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Old 16th Jul 2003, 03:47
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Old 16th Jul 2003, 15:58
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Well - the positive thing is that this report should kick into touch the current CAA obsession for ELT to be fitted to all helicopters! If this machine had an onboard ELT, it would have sunk with it and left the Chilean Navy searching a "last known transmission" - whilst the crew would have been pushed well away from the ditching by the tide and high winds. Personal ELT (and sat phone) saved lives.
Some figures in this report just don't stack up: "440 nm crossing", "groundspeed 120 kt" : this would mean landfall in less than 4 hrs.

"Just over four hours later" (after departure)......

"Their flight plan specified an endurance of 7 hrs 30 mins."

And the big one: "The pilots would not provide details of the amount of fuel carried on board......"

Tanks for the memory.
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Old 16th Jul 2003, 23:11
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Although my opinion of any pilot who won't give evidence to an incident inquiry is the same as yours, I'm afraid I don't think you've made a particularly relevant point re the ELT. SAR organisations have access to almanacs, tide-tables and weather reports; it helps a search tremendously if you know where to start looking. Once you've established that start point, a creeping line ahead search in the direction of the wind/currents is going to take you toward the survivors far faster than an expanding square in the general area.

Immersion suits with open collars? About as useful as smoke detectors without a power supply...
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Old 17th Jul 2003, 00:43
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Thud "it helps a search tremendously if you know where to start looking." Agree - and therefore a personal ELT (and the satphone these two had) is the best solution. The report says they were visually located within 6 hrs of ditching & rescued within 10. The presence of an ELT on the heli would merely have confused the SAR op wouldn't it ?
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Old 17th Jul 2003, 03:10
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I've banged on about these 2 f**kwits before but it is not somewhat suspicious that they lied about their endurance on the flight plan and would not state what their actual fuel load was.

To then end up in the water less than an hour after their theoretical endurance (according to the report a little over 3 hours) rather smacks of getting caught out and running out of fuel and blaming the cock-up on mechanical failure.

Does anyone really believe you can climb onto the skid of an Robinson in autorotation, jump off at 20 feet (entangling the inflation cord of the dinghy as you do so) and still be able to turn the aircraft away and settle it gently on the water.

Sounds like a power-on ditching when they realised they could not make landfall due to lack of fuel.

The rest is a fairy story.
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Old 17th Jul 2003, 03:44
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It absolutely amazes me that there are people who contribute to this forum and believe that these two people are some kind of god.

If it was up to me the only thing I would let them take the controls of again would be a bicycle.

"After approximately 30 seconds and at 500 feet, the oil pressure fell to zero, the low pressure oil warning light illuminated and a couple of seconds later the engine stopped.The pilot in the right hand seat flew the helicopter in autorotation whilst the left hand seat occupant climbed out onto the skid and gathered the liferaft and emergency kit. At 20 feet above the sea he jumped into the water".

If anyone with more than two brain cells believes that then your probably a perfect candidate to go along with them on there next "adventure" and unnecessarily put the lives of rescue personnel at risk.

If either of you two have a shred of integrity or common decency between you then a public apology would be well in order, this will probably not be forthcoming and it's a shame you won't be doing prison time over this.

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Old 17th Jul 2003, 06:28
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Referring to the original thread on this makes for some cringeing reading:

Especially from:
T'aint natural
Happy landing
and particularly

Any body who's knows these two personally will be aware that they planned and fully knew what they were doing.
Sledgehama - thank you for that cracker!

Seems all is not what it should have been..

Takes all sorts, I suppose.

Perhaps their next callsign will be: G -T*AT (rhymes with brat)
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Old 17th Jul 2003, 07:41
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I am seriously thinking about buying a R44 and if they are able to file a flight plan for 7,5 hrs @ 120 knts = 900nm, (even though frank only says 400nm with no reserve) that means Manchester to Venice non stop then that's a winner with me!

I just hope they were not insured by my broker in the UK and they were not part of the ones that bumped my premiums up by 20% this year.
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Old 17th Jul 2003, 10:08
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With reference to the ELT comments, most helicopters I have flown offshore have:-
1. A Ducane underwater sonic locator, so that the helicopter can be found underwater and the 'bodies' removed.
2. A floating type ELT in the cabin to be thrown out if or when the helicopter is floating.
3. An ELT in each life raft.
4. An ELT in each crews life jacket.
Those that have done a HUET course or have had some training should know that you must only activate one ELT to prevent confused signals.

Never having had the "pleasure" of flying any Robinson type, has anyone worked out the AUW with all that fuel on board????
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Old 17th Jul 2003, 14:12
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Rotorboater: "I just hope they were not insured by my broker in the UK and they were not part of the ones that bumped my premiums up by 20% this year."

