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Fatal Helicopter Crash in Nigeria

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Fatal Helicopter Crash in Nigeria

Old 7th Feb 2003, 14:41
  #21 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Above and Below Zero Lat. [Presently at least]
Posts: 198
Just can't stay quiet any longer............

Surely after 8 weeks there would be something concrete regarding the cause of this sad event...........?

Whilst it does not surprise me..........considering that Eurocopter make both the airframe and engine.........that things would grind to a halt...........

It will take another 12 months yet............if ever........there will be no "announcement"......just a silent fix to pacify all concerned.


Whilst we wait for the Lawyers and PR folk to strut their puffed chests.....

Was this aircraft fitted with.......

EXIS lighting...
Pop Out Windows....
Were the Crew HUET Trained.....
Were the Pax HUET Trained......
Emergency Float Equipped.....
Was there any language difficultly between the crew........
Was there Human Factors [The old CRM] training provided to all concerned.........
Did the crew hit anything.........
Why couldnt a lightly laden aircraft survive any "potential" engine failure [suggested...not proven as an OEI yet]

I would think that folk up in Europe are very worried about the events...........
Old Man Rotor is offline  
Old 7th Feb 2003, 18:44
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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Brass crash

How about waiting a little more time before giving a seek all answer to this accident. I am sure that Eurocopter and Aero Contractors, as well as all other operators of the 365N2, want to know the answers.

I do not see what possible good it does to try and list every possible cause of a helicopter accident when you are looking at one incident and trying to find the reason.

Let us wait and hope to find the truth.
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Old 7th Feb 2003, 23:01
  #23 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
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Old Man Rotor

I would have thought that my factual post above yours may have been enough of a clue as to what happened!! Should a N2 shed a fenestron blade then you are not in a very good position. I know of at least one N2 that crashed after such an event. I have heard of no other"facts" through our operations or engineering departments.

HF
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Old 8th Feb 2003, 03:47
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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Hummingfrog.......

Sorry...........

I am a bit slow on the uptake............

Not having had the opportunity at many of the AS/EC series aircraft........I gather this action you describe is a RFM Limitation?.....or a field Operators restriction.

In a mechanical sense......what action in the system does the moving of Tail System Blades have whilst the system is stationary......apart from what maybe the obvious!!
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Old 11th Feb 2003, 02:21
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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Question

Latest news is that blade failure on the fenestron has been ruled out following examination of the wreckage by ECF. The Aerocontractor's Dauphin fleet are now all flying again.

The helicopter in question which was equipped with a CVR, had the CVR trip off after approx. the first 5min. of the flight. French Investigators are trying to find out what could have caused this to happen. Progress of the flight up until that stage was normal.

What little is known is there was an engine failure at a cruise ht of less than 1000ft shortly after T/o. (Survivors heard a loud bang). Following the failure the helicopter was seemingly unable to maintain ht. A turnback to the helipad at Brass was initiated with the crew making a decision to pop the emergency floats, there being a very strong likelihood they would have to ditch. The helicopter did however make it back to Brass ending up in shallow water very close to the helipad.

On approach to the helipad it was seen coming in lower than normal (with floats inflated). Then in the final moments close to the pad there was a second loud bang followed by the helicopter doing one/two revolutions out of control as it fell from the sky hitting a solid container near the pad in the process. At the time of impact the no.2 engine was providing torque to the main rotor which itself was completley destroyed in the crash. Due to what witnesses saw in these final moments the initial line taken by investigators was tail rotor failure in the final seconds.

With ECF clearing the tailrotor/fenestron we eagerly await information from Turbomeca' s investigation of the engines. From the details that have emerged so far it sounds like a major mechanical failure of the no.1 engine, which may have also ultimately had some sort of detrimental effect on the 2nd engine........

Anyway this is purely conjecture - let's hope there is an announcement soon on what surfaces from the investigation on the Arriel engines in question.
swirlybird is offline  
Old 13th Feb 2003, 08:00
  #26 (permalink)  
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Should a N2 shed a fenestron blade then you are not in a very good position.

