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Two helicopters collide - Gold Coast, Queensland - Sea World 2/1/2023

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Two helicopters collide - Gold Coast, Queensland - Sea World 2/1/2023

Old 8th Jan 2023, 23:22
  #321 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by zzodr
Are these EC130B4s required to have flotation devices fitted to the skids for these ops? I didn't notice any but happy to be corrected.
'Arm out the window' responded on flotation requirements in post #199, but I have just realised the departing VH-XKQ was fitted with pop-out floats (see screen shot below from footage shown on 9 news) while the arriving VH-XH9 didn't have floats fitted (see post #69 by logansi).

DroneDog: The white covers for these floats might have been reflecting in the gloss paint of -XKQ which may explain what the apparent white on side of -XKQ as seen in the on-board footage from -XH9 released by 7 News.


See also my update to post #313 with link to Channel 9 release of the on-board video but now without using watermarks.

Last edited by helispotter; 9th Jan 2023 at 00:20.
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Old 9th Jan 2023, 01:36
  #322 (permalink)  
 
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Regulator Systemic Failure.

This airspace between Brisbane and Gold Coast Covers two airfields YHEC and YSPT and many Helicopter pads, the busiest being YSWD YGHT, YCAX and YXHG but YSPT also has considerable Helicopter operations associated with its maintenance facility, The air space is simply Class G with a CTAF frequency assigned to some of the landing areas, there is no promulgated Danger Area (eg: Archerfield training area) or Broadcast Zone (eg: Redcliff) or Mandatory Broadcast Zone (eg: Ballina).

This gap now seems brutally obvious. This small area between two Primary Airports often has intense bursts of aviation activity!

Regulators have been asleep or worse and this is a contributing factor to this accident. The ATSB have a lot of video, the new helicopters were wired up with tourist cameras and weeks of CTAF audio are in their hands, they already have a good idea of the procedural and human performance issues that contributed to this accident but I hope that they look long and hard at the relevant regulatory authorities and how inaction or even negligence has contributed to the accident.
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Old 9th Jan 2023, 02:20
  #323 (permalink)  
 
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Fraught as it is, I don't think our regulatory situation is at fault in this particular accident. Two helicopters from the same company operating in the same area should have had an agreed means of separating themselves, be it standard routes / altitudes, radio talk or whatever. SOPs in the company ops manual would probably already be there, and whatever the radio situation was (company radio, CTAF, area VHF or whatever) they should have both been listening out on a common frequency and making calls as per whatever their procedures were.

If there were no standard company procedures, or even ad-hoc ones for the day agreed on between the pilots, then that's a 'brutally obvious gap'. This is not two aircraft with no company affiliation happening to blunder into the same airspace, it's known traffic in a known area for both.

Maybe they were following some company separation procedure and it broke down - who knows? All I'm saying is that two or more company aircraft going round and round on scenics should have some mutually known method of checking where the other/s are, and ideally agreed flight paths that provide a passive separation as well, if possible.
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Old 9th Jan 2023, 03:01
  #324 (permalink)  
 
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I think the dark object is the shadow of that tree, with the white branches as the white objects. See photos in #307 and #309. It's in exactly the right spot in relation to the helipad.
The video through the fence shows the departing chopper pretty much maintains a constant heading up to where it finishes just before impact. Looking at the onboard video from the arriving aircraft, if the climbing one is still directly in line with the helipad, it should be more nose on I would have thought.
If you take the point where the departure video freezes shortly before impact, and correlate that to be approximately where the choppers might be when visible in relation to each other in the arrival video, the helipad would, I think, not appear to be directly behind the departing one.

Last edited by Traffic_Is_Er_Was; 9th Jan 2023 at 03:22.
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Old 9th Jan 2023, 04:13
  #325 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Arm out the window
All I'm saying is that two or more company aircraft going round and round on scenics should have some mutually known method of checking where the other/s are, and ideally agreed flight paths that provide a passive separation as well, if possible.
Mutually known method:

- Radio call: “X-ray Kilo Quebec, EC One Thirty. Ready for the lift from the old [XYZ] pad. Take- off in southerly direction. X-ray Hotel Niner: Your Position?”

- Look-out: Even if there is no response from XH9 or any other traffic, visually check take-off path left, right, front, up. This requires to lean and stretch around the cockpit to get a clear view in all directions.

- Visually check for ‘aircraft on final’, here any aircraft coming from behind. This requires to do a 90 degree hover turn to the left to check area behind, before committing to the take-off.
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Old 9th Jan 2023, 04:21
  #326 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Traffic_Is_Er_Was
I think the dark object is the shadow of that tree, with the white branches as the white objects. See photos in #307 and #309. It's in exactly the right spot in relation to the helipad.
The video through the fence shows the departing chopper pretty much maintains a constant heading up to where it finishes just before impact. Looking at the onboard video from the arriving aircraft, if the climbing one is still directly in line with the helipad, it should be more nose on I would have thought...
But don't forget that the landing helicopter wasn't hovering in the collision location rather was also approaching that point at another heading, so in my view they would have seen the starboard front quarter of the departing helicopter. The figure below, from the Aviation Safety Digest 142 article on mid-air accidents, while not replicating the relative headings of this accident, illustrated how the view of the other aircraft can be partly side on yet remain relatively stationary.



