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Broward County accident...

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Broward County accident...

Old 2nd Sep 2023, 21:30
  #121 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by whoknows idont
Unfortunately it's very easy to miss the fire indication on the EC135. All you get is one gong and the light on the guarded switch, that's it.


There’s an intermittent sound, Eurocopter-Airbus call it a bell for the Fire Warning.
There isn’t a gong.
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Old 3rd Sep 2023, 09:47
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Originally Posted by DOUBLE BOGEY
Given the short flight time, fire trailing and persistent and the pilot reporting and engine failure.....maybe a turbine burst (looking like engine failure with zero Tq/Nf), That savages the tail boom flange area with shrapnel. Meanwhile the Gas Generator is still working and the FADEC response to Zero NF is to open the fuel to max chat. The fire escaping from the compromised combustion chamber finishes the job. I have no idea why the pilot did not have a fire warning or if he missed this in the mix of confusing indications.

With an engine fully failed (ie all parts stop rotating) the fuel pressure becomes zero everywhere in that firewall box and the chances of a persistent fire almost zero. Maybe!

DB
Worth noting that for the T1, the engine overspeed protection system was optional so if he did suffer a fault which led to a runaway up, the engine may not have automatically shutdown (and event which has happened on a T1 albeit during start when the pilot started before the FADEC had fully booted).
​​​​​​
As mentioned before, all 3 occasions in the ASN history of EC135 incidents where there has been an in flight engine fire have all been after engine overspeed events (all on P1 thus far due to inadvertant entry into manual).
​​​​
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Old 4th Sep 2023, 20:45
  #123 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by skadi
The farthest distance from the tower was 1,3 nautical miles, thats pretty close

skadi
Have you ever tried it professionally? It's nowhere near as simple as just the distance. For starters, the tower would seem to be lower than some of the buildings surrounding the airport, which won't help. Many factors influence how well an object stands out against the background, I doubt the controller would have seen the fire & decided not to say anything.
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Old 4th Sep 2023, 22:57
  #124 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by wrench1
Interesting side discussion. I wonder if this was a Public Use ops and who was overseeing the "piece-mealing" of parts and maintenance?
That sounds like politics to me. I don't know anything about their program or the history. But reading between the lines, the sheriff has probably been pushing for more funding, and maybe not just for helicopters. Politicians never waste an opportunity, especially a highly visible tragedy to get what they want. It's also of note that airbus just happens to have 2 helicopters on their hands that someone else backed out of, that I'm sure they want to unload. I'm sure they are in the same boat of not letting any tragedy go wasted.
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Old 5th Sep 2023, 09:05
  #125 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by skadi
This was a HEMS machine so no baggage compartment. No problem, especially for the CabinCrew, to look aft through the whole cabin. As seen on the videos the fire took place in the aft section of engine bay or even battery/Aircondition compartment. Fire is seen on both sides of the fuselage on different videos.

skadi
A few posts have discussed location of the fire. It struck me looking at the video clips that fire seemed to extend down to well below the height of the underside of the tailboom, perhaps to the clamshell doors? Two extracts from video here, showing both sides prior to the tailboom failure:



Here are a few images from the internet showing the engine bay and how, if there was a fuel line failure, fuel could flow to quite low down in that bay, and probably aft once it caught hold. But fire seemed to have spread beyond that area if indeed that was the origin:




Sadly, the footage is a demonstration that lightweight structures desirable for efficient rotorcraft don't equate to prolonged fire resistance.
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Old 5th Sep 2023, 09:17
  #126 (permalink)  
 
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It looks to me like that sloping area at the back of the engine bay is a perfect place for fuel/oil/etc to pool and would give the impression the fire is lower than the engine
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Old 5th Sep 2023, 10:25
  #127 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by helispotter
Here are a few images from the internet showing the engine bay and how, if there was a fuel line failure, fuel could flow to quite low down in that bay, and probably aft once it caught hold. .
Presumably she would be much more level, or nose down in forward flight, than standing on the apron.
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Old 5th Sep 2023, 14:25
  #128 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by helispotter
A few posts have discussed location of the fire. It struck me looking at the video clips that fire seemed to extend down to well below the height of the underside of the tailboom, perhaps to the clamshell doors?
I can’t get the pic to post, but this link is a 135 with Arrius engines and most the firewalls removed. The area between the engines is the common intake duct which is open to the xsmn deck and somewhat sealed on the aft end. Any fire in this duct area or outside the firewalls would not be detected.The question is IF he had a fire light, one would think he would have told the tower he was possibly on fire and to roll the equipment. At a minimum one would think when he called his fire dispatch people to tell them he couldn’t make the scene call he would have asked them to roll some units or at least call the airport to request same.

