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

Robinson crash in FL

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

Robinson crash in FL

Old 10th Jan 2022, 06:44
  #61 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2021
Location: At the beach
Posts: 14
Originally Posted by gulliBell View Post
Yep. If I might dare to speculate. If the pilot did what the RFM required, and maintained orientation during night flight by visual reference to ground objects, presumably he would have arrived safely at destination and we wouldn't be having this discussion. It matters not whether an AH was fitted, he had to be able to see sufficient lights on ground, or have enough celestial illumination to see the ground, to get a proper sense of his orientation. Because without orientation you invariably end up flying into the ground, whether that be day or night.
Completely agree with this. I've flown over some areas that were so poorly illuminated that it all just looks like an endless sea of black. It's not possible to determine orientation using ground references when that happens.
metalboi69 is offline  
Old 10th Jan 2022, 07:20
  #62 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: EGDC
Posts: 9,264
Completely agree with this. I've flown over some areas that were so poorly illuminated that it all just looks like an endless sea of black. It's not possible to determine orientation using ground references when that happens.
Absolutely right and even with some lights on the ground it can be impossible to maintain orientation - a single point light source is an awful visual reference and can induce disorientation because of the way the human eye scans.

Try googling autokinesis.

Non NVG night flight is a visual/instrument balance in anything but bright, full moonlight or over a built up area.

Last edited by [email protected]; 10th Jan 2022 at 09:08.
crab@SAAvn.co.uk is offline  
Old 10th Jan 2022, 14:38
  #63 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: California
Posts: 552
Originally Posted by metalboi69 View Post
Completely agree with this. I've flown over some areas that were so poorly illuminated that it all just looks like an endless sea of black. It's not possible to determine orientation using ground references when that happens.
Well that's just it though. It doesn't say you just need lights on the ground. Its says you have to have reference to "ground objects" illuminated soley by lights, or "adequate" celestial illumination.

So obviously, if there are so few lights that it just looks like a sea of black, then its no longer "night" by the Robby definition, its IFR,...and you cannot legally fly a Robby by IFR.
Robbiee is offline  
Old 10th Jan 2022, 14:41
  #64 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: EGDC
Posts: 9,264
I completely agree Robbiee - but I very much get the impression from posts here over the years that it is a widely abused definition and as long as someone can see a light somewhere, they justify it as night VFR.
crab@SAAvn.co.uk is offline  
Old 10th Jan 2022, 15:09
  #65 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: California
Posts: 552
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
I completely agree Robbiee - but I very much get the impression from posts here over the years that it is a widely abused definition and as long as someone can see a light somewhere, they justify it as night VFR.
,...and then they crssh.
Robbiee is offline  
Old 10th Jan 2022, 23:09
  #66 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Wanaka, NZ
Posts: 2,570
Pilots of all experience levels are adept at crashing all variety of helicopters at night, even those with two engines, two pilots and certified for IFR. But doing it in a Robinson helicopter at night contrary to the RFM and the chances of an unfortunate outcome are quite high, especially for a pilot with virtually no experience. I dare say this accident was almost inevitable within a few minutes of take-off without adequate external visual reference.
gulliBell is offline  
Old 11th Jan 2022, 00:15
  #67 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Toronto
Posts: 2,372
Night takeoff in a rural area exposes you to the possibility that you might unexpectedly encounter a lack of sufficient lighting to maintain visual reference. The other possibility is that you might encounter a false horizon illusion.

Without an AH and instrument proficiency, you are up the creek without a paddle.

