weather and time to get he boat positioned and immaculately prepared, for the owner to change his mind and ask for it to be back where you started from! At least you guys have the advantage of a tight regulatory environment allowing you to say 'I would love to do that but it is not legal'.
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Old 27th Aug 2019, 13:14
  #65 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by double_barrel
'I would love to do that but it is not legal'.
As I've said exactly that many times about flights here that would require me to fly after ending of civil twilight, aka night time. "Sorry, can't take off no later than xxxx o' clock because it is illegal, I don't want to lose my licence and also I'm not landing at a sparsely lit helipad after sunset, it is very unsafe." That usualy shuts people up and I ALLWAYS personally tell them to be at the helicopter 15 to 20 minutes befero the actual latest time, to give myself a small buffer. Flying here at night, between the islands it's very dark. Sure, visibility and clouds are usually no factor but open sea, darkness, VFR helicopter? Nope
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Old 27th Aug 2019, 14:16
  #66 (permalink)  
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Further on the “helicopters=dead rich guys” theme, it does take a certain kind of pilot to stand up to the constant pressure from those accustomed to buying their own way. Flying for some particularly ruthless and overbearing clients I was told by their business managers that I was selected because they had confidence I would say no when the situation demanded it. I did, and despite the protestations at the time became their regular pilot.

On the second video taken by the bystanders at the pad as the helicopter takes off you can hear the man saying “wtf, what’s he doing, doesn’t he see the wires” followed by the woman saying (after impact) “oh no, there’s a family on board”. So they were easily noticed by others without a vested interest that just wanted to watch a helicopter. Perhaps the pilot was all distracted with his PC1 profile numbers and had to stare at the instruments instead of doing the bush PC3 thing and looking out the window. Seems a common problem with EASA pilots that rely on regulations or one more exam to protect them from the real world.
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Old 27th Aug 2019, 18:28
  #67 (permalink)  

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Perhaps the pilot was all distracted with his PC1 profile numbers and had to stare at the instruments instead of doing the bush PC3 thing and looking out the window. Seems a common problem with EASA pilots that rely on regulations or one more exam to protect them from the real world.
I doubt very much that was the case.
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