Mmmm - I have a feeling that, if a claim has been filed, there'll be a dispute.

As for my previous comments back in Jan/Feb : you can only comment with the knowledge you have - which is why I was saying "wait for the report". Now - wait for the CAA response.
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Old 17th Jul 2003, 14:24
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I seem to remember reading somewhere that the aircraft was uninsured. It might have been in the original thread, but seeing as the search is disabled I can't find it.
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Old 17th Jul 2003, 17:46
  #12 (permalink)  
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Quick enough with the four letter words when we don't know the full facts aren't we ??

Does any of you honestly believe that anyone - let alone an experienced veteran of other long-distance trips - would set out for a four hour trip over water knowing that they had only enough fuel for three hours ???

I have flown one of the helicopters used in the previous round-the-world trips and can assure you that the supplementary fuel tank takes up all of the space where the two rear seats used to be. Quite enough to last for seven and a half hours.

I have not seen G-NUDE personally but I'm amazed that you are all so quick to slag somebody off without even considering the possibility that this machine was also fitted out with additional fuel capacity.

Read the report again carefully. It does NOT say that G-NUDE was unmodified. It does NOT say that G-NUDE only had 3 hours' endurance. The pilots DID state that the amount of fuel was sufficient for the crossing.

Next time you want to call someone a f**kwit or a TW*T you might want to get your facts straight first
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Old 17th Jul 2003, 21:57
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Not being an R22 or R44 person, would some kind sole please give me an idea of the disposable load on one of these machines? Two pilots, all their personal/survival equipment and seven and a half hours fuel seem pretty good to me, perhaps we could use one to long line flare tip replacements in the North Sea? The oil companies could save a fortune, I'm sure they would be interested.
Also, what's it like in auto? It would seem that you have plenty of time, even from 500ft.
I've been around professional pilots for 30yrs and I can honestly say that I don't know one who would take the fifth after an incident. These two guys would gain vast amounts of credibility amongst their peers just by co-operating with the authority about the fuel situation. If there is nothing to hide, why not tell us? How about it guys?
Just a point for Grainger; the report doesn't say that the aircraft was modified in any way either, so we don't know and we shouldn't jump to conclusions until some-one (hint, hint you both know who you are) tells us. Now what was that my old Tiger Moth instructor used to say, something about 'making an ass of you and me'...must be getting old... time for another glass or two of port...

Fly safely,
Old 17th Jul 2003, 22:16
  #14 (permalink)  
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When all else fails.......get the calculator out. (Bear in mind I've never flown a Robbo so all figures from the report and the Robbo website) From the report, 185 ltrs gives 3 hours endurance = 1 ltr per min. Therefore, fuel req'd for 7hrs 30 mins = 450ltrs. 450 ltrs - wherever you put it - is going to weigh 720ish pounds.
Average empty R44 weighs 1450lbs, add std & Aux fuel of 290 lbs, 2 pilots wearing lifejackets, survival suits, ELT and Sat phone etc @250lbs each, and 1 dinghy at 30 lbs. Comes to 2270lbs. This leaves only 130 lbs for extra fuel to max T/off weight of 2400 lbs. Some 300 lbs short of the fuel req'd for 7hrs 30mins endurance.
(I know some R44's are rated at 2500lbs MTOW but, according to the website, have an empty weight just over 1500 lbs, still 250lbs adrift).
All of which would lead me to conclude that either a). the 7hrs 30mins endurance figure was wrong or b). the aircraft departed well over weight.
However, 290lbs + 130lbs does give an endurance of about 4hrs 20mins. Time of flight was 4hrs 11 minutes.

I could have got this completely wrong and, if I have, no doubt I will be very quickly put right by the Robbo community.

Helmet and Flak Jacket on and awaiting incoming.
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Old 17th Jul 2003, 22:36
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Grainger: In case you weren't aware that the DOT report is based on fact, let's go over it again shall we: (bold is fact)

Fact 1: 440 Nm leg, 120kts G/S, where and what were they doing still over the sea 4 hours later? Fact is, they could not have stuck to their itinerary or they would have landed 40 miles earlier.

Fact 2: The engine stopped at 500'. They Did NOT turn into wind until 20'!!!

Fact 3: The co-pilot climbed out of an a/c in auto and jumped from the skids!!!!!!! He took with him, loose items of survival gear which subsequently snagged on the skid denying him the use of such equipment later on!!! What if the gear had gone up into the rotor? What if the co-pilot had 'snagged' on the skids and gone down with the a/c?