Actually, the Dauphin has excellent handling characteristics in the event of a fenestron failure, provided the airspeed is above about 60 knots. In forward flight the fenestron is almost completely offloaded. A Dauphin N2 shed a fenestron blade in Nigeria last year and was landed safely and successfully, without any further damage to the aircraft and with all the passengers and crew unharmed. There is a known problem with Dauphin N2 fenestron blade attachments and if the pedals are moved on the ground the carbon fibre attachments start to suffer stress fractures at one particular point. There was no failure of the fenestron blades in the ACN accident.

considering that Eurocopter make both the airframe and engine.........that things would grind to a halt...........
The airframe is made by Eurocopter and the engines by Turbomeca.

Why couldnt a lightly laden aircraft survive any "potential" engine failure
The aircraft was not lightly laden, it was close to maximum gross weight for the conditions.

Was this aircraft fitted with.......
EXIS - no
Popouts - Yes
HUET trained crew - Yes
Pop-out flotas - Yes
Language difficulties - No
CRM trained crew - Yes

It is not known if the loud bang was the engine failing or the floats inflating.

ACN are sure to be as keen as everybody else to know the cause of the accident, but when the causes are not immediately obvious it is still best not to rush into speculation as that may just make matters worse. It takes time to make a proper analysis of what has happened to cause an accident, and if it is due to several things, the real cause may never be found, no matter how much we may wish to know it. As Swirlybird has said, everything here is just conjecture, so why not wait until the investigators are able to come up with their explanation? It has not been forgotten and once something definite is known it will surely find its way to this forum.
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Old 8th May 2003, 22:43
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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MamboBaas

Has anything offical been released on this accident yet.................?
Old Man Rotor is offline  
Old 9th May 2003, 22:24
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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Haven't seen an official cause of the crash but we have changed all our 365N2 fenestron blades on instructions from Aerospat.

HF
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Old 15th May 2003, 03:34
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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This may shed some light on things (whole directive produced, but basically a debonding problem with carbon fibre blades. Life reduced to 160 hours!)



Airworthiness Directives


Header Information
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
Docket No. 2003-SW-20-AD; AD 2003-08-53

Eurocopter France Model SA-365N1, AS365-N2, AS 365 N3, and SA-366G1 helicopters
PDF Copy (If Available):



Preamble Information

Regulatory Information

2003-08-53 EUROCOPTER FRANCE: Docket No. 2003-SW-20-AD. Supersedes AD 2000-10-08, Amendment 39-11732, and 2000-10-08R1, Amendment 39-12452, both Docket No. 99-SW-34-AD.

Applicability: Model SA-365N1, AS365-N2, AS 365 N3, and SA-366G1 helicopters, with a tail rotor blade (blade), part number 365A33-2131-all dash numbers; 365A12-0010-all dash numbers; or 365A12-0020-00, -01, -02, or 03; installed, certificated in any category.

Compliance: Required as indicated, unless accomplished previously.

To prevent failure of a blade, loss of tail rotor control, and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter, accomplish the following:

(a) Within 10 hours time-in-service (TIS) and thereafter before the first flight of each day, visually check each blade for a crack, blister, or wrinkling. An owner/operator (pilot), holding at least a private pilot certificate, may perform the visual check and must enter compliance into the aircraft maintenance records in accordance with 14 CFR sections 43.11 and 91.417(a)(2)(v)). See Figure 1 as follows:



(b) If a crack, blister, or wrinkling is found as a result of the visual check, accomplish the following before further flight (see Figure 1 of this AD):

(1) Zone A: If a blister is detected on the blade suction face, conduct a tapping test inspection on the whole blade for bonding separation.

(i) For blades, P/N 365A33-2131-all dash numbers, 365A12-0010-all dash numbers, and 365A12-0020-00, and -01, if bonding separation or a crack is found, replace the blade with an airworthy blade before further flight.

(ii) For blades, P/N 365A12-0020-02, and -03, if bonding separation exceeds 900 mm2 in a 30 x 30 mm square or if there is a crack, replace the blade with an airworthy blade before further flight.

