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This ride's a bit low, don't you think?

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This ride's a bit low, don't you think?

Old 11th Nov 2019, 23:14
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This ride's a bit low, don't you think?

https://youtu.be/RwFaHvl_VCg

,...or is it just me?
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Old 12th Nov 2019, 00:11
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Far hark....
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Old 12th Nov 2019, 00:12
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These fairground Helicopter rides were discussed recently, quick turnover of PAX, quick 3 minute trip with as much thrill as they can, low, tight turns, close as possible to a local stadium or other local landmarks..... come back after dusk it gets even more thrilling then in my R44!!!
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Old 12th Nov 2019, 02:57
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A bit low is an understatement. More like 1 safety hazard on top of another. My kids would never be allowed to fly in there after seeing that.
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Old 12th Nov 2019, 06:37
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What you want is an FAA inspector sitting behind him saying 'practice engine failure -go!' pretty much anywhere round that route to show him how very limited his options are.

Was he wearing spurs and a stetson?
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Old 12th Nov 2019, 07:01
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Iím not seeing anything wrong with that.
Road, car park, empty lot, road, car park etc etc etc.
Iím pretty sure they picked that route because of the options for a quick landing.
How many of you that have answered fly a helicopter?


* I donít....
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Old 12th Nov 2019, 07:27
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I do,....well...did for 45 years...and that scares the fork out of me. No options for anything safe. Sure, there is a road there - but cars coming head-on at you. Park, with powerlines around it. No time to do anything that could be considered safe. Didn't look like he got above 300' at any stage.
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Old 12th Nov 2019, 07:39
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And the regulations donít require that.
Its no different from any other low altitude helicopter operation.
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Old 12th Nov 2019, 09:15
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Mmmmmmh, where is the ground staff, helping the pax out of the box? How can you assure that nobody walks into the tail?
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Old 12th Nov 2019, 10:29
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"Iím not seeing anything wrong with that."

It is a pretty typical scenario in the USA and [as a non-pilot] I have taken similar profile rides a couple of times.

The more I learned the more I could see the accident waiting to happen. I would never go anywhere near most US joy ride flights these days, especially after observing typical flights departing and arriving. Too low transits and take-offs invariably towards a fast closing gap/obstacle. Profiles that are usually not necessary. It all looks good as a bit of bravado or stunting but not professional or appropriate if there are passengers aboard.

Unfortunately, even when there is an accident [how many?] the chances of it being read as a result of bad practice across a vast country like the USA are virtually nil.

Overall it - bravado flying - damages the safe flying perception of helicopters.
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Old 12th Nov 2019, 10:40
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Originally Posted by B2N2 View Post
Road, car park, empty lot, road, car park etc etc etc.
A lot of people driving on those roads. If that engine has a moment he's going to need to reach deep into the bucket of talent.
It must be a US-thing, do that in other parts of the world and you'd be explaining yourself.
Should be no surprise why the average Joe and politicians want to start banning helicopters.
The few, profiting at the expense of the many.
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Old 12th Nov 2019, 10:50
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Would the flight not also be in breach of the law regarding minimum safe distances? I think I am right in saying a waiver can be applied for, but I find it hard to believe that the route \ operation shown would be acceptable to the FAA.
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Old 12th Nov 2019, 10:53
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Originally Posted by Mutley1013 View Post
Would the flight not also be in breach of the law regarding minimum safe distances? I think I am right in saying a waiver can be applied for, but I find it hard to believe that the route \ operation shown would be acceptable to the FAA.
There is no 500' rule for helicopters in the US, but granted that was a pretty dumb profile.
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Old 12th Nov 2019, 11:02
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And just a couple of months ago here's an Oz pilot flying IFR...

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Old 12th Nov 2019, 12:22
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Originally Posted by rudestuff View Post
There is no 500' rule for helicopters in the US, but granted that was a pretty dumb profile.
But FAR 91.119 (a) say "Anywhere. An altitude allowing, if a power unit fails, an emergency landing without undue hazard to persons or property on the surface." Although (d) (1) exempt helicopter from the 500/1000/2000 ft rule mentioned in (b) and (c) of the same paragraph, it does NOT do so for (a)


ß 91.119 Minimum safe altitudes: General.Except when necessary for takeoff or landing, no person may operate an aircraft below the following altitudes:
(a) Anywhere. An altitude allowing, if a power unit fails, an emergency landing without undue hazard to persons or property on the surface.
(b) Over congested areas. Over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons, an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft.
(c) Over other than congested areas. An altitude of 500 feet above the surface, except over open water or sparsely populated areas. In those cases, the aircraft may not be operated closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure.
(d) Helicopters, powered parachutes, and weight-shift-control aircraft. If the operation is conducted without hazard to persons or property on the surface -
(1) A helicopter may be operated at less than the minimums prescribed in paragraph (b) or (c) of this section, provided each person operating the helicopter complies with any routes or altitudes specifically prescribed for helicopters by the FAA; and
(2) A powered parachute or weight-shift-control aircraft may be operated at less than the minimums prescribed in paragraph (c) of this section.

