Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Aircrew Forums > Rotorheads
Reload this Page >

N72EX (Kobe Bryant) Crash Update-

Rotorheads A haven for helicopter professionals to discuss the things that affect them

N72EX (Kobe Bryant) Crash Update-

Old 1st Jun 2021, 22:12
  #321 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2011
Location: NEW YORK
Posts: 1,047
It seems the regulatory process matters rather less than the character of the CEO, even in aviation.
No surprise really, as SASless has pointed out.
But how do ordinary mortals get a clue about that aspect?
etudiant is offline  
Old 2nd Jun 2021, 04:36
  #322 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: N/A
Posts: 3,881
It seems the regulatory process matters rather less than the character of the CEO, even in aviation.....But how do ordinary mortals get a clue about that aspect
By working for the organisation yourself is the only sure fire way, scuttlebutt will abound, but you can never be sure if the teller of the story is telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, or if the story may be tainted by the story tellers experience due to a clash of personalities or some such. The CEO may not have a handle on the actual aircraft operation, think big airline, or oil company in our case. Our company had a manual dictating the standards expected to be applied/met by any aviation contractor or the company owned operation. On at least one occasion the story filtered down that when the in country CEO asked the aviation adviser for advice relevant to what was said in the manual he was told being the CEO you can do what you like. The CEO would have found a hip pocket in a singlet of far more use.

The interesting part is we used to be audited to death by all and sundry, but no one ever picked up on glaring fault lines in the operation, it would have only taken a cursory inspection of the flight planning regimen.

Remember flying a group of company oversea VIP's out to a rig in crap weather and overhearing one of them comment to another "I thought this was a VFR operation", no, just a regular day at the office. It just reinforced how out of touch management was with what takes place at the coal face, if you want a properly run (and legal) operation you have to give the people the necessary tools, that requires, you the company, to open your wallet and not fret about the budget and your personal climb up the greasy pole..

Last edited by megan; 2nd Jun 2021 at 04:58.
megan is offline  
Old 2nd Jun 2021, 11:03
  #323 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2002
Location: "Deplorable but happy as a drunken Monkey!
Age: 72
Posts: 16,774

Well said!

I worked for one outfit that advertised itself as being the bee's knees with excellent engineering and an enviable safety record and at one point that was relatively true but over time the standard was undermined by the Company being sold several times and each time the assets got robbed to pay for it.

Over Beer one evening some of us began to tally up the numbers of crashed helicopters and one could only but wonder about this centre of excellence brain washing that had produced that mantra from those responsible for the decline who so eagerly engaged in climbing that greasy pole of management within the company.

Over time we had a turnover of people....some leaving for greener pastures, some being exiled to the outer reaches of the. realm, some actually making it to retirement, and some just packing it in and going to owning a taxi cab.

It was sad watching it happen....what was a really good place to work that lost its way due to the lack of proper management.

One fellow I flew with who has since passed on due to normal causes.....always uttered a Prayer immediately before hitting the Start Button on the aircraft.....I thought him being funny until a few things happened and I began that ritual myself but did so silently as opposed to his vocal incantation

His was...."Oh Lord....pllease watch over me today while I fly this under designed Bell built....(xxxxxx...Company Name omitted)) maintained.....piece of shit!".

I have a Clock from one of the Bell 212's I made the final Commercial Flight on...it was approaching 40,000 hours on the airframe and was one that I was detailed to fly Night Standby with in a place with no ATC, No Flight Following, and most landing sites were closed for the night.

The aircraft was tired...very tired...and flying it VFR in VMC weather seemed a stretch even...but the Company had taken the Contract and by God we at the coal face were going to fly if called out.

Most of us quietly agreed...depending upon the weather conditions...maintenance faults would probably prevent us from flying.

Later on the Company lost a Bell 412 doing the same contract....it simply disappeared.

Reality is a fragile....shame higher management is so protected from it.
SASless is offline  
Old 3rd Jun 2021, 02:39
  #324 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 28
Originally Posted by SASless View Post
212man......the counter argument which is quite valid is in those other (beginning with the one you grew up within) those authorities might have gone far too far in making their system too burdensome).

