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Steve Hislop killed in helicopter accident: threads merged

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Steve Hislop killed in helicopter accident: threads merged

Old 13th May 2005, 17:47
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I should have been more specific about the reasons for them crashing.
It's more to do with the head design/Nr decay/recovery times that concern me with the 'R' family. Certainly nothing to connect to CFIT - that is trully global problem!

Read the AAIB's final paragraph about reaction times - there's the rub
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Old 13th May 2005, 18:07
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The comments about throttle operation compared with motorbikes is interesting, however the R44 is of course standard in this respect.
On the other hand, the Robinson R22(and R44 I think) has a non-standard control yoke.
I lost control of a R22 for several seconds in normal cruise once. The instructor took control and brought us back to level. Here is what happened in my opinion.

Consider how the yoke can be rotated as well as moved from side to side on the Robinson. In normal operation of automobile control wheels, a small movement of the hand, UP and Down, occurs as the wheel is rotated.
When I lost control it was because I had reverted to instinctive reaction from years of operation of control wheels. (Cessna control yoke is similar as well). We normally turn with an up and down rotation but the R22 is side to side. It is a strange mix of control wheel and control stick.

As an experienced pilot, it is slightly embarrassing to admit that I lost control of the R22 yoke in early training, but I think the issue should be revealed for instructors to take note.
I think the R44 yoke is similar to the R22 but I cant remember for sure.
Pilots often react by instinct when scared. And the operation of our cars is much more ingrained in our brains.
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Old 13th May 2005, 19:00
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------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------According to the report it takes 1.1 seconds after the throttle chop to get to 80%. That should be long enough to realise you have gone the wrong way and open it again.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Gaseous, by this statement, you have obviously never experience all the bells and whistles going off under 'normal circumstances', it takes 1.1 seconds to recognise the horn...! not to mention while encountering such a stressful situation as I-IMC, and at less than 100hrs TT.

I've had the horns go off, and I've been I-IMC, but thankfully not at the same time.
Put them both together..........
If I did pull it off, I'd be ten years older in the climbout!

The world is definitely a less exciting place without him.

RIP
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Old 13th May 2005, 19:30
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Landwhere,

You may be right that it was not enough time under the circumstances. I do not know and I did say 'should'.

It has been enough time for others, but maybe the conditions were different.

Bear in mind that the first sign of a throttle chop is not the horn, it is the violent yaw which often comes as shock to Robbie pilots as they do not practice chops.

you said:
you have obviously never experience all the bells and whistles.

I have had an engine stop in flight in an aircraft without a horn. You dont need one to know its stopped!
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Old 13th May 2005, 20:44
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Gaseous,


I too had the an A250 on a jetbox just quit, no horn.
I distinctly remember the feeling that the slowly decaying Nr and the deafening silence must have something in common, but it took me a few seconds to make the connection.....Thank god for big blades.

However, I also had a fuel contamination problem in a R44, when the engine just slowly wound down then quit. No cough, no splutter, just slowly stopped. My initial reaction was to progressively use more and more pedal to keep the nose straight. Only when the horn sounded and I became conscious of the differing engine note did it finally register. Under different circumstances, those may have been very valuable seconds.

I was merely questioning the fact that under most circumstances 1.1 seconds is not very long and a few seconds could easily go by unnoticed if the results of ones actions are not as expected.!
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Old 14th May 2005, 00:30
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I have read the whole report and would like to throw the following open for discussion.

Robinson tail strike / low G situations - over the years if you read all the detailed reports they often state that other aircraft radar traces were in the area....strange - a number of these have happened on perfect clear vis days...could it be that a pilot who flies a R22/44 competently under normal conditions gets spooked by seeing an aircraft he wasn't expecting and makes abrupt / violent control inputs causing mast bumping / low g posssibly resulting in a tail strike. Not the case here but an intresting observation I have picked out reading many previous reports.

