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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 10th Jan 2023, 21:40
  #361 (permalink)  
 
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I think a lot of people look back at the old BASI reports with rose tinted glasses. The expectations of what is covered in a report is a lot higher than it used to be. This report will be expected to cover the HF of the helicopters, a look at the Ops Manual, CASA involvement, pilot histories, Sea World operations etc etc. If it doesn't then a lot of commentators will say the ATSB hasn't done its job. As an example of what reports used to look like this is the entire report for a CFIT of an Aero Commander in 1989:

Occurrence Number: 198900022 Occurrence Type: Accident
Location: Mt Barren Jack (30km SW of Yass) NSW
Date: 18 November 1989 Time: 1241
Highest Injury Level: Fatal
Injuries:
Fatal Serious Minor None
Crew 2 0 0 0
Ground 0 0 0 -
Passenger 0 0 0 0
Total 2 0 0 0
Aircraft Details: Aero Commander 500U
Registration: VH-BMR
Serial Number: 1754
Operation Type: Aerial work
Damage Level: Destroyed
Departure Point: Canberra ACT
Departure Time: 1215
Destination: Dalby Qld
Approved for Release: 16th August 1990
Circumstances:
When the survey aircraft failed to arrive at the destination, and on expiry of the SAR time, a search was
commenced. Wreckage of the aircraft was subsequently found on the eastern slope of Mt Barren Jack, to the north
west of the mouth of Carrolls Creek, and on the planned track for the survey operation. Observers at the Burrinjuck
reservoir near the mouth of Carrolls Creek described the weather in the accident area at the time as black clouds
spilling over and obscuring the mountain tops. The aircraft collided with trees on the side of the mountain, while
banked steeply to the right and in a tail low attitude. The pilot was thrown from the aircraft during the impact
sequence. Medical opinion held that there was no evidence of body trauma consistent with the seat belt being
fastened at the time of impact. Because of the destruction of the aircraft by the ensuing fire the status of the seat belt
assemblies were unable to be determined. The investigation revealed that both engines were operating at high power
at the time of impact. No malfunction or defect could be found with the aircraft which could have contributed to the
accident. The survey task required the pilot to adhere strictly to a particular track and the target height for the flight
was 500 feet above ground level while maintaining visual contact with the ground at all times. The pilot was
suitably qualified to act as pilot in command of survey operations down to a height of 200 feet above ground level.
The investigation concluded that the aircraft was being operated at a height substantially lower that 500 feet above
ground level prior to the accident. Impact marks, wreckage and mechanical evidence suggest that the aircraft
impacted terrain at a time when the pilot was attempting to carry out an evasive manoeuvre to remain clear of
terrain. The reason why the aircraft was being operated at such a height and why the pilot delayed turning away
from the steeply rising terrain could not be determined.
Significant Factors:
1. The pilot continued the flight into adverse weather conditions.
4
Aviation Safety Investigation Report
198900022
____________________________________________________________ _________________________________
2. The pilot flew the aircraft towards steeply rising terrain at a height substantially lower that 500 feet above ground
level.

Is that what you want?
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Old 10th Jan 2023, 21:59
  #362 (permalink)  
 
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All this talk of blindspots seems to avoid the issue the pilot never turns his head apart from to the right. The guy that spotted it was not even on that side of the cockpit.
slf here so what would I know...
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Old 10th Jan 2023, 22:51
  #363 (permalink)  
 
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On a tangent, remember the unfortunate 1985 HeliJet reef pontoon accident in which rotors of a pair of helicopters (VH-HIL, a Bell 206L and VH-HIA, a Bell 222) tangled resulting in loss of life of one passenger and serious injury for two others:
COMPLETE tanget - has absolutely NOTHING in common with this accident. Not sure why its even bought up.

And also not sure why you even throw Scott Menzies operation into your diagrams - not like they had any involvement in the accident !!!!
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Old 10th Jan 2023, 23:00
  #364 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by KiwiNedNZ
.
I am at a loss to understand how it all turned to custard this time.... Unfortunately all the holes in the swiss cheese lined up that day.
In the broad sense, you have answered the question, there are holes in the swiss cheese.

4000 flights a week (ABC report) whilst not an issue in and of itself, results in a high tempo of cheese slice shuffling...

Mjb
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Old 10th Jan 2023, 23:35
  #365 (permalink)  
 
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4000 takeoffs and landings? So that would be 2000 flights a week then. Not exactly crazy numbers for a major tourism hub. Imagine if they saw Oshkosh. Oh, the humanity!

'With the activity they have had and the amount of take-offs and landings, the flying in every weather and the multiple [flights] into relatively confined areas, we were just worried if they had an accident it could land on boats or restaurants," resident Don Espey said.