I have flown a lot of differrent helicopters (purposely did not use the words "type", "Model", "Mark" or other adjective or descriptive word)....and I have found them all to pretty much fly the same to the extent when you are

leanring Monkey Memory skills it does not take that long as when you move the flight controls the aircraft all respond with the same results.

The real difference in them all (generally) is their systems and how they are constructed and monitored and controlled and the operating limitations.

We. have had that discussion before and each time we in the FAA La La Land point out our industry is thriving and has an accident rate comparable to the other more restrictive and burdensome systems of certifications.

My introduction to the S-76 was a Two Week Flight Safety course that included the full Simulator course and then actual flight in the aircraft.

Can you say that about your conversion course for the Bell 212 done by the outfit that turned you into a 212 Pilot?

Did that same company require all EC-155 Pilots to attend similar two week Initial Training courses as part of their "Conversion Training"?

Mine was under the FAA system and yours was done in a non-FAA system.

It would seem there is a difference in management policies that was the main difference between the two systems....would you not agree?


The FAA is ruled by the Airplane Mafia and the Helicopter side is like a red headed bastard cousin at a family reunion at times.

The Federal Air Regulations (FAR's) have always been tailored towards Airplanes and until recent times were applied equally to Rotorcraft despite the unique differences Rotorcraft possess comopared to Airplanes.

We saw one example of that in the PBA system on the S-76 and the Chinook....and we see it in the "Type Rating" concept.

The FAA reasonably enough saw Cessna, Piper, and other Light Airplanes as being very similar and not very complex thus it settled upon the Weight Limit as being the determinant for requiring a "Type Rating".

The odd way the FAR's are written....when I did my Helicopter ATPL (in those days there was a VFR ONLY version) I wound up with a Bell 47 Type Rating as ATP rides were construed to be "Type Rides".

When I did the ATPL (note there is no VFR or IFR added to that) it was in a Bell 412 and I obtained both the ATPL and 412 Type Rating with one check ride....one being a VFR portion followed by an IFR portion.

There is a group of folks that do not understand our system....that seem to think one must have a "Type Rating" on each aircraft you fly....and that is an insistence that is not based upon anything but thinking there is but one true way to salvation.

We get around the "Type Rating" business by the FAR's requiring minimum time in "Type" and a Checkride in that particular "Type" of helicopter....even for those that do not require a "Type" rating.

We get to the same destination but by a different route.....and for those who criticize our system prove they do not fully understand the difference between the two methods.

Over the years I have formed an impression that down in Oz your system of licensing is very complex with official requirements that present a burden rather than a blessing....am I right in thinking that?
SASless I always wondered why such emphasis was made in the USA over factory ratings/endorsements. Personally the in house training I have had has been to a very high standard and much of the study material has been plagiarised from said factory courses. Talking to people that have done the factory courses they state they are very good yet they have not appeared more knowledgeable or proficient.
I suspect as you have eluded to it is another way of achieving the same ends and standards. Insurers as I understand give better rates or require said courses. The end result is the same though where a thorough understanding is required of all the aircraft systems.

I would rather enjoy the opportunity to do a factory course to see if there is much difference from the training I have been given.

I have flown with Pilots especially new to IFR that really do not like using the controls in attitude mode or with force trim when VFR/VMC. A reason often given is itís not real flying or I suspect some pilots like having something to do all the time. The force trim release in the 76 can really be uncomfortable on your thumb if holding for long periods of time. It is easy to surmise that a pilot that doesnít use the upper modes would rather fly with the force trim off. Now fly into IMC and to re-engage this system you have to look down and find a button that might not be used often... then press two more to couple.
When boat winching in the 76 often guys used to go to SAS mode which was much nicer on your thumb. However after departure they would forget to go back into attitude mode, engage the flight director and let go of the controls to watch the aircraft diverge before realising their mistake, no problem if not a bit messy VMC but big potential for serious problems IMC.
I did not trust myself to remember so just put up with the sore thumb.

It is entirely speculative but I have wondered if any of this was a factor on this flight.

