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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 3rd Jan 2023, 06:40
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Two black machines and black rotors.
May have been hard to see against ground clutter for descending machine.
EC130 usually flown from RHS?
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Old 3rd Jan 2023, 06:53
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EC130 usually flown from RHS?
FFS - NO the EC130/H130 is NOT flown from the right hand side, they are all flown from the left hand side. Not sure how many more times people have to say it.
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Old 3rd Jan 2023, 06:55
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Having sat in choppers at Avalon Airshow many times doing the sightseeing joyflights, I've always been impressed with the tight control over the departing and arriving flight paths, which basically never cross. Both arriving and departing choppers, including other traffic, depart towards the south and arrive in the same direction. Admittedly they have the advantage of a dedicated ATC team at the apron but the traffic pattern rules ensure that a similar collision to this one is almost impossible to imagine.
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Old 3rd Jan 2023, 07:02
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Originally Posted by helispotter View Post
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.

I think you are correct in that I remember reading it in the multitude of material soon after the incident, hence my assumption that the departing aircraft lifted from the sandbar.

Cheers
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Old 3rd Jan 2023, 07:08
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Originally Posted by KiwiNedNZ View Post
FFS - NO the EC130/H130 is NOT flown from the right hand side, they are all flown from the left hand side. Not sure how many more times people have to say it.
Easy Tiger - just asking.
If thatís the case - then descending guy appears to have been very lucky.
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Old 3rd Jan 2023, 07:27
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They are black because they should be easier to see. The Royal Air Force learned that some time ago. Also the rotors are only partially black. They have alternating white patches, different on each blade, which should make them easier to see. I guess they just didnít.

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Old 3rd Jan 2023, 07:59
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I recently came way too close head-on to an AW139 and only knew it was there at first because ATC told me it was at my 12 o'clock. I didn't spot the white bits on top of the rotors until very late in the piece as we were at the same level.
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Old 3rd Jan 2023, 09:06
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Originally Posted by Squawk7700 View Post
I recently came way too close head-on to an AW139 and only knew it was there at first because ATC told me it was at my 12 o'clock. I didn't spot the white bits on top of the rotors until very late in the piece as we were at the same level.
Yep - dreadful crash and I suspect that when all is said and done visibility of one machine in peripheral vision against visual ground clutter will be a factor. Even for very experienced pilots. Awful.
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Old 3rd Jan 2023, 09:13
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Originally Posted by Squawk7700 View Post
I recently came way too close head-on to an AW139 and only knew it was there at first because ATC told me it was at my 12 o'clock. I didn't spot the white bits on top of the rotors until very late in the piece as we were at the same level.
Flying an EC chance? TCAS is standard in most 139s, but 135 & 145 transponder signals don’t seem to be reliably depicted on screen. If transponding, the 139 should see you several miles away otherwise.

After lifting the helicopter departing appears to transition forward and collide with the other helicopter in the climb. Are the app/dep pads longitudinally offset?

Last edited by Torquetalk; 3rd Jan 2023 at 09:28.
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Old 3rd Jan 2023, 09:31
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Originally Posted by Torquetalk View Post
Flying an EC chance? TCAS is standard in most 139s, but 135 & 145 transponder signals donít seem to be reliably depicted on screen. If transponding, the 139 should see you several miles away otherwise.

After lifting the helicopter departing appears to transition forward and collide with the other helicopter in the climb. Are the app/dep pads longitudinally offset?
Was fixed-wing with working certified ADSB-out.
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Old 3rd Jan 2023, 09:47
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The news outlets are saying that Police are not ruling out criminal charges. Seems a tad early for that level of discussion.
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Old 3rd Jan 2023, 09:56
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Typical media beat up - ask chief copper at press conference, "what about criminal charges", copper in standard bureaucratic fashion replies; " we haven't ruled anything out yet" QED criminal charges are possible.
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Old 3rd Jan 2023, 09:58
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An air accident investigation by the competent authority has to take place and the police should avoid making comments which could be misused by the press.
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Old 3rd Jan 2023, 10:08
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Rule nothing out...

The 'earliness' to which you refer is exactly the reason why. When reporters run out of things to report they fill space by telling you what is not happening. Pay no attention. Apart from being what NATO calls a BFO, this is akin to reporting police do not rule out continuing to assist, or the government cannot guarantee little green men will not land from Mars this afternoon.

PS: BFO = Blinding Flash of the Obvious
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Old 3rd Jan 2023, 10:26
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The last thing aviation safety needs is the criminalisation of accident investigation. Yes there are some countries where it happens, the Kiwis even tried it with the Dash8 at Palmeston North and they failed. State plod are totally out of their depth in aviation safety. The same could be said for their "ability" to manage the road safety area as well.