But if he had a fire outside the engine bays he probably wouldn’t know unless he looked for smoke. And IMO if it was a fuel fire this would have ended earlier and been trailing darker smoke. Unfortunately they didn’t have the clam shell door window mod installed as it may have resulted in a different ending.
Sadly, the footage is a demonstration that lightweight structures desirable for efficient rotorcraft don't equate to prolonged fire resistance.
Light structures can be fire resistant. The light weight 135 engine cowls are made from high temp composites and I believe are rated for 800+C. However, components that reside outside known fire or heat areas are usually made from standard composites.

Originally Posted by LTP90
That sounds like politics to me. .
Definitely politics. And if this was a Public Use ops with no FAA oversight then politics also influenced how the aircraft was maintained and operated. Especially with the Sheriff’s comments above. Time will definitely tell.


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Old 5th Sep 2023, 16:39
  #129 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by [email protected]
It looks to me like that sloping area at the back of the engine bay is a perfect place for fuel/oil/etc to pool and would give the impression the fire is lower than the engine
Not when the drain holes are not clogged. Having washed the engine bay floor many times and if the drain is clear water could easily leave the bay through the lines. When clogged any fluid will leave the bay at the lower edge to the outside

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Old 6th Sep 2023, 07:09
  #130 (permalink)  
 
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I’m not convinced decision based off if he knew he was on fire or not is valid based off the radio calls or not landing immediately.

Aviate Navigate Communicate.

He had made an emergency call and been given priority landing.
Further com’s on fire update would not have changed any response from the tower. They still press the big red button. I guarantee it would have initiated more coms back from the tower when he had his hands full.

less than 1 minute from the initial problem, definitely still trouble shooting and resolving. If I was in that position, updating the tower would have been low priority unless needing the tower to confirm it.
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Old 6th Sep 2023, 14:40
  #131 (permalink)  
 
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I see a lot of criticism of this BSO pilot on social media and YouTube. Everybody simply assumes that he screwed-up by not pulling the good engine off and autorotating into a schoolyard. The internet is chock-full of experts.

But the Big Question...the one we do not yet have the answer...is whether the EC135 pilot knew he was on fire? All he told the Tower was that he'd had an engine failure. Unless the fire had breached the cabin (which I doubt), I'd bet that those people onboard had their eyes focused forward - if there was no fire warning indication, there would have been no reason to look rearward. But would it have mattered? We do know that he was only about a mile away from the Pompano Beach Airport field boundary when he began his turn back - about a minute away at 60 knots. So even if he did know that he was on fire, would a "LAND IMMEDIATELY" situation have made a difference? Just how "immediately" is immediately when you have an airport with fire/rescue a minute away and you're busy dealing with a problem (engine failure)? Had he been at 5,000 feet instead of 500 feet, how "immediately" could he have gotten it on the ground?

Which, to me, brings up a bigger question: Should that pilot have expected that his aircraft would fail so catastrophically and so quickly? How come we're not pointing fingers at Airbus for their plastic, junky airframes?
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Old 6th Sep 2023, 18:22
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Originally Posted by FH1100 Pilot
I see a lot of criticism of this BSO pilot on social media and YouTube. Everybody simply assumes that he screwed-up by not pulling the good engine off and autorotating into a schoolyard. The internet is chock-full of experts.