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Old 9th Jan 2023, 05:12
  #327 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by bob_bowne
Regulator Systemic Failure.

This airspace between Brisbane and Gold Coast Covers two airfields YHEC and YSPT and many Helicopter pads, the busiest being YSWD YGHT, YCAX and YXHG but YSPT also has considerable Helicopter operations associated with its maintenance facility, The air space is simply Class G with a CTAF frequency assigned to some of the landing areas, there is no promulgated Danger Area (eg: Archerfield training area) or Broadcast Zone (eg: Redcliff) or Mandatory Broadcast Zone (eg: Ballina).

This gap now seems brutally obvious. This small area between two Primary Airports often has intense bursts of aviation activity!

Regulators have been asleep or worse and this is a contributing factor to this accident. The ATSB have a lot of video, the new helicopters were wired up with tourist cameras and weeks of CTAF audio are in their hands, they already have a good idea of the procedural and human performance issues that contributed to this accident but I hope that they look long and hard at the relevant regulatory authorities and how inaction or even negligence has contributed to the accident.
Bob, you're trying to hide your lack of knowledge behind various airport and helipad abbreviations and aviation terms. In your previous comment, which thankfully was removed by the moderators, you have claimed that there were no published frequency for these helipads. To say you were wrong would be an understatement

You also claimed that you have never heard any departing radio calls from the helicopters lifting. In reality those were made every time a helicopter departed from both Seaworld and Marina Mirage. Your comment once again speaks more about you and your airmanship than it does of anyone else

If you think that a red line around this area with 'D' followed by a number somehow would have changed the outcome of this tragedy, I have a bridge to sell to you

There is a common frequency that everyone who flies above south Stradbroke Island, Sea World, The Gold Coast & The hinterlands uses. It's 119.00 (and additionally it may also be prudent to have 119.50 - Brisbane Centre on the second com)

Following your logic, the common frequency 126.7 for many airports Australia wide would have mid-air collisions every day

In normal times I would not have given you a second of my time. In these times, where the media is looking for the next story - uneducated comments like yours, must be rooted out

When either not knowing or bothering to look for a frequency on a VTC, after missing a radio call that gets made hundreds of time a day everyday, after suggesting some red line around a map you haven't bothered to look at or ignored would have made a difference, I just want to say that maybe it's good that you keep coming back to this thread, as perhaps out of everyone here; you might have the most to learn from this accident

Last edited by nikoel; 9th Jan 2023 at 07:58.
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Old 9th Jan 2023, 05:39
  #328 (permalink)  
 
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I understand, however the departing chopper is tracking directly away from its helipad more or less to impact. The arriving helo would have to be at the point of impact for the departing helo to be still in line with the helipad from his point of view. In that case, the climbing helo would be nose on. The geometry of the videos doesn't work for me. You extrapolate the dotted bearing lines in the above back and as per the diagrams, they don't go back to the same place.
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Old 9th Jan 2023, 12:42
  #329 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Traffic_Is_Er_Was
I understand, however the departing chopper is tracking directly away from its helipad more or less to impact. The arriving helo would have to be at the point of impact for the departing helo to be still in line with the helipad from his point of view. In that case, the climbing helo would be nose on. The geometry of the videos doesn't work for me. You extrapolate the dotted bearing lines in the above back and as per the diagrams, they don't go back to the same place.
You make a good point that -XKQ remains roughly in line with its departure pad as seen in video from -XH9 so should appear head on to it. I tried to estimate the flightpaths from the various videos and photos, short of using some sort of triangulation. I didn't succeed. Below is what was shown in the media and my own attempts before conceding I should await the ATSB report:


Roughly estimated paths from one perspective (unsure which pad was planned to be used by -XH9:

and estimated from another perspective:

and then an attempt to estimate path from directly above:


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Old 9th Jan 2023, 12:42
  #330 (permalink)  
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Its the why that will be the focus of the investigation particularly why a helipad with a white cross on it was being used.
I don't believe that there is a cross on helipad (Northern most helipad) from which the helicopter departed.
There is a cross on the helipad immediately to the South.
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Old 9th Jan 2023, 13:20
  #331 (permalink)  
 
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The clip I linked to in post 319 sadly shows the impact. This will better inform those debating dotted lines etc.
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Old 9th Jan 2023, 15:28
  #332 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by 601
I don't believe that there is a cross on helipad (Northern most helipad) from which the helicopter departed.
There is a cross on the helipad immediately to the South.
Maybe. Maybe in explaining how complacency can kill (ie, by assuming that the future will be like the past).

I trust you are not suggesting that departing from a piece of ground marked with an “X” absolves other aircraft from their duty to look & avoid.