There is probably a simple answer to this next question / thought - why do Robinson not increase the RPM at which the Low RPM warning horn comes on ie make it come on at 100% or 101%. I know this may cause it to come on in some turbulence etc but surely it would give slightly more warning in the event of a Low RPM situation ? any views

I don't agree with this talk of motorbikes and people turning throttles the wrong way -the 26 pages of this report just seems to conclude that the aircraft went IMC then the pilot possibly suffered spatial disorientation resulting in abrupt / severe control inputs that caused a low g situation that resulted in a tail strike. The coincedence of having a problem with the aircraft / rolling the throttle off etc at exactly the same time as going IMC is unlikely even taking into consideration increased pilot stress. Having said all the above flying into cloud / poor weather does increse the likelyhood of carb icing which could quickly cause Low RPM.

Did this seem like a long flight for someone of limited experience in the aircraft type and low total time?. I would'nt call Wycombe to Scotland solo a very straightforward flight.

Is extreme caution to exercised when going from very stable trainers like the Enstrom or Hughes 300 to the Robinson 22's / 44's? (ie when all initial training has been done on the "easier" to fly aircraft). I'm not knocking the Robinson product but being realistic they are trickier if someone has got used to a more stable aircraft.
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Old 14th May 2005, 01:35
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TTSN
An interesting post for your first.

Is extreme caution to exercised when going from very stable trainers like the Enstrom or Hughes 300 to the Robinson 22's / 44's?
Yes. Absolutely. And the school told Steve that.

I did my Enstrom conversion at Steve's Enstrom only school and I generally turned up there for my lessons in an R44. I had discussions with the CFI who was not Robbie rated, on the handling differences and it seems that he passed on this information to Steve and in fact warned him of the handling differences. (see Normans interview on page 3 of this thread). Steve did not take this on board.

Wycombe to Scotland? Again he was advised not to do it in a 44.
On the other hand he was licenced, conscientious and very able as a pilot, just not experienced.

Would the outcome have been different if he had been in an Enstrom?

Who knows, but they don't have carb icing and are more stable and don't do mast bumping and he was more familiar with them. They will go into IMC and lose Nr if you shut the throttle though.

Draw your own conclusions.

Last edited by Gaseous; 14th May 2005 at 02:08.
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Old 14th May 2005, 07:47
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The twistgrip stuff and the continued debate about Robinson NR decay is really extraneous to the real cause of the accident - inadvertant IMC! How many pilots will continue to push on with deteriorating weather, sitting as high as they can to keep away from the ground and, as a result, scudding along at the cloudbase where they have few options when the windscreen suddenly goes grey. Don't do it, it's a killer.
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Old 14th May 2005, 07:57
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I have often wondered about the activation threshold for the low RRPM horn. The governor controls at 104% but it presumably has to see a small error before it responds to it, hence the actual RPM must vary within a dead band. In a previous life I was a control systems engineer, and I don't think the governor on an R22 is particularly sophisticated. I assume that if the horn warning level was set much higher, the risk of spurious warnings under normal operation would be higher. If the thing went off too often, then the user would get accustomed to it and maybe ignore it on the one time it really did matter.

During R22 PPL training, you do range autos at 90% rrpm if I remember correctly. Hence 97% has quite a large safety factor as a warning setting. I guess it depends on the rrpm decay rate which itself depends on the power demand and pitch setting.

Presumably like most things it has been chosen as an acceptable compromise.
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Old 14th May 2005, 16:34
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Having just read this very thorough report, have to agree with Crab here.

Firstly it is reasonable to assume the pilot did get disorientated in cloud. It also seems probable that for a number of reasons the R44's design made it more likely that either during, or when trying to recover from, such disorientation the catastophic blade-hits-tail failure occurred. But even if it hadn't, the chances of a fatal conclusion were high.

The real issue, as so often, was why the acft got in cloud at all, and why the pilot climbed. It is obviously not clear how this occurred, though from the presented information, I would have thought it a moderate, but not high, risk. The R44 had been flying at around 1500 ft, the cloudbase probably around 1600 ft, but the ground elevation was perhaps 600 ft in the narrow valley where he was initially flying, and 1000 - 1200 ft over the ridge to the west, beyond which was another, lower valley.