So VFR Tourism flights are operating in fog and heavy rain now? Pontoon helipads are not confined areas.

The frequency of joy ride chopper trips in the area led Mr Espey to create a group called the Coalition Against Environmental Pollution.

So all those boats on the water burning diesel is fine. Are they tracking powered boat movements per week?

Last edited by zzodr; 10th Jan 2023 at 23:50.
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Old 11th Jan 2023, 02:55
  #366 (permalink)  
 
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That Espey is an A Hole - and has been for ages - tried to get GC Helitours shut down.
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Old 11th Jan 2023, 05:57
  #367 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by KiwiNedNZ
... They operate from the ticket booth pad every day - its NOTHING NEW.
Actually it's a little bit new, The northern "in park" pad was deactivated in 2019 when the new 4 pad area in the carpark was opened hence the "X in google maps.
It was reopened in march last year to allow visitors to take flights without leaving the park again.

As noted the flights predominately took off to the south and approached from the west / north west.
In the AS350s and other Right seat types that allowed good visibility for the departing aircraft from the northern pad to sight approaching aircraft and avoid them.
With the newer EC130 as Left seat only types that caused more problems with visibility, when operating form the 4 pad area that's not an issue, you are coming and going from the same area, easier to see and avoid.
In theory the more limited visibility should be mitigated by the approaching aircraft having better visibility on the left but as can be seen in the video in this case it seems that while the approaching pilot did briefly look slightly down and to the left he didn't sight the aircraft that was departing, seemingly behind his A pillar.

Also for those debating whether you can see the departing helicopter in the cockpit video I think that shows the difficulty the approaching pilot would have had spotting a dark helicopter against the shadowed area behind it.
What can be seen clearly in that video is the shadow of the departing helicopter over the northern pad as it moves off the pad.

You can also see the approaching pilot talking, presumably making a call, just after he looks down and to the left.
My speculation is he is attempting to confirm the location of the departing aircraft after hearing a departing call and not being able to sight the aircraft where he expected it.

So to me the hey holes in the cheese are
1. Reactivation of the northern pad
2. New LH seat aircraft with less visibility to the right
Especially if procedures weren't updated to allow for 1 and 2
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Old 11th Jan 2023, 21:02
  #368 (permalink)  
 
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Let’s see 4000 flights a week, that’s an average of 571 flights a day, say 12 hours of daylight gives us 48 flights an hour.

Is there really that many flights in that area?

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Old 11th Jan 2023, 21:40
  #369 (permalink)  
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[
Originally Posted by Traffic_Is_Er_Was
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.
Originally Posted by 212man
I have to say, I’m struggling a bit and not convinced too.
I agree that in the original released version of the in cockpit video with the channel seven watermark it is unclear at best.
There is a version of that video that was included in a Channel 9 report without the watermark where the departing helo is more clearly visible.

I can't post links but search Youtube for "channel 9 seaworld helicopter crash" and check the "Moment of Impact" report you can definitely see the blade flicker from the main rotor.
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Old 11th Jan 2023, 22:54
  #370 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Stationair8
Let’s see 4000 flights a week, that’s an average of 571 flights a day, say 12 hours of daylight gives us 48 flights an hour.

Is there really that many flights in that area?
Old man buys Gold Coast high rise unit next to heliport. Old man is too old to do that surf and bikini thing. Old man yells at helicopters……
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Old 12th Jan 2023, 00:50
  #371 (permalink)  
 
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Actually it's a little bit new, The northern "in park" pad was deactivated in 2019 when the new 4 pad area in the carpark was opened hence the "X in google maps.
The ticket booth pad is not the one with the X on it but the one further away from the new pads. The one with the X on it is the old hangar pad where they used to land and get rolled inside.
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Old 12th Jan 2023, 01:08
  #372 (permalink)  
 
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The ABC News report here comments:




Don Espey said he tracked up to 4,000 helicopter movements per week over Broadwater in 2018.(ABC Gold Coast: Kirsten Webster)

A group of residents opposed to the joy flight noise at the Gold Coast Broadwater said they tracked up to 4,000 helicopter take-offs and landings per week prior to the pandemic.

"'With the activity they have had and the amount of take-offs and landings, the flying in every weather and the multiple [flights] into relatively confined areas, we were just worried if they had an accident it could land on boats or restaurants," resident Don Espey said.

Main Beach resident Susan Donovan said the activity before the pandemic impacted the Gold Coast tourist market.

"There were five-minute joy rides and many, many helicopters simultaneously taking off and landing — it really was an accident waiting to happen," she said.

Mr Hansford has called for an immediate review into joy flights at the location.

