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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 2nd Jan 2023, 14:41
  #41 (permalink)  
 
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It is always sad news when such a tragedy occurs especially when some of. those lost are known to you.

Also as always, the questions shall be asked to explain how this collision occurred and why the two pilots did not see the other aircraft in time to take evasive action to avoid the collision.

The un-official Rotorheads Accident Investigation process shall ask some relevant questions among a host of non-relevant questions and comments with the chore of focusing upon the relevant being made difficult as a result.

Recent discussion about a Sightseeing EC-130 crash discussed the "Pilot on the Left" thing in much detail and should not be an issue here except for where it bears upon the departing aircraft's Pilot being able to see to his right and his view not be blocked for some reason.

If the landing pilot was seated on the left then he should have had a clear view of the departing aircraft but apparently did not see that aircraft as it departed.

Local procedures and operating SOP's are going to be a key point in this investigation I would think.

Were the two aircraft on a common frequency and making position reports and declaring their intentions.....did the departing aircraft make a call....did the airborne aircraft make a call?

Is there a common traffic pattern used by the sight seeing aircraft so routings of all aircraft would be done so as to minimize conflicts?

One thing I noticed re the Rescue services....they seemed to be very well equipped to move the wreckage to access the victims.

This is a sad time for our friends in Oz today as they deal with this tragedy and we should consider our posts so we do not add to their hurt as we discuss this accident.

As always we should strive to learn from tragedy so they might be prevented in the future.....which requires they be analyzed to determine what happened and why so we can obtain a "Lessons Learned" and make use of them.
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Old 2nd Jan 2023, 17:39
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Originally Posted by Uplinker
Can TCAS or similar be fitted to helicopters, and if so, would the system work in an aircraft on the ground?
While TCAS can be found in some helicopters they have been using a traffic alert system (TAS) in helicopters for years in various areas. After a number of mid-airs in the GOM they installed TAS systems in most helicopters 20+ years ago. It worked provided the other aircraft had their transponder on.
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Old 2nd Jan 2023, 18:09
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Ah, OK. Wondering about it not so much for RA s but more as a "what's around me" display; to double or triple check before lifting off. A sort of third eye to assist pilots of such operations where arrival and departure routes might be fluid and not necessarily closely defined.
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Old 2nd Jan 2023, 18:33
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Originally Posted by Uplinker
"what's around me" display; to double or triple check before lifting off.
That's exactly what it was. Here's an example of a typical display for a Skywatch system.
https://www.seaerospace.com/document...skywatchpg.pdf


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Old 2nd Jan 2023, 19:37
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Originally Posted by wrench1
While TCAS can be found in some helicopters they have been using a traffic alert system (TAS) in helicopters for years in various areas. After a number of mid-airs in the GOM they installed TAS systems in most helicopters 20+ years ago. It worked provided the other aircraft had their transponder on.
Is there ever a good reason why you wouldn’t have your transponder on? Flying in uncontrolled airspace and non-TMZs is always a good reminder to keep your scan up! Still lots of everyday stealth flying by numpties.

Nasty accident. Do they fly agreed patterns with app/dep sectors?
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Old 2nd Jan 2023, 20:05
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What was the purpose of the landing on the sandbar, does anyone know? Is it staging waiting for a pad to clear for landing or similar, or just a part of the experience.

My deepest condolences to all involved, a very tragic start to the new year.
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Old 2nd Jan 2023, 20:16
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Originally Posted by Evil Twin
What was the purpose of the landing on the sandbar, does anyone know? Is it staging waiting for a pad to clear for landing or similar, or just a part of the experience.

My deepest condolences to all involved, a very tragic start to the new year.
If you look at the Channel 9 footage (#35) it doesn't look like the sandbar was the take off zone. They collided above the sandbar and then crash landed on it.
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Old 2nd Jan 2023, 20:22
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Originally Posted by Evil Twin
What was the purpose of the landing on the sandbar, does anyone know? Is it staging waiting for a pad to clear for landing or similar, or just a part of the experience.
Nobody landed on the sandbar.. they crashed onto the sandbar. You can see them flying over it shortly after takeoff in the videos above after departing from the designated helipad. Had they not crashed onto the sandbar, it wound have been a terrible outcome by comparison.
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Old 2nd Jan 2023, 20:24
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Originally Posted by wrench1
While TCAS can be found in some helicopters they have been using a traffic alert system (TAS) in helicopters for years in various areas. After a number of mid-airs in the GOM they installed TAS systems in most helicopters 20+ years ago. It worked provided the other aircraft had their transponder on.
Sad day to all of those families involved.
Here in the US with the ADS-B OUT mandate, operators have the option to add ADS-B IN, which might have helped with SA of the two aircraft, TCAS, TAS (which has very limited coverage here in the US) and ADS-B all share the issue that the two aircraft transponders must be able to either see the ground station (TAS, ADS-B IN) or each other (TCAS or ADS-B IN). It was not mandated for both lower and upper (diversity antennas, just the lower antenna.
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Old 2nd Jan 2023, 20:29
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I feel like FLARM with audible alerts would have been best in this situation, unless there’s a TCAS/ADSB solution with audible alerts that get more aggressive as you get closer as they were operating in very close proximity and would have known that the other was there to at least some extent. I doubt they would be head down watching a tiny screen like the one posted above of it was fitted.
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Old 2nd Jan 2023, 20:44
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Originally Posted by Evil Twin
What was the purpose of the landing on the sandbar, does anyone know?...
ET, I see artee already responded, but I assume you also read the report that "A woman said she saw one of the aircraft lift off from a sandbar opposite Sea World and smash into the underside of the other", hence your question. That account may simply have been the impression she had looking from the other side of the Broadwater? The footage shows what must have been VH-XKQ lifting off from the northern most helipad at the Sea World site.