If this is all correct, he would not have needed to climb at all, even if he deliberately turned right (west) to either do a 180 or reach the other valley. Even the power lines on the side of the valley would have had an elevation of say 750 ft, so should have been well below. In fact, the pilot could have descended a couple of hundred feet and still maintained 100 - 200ft clearance over the ridge, which for someone used to measured risk and speed close to surroundings, should not have been an issue.

It maybe that a sense of needing 500 - 1000ft terrain clearance at all times pushed him into climbing into the cloud, but I find it hard to believe that.

Once in the cloud, his climb was alarmingly rapid - 1800 ft/min. Was this a deliberate, if panicky, effort to establish a sensible altitude before trying a 180 and descending? Possibly, though I'm not sure he would have climbed that high and certainly would not have allowed A/S to drop to 50 kts if he really knew what he was doing. Nor of course should he have turned at the same time, but then no-one could ever expect a pilot with such little experience to have much chance of putting into practice any theory he'd leant about IMC recovery. So it was probably all getting horribly messy quite soon.

But let's come back to this question of why did he climb in the first place. Of course, we don't know precisely what the weather was like, exactly where he was. It is quite possible the weather was locally much poorer, with very poor vis and considerably lower cloud. What does strike me as being interesting though is the fact that the turn appears to start just after G-OUEL had crossed the pylon line. Could the pilot have suddenly seen the pylons/wires in the murk and pulled up abruptly to avoid them, which caused him to enter the cloud, with the consequent partially/uncontrolled climb?

Whatever the sequence of precise events, this does emphasis yet again that inadvertent entry into IMC is a massive challenge to handle for a VFR pilot (and machine) and that it MUST be avoided at all costs. I've banged on about this before, and not to everyones agreement, but in this kind of typical situation, it can be avoided by simply going lower and slower until you either turn back, or just land.

NEVER loose sight of the ground.
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Old 15th May 2005, 21:55
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Rotorspeed/Crab: the trouble with inadvertent entry into IMC for an inexperienced pilot, is that they don't know what they are about to experience - they haven't done enough IMC flying, so they assume it'll be different but OK
When it happens - some make it - some don't.

The enigma is that they are flying the most versatile aircraft in the world, certainly the most manouevrable. Why they choose NOT to land, has always confused me

Is it a MAN thing to press on, and a sissies way out to land for the day/night?

There'll be lots more.......................
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Old 15th May 2005, 22:54
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TC.
Heres a theory.
Initially the 500 ft rule keeps the novice uncomfortably near the cloudbase and then when the whiteout comes it is fear of CFIT and obstacles that stops them descending. The 500 ft rule was drilled into me as a student. Dire threats were made about what the CAA would do for low flying. And the low flying to avoid IMC would be deliberate.

My first excursion into the whitestuff (at 81 hours in a R44) was with a cloudbase of at least 600ft AGL! I didnt descend. I did a 180 and flew out of it as trained. Is the training an issue? Is this still what is taught? Its a few years since I trained.

Now, with a few more hours I'd descend and turn round or land.

Incidently, The CAA have made clear in a GASIL that they would never prosecute for landing to avoid IMC or any safety related issue.
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Old 16th May 2005, 16:30
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Gaseous: I noticed the stark difference with your latest recoveries, in that you wouldn't now do a 180 IN CLOUD. And it is this that disorientates pilots, because it is a difficult manouvre at a time when you haven't settled on instruments.

Don't forgetalso the advice is to fly AT A SPEED COMMENSURATE WITH THE VISIBILITY. Low viz - low speed. If you still go inadvertent - DO NOT turn 180, but descend and clear cloud before manouvering or LAND LAND LAND
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Old 16th May 2005, 17:39
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I'm not sure I'd advocate a 180 degree turn at 500 ft ish agl , having gone IMC, in an area such as this accident! A perfectly flown rate one turn at 100 kts will take up about 1 mile laterally, and it's unlikely to be that well flown so probably will use up a lot more space which the map would indicate isn't there to be used.