In FW it's commonly taught to stay on instruments after liftoff at night until you have 500'. By then there's usually enough lights on the ground and perhaps celestial for visual orientation.
RatherBeFlying is offline  
Old 11th Jan 2022, 00:52
  #68 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 847
Originally Posted by RatherBeFlying View Post
In FW it's commonly taught to stay on instruments after liftoff at night until you have 500'.
Is this now taught in the US? It's been a long time since I earned my FW private rating. It sure wasn't taught "back then". It would not be a legal VFR operation to do this in any case.
aa777888 is offline  
Old 11th Jan 2022, 01:01
  #69 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Wanaka, NZ
Posts: 2,570
Originally Posted by aa777888 View Post
...It would not be a legal VFR operation to do this in any case.
Exactly. You need to be able to see the ground at all times to maintain proper orientation, and be in no doubt about it. Hybrid IFR/instrument/visual technique is utter bollocks. Once airborne is not the time to discover you don't have proper visual reference and have no plan B, especially where the departure point is off-airport without runway lighting.
gulliBell is offline  
Old 11th Jan 2022, 01:28
  #70 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: N/A
Posts: 4,489
[QUOTE][First of all this was a R-22 so standard equipment for a R-44 is irrelevant/QUOTE]Confirming the accident aircraft was a R44, registered owner HICKS SEAL COATING & STRIPING LLC of 6758 SW COUNTY ROAD 344. The following link gives weather at the time along with track flown. Place mark bottom left of photo denotes crash site, aircraft heading NE, 2.16NM to run to the freeway, so one would have surmised towards reasonable well lit residential area, albeit country side not city.

Kathryn's Report: Robinson R44 Raven II, N442VB: Fatal accident occurred December 30, 2021 in Bronson, Levy County, Florida



Family home, own hangar, fixed wing and runway.




A little tiger country to traverse, a little over 5NM, may have been the trigger for the leans given the vis.



Last edited by megan; 11th Jan 2022 at 01:53.
megan is offline  
Old 11th Jan 2022, 08:36
  #71 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: EGDC
Posts: 9,264
Hybrid IFR/instrument/visual technique is utter bollocks
Or, in fact, the safe way to fly VFR at night.

You need to be able to see the ground at all times to maintain proper orientation, and be in no doubt about it.
And do please tell how you do that when it is dark (except with a cloudless night and full moon).

Seeing lights on the ground is not the same as seeing the ground itself. However, lit structures can give you orientation and scale information - buildings, roads etc - but in order to form a coherent mental model of the outside world for orientation, you need a horizon or something that will serve as a horizon..
crab@SAAvn.co.uk is offline  
Old 11th Jan 2022, 09:27
  #72 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Wanaka, NZ
Posts: 2,570
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Or, in fact, the safe way to fly VFR at night.
No, it's just suckering in people who don't have the skills or recency to give it a go, and when they give it a go and it turns out to be too dark the situation ends up exceeding their capability. If it's that dark that you need to cross reference to instruments it's too dark to be flying a helicopter that requires you to be able to see the ground to maintain orientation.

Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
And do please tell how you do that when it is dark (except with a cloudless night and full moon).
Easy. The decision is made for you by the RFM. If you don't have a clear night with ample celestial illumination to see the ground, or otherwise if you're not flying over a brightly lit city, the RFM is pretty much compelling you to stay on the ground. Which is what you should be doing in that helicopter if there is any doubt as to whether you'll be able to maintain orientation visually.
gulliBell is offline  
Old 11th Jan 2022, 09:44
  #73 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Brantisvogan
Posts: 878
Originally Posted by gulliBell View Post
No, it's just suckering in people who don't have the skills or recency to give it a go, and when they give it a go and it turns out to be too dark the situation ends up exceeding their capability. If it's that dark that you need to cross reference to instruments it's too dark to be flying a helicopter that requires you to be able to see the ground to maintain orientation.
That's not right. It's often right after takeoff where disorientation can set in and create a problem where there does not need to be one.
Using instruments while you gain height, in order to better achieve a visual reference, can be useful and it is how we were taught, along with avoiding an early turn-out on takeoff.
Get settled and get your perspective sorted, a basic scan can only help with that.

People that want to fly in IFR conditions aren't put off or encouraged by what tools they do or don't have.
Bell_ringer is online now  
Old 11th Jan 2022, 10:49
  #74 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: EGDC
Posts: 9,264
Easy. The decision is made for you by the RFM. If you don't have a clear night with ample celestial illumination to see the ground
But you won't know that until you get in the air and look down - it will also change with the moon position and fullness.