Fact 4: Their survival suits were not being worn properly

Fact 5: Refusal to co-operate with the investigating team

The only professional thing they did throughout this entire trip, was give frequent position reports along the leg, which undeniably saved their miserable lives.

If anyone with any ounce of professionalism and from any walk of life, read this for what it really is, they could only come to the sound conclusion that this was a cacophany of cock ups by two gung - ho, misguided, and most definately unprofessional individuals.

I saw a documentary several weeks ago about another nutter who wanted to cross the bering strait in one of his home made contraptions (ski basher with floats on). I believe "Q" was the support helo during this operation. I watched this guy throw this piddling R44 around PERMANENTLY inside the avoid curve just above freezing seas like it didn't affect him..he was a helo hero and things like that don't affect gods. Maybe that's why he grows his hair so long

I don't know People are getting the wrong messages sometimes. The bottom line here is that this was an adventure, the attraction of which was too strong to allow technicalities and safety to get in the way. So to hell with load sheets, insurance, correctly utilised survival equipment,
let's just go man and jack up the volume....... hee hah!!!

C'mon, these people are giving the industry a bad name, they certainly aren't doing it for aviation - it's an ego trip FULL STOP

And Grainger...you should know better.
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Old 18th Jul 2003, 00:47
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Without getting into too many 'factoids' (to steal a Steve Wrightism), how long does it take to get from 500 ft to sea level with no engine?

a) 12 sec
b) 15 sec
c) 20 sec

How long does it take to reach the sea from 20 ft with no engine?

a) 0.5 sec
b) 1.0 sec
c) 1.5 sec

I think I like the power on ditching theory the best, or do I simply lack the lightning fast reactions of these two chaps?
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Old 18th Jul 2003, 00:53
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TC: All I'm saying is don't slag people off when you don't know the whole story.

None of your listed "facts" relate to the speculation on fuel state that I was complaining about. The report does not state that they ran out of fuel.

Like I said, I don't know the exact modifications fitted to G-NUDE nor the weight-and-balance specifics neither I suspect does anyone else who's replied so far.

However, the previous around-the-world machine had a 50-gallon extender tank which at 12.5 gallons / hr would give an additional four hours and that gets us pretty close to the 7.5 hours endurance quoted.

So TC is your description of the R44 as "Piddling" based on fact or are you just showing a bit of anti-Robinson snobbery ? Hence no doubt the great glee when something goes wrong.

Or have you forgotten that another R44 made two successful round-the-world trips and G-NUDE went to the North Pole and back last summer ? How did they manage that if they were really as incompetent and unprofessional (and the R44 as "piddling" ) as you claim ?

Last edited by Grainger; 18th Jul 2003 at 01:08.
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Old 18th Jul 2003, 01:26
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Youíre quite right; the report doesn't state that they ran out of fuel, simply because the investigators donít know, only the two pilots can confirm or deny that, and they have taken the fifth. Until they come up with the answers the speculation will continue; pilots love to speculate, it's in their nature. What needs to happen to restore the credibility of these two pilots amongst their peers is for them to co-operate fully with the authorities on the investigation into this particular incident.
I don't doubt for a moment that an extended tank can be fitted to a Robinson, but why won't the crew divulge the fuel state? Their attitude gives the impression that they have something to hide.
There are more reasons for an investigation other than a which-hunt, or apportionment of blame. Lessons can be learned and possible lives saved in the future.
The achievements that Robinsons have made in the past, whilst highly commendable, are of no relevance whatever to this incident.

Sorry if this is a bit disjointed but am in a hurry for a late shift.

Fly safely,
Old 18th Jul 2003, 12:10
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TC, I think you'll find that the "nutter in the homemade contraption" trying to cross the Bering Straight was the second person on (and owner of) G-NUDE.

I still don't get the 4 hours flying later bit!
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Old 18th Jul 2003, 15:03
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In a tradition of great British adventurer's I'd say, and certainly no more irresponsible than this admirable and self-effacing attempt to cross the Atlantic in an overloaded microlight, covered in unapproved modifications, flown by a pilot without an instrument or night rating and no rescue support, in breach of at-least two countries ANOs.

Don't we need people to push the envelope a bit - it's surely unsporting to suggest that people setting out on record breaking expeditions should follow inconvenient rules about not overloading their aircraft, carrying sufficient fuel for trip+reserves, proper rescue cover and so-on. Lets face it, that sort of stuff only applies to ninnies like the rest of us who are forced to comply with totally unnecessary safety regulations to satisfy nanny-state regulators.

Presumably this is the view of the various national regulators who have never prosecuted such individuals, which I assume is completely unrelated to any fear of being hammered in the popular press by such individuals self-publicity machines.

Or something like that.

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