(2) Zone B: If a crack, wrinkling, or a blister is found, replace the blade with an airworthy blade before further flight.

(c) Within 10 hours TIS, conduct a tapping test inspection on each blade. If there is bonding separation that exceeds the criteria in paragraphs b(1)(i) and b(1)(ii) of this AD, replace the blade with an airworthy blade before further flight.

Note 1: Edition No. 1, Revision No. 0, of Eurocopter France Service Bulletins 05.09 and 05.00.17, both dated April 16, 2003, pertain to the subject of this AD.

(1) Thereafter, at intervals not to exceed 25 hours TIS or every 50 cycles (each takeoff and landing equals 1 cycle), whichever occurs first, conduct a tapping test inspection for bonding separation on all blades with a serial number (S/N) less than 18912, and blades, P/N 365A12-0020-00 or 365A12-0020-01, with a S/N equal to or greater than 18912. If bonding separation or a crack is found, replace the blade with an airworthy blade before further flight.

(2) Thereafter, at intervals not to exceed 25 hours TIS, conduct a tapping test inspection for bonding separation on blades, P/N 365A12-0020-02 or 365A12-0020-03, in Zone A as depicted in Figure 1 of this AD.

(i) If bonding separation exceeds the criteria specified in paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this AD or if a crack is found, replace the blade with an airworthy blade before further flight.

(ii) If bonding separation is present and within tolerance of the criteria specified in paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this AD, conduct a tapping test before the first flight of the day and as often as necessary during the day ensuring that the TIS between tapping tests does not exceed 10 hours TIS between tapping tests.

(iii) Within 25 hours TIS after the discovery of skin debonding in Zone A, remove and replace the blade with an airworthy blade.

(3) Thereafter, at intervals not to exceed 100 hours TIS or 200 cycles, whichever occurs first, conduct a tapping test inspection for bonding separation on blades, P/N 365A12-0020-02 or 365A12-0020-03, in Zone B as depicted in Figure 1 of this AD. If a crack, wrinkling, or a blister is found, replace the blade with an airworthy blade before further flight.

(d) Within 10 hours TIS, and thereafter at intervals not to exceed 100 hours TIS or 200 cycles, whichever occurs first, measure the blade-to-air duct clearance. If the clearance is less than 3 mm, replace the blade with an airworthy blade before further flight.

(e) For blades, P/N 365A12-0020-02 or 365A12-0020-03 with a S/N equal to or greater than 32944, except for S/N 32963 through 33091, S/N 33116 through 33187, or S/N 33232 through 33319:

(1) Within 10 hours TIS, replace blades with 150 or more hours TIS with an airworthy blade.

(2) On or before 160 hours TIS, replace blades with less than 150 hours TIS with an airworthy blade.

(f) This AD revises the Limitations section of the maintenance manual by establishing a 160-hour TIS life limit for blades, P/N 365A12-0020-02 and 365A12-0020-03, with a S/N equal to or greater than 32944, except for S/N 32963 through 33091, S/N 33116 through 33187, and S/N 33232 through 33319.

(g) To request a different method of compliance or a different compliance time for this AD, follow the procedures in 14 CFR 39.19. Contact the Regulations Group, Rotorcraft Directorate, FAA, for information about previously approved alternative methods of compliance.

(h) Copies of the applicable service information may be obtained from American Eurocopter Corporation, 2701 Forum Drive, Grand Prairie, Texas 75053-4005, telephone (972) 641-3460, fax (972) 641-3527.

(i) Emergency AD 2003-08-53, issued April 23, 2003, becomes effective upon receipt.

Note 2: The subject of this AD is addressed in Direction Generale De L'Aviation Civile (France) AD Nos. T2003-155(A) and T2003-156(A), both dated April 17, 2003
212man is offline  
Old 16th May 2003, 23:04
  #30 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
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Interesting News

There was a recent fenestron failure in Angola.

N2 spat a blade which carved a nice trail in the housing.

Frog pilot took 3 attempts to get it on the ground at Soyo not at the base on the long hard stuff the 727's use.