"It is not an ideal situation, other than from a marketing and commercial point of view, to put them next to a theme park and next to major hotels," he said.

----snip----

The frequency of joy ride chopper trips in the area led Mr Espey to create a group called the Coalition Against Environmental Pollution.

"This sort of a tragedy sort of focuses people on why are they there — how is it being controlled or not being controlled?" he said.

"I would like to see the relocation of a joy flight operation out of a hospitality, residential and recreational area."

Mr Hansford said the council and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) had questions to answer about the amount of oversight of two helicopter operators in unregulated and uncontrolled airspace.

"There has got to be a real focus on the Gold Coast Council's role in regulating the development approvals and CASA Queensland when there is one operation that doesn't have development approvals," he said.

"Its not an environment which should have been accepted by CASA.

A spokesperson for CASA said air transport operators were "required to have operations manuals and procedures which are approved by CASA".

"As the matter is under investigation it would be inappropriate for us to comment further," the spokesperson said.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigation into the cause of the tragedy is expected to take several years to conclude.

British couple Diane and Ron Hughes, Sydney mother Vanessa Tadros, and chief pilot Ashley Jenkinson were killed in the mid-air crash last Monday.

Several others were left severely injured.
One serial complainer Don Espey said he tracked up to 4,000 helicopter movements per week over Broadwater in 2018, ie 2,000 takeoffs/2,000 landings. Approximately 36 movements an hour based on a 10 hour day/7 day week for all Broadwater operators, not just Sea World.

But he does have an agenda, and the 4 year old figures wouldn't have a hope of being verified: especially by the ABC.
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Old 12th Jan 2023, 01:12
  #373 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Avv
[

I agree that in the original released version of the in cockpit video with the channel seven watermark it is unclear at best.
There is a version of that video that was included in a Channel 9 report without the watermark where the departing helo is more clearly visible.

I can't post links but search Youtube for "channel 9 seaworld helicopter crash" and check the "Moment of Impact" report you can definitely see the blade flicker from the main rotor.
I've had another look at the various videos and tried to reconcile the timings. From the through the fence departure video, it's about 12-13 seconds from just after XKQ's lift off from the pad, to impact. From the onboard video, it's about 12-13 seconds from when XKQ is first said to be visible until the time of impact. So XKQ should be small and close to the pad when first observed, not quite large and seemingly quite close as that dark (admittedly helicopter shaped) object appears to be. So it should be there somewhere.
If you use the CH9 video, pause and then step back/forward using the fullstop and comma keys, you can see XKQ. It's a small object within that larger darker area, and the attitude of the aircraft seems correct. Nose down with a heading that matches the departure video, and rotor flicker in the right place.

With thanks (apologies?) to Ivor_Biggun and helispotter for borrowing their work:

This is not XHQ as portrayed in the media


This is XKQ, departing from the pad, coming out of the shadows of the dark area

Last edited by Traffic_Is_Er_Was; 12th Jan 2023 at 01:23.
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Old 12th Jan 2023, 01:47
  #374 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by KiwiNedNZ
The ticket booth pad is not the one with the X on it but the one further away from the new pads. The one with the X on it is the old hangar pad where they used to land and get rolled inside.
That's correct now however the ticket booth pad AND the old hangar pad had an X between 2019 and March last year before the ticket booth pad was reactivated.
You can see the X in some of the older photos such as the first image in post 307 and read about the reactivation with a timelapse of the refurbishment on the seaworld helicopters facebook page.
That's why some people are asking why they took off from a pad with an X due to referencing those older photos.
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Old 12th Jan 2023, 02:15
  #375 (permalink)  
 
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"I would like to see the relocation of a joy flight operation out of a hospitality, residential and recreational area."
A-Hole Espey needs to realise Seaworld Aviation has been operating out of Seaworld longggggg before he ever moved there. Just another one of those A-Holes who move somewhere and then complain about the noise even though it was there decades before he every arrived. Farqing Tool.
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Old 12th Jan 2023, 06:41
  #376 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by KiwiNedNZ
A-Hole Espey needs to realise Seaworld Aviation has been operating out of Seaworld longggggg before he ever moved there. Just another one of those A-Holes who move somewhere and then complain about the noise even though it was there decades before he every arrived. Farqing Tool.
He's off the Christmas calendar list, presumably?!
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Old 12th Jan 2023, 07:47
  #377 (permalink)  
 
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See it now? Parallel to the shore, shadow on the water and the tail is behind the pillar.
Steve.
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Old 12th Jan 2023, 10:27
  #378 (permalink)  
 
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4000 flights per week?
I spent 2 weeks near the Broadwater in the lead up to Christmas. I saw a helo go past every 5 mins or so. That doesn’t add up to 4000 a week.
The noise was barely noticeable. Just blended in with all the aircraft going past, trucks and cars. Police, Ambulances and the Fire Brigade. Boats, jet skis and the occasional F18!
Loved it.
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Old 12th Jan 2023, 10:53
  #379 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by KiwiNedNZ
COMPLETE tanget - has absolutely NOTHING in common with this accident. Not sure why its even bought up.