But the Big Question...the one we do not yet have the answer...is whether the EC135 pilot knew he was on fire? All he told the Tower was that he'd had an engine failure. Unless the fire had breached the cabin (which I doubt), I'd bet that those people onboard had their eyes focused forward - if there was no fire warning indication, there would have been no reason to look rearward. But would it have mattered? We do know that he was only about a mile away from the Pompano Beach Airport field boundary when he began his turn back - about a minute away at 60 knots. So even if he did know that he was on fire, would a "LAND IMMEDIATELY" situation have made a difference? Just how "immediately" is immediately when you have an airport with fire/rescue a minute away and you're busy dealing with a problem (engine failure)? Had he been at 5,000 feet instead of 500 feet, how "immediately" could he have gotten it on the ground?

Which, to me, brings up a bigger question: Should that pilot have expected that his aircraft would fail so catastrophically and so quickly? How come we're not pointing fingers at Airbus for their plastic, junky airframes?
Being this close to an airport or "safe landing spot" is probably the double edge sword here.
I think we would all try to make it back to an airfield were you have emergency service ready and being only 1 mile out vs landing in highly populated area during midday traffic, even if it was confirmed fire.
But we would also in our heads expect the airframe to withstand fire for 1 or 2 min.
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Old 6th Sep 2023, 21:24
  #133 (permalink)  
 
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To add another speculative angle, how long was the aircraft running on the ground or taxiing for departure? Maybe the fire was burning longer than we all think.

Again, pure speculation but would be interesting when the final chain of events is announced.

I try to take everything in when doing final checks on my side of the aircraft (exterior) before getting in, like am I taking everything in or just glancing it over. I would hope a fire would be readily detected but would depend on where it started I suppose.

Just one more thing to make you think about what you’re doing. At least I’m fairly confident primary structure in my airframe will last longer than a few minutes in the unfortunate case of fire, still rather not experience it!

FltMech
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Old 7th Sep 2023, 02:03
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Civil versus public use is a non issue. Any agency that has a certificated aircraft most likley flies both civil ops. and PAOs. It is the mission, not the agency or the aircraft that determines if a particular flight is public or civil; as long as the aircraft has a non-restricted type certificate, like the EC 135. If they ever fly non-required crew members, dignitaries or anyone who would be designated a passenger they are conductiing civil operations and must adhere to at least part 91 maintenance guidelines. Any agency not doing so woild be foolish indeed if a savy laywer gets involved.
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Old 7th Sep 2023, 13:42
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I don't believe we should start blaming the airframe. If this was a turbine casing breach/overspeed event, that's not assumed in the certification. Hence O/S protection and no turbine containment device for the shrapnel.

I also recall 2 pilots in Aberdeen suffering a high pressure fuel fire in the AS332 Engine bay shortly after taking off on a test flight. The reacted promptly, the fire extinguished 6 seconds after the warning activated, if my memory has served me well! They completed the circuit they started and upon landing, were horrified at the extent of the damage.

If my memory can be relied on a bit further, I recall the Norwegian AS332L1 suffering an engine overspeed that resulted in the turbine bursting. That one took out the MR Hydraulics and fired shrapnel into the occupants. The resulting conflagration did not permit time for a fire to become the salient point. Loss of control and impact the the sea finished the job sadly for all of the occupants.

I am surprised nothing has been released thus far seeing as the Pilot survived the event. The initial sequence and cause of the fire need to be identified quickly enough for the rest of us operating/flying the type to understand how we can mitigate.

Ultimately, we bear in mind aluminum is a bit like butter in a microwave when subjected to fire and the composites are stuffed full of things that will burn nicely. Fire sucks. It always has I think if we consider every serious fire event, Concorde etc.