The notion that the 500 ft rule should influence your decision making (as quoted by a recent post) is something that should be more accurately taught during the PPL, by the sounds of it. The aircraft and its occupants' safety is paramount at all times, and the last thing a low hour PPL (or indeed anyone) need concern himself with facing a letter box in a valley, is Rule 5.

If you get yourself into such a situation, just thank your lucky stars that you are not in a Cessna 152 or similar, and find a spot to land.

Maybe a sensible addition to the PPL syllabus would be some form of bad weather flying awareness exercise, done somewhere like the Lake district or Wales. It may emphasise to the student how unforgiving an environment it would be to get stuck in IMC. It would be at least as relavent as the instrument awareness training, maybe more so. By definition, you are not likely to inadvertently go IMC at a sensible cruising altitude; it is most likely to be below MSA in high ground.

CFIT is still the world's largest cause of accidents across the board, the more aware you can be of that and the causes, the better.
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Old 16th May 2005, 19:40
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My comment here may leave me open to ridicule from some, but I obtained my license before the advent of the intrument awarness for any inadvertant IMC,.... hence if I see such grey or white stuff anywhere on my planned route I give it a very respectable wide berth, indeed I have in the past done a one eighty and retreated several miles to rethink my route, on two occasion I flew back to EGNH and ended my flying for the day.

I am not Mary Poppins, but the clouds are for far better pilots than I!


Peter R-B

Vfr
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Old 16th May 2005, 19:46
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"Old pilots and bold pilots, etc" as the old rhyme goes.

Long live life.
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Old 16th May 2005, 20:05
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I have held a plank IMC rating for many years, and although I have not renewed it in recent times, the odd temporary excursion into the white stuff in a fixed wing did not particularly bother me.

Then a few weeks ago for the first time ever, I experienced inadvertent IMC entry in an R22. What a different world! I immediately exited downwards, but after only a few seconds I decided that this was not a place to be longer than absolutely necessary.
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Old 16th May 2005, 21:00
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As a personal friend of Steves, I am not looking forward to reading the report. I have just printed it off to read later whilst on standby at work.

Having read alot of the previous postings about this fatal accident re: training issues the usual bashing on about Robbos.

IMC and IR training is no good unless you fly regulary on instruments. But most helis have the basic fit, would you want to fly IMC on any small heli that hasnt got a heated pitot? Heated screen? I fly 5days a week using my IR and believe me if you go and have a 2 week break and come back it is amazing how your scan has deteriated.

I took up heli flying a few weeks after Steves death and like Steve I am hooked, but as a Airline Captain please please keep out of cloud, put it on the deck and phone a cab!!!!!!

Rest in peace my friend you are sorely missed..............

D.H.
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Old 22nd May 2005, 17:48
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Inadvertant IMC

Muffin and Thomas Coupling,

in your last posts you have both advocated descending following inadvertant entry into IMC. To me this sounds like a recipe for CFIT. RAF policy is to immediately begin a climb to safety alt, turn away from high ground and get a radar service. Can I assume from your posts that PPL(H) pilots are NOT drilled into doing this instinctively? Descending in inadvertant IMC, possibly in the vicinity of high ground to try and regain VMC sound terrifying and potentially lethal to me.

I'd be very interested to know just how PPLs are taught to respond.
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Old 22nd May 2005, 18:01
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Can I assume from your posts that PPL(H) pilots are NOT drilled into doing this instinctively?
Correct Sir. Not meant or allowed to enter IMC therefore not taught to respond to situation that would not occur (sic).

However how many PPL(H) pilots if entering IMC would last long enough to

(i). climb through IMC to VMC on top in anything other than very thin layer cloud or CU;

(ii). thus have time to request a service upgrade even if one were available in UK mountain terrain at low altitude, and be able to establish effectively on instruments in a low stability machine while fiddling with the transponder and ident button?

Avoid IMC at all costs.

h-r


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