CC

Last edited by Checklist Charlie; 4th Jan 2023 at 12:02.
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Old 3rd Jan 2023, 10:35
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Originally Posted by ItsonlyMeagain View Post
They are black because they should be easier to see. The Royal Air Force learned that some time ago. Also the rotors are only partially black. They have alternating white patches, different on each blade, which should make them easier to see. I guess they just didnít.

Me
Generally the rotor colour only makes a difference in detectability when you are above or below the helicopter. We had one yellow blade on the RAF SAR Sea Kings but that was for added conspicuity against FW traffic who might overfly SAR scenes. The blade colour has next to no effect when viewing the disc side on.
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Old 3rd Jan 2023, 10:55
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I have been advised that this thread is being quoted in the press: I urge PPRuNers to use some discretion when speculating on this tragic event. SASless offered some good advice earlier and I support his comments.

We are free to speculate, that is not in question, but non-aviators and even non rotary members with limited knowledge of helicopter operations are asked not to offer inaccurate assessments of the circumstances leading to this crash.

Thanks,
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Old 3rd Jan 2023, 10:57
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As mentioned, this article quotes post 63 Two helicopters collide - Gold Coast, Queensland - Sea World 2/1/2023 where the contributor clearly lacked the basic knowledge, already discussed, that the pilots flew from the left on these helicopters. Now those who read the newspaper article will be guided to an incorrect view of a possible contribution to the accident, plus unfortunate speculation as to the professional conduct of the operation based on nothing other than observation from the ground by the PPRuNer.


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Old 3rd Jan 2023, 11:56
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I think the TCAS comments are a red herring. We get TCAS alerts all the time from ground or circuit aircraft. My guess is itís highly likely both aircraft knew the other was in close proximity.
Assuming the landing aircraft had TCAS and the departing one had a transponder on. If the landing aircraft expected the departing one to remain on the pad every landing would give a TCAS alert. This would render an alert in this situation ineffective.

My experience of TCAS is it is a good alert to get eyes out for an aircraft that is not known to be there however itís not suitable for separation in helicopter operations particularly close proximity.
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Old 3rd Jan 2023, 12:53
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Originally Posted by Maisk Rotum View Post
I'm on that part of the water frequently and see the process from sea level. It seems orderly and safe on any given day. Tragically what may have happened is a deadly cocktail of commercial pressure, complacency and long days of flying. Keep in mind this would have been one of the busiest days ever for this operation coming out of Covid and with a 100 % fleet increase. The challenge was to get through as many flights in a day. The descending helicopter would have had the departing one on the left and below it, thus obscured. The departing one likely would have been able to see the other one on his right and above, but with no 'relative motion' likely would not have been picked up in his peripheral vision. These guys do this dozens of times an hour so radio calls are likely to be perfunctory as all pilots expect they know what the others are doing. Throw in complacency from doing the job repetitively day in day out and it's a very tragic outcome.
Keeping in mind that speculation and conjecture on a forum named a 'Rumour Network' might be a given, it's important for me to correct this wild theory. In part so that a certain part of the Australian press, as clueless as they are, might not be tempted into writing more articles such as the one above. What makes me hopeful is that perhaps this comment, whilst highly uninformed comes from someone who sees things from 'the sea level'. However it's unfortunate and saddening that a publication decided to quote it after seeing so many better ones such as the one by @SASless

I used to work on the Gold Coast, for an other operator. I now run a helicopter company in an other city nearby and I still fly around Gold Coast on a daily/weekly basis

I can not speak of what has happened on the day. What I can say is that I have the upmost respect for every single one of the pilots at Sea World. They are a team of true professionals. I have never seen them fly complacently. Because there are two operators in close proximity, the radio calls are definitely not 'perfunctory'. I have never had a situation where one of the pilots failed to respond to any one of my radio calls. And I have made thousands of them. The pilot who has passed away, was a true professional, a gentleman and was looked up to by many - myself included. Whilst I have never flown for them, I can attest the operation is not the 'get-through-as-many-flights-in-a-day-type'. To start listing 'fatigue, complacency, distraction, commercial pressure' without knowing if any of these factors had anything to do with the event is wrong, no matter how many trips around the sun the OP of the comment has taken; or how many thousands of hours they have logged

I hope we can reflect how as industry professionals, (or community if you will, since many here are not pilots), we should respond to such an event. The Australian, who's Journalists should know better, has already started the public trial by publishing the article above

EDIT: Below someone alleges that they never heard any departing/lifting radio calls from the aircraft. They say that there is no shared frequency that aircraft use. This is false. Those were broadcast on CTAF every time a helicopter lifted. The frequencies are published on aeronautical maps. Those radio calls are done by all the companies in the area. I believe itís understandable that someone may miss a radio call or two. However due to the frequency and number of flights [and thus departing radio calls] that were being made it speaks more about OP and their airmanship than it does of anyone else. You can judge their comment on face value below

Last edited by nikoel; 4th Jan 2023 at 03:38.
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