Last edited by SLFMS; 3rd Jun 2021 at 03:08.
SLFMS is offline  
Old 3rd Jun 2021, 03:01
  #325 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2002
Location: "Deplorable but happy as a drunken Monkey!
Age: 72
Posts: 16,774
Flying in the Bell 204/205/UH-1....most pilots that had gone through the US Army Flight School seemed to be of the notion that "all" friction was to be removed from the Cyclic and Force Trim turned off.....for their flying.

I always liked a bit of friction on the Cyclic and flew with the Force Trim ON....as I liked to be able to take my hand off the cyclic if needed (especially in the Left Hand seat) and not have a loose noodle feeling in the cyclic...or some feed back caused by the bouncing of you hand if the Track and Balance was not smooth.

Later on...Sperry Installs required a Friction Collar to be set to a minimum setting to prevent that same feedback affecting the performance of the Sperry Helicopter-Pilot system.

Your point about the amount of actions it would take to go from Force Trim OFF....HP's in SAS to Force Trim ON....HP's to ATT...and slewing the HDG Bug around, and then engaging upper modes......lending itself to distraction and worse....is very possible and in this case probable.

There is much talk about the Transponder Ident Request from ATC...but nothing being said re what you point out.

If one is familiar with the switchology....it should not require much doing to get the Autopilot up and running and flying the Helicopter. If not familiar it becomes more burdensome as the fingers just do not take themselves to the right Buttons as they would with good Monkey Memory helping out.

One real benefit to a Third Party training arrangement is if that Third Party can offer specialized courses in team with the Factory so that the best sources for accurate information is close at hand.

I saw that in action at the West Palm Beach AATC operation when the 76 Training was done by them at the Sikorsky Completion Center way out in the swamp.

We had Sikorsky Design Engineers that were available and often shared dining tables at the cafeteria with us at lunch time.

Also...that Third Party doing independent assessment of the Pilot's Performance can aid in identifying problems or weaknesses in performance that might not go reported otherwise.

I worked at one such training school that required us to fully document and assess our Trainee's Performance....provide them a complete de-brief...and provide copies of it all to their Employer.

I failed the Chief Pilot of an Oil Company Operation and the Management stood behind that action when I showed them some video's of the fellow's performance.

We gave him a change of Instructor and some remedial training and in the end he thanked us for how it was handled and that when presented the "evidence" he had to agree with our evaluation.

He did not however appreciate my having broken his Pipe that was causing the distraction from his learning in the Simulator.

I do not fault him for that lack of forgiveness.

I never did get a job offer from that outfit....for some unknown reason.

Last edited by SASless; 3rd Jun 2021 at 03:13.
SASless is offline  
Old 3rd Jun 2021, 15:05
  #326 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: N/A
Posts: 3,881
most pilots that had gone through the US Army Flight School seemed to be of the notion that "all" friction was to be removed from the Cyclic and Force Trim turned off.....for their flying
During training on the Huey always used the force trim, flying Vietnam with all the formation work it was a pain in the derriere, so force trim off for all flying became the norm. Hand flying the 76 was force trim off since it was only done during periods of maneuvering, take off and landing, transit between those two points was coupled up with GPS nav engaged, can't say I ever forgot to put the force trim back on when coupling up.
megan is offline  
Old 10th Jun 2021, 03:43
  #327 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: N/A
Posts: 3,881
An article from Business & Commercial Aviation,contains a few new viewpoints.

megan is offline  
Old 10th Jun 2021, 07:17
  #328 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: EGDC
Posts: 8,591
That's a great article and objective precis of the events and probable causes of the accident.

It doesn't paint Island Helicopters or their chief pilot in a very good light and it also highlights the shortcomings of box-ticking safety assessments which are meaningless unless there is 3rd party objective oversight of such assessments - unlikely to occur in a small outfit I would suggest.

Additional bureaucracy does not in itself bring additional safety and is often ignored because it is an unwieldy and time-consuming process - not always suited to an aviation environment where quick decisions are needed in many cases.
crab@SAAvn.co.uk is offline  
Old 10th Jun 2021, 10:03
  #329 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2002
Location: "Deplorable but happy as a drunken Monkey!
Age: 72
Posts: 16,774
A bit far on conjecture but does frame the narrative effectively....why did the Chief Pilot ignore the very standards and procedures he was supposed to be teaching others?