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Old 2nd Jan 2023, 21:03
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Originally Posted by mnttech
Sad day to all of those families involved. all share the issue that the two aircraft transponders must be able to either see the ground station (TAS, ADS-B IN)
Don't know if this is the correct venue to discuss the technical side, but TAS needs no ground station as it is standalone and can read xspndr signals directly with the onboard unit. Perhaps you are thinking of TIS which does require a ground connection function and is currently limited to select areas. With TAS all the aircraft discussed here would have been shown on the indicator in real time with the appropriate equipment installed. A most unfortunate accident.
Originally Posted by Torquetalk
Is there ever a good reason why you wouldn’t have your transponder on?
There are still many areas here where aircraft can fly without transponders which makes TAS and other similar devices not a 100% foolproof solution.

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Old 2nd Jan 2023, 21:10
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How does Seaworld manage to run up to 100 flights per day, carrying up to 700 passengers using a nod and a wink for ATC?
Questions are being asked about policies and procedures, or rather lack of them that may form the basis for what happened.
The cause is much deeper than the flying skills of both pilots.
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Old 2nd Jan 2023, 21:29
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As I mentioned earlier, procedures (RT and flight paths) and lookout (or lack of it) are the key issues here. Places can have very busy VFR traffic safely operating but it requires discipline and awareness.

It only needs one person to cuff it or go off-piste and you have a problem.
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Old 2nd Jan 2023, 21:32
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Originally Posted by flopzone
How does Seaworld manage to run up to 100 flights per day, carrying up to 700 passengers using a nod and a wink for ATC?
Questions are being asked about policies and procedures, or rather lack of them that may form the basis for what happened.
The cause is much deeper than the flying skills of both pilots.
I think this is the crux of the matter, sadly....
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Old 2nd Jan 2023, 22:09
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I draw your attention to CASA AC 91

Operations in the vicinity of non-controlled aerodromes


and

https://www.casa.gov.au/operations-s...olled-airspace

Condolences to all affected.
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Old 2nd Jan 2023, 22:19
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Originally Posted by [email protected]
As I mentioned earlier, procedures (RT and flight paths) and lookout (or lack of it) are the key issues here. Places can have very busy VFR traffic safely operating but it requires discipline and awareness.

It only needs one person to cuff it or go off-piste and you have a problem.

The ATSB thanks you for your thorough and complete accident investigation.

You may be correct or, perhaps you don't have all the facts and there are other factors that were key in facilitating such a horrible accident.
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Old 2nd Jan 2023, 22:23
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Many years back, I took a scenic flight in the former Sea World Long Ranger, VH-UTL as a helicopter enthusiast as much as anything. For others who are unfamiliar with the Sea World site, their original helipad was accessed from within the theme park itself and was built on pylons over the water. That is the one that video shows was used by the departing EC 130B4 which was most likely VH-XKQ. A short distance south of that pad was their hangar facility which could accommodate three helicopters each on its own dolly that could be rolled out to a further helipad on pylons and also over the water (see Helicopters Australasia Jan/Feb 1999 issue). I am not sure if this is still used to hangar helicopters. Further south again, and effectively outside the 'theme park' boundary is a newer facility with four landing pads and newer hangar(s). Google Maps satellite view doesn't show that facility yet, rather only a single helipad earlier on. See attached screen shots stitched together from one of the videos in a link I provided earlier.

Going by the apparent flight paths in the video footage, my feeling is that VH-XH9 may have been approaching one of the helipads of the newer facility while VH-XKQ crossed its path on its departure. In the screen shots, it is as if the older helipads might be marked "X" rather than the usual "H". I recently came across an emergency helipad elsewhere in Australia where the original "H" marking was overpainted with "X" suggesting it was no longer in use. Was it perhaps intended for a period that those earlier Sea World pads were no longer intended to be used?
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Old 2nd Jan 2023, 23:18
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If you look t the video that the member of the public shot through the fence the EC130 that was taking off took off from the old pad closest to the ticket booth, the one closest to the admin building and the inbound 130 was approaching in a left hand turn for one of the pads in front of the hangar
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Old 2nd Jan 2023, 23:21
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TCAS --- in this environment, it would be calling TRAFFIC TRAFFIC every couple of minutes, which would drive you nuts, likewise but less so, departure calls, but that's the job, and handled well in places like Vagas where in the old days 7 or 8 helicopters depart at the same time, for Grand Canyon tours and the like, and is probably happening again.
Surviving pilot ---- what an amazing job that person did given the circumstances, and the damage, to get that aircraft down safely, many pilots have crashed under less strenuous conditions
ATSB --- I don't know the age of the EC130's but don't they all have in cockpit video camera?
Lets not forget we are all human; a monentary lapse; looking in to the sun, a distraction from a passanger, "Hey my doors open" "Hey I'm going to puke" "Hey I left my camera on the helicopters step" "My phone just fell under your controls"

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