Just because you can look up and see the stars doesn't mean you can look down and see the ground.

In 40 years of flying I have only seen a few nights, some but not many, where you could honestly say you could fly in an unstabilised helicopter with sole reference to external cues and not need to look in at the instruments.
crab@SAAvn.co.uk is offline  
Old 11th Jan 2022, 11:26
  #75 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Wanaka, NZ
Posts: 2,570
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
..In 40 years of flying I have only seen a few nights, some but not many, where you could honestly say you could fly in an unstabilised helicopter with sole reference to external cues and not need to look in at the instruments.
Me to. So stick with the RFM and only blast off into the night when you can see where you are going.
gulliBell is offline  
Old 11th Jan 2022, 11:33
  #76 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Wanaka, NZ
Posts: 2,570
Originally Posted by Bell_ringer View Post
That's not right. It's often right after takeoff where disorientation can set in and create a problem where there does not need to be one..
You've missed the point. And that is, don't blast off into the night unless you can see where you are going, and you have sufficient visual reference to establish your orientation without any reference to instruments. If you need to rely on instruments in that process you are not complying with the RFM. Disorientation doesn't set in when you can see the ground far enough ahead and below you that you have a proper visual horizon reference. If that requires clear skies and a full moon, so be it.
gulliBell is offline  
Old 11th Jan 2022, 12:11
  #77 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: EGDC
Posts: 9,264
That presumes you have had enough time for your eyes to become dark-adapted and that no lights in the cockpit or your airfield have affected your night vision.

Otherwise you are taking off without full knowledge of the conditions and ability to see the ground. Another reason to use an instrument/visual balance for departure.

If your eyes haven't dark-adapted before take-off it can take between 20 and 30 minutes to achieve reasonable night vision and be able to accurately determine whether you can see the ground or not.

Your cones can get reasonably adapted in about 10 mins but your rods - which provide scotopic or night vision - take much longer, it can take several hours to reach full night sensitivity.

This means you need to turn your cockpit lighting down in stages during the sortie so you allow maximum adaptation for the external references. It always amazes me how dim the lights can be after an hour or so and you can still read the instruments perfectly. Even with my old eyes

Last edited by [email protected]; 11th Jan 2022 at 12:33.
crab@SAAvn.co.uk is offline  
Old 11th Jan 2022, 14:03
  #78 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: london
Posts: 740
Reading this sad thread over the past few days has reminded me of a number of CFIT accidents during my 30 year career in aviation as well as some personal hairy moments as I gained experience. Were I to buy a 44 today the one must have option would be the autopilot. Having flown a few hours recently with this option has convinced me of its value in marginal VMC, over water and at night. I fully accept the risk that low hour pilots (and perhaps high hour pilots) might see it as an IMC option or a capability to fly when they otherwise would not, but IMHO stabilisation, the ability to maintain height and the ability to reduce cockpit workload in VMC is a significant improvement.
homonculus is offline  
Old 11th Jan 2022, 14:39
  #79 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: FL, USA
Posts: 2,950
Iím hesitant to recommend an autopilot for a skill you donít have.
It should be an alternative and not a replacement.
B2N2 is offline  
Old 11th Jan 2022, 14:59
  #80 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: EGDC
Posts: 9,264
Improving the handling qualities of your aircraft is absolutely the best thing you can do to improve safety - it reduces pilot workload and allows better lookout, better situational awareness and more capacity to deal with problems or changing weather.

I took part in a simulator trial at RAE Bedford in the late 90's where we had to repeat a task of medium workload while the boffins changed the handling qualities of the aircraft and the visual cues - it was an investigation into DVE.

The better the handing qualities, the worse visual cues we could cope with and vice versa.

Having a better handling aircraft won't make you fly in worse conditions - that is the pilot's decision - but it will make any flying more enjoyable and safer.

Given it's target market, the Robbie shouldn't be produced without an autopilot in my opinion - nothing clever just SAS.
crab@SAAvn.co.uk is offline  

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.