DB

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Old 7th Sep 2023, 15:55
  #136 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by 60FltMech
At least I’m fairly confident primary structure in my airframe will last longer than a few minutes in the unfortunate case of fire, still rather not experience it!
I guess it all depends on how you view it. Off the top I can remember one incident where the primary flight control support was compromised by fire on an S-92. Luckily it was on the ground, but the post fire review indicated had it been in flight it would have had about the same time frame as the EC above before control would have been lost. Ironically if it had been in flight it was outside the fire detection areas and doubtful the crew would have known. I still don’t think the EC crew knew they were on fire. And we still don’t know what the engine failure was and even if he shutdown the engine or merely put it in idle. Given after he radioed the tower he took the time to radio his department comm center that he couldn’t make the scene gives the impression there was no urgency. I can recall several past instances where an aircraft was on fire and the pilot was not aware. Regardless, since the accident has finally been posted in the NTSB database the preliminary should be close to release.
Originally Posted by roscoe1
must adhere to at least part 91 maintenance guidelines. Any agency not doing so woild be foolish indeed if a savy laywer gets involved.
For a private entity I would agree as they might fly a Part 135, Part 91, and PAO flight all in the same day. However, for a public entity with no regulatory oversight and minimal requirements not so much. A privately owned Cessna 172 flown only on Sundays has more FAA oversight and regulatory requirements than a PAO EC135. And unfortunately there are “foolish” ops out there, especially small flight departments with tight budgets. Whether this is the case with this department has yet to be seen.

Originally Posted by DOUBLE BOGEY
Hence O/S protection and no turbine containment device for the shrapnel.
FYI: I believe all Arrius have integral turbine containment shields. But not all have O/S protection.
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Old 7th Sep 2023, 17:59
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Originally Posted by wrench1
For a private entity I would agree as they might fly a Part 135, Part 91, and PAO flight all in the same day. However, for a public entity with no regulatory oversight and minimal requirements not so much. A privately owned Cessna 172 flown only on Sundays has more FAA oversight and regulatory requirements than a PAO EC135. And unfortunately there are “foolish” ops out there, especially small flight departments with tight budgets. Whether this is the case with this department has yet to be seen.
The agency being public has naught to do with it. If they are flying civil missions the FAA has jurisdiction over them, their pilots must be appropriately rated and part 91 is the rule. That many people don't understand this is because the FAA on a local level has traditionally left them alone in part out of their own ignorance and because they must simply feel they have better things to do. Right or wrong. Ref. AC 00-1.1B. Also, there have been almost no cases of an agency flying a civil mission that ended tragically that they claimed was a PAO. So little opportunity for ambulance chasing lawyers to do their thing. They can fly dopes on a rope tied to the skid in the morning but when they fly a local or state official or a reporter to show how cool the helicopter is, they should be in compliance with part 91 at the minimum.
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Old 7th Sep 2023, 19:14
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Originally Posted by FH1100 Pilot
I see a lot of criticism of this BSO pilot on social media and YouTube. Everybody simply assumes that he screwed-up by not pulling the good engine off and autorotating into a schoolyard. The internet is chock-full of experts.

Which, to me, brings up a bigger question: Should that pilot have expected that his aircraft would fail so catastrophically and so quickly? How come we're not pointing fingers at Airbus for their plastic, junky airframes?
I agree that it is probably unwarranted and certainly premature to criticize the pilot's decisions here. But that is a separate issue from the general lesson regarding the urgency of an immediate landing when there is a fire. Dropping straight down into a median or park has its risks, going back to an airport that is only a mile away (which would seem a safe bet most days) also has risks. Even if the pilot knew how bad the fire was and had opted to simply drop out of the sky, we don't know if he could have selected a site and gotten down to it in time. It doesn't matter much what you are flying, if your airframe disintegrates 60 seconds after your first indication of a problem, that's a pretty rough day.
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Old 8th Sep 2023, 04:38
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Originally Posted by Sir Korsky
Proud of you ! Where should I send the ' you're a special guy ' card to ?
Considering my reply was in response to your comment on one of my posts, your statement being…
Lots of input from expertise from folk who've never been thrown the keys and flown the damn thing.
a simple ‘fair enough’ would have sufficed, but once again you’ve shown your true character.
Good day.


Last edited by SilsoeSid; 8th Sep 2023 at 19:49.
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Old 8th Sep 2023, 15:05
  #140 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by roscoe1
That many people don't understand this is because the FAA on a local level has traditionally left them alone in part out of their own ignorance and because they must simply feel they have better things to do. Right or wrong..
Exactly my point when it comes to oversight. And in my experience on the mx side with PAO, its only the public entities that enjoy such traditions.
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