And also not sure why you even throw Scott Menzies operation into your diagrams - not like they had any involvement in the accident !!!!
KiwiNedNZ, not sure why you are so grumpy sounding over several of us other posters? Lookleft has already copped some of your wrath, but in your replies you have missed some of the more subtle observations made by several other posters, not only Lookleft. I will let you look back over past posts and see if you can work out those subtle things.

I did say the Reef Pontoon accident in 1985 was a tangent, but hardly a “COMPLETE tangent”. After all, I can think of only a small number of Australian helicopter accidents that involved fatalities of passengers involved in short joyflight type operations. Of those, this is the only one that I can recall that also involved the ‘collision’ of two helicopters also conducting such operations in Oz, realising in this case it was between a stationary helicopter and one landing, but because the rotor brake on the 222 was inadvertently not locked. I thought about this one because the various posts discussing the concurrent ops between separate pads. There are probably no regulations (happy to be corrected) about how close helipads are allowed to be to one another aside from when they become VERY close together as in the reef pontoon case, part of the reason I listed the link. But perhaps my main motivation for the tangent was simply to let younger helicopter pilots know of this case, which was now over 37 years ago. Many in the industry now were not even born when it happened.

I included Helitours pads in my discussion of separations to highlight it isn't only a case of considering the placement of Sea World pads when considering this accident, but the collective of operations in the area as they all share the same airspace. In an earlier post I also mentioned other past operators in the area, even closer to the Sea World site. So the potential of conflicting traffic on approach and departure isn't anything new since the newer of the Sea World pads were completed. I would be surprised if ATSB only considers the Sea World operation in isolation when investigating the accident. ATSB might like to understand the SOPs of all operators when gathering info. I would be stunned if Helitours isn’t as interested in learning from this accident as Sea World are.

PS: Another tangent: The four newer Sea World pads look to have generous separation. Low risk of rotors tangling on the ground. But more interesting is that the ‘back’ half of those pads has been marked with prominent red hatching. This is presumably a reminder for crew, but more importantly a warning for passengers not to walk towards the back of the helicopter. Good move. I can’t say I have seen this marking on other helipads, though hospital helipads and those on oil rigs now tend to mark the preferred exit route from the pad.
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Old 12th Jan 2023, 12:01
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Originally Posted by Traffic_Is_Er_Was
I've had another look at the various videos and tried to reconcile the timings. From the through the fence departure video, it's about 12-13 seconds from just after XKQ's lift off from the pad, to impact. From the onboard video, it's about 12-13 seconds from when XKQ is first said to be visible until the time of impact. So XKQ should be small and close to the pad when first observed, not quite large and seemingly quite close as that dark (admittedly helicopter shaped) object appears to be. So it should be there somewhere.
If you use the CH9 video, pause and then step back/forward using the fullstop and comma keys, you can see XKQ. It's a small object within that larger darker area, and the attitude of the aircraft seems correct. Nose down with a heading that matches the departure video, and rotor flicker in the right place…

…This is XKQ, departing from the pad, coming out of the shadows of the dark area
Traffic_Is_Er_Was, Avv and others: I am with you now. Thanks. I will update post #313 to reference yours. Sorry to have been slow on the uptake regarding your various comments re tree branches, shadow of tree etc. Good cross referencing of timings in video, and spotting of shadow over pad and water etc. At start of video of departure (#14 by Skillsy), helicopter shadow is also briefly seen over pad in same general location. Flicker of rotor seems more apparent on starboard side in on-board footage released by Channel 9 (link in my post #313) , possibly as more light reflecting off retreating blades due to their pitch relative to sun?? Bradleygolding (#377) I think you may be interpreting something slightly different again compared to Traffic_?

Update: I thought it would be worth adding a pair of screen shots here to illustrate what Traffic_Is_Er_Was has said, one from the ground video taken behind the departure pad, the other from onboard -XH9. These screen shots would both be within a second or so of one another and are when the shadow of the tail of -XKQ is still over the helipad (circled in green on in ground video). With -XKQ still quite close to the pad it certainly wouldn't have been as large as my initial interpretation in earlier post. Aspect of it as seen from -XH9 would also differ from the outline I was previously suggesting:








Last edited by helispotter; 19th Jan 2023 at 10:17.
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