From the video, I'd say you have to be Skygod himself, if you under no circumstances don't break 91.119 (a) at any point..... Not long ago there was a couple of accidents discussed here involving R-44's having the same flying profile which involved both people being killed on ground and property damage, at least one with footage as well. Would say that the only difference, is that in this clip there was no emergency....
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Old 12th Nov 2019, 13:59
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This guy will be lucky if he doesn't get hit with careless and reckless operation.
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Old 12th Nov 2019, 14:19
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Originally Posted by Nubian View Post
...ß 91.119 Minimum safe altitudes: General. Except when necessary for takeoff or landing....
Yeah. But. It could be argued in this operation that the landing phase commences as soon as the take-off phase is complete. Therefore no breach of minimum height rules.
The Chief Pilot of that operation needs to be held accountable for the conduct of the operation. Not just with the flying of the helicopter, the control of passengers on the ground is a shambles.
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Old 12th Nov 2019, 15:15
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B2N2 - amusing that you as a non-helicopter pilot can accurately assess the safety of that flight when a number of us that do fly helicopters for a living (the clue is in the name of the forum, Rotorheads) say it is inherently unsafe.

He is only in a position to make a safe engine off landing without hazard to others for about 5% of that flight - the rest of the time he and the kid in the front would be in a pretty horrific accident if the engine stopped/drivebelt failed etc.
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Old 12th Nov 2019, 15:28
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I can speak to this directly as a pilot who put many hours into the logbook flying fair rides in an R44 this past summer.

Clearly this guy gave some thought to an engine out problem, and some thought to noise abatement, but probably not enough thought to either. Both are serious issues that need to be respected in this game. He does fly over roadways and parking lots to apparently attempt to satisfy both issues. But, it appears the ride was 2 minutes for $20. At that price point you are a) on the "backside of the earning curve" i.e. you are spending too much time on the ground and b) it forces you to stay low and tight. $30 for 4-5 minutes is a much better "sweet spot". You can still bang out around $750 worth of loads an hour (gross, assumes a 2.5 load factor and 10 loads an hour) but operating tempo is greatly reduced which enhances safety, and you have the ability to fly higher and take more care with respect to your flight path and noise footprint. So IMHO it was too low.

As for how confined the spot was, that place was relatively easy compared to some. The biggest issue here is that American fair-goers are all SUPER-sized. And fairs attract these people like flies because of such fair staples as fried dough, chili dogs, and all kinds of other crap. You post a weight limit of 250 (although the POH limit is 300lb) because you know some folks will lie, you run with less than half tanks max., and if you get too big a load you split it up. Finally, you pick up, do a power check, and, if necessary put it back down and kick somebody out. It doesn't happen that often, but it does happen, and not everybody leaves happy, but they are alive. As a lightweight myself, when I get down to a quarter on the main and zero in the aux., just a couple of loads before it's time to fuel, that's when you get called out to take a heavy load. I've never done any high altitude training, but I suspect some of the same technique carries over. FWIW the ship in the video appeared to have about a quarter in the main and aux. each, but it was hard to see.

Finally there is ground safety. Almost everyone does this too casually for me. That said, if you put one person each side as a tail rotor guard/people catcher, it does only take one person to escort the new load out and the old load back. Then the catchers load up the ship, make sure everyone is belted in and doors are closed. In the video in question I see exactly one ground person, which is not enough. And then there are the little kids, mentally challenged individuals young and old, and the drunks, most of whom you don't want in the front seat, and some of whom you don't want on the helicopter at all. You hope the ground staff is sorting this stuff out for you, and mostly they do, but every once in a while somebody slips through the cracks.

As for "stunting", steep turns are always fun but you need to read your audience and you need to watch that blade slap. Happy sounds, not frightened sounds, are what you shoot for, and I always adjust my ride by chatting up the pax in the first minute and making a few maneuvers to test the waters. Plus if you are over population there's only so much of this you really want to subject the ground to from both a sound footprint and PR perspective. I've done events where nearly every ride had a few steep turns, and I've done events where nearly every ride was limousine smooth. It all depends on the audience and the venue.

I could wax poetic about this for a long time. It's an interesting and challenging operating area, with many nuances and subtleties, seriously. To be done safely and profitably you need to bring your "A" game, and it needs to be "safety first, fun second, profit third".
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Old 12th Nov 2019, 15:44
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aa777888

Thank you for your informative and interesting post.
A refreshing change to read such a well thought out explanation.
Safe flying
G-XLTG ( a plank driver!)
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