As far as I understand the ICAO guidelines, the “X” across a helipad signals to third parties that they can’t land there and then blame the operator of the non-helipad when things are not as expected on the ground.

Nothing should preclude the site owner, or his agents, from operating from such site, at pilot’s discretion, like from any router unimproved site.
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Old 9th Jan 2023, 15:38
  #333 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by cooperplace
Interesting that the ATSB say it will take 18 months for a report but it seems they were pretty quick to hand footage to the media, footage they weren't authorised to pass on. It seems disappointing, correct me if I'm wrong.
I would wish that all footage, as it becomes available, should be made public.

I think this would be in the public interest and would accelerate the learnings from such incident for the rest of us. And I can’t see how such disclosure would negatively affect the integrity of the investigation.

Certainly the investigators should not delay the release of such information for any other reason than to obtain unbiased witness reports. Once this is done, the answer information should be made public.
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Old 9th Jan 2023, 16:21
  #334 (permalink)  
 
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before conceding I should await the ATSB report:
- Smartest thing that has been said.
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Old 9th Jan 2023, 16:27
  #335 (permalink)  
 
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As far as I understand the ICAO guidelines, the “X” across a helipad signals to third parties that they can’t land there
That helipad with the X on it was the old hangar pad when Seaworld Aviation had the Longrangers. There were/are helipads on tracks that would slide in and out of the hangar. Was easy back when they had 206Ls. Dont think they use it anymore since PHS took over the operation and use the AS350/EC130s - prob why they put an X on it. Also in the old days a lot of the TV station machines would drop in and say hi and land on that pad, presume thats why it now has an X on it because totally different operation running things and they have all the four new pads.

The other pad that the accident aircraft took off from is right beside the ticket booth so lot of machines come and go from that pad. Its an ease of convenience for those inside the park who have bought tickets, buy ticket - walk 20ft to the helicopter and take off rather than having to go outside the park and then over to the new facility.
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Old 9th Jan 2023, 20:57
  #336 (permalink)  
 
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Can I ask what you think you would learn from public disclosure of the footage possibly held by the ATSB at this point? While you might believe that you have a grasp of the proximate cause, do you have all the information concerning the operation, supervisory factors, preconditions and latent organisational issues? How about the regulatory environment? Believe me, those are the areas the ATSB will be investigating and until that is done, all evidence they receive or collect is confidential and protected - by law. If a state accident investigator loses the trust of the aviation community, their already difficult job would be considerably harder. Would you have them release a CVR ahead of publication? What if they did and you were a crew member, would you be happy with that?

Diligent professionals will undoubtedly reach their own conclusions based on what is already available in the media, and reflect on how they conduct their business accordingly, as they rightly should. Once the ATSB publish their final report, they may conclude that Safety Recommendations are required based on their findings. At that point, the full picture will emerge for industry to reflect on, adapt and hopefully, prevent a similar event from occurring again.
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Old 9th Jan 2023, 21:08
  #337 (permalink)  
 
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The other pad that the accident aircraft took off from is right beside the ticket booth so lot of machines come and go from that pad. Its an ease of convenience for those inside the park who have bought tickets, buy ticket - walk 20ft to the helicopter and take off rather than having to go outside the park and then over to the new facility.
That is a significant statement and a line of investigation that the ATSB will be following. Words like "ease of convenience" and "buy ticket - walk 20ft to the helicopter" all imply a commercial imperative ahead of the safe operation of the helicopter. What were the risk mitigators for operating from two sites? Did the Ops manual cover this? Were the pilots briefed on this? Were any non-operational staff involved in the decision to operate from that helipad? When was the decision made to operate from that helipad? What was the CP's role and was he under commercial pressure?

This investigation will be taking a good look at the organisational aspects of the accident and as a consequence it will not be finalised anything shorter than 18 months. The investigator in charge of this will not be working fulltime on this until completion. While they are obtaining the evidence for this they will probably have another five investigations they are responsible for.
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Old 9th Jan 2023, 21:49
  #338 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Ennio
The clip I linked to in post 319 sadly shows the impact. This will better inform those debating dotted lines etc.
I'm not debating the impact. I've seen all that before. I'm debating the suggestion that something identified in the video filmed from inside one of the helos prior to impact is the other helo. Nothing in that linked clip informs me otherwise.
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Old 9th Jan 2023, 21:58
  #339 (permalink)  
 
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That second video still in helispotter's #329. That shows the white object that appears to be in front of what has been suggested is the departing helicopter in the enhanced videos. It's the large white marquee/shed, in front of and to the left of the shadow of the tree with the large white limbs.
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Old 9th Jan 2023, 22:00
  #340 (permalink)  
 
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As mentioned by Traffic_Is_Er-Was in post 324, I also think the black "shape" could be just shadow under a tree and the white "stripe" is a low wall painted white but time will tell.
As regards the pilot of the landing helicopter not looking left for traffic, is it possible he thought the departing heli took off from the same location in front of him with four helipads where he was going to land and the departing heli would be in front, moving to his right, to pass on his right side, separation would be increasing and it would not be a factor for his own landing?
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