Good job all round, I wonder if this is also a reason for the AD
international hog driver is offline  
Old 18th May 2003, 02:13
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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Angolan incident occured 25 May 2003, aircraft D2-EQE operated by Heli-Union. After blade loss, two trailing blades damaged and gearbox detached.
zalt is offline  
Old 18th May 2003, 21:50
  #32 (permalink)  
cpt
 
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Yes, good job ! they landed at about 80 Knots, that's another good reason for diversion planning on mainland when flying offshore!
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Old 18th May 2003, 23:30
  #33 (permalink)  
gnz
 
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Hi cpt,
always on the run as i see...
Were you onboard this one, some more details?
Take care et bois frais...
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Old 20th May 2003, 04:54
  #34 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
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Hey Zalt if its May 25 then I'll be waiting at Soyo with my camera for the repeat. No seriously. Its all fixed now but it has not flown yet.
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Old 21st May 2003, 21:29
  #35 (permalink)  
cpt
 
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Hello GNZ,

No Iwasn't on that one thi time, I have maybe lost my "black cat" reputation at least.
I know the guys very well anyway and apparently we need a little bit more speed than we may expect at the reading of the RFM, good brakes and long runway too!
I haven't got your email and I have no access on the "other forum" from here.
Some folks know you here, try to contact.
By the way, this forum sounds more and more with a touch of froggy don't you find ? (maybe is it the season after all...)
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Old 22nd May 2003, 04:30
  #36 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
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Snoop

ihd

Woops! Always thinking ahead - I meant March.
zalt is offline  
Old 22nd Dec 2004, 22:47
  #37 (permalink)  
 
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It's been over two years; has a final report on this tragic accident been released yet? If yes, where can it be found?
Buitenzorg is offline  
Old 9th Mar 2006, 02:20
  #38 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
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Accident report released

The report has been released by the Nigerian FAA and is available from them.
The bottom line is that the helicopter suffered a TR failure on short finals resulting from a fatigue crack in one of the blade roots. Not surprisingly there are a number of conclusions drawn by the Nigerian investigators that have no basis.

The Captain is critiscised in the report for not ditching the helicopter after an uncommanded/unintentional inflation of the floats in the cruise. This is thought to be the most likely reason the helicopter was returning to it's point of departure at Brass. It was on the recovery on short finals that the catastrophic failure of the TR took place. Due to the speed and point at which the failure happened the helicopter spun violently out of control hitting a container positioned on a barge before landing upside down in the water.

The French DGAC were involved with the investigation and fortunately their findings have also been published in the report. As one would expect they have highlighted the sections of the report that they disagree with. Their main point being that the Captain's decision to return to Brass following the inadvertant inflation of the floats was a sound one. Flight with the floats deployed although unusual would not have presented a sufficient enough threat to the safety of the helicopter to prompt an immediate decision to ditch. Also there is no evidence to suggest that the crew had any symptoms that would have led them to believe that they were in danger of suffering the sudden loss of the tailrotor on short finals that actually resulted in the crash.

I can say with some degree of confidence that had the Captain chosen to ditch a helicopter that was perfectly seviceable just because the floats had inflated, he would have been severely criticised by the subsequent board of inquiry and been soley responsible for any loss of life that may have resulted during the ditching.

Under a different set of circumstancs the decision to ditch may have been the right one as was demonstrated by the successful ditching of a 365N2 in Indonesia earlier this week where the Captain put the helicopter in the water after experiencing severe vibration and the gradual loss of TR effectiveness. There were no injuries amongst the 6 on board who were picked up quickly by a rescue boat from their dinghies.
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Old 9th Mar 2006, 02:32
  #39 (permalink)  
 
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Any report on the Bell 412 fatal crash offshore Nigeria from Pan African/Chevron?
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Old 9th Mar 2006, 04:52
  #40 (permalink)  
 
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Is the report REALLY saying the tail rotor failed on finals? Nothing to do with loss of control, as a result of the already failed TR, during the final stages of deceleration on the approach?

Was any mention made of the option to land at the nearby airstrip?

Was the rumour, circulating at the time of, an engine being shutdown substantiated or covered in the report?
212man is offline  

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