As to saying doing an IMC Climb to on top was his plan all along....I think that was a patently false statement not supported by the evidence.

The suggestion that the Pilot had to communicate with ATC ignores reality....that in an emergency, even one that is self inflicted, one may deviate from the Rules as needed to deal with the emergency.....and he need not have done anything but fly the aircraft to clear air that was above him.

The statement that it was only 30 feet to go before he would have broken out is a bit lame....as there is no way to know how close he came to breaking out before losing control of the aircraft.
SASless is offline  
Old 15th Jun 2021, 19:11
  #330 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2020
Location: Virginia, USA
Posts: 29
Originally Posted by SASless View Post
The statement that it was only 30 feet to go before he would have broken out is a bit lame....as there is no way to know how close he came to breaking out before losing control of the aircraft.
It does not change your analysis, but I suspect it was much more than 30 feet. From the ADS-B data supplied by the FAA, I estimate that the aircraft began the steep bank at 17:45:09Z at an altitude of approximately 2400' AMSL (2275' Geometric height from ADS-B + 117' WGS-84 to WGM-96 conversion), and reached a maximum height of approximately 2450' AMSL (2325' Geometric Height + 117' WGS-84 to WGM-96 conversion) at 17:45:15Z. This is higher than the reported cloud tops of 2400' AMSL, so that made me look at the cloud heights to see if the reports were accurate for the time of the crash. Watching the fire spotting videos, it is clear the tops are moving up and down, but I believe the cloud heights at the time of the crash were closer to 2700' than 2400'. This picture is from Saddle Peak, approximately 5 miles from the crash site, about 1/2 hour before the crash:

I used Google Earth (uses WGM-96) to estimate the AMSL height and distance of various features

Here is a picture at the time of the crash:

Notice that the feature at 2700' and 0.1 miles is barely visible, and even the closer tower and telephone poles are partially obscured.

Note: I estimate the accuracy of the ADS-B Geometric Height (WGS-84) at +/- 50 feet.

As an aside, Saddle Peak happens to be the location of the Santa Monica ADS-B antenna/receiver that collected most of the FAA data for the final minutes of the event.

Last edited by airplanecrazy; 16th Jun 2021 at 11:33. Reason: Fixed a typo ("that" replaced with "than")
airplanecrazy is offline  
Old 15th Jun 2021, 19:32
  #331 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2002
Location: "Deplorable but happy as a drunken Monkey!
Age: 72
Posts: 16,774
The sad fact is he almost made it to on Top....but did not.

If we work backwards....analyzing what actions he did take....and thinking about those he could have taken...and think about the effect the all had or could have had on the outcome of the climb to On Top....there might be some good Teaching Points to be had.....most of which are already known from other such tragedies.

Repeating them might help someone else down the road from making the same mistakes.
SASless is offline  
Old 16th Jun 2021, 04:02
  #332 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: N/A
Posts: 3,881
Repeating them might help someone else down the road from making the same mistakes
It's a sad fact of life that very few, if any, accidents don't have a precedent, each is a repeat of what's gone before. The saying is to learn from anothers mistakes because you don't have the life span to make them all yourself, trouble is remembering all combinations and permutations that can lead you to grief.
megan is offline  
Old 16th Jun 2021, 09:17
  #333 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2002
Location: "Deplorable but happy as a drunken Monkey!
Age: 72
Posts: 16,774
The lessons learned if applied become a routine...and that alone will prevent some of these tragedies.

That is why training must be effective and retained....and not merely be a box checking exercise.

Policies wisely arrived at....must be composed with every time.

After all....Lives depend upon it.

But your point is very well taken....Helicopter Pilots have an amazing talent for killing themselves in the same old ways.....we are. not very innovative when it comes to that.
SASless is offline  
Old 16th Jun 2021, 12:29
  #334 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: N/A
Posts: 3,881
Helicopter Pilots have an amazing talent for killing themselves in the same old ways
It's not just helo jocks SAS, it's the entire human race in